Forget inedible meals, postage stamp-sized economy seats and sky-high fares – the airline industry is stepping up in 2022. From Frozen-themed liveries to top-tier comfort and the best customer service and safety records, we've rounded up a selection of winners from Skytrax's World Airline Awards 2022. Take a look at the airlines pulling out all the stops to make your flying experience a little bit special.
As the World’s Most Improved Airline, Gulf Air climbed the ranking in the Top 100 Airlines to 22nd place. The national carrier of Bahrain was one of the few airlines that continued flying during the COVID-19 pandemic, including shipping medical and food supplies into the kingdom. 
The award bodes well for Gulf Air, who in 2018 revealed plans to improve and become more customer-focused. With a new fleet, network, products and services under its belt, it's no surprise that it also bagged the Most Improved Airline in the Middle East award.
ANA (All Nippon Airways) is one of the most consistently high-rated airlines both in Asia and worldwide. It picked up the World’s Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness award alongside numerous others, including World’s Best Airport Services. Founded in 1952, Japan’s largest airline – although not the national carrier – is one of the most significant airlines in Asia, operating 82 international and 118 domestic routes.
The airline focuses on an excellent in-flight experience infused with hints of Japanese culture. It provides passengers with amazing amenities, food, cleanliness and friendly cabin crew. And the awards come at a great time – in October, Japan will resume visa-free entry and independent travel after two years of tough COVID-19 restrictions.
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Singapore Airlines operates the world’s longest commercial flight on the Singapore-New York route, covering 9,534 miles (15,343km) in 17 hours and 52 minutes. So it makes sense that its cabin crew are in it for the, well, long haul. One of the highly commended services is its Book the Cook service (business class only), allowing passengers to choose gourmet dishes by internationally renowned chefs up to 24 hours before they fly.
Plus, customers can enjoy a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system. In total, the airline bagged nine awards, ranging from World's Best First Class to Best Airline in Asia. Singapore Airlines owns the budget-friendly Scoot (also on this list) and together they operate over 180 aircraft serving more than 110 destinations.
Emirates took the Best Economy Class title from Thai Airways, who won in 2021. Its economy class still feels more on the luxurious side with complimentary drinks, the latest movies on HD TVs and comfy seats. Longer flights also provide amenity kits which include handy items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks and even bookmarks. 
Emirates' fleet comprises 262 aircraft, with the airline serving 152 destinations across six continents. The majority of its fleet consists of the Boeing 777, or 'Triple Seven', with economy class seats pictured here. Add more height to your flight onboard the double-decker A380, which seats economy and premium economy passengers on the lower deck.
Virgin Atlantic took the gong for World’s Best Premium Economy Class, and also earned 19th spot in the Top 100 Airlines list. The airline operates between the US, UK, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean so paying a little extra can go a long way – especially with premium economy's extra large leather seats to recline into.
Premium economy passengers are welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly and those with a sweet tooth can take advantage of Virgin's Wander Wall, a selection of sweet and savoury treats. And talking of food, passengers can choose from restaurant-inspired three-course meals; pictured here is afternoon tea on the London Heathrow-Seattle route.
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As well as bagging the Best Regional Airline in Asia award, Bangkok Airways took home first place for the World’s Best Regional Airline award. It might not come as a surprise: it's the sixth consecutive year the airline has won both awards. It serves 10 Thai hotspots and a growing number of international destinations, including Cambodia, Singapore, the Maldives, Myanmar, Hong Kong and Vietnam. 
Bangkok Airways comprises a 30-strong fleet, with each aircraft decorated in their own liveries representing the destinations they fly to. The company's latest generation aircraft, the ATR72-600, includes a full-glass cockpit and larger overhead bins. 
WestJet scooped two awards for Best Regional Airline in North America and Best Airline Staff Service in Canada. The Canadian airline started life in 1996 and operates a range of aircraft, including a Disney-themed 737 aircraft (pictured). It covers all the big-hitters – Toronto, Québec City, Vancouver – as well as the likes of Halifax, Saskatoon and Whitehorse (a great spot to see the Northern Lights).
In-flight there’s the standard movies, TV and music selections, but passengers can also tune into nature scenes, meditation sessions or sleep stories via its partnership with Calm. The airline cares for its environment as well; in 2022, it operated its second sustainable aviation fuel flight which will reduce roughly 11 metric tons in carbon emissions over the fuel’s lifecycle.
This reliable airline was awarded the World's Best Low-Cost Airline and is well-recognised by other industry heavyweights for its budget offerings. The Premium Flatbed seat on its Airbus A330 is considered the world’s cheapest premium cabin. At roughly £760 ($845), it’s unlikely you’ll find a cheaper rate of this type mile-for-mile – and includes complimentary meals, unlike in economy.
Only 10% of its flights are usually cancelled (easyJet, take notice) or diverted, with destinations including Australia, India, the US and Southeast Asia. Plus, you can earn AirAsia points on whatever fare you choose, whether that’s Low Fare, Value Pack, Premium Flex or Premium Flatbed.
Scoot, owned by the Singapore Airlines Group, was awarded first place for budget travellers seeking long-haul destinations. The airline's economy class offers three fares: Fly, FlyBag and FlyBagEat. The cheapest fare is Fly, allowing carry-on up to 22 pounds (10kg) per passenger; FlyBag includes 44-pound (20kg) checked baggage; and FlyBagEat adds on a hot meal.
But there's another reason everyone's talking about Scoot. In 2022, it launched its first Pokémon-themed plane (pictured). The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will serve selected journeys between Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul.
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The largest airline in Latin America, LATAM won multiple awards across Skytrax's South America categories, including Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness and Best Business Class. Most impressive of them all was its first-place score as the Best Airline in South America. The airline serves Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
So what makes LATAM so great? The airline has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastics onboard its economy cabin by 2023 and has modified its premium business service to include more sustainable travel kits. Plus, its range of LATAM Airlines credit cards could see you earn up to 40,000 miles to redeem on flights. 
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Not only did Ethiopian Airlines rank 26th on the Top 100 Airlines list, but it was also crowned the Best Airline in Africa. The flag carrier of Ethiopia was founded in 1945 and today serves 22 domestic and over 127 international destinations. The airline has the youngest and newest fleet across the entire continent, consisting of Boeing's Dreamliners and Triple Sevens as well as Airbus A350s.
There’s a range of cabin types – economy includes complimentary drinks – and its luxury Cloud Nine service combines first and business classes. Guests on this service can enjoy exclusive lounge access, additional baggage allowance and an even comfier flight with more room to stretch out.
Turkish Airlines was founded in 1933 with just five aircraft. Today, it flies to 266 destinations around the world, best summed up by its tag line: “We fly to more countries than any other airline in the world". The national carrier won the sought-after Best Airline in Europe award, as well as the same award for services in Southern Europe.
The airline offers an incredible culinary service and a highly regarded lounge welcomes travellers in Istanbul. It’s regularly commended for being the best long-haul travel experience in Europe, and also serves Africa, North America and Asia.
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According to Skytrax, Delta Air Lines is the top airline in North America. The accolades don’t stop there – the US-owned airline also won Best Cabin Crew in the USA, Best Business Class in North America and Best Economy Class in North America. It’s one of the world’s oldest airlines and is constantly expanding its network, adding London Gatwick to its roster in 2023 for the first time in 15 years.
But what makes it worth flying with? From check-in to landing there’s a seamless system; its Airport Curbside service (at most US airports) allows you to check in your baggage as soon as you’ve exited your vehicle at passenger drop-off. Its cabins range from Basic Economy to Delta One, where you can enjoy your own flat-bed seat, luxury skincare products and chef-curated meals.
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Ranked number one in the World’s Top 100 Airlines is Qatar Airlines – for the seventh year running. It fought off competition from over 350 airlines, with Singapore Airlines placing second and Emirates in third. Qatar Airways is the national airline of Qatar and serves over 150 destinations worldwide, operating a fleet of over 200 aircraft.
Serving Australia, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America and South America, the airline was praised for its forward-thinking onboard service. The comfort, cuisine, latest in-flight entertainment and modern aircraft fleet all helped score the airline top points. It was also awarded nine further awards including the World’s Best Business Class and Best Airline in the Middle East. Qatar Airways is tough competition to beat; roll on 2023…
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08 January 2019
Travel News
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