It’s been a good week for the UAE's airlines, with Etihad and Emirates both winning recognition in the first ever annual awards from Fodor’s Travel.
For more than 80 years, Fodor’s has been an expert in the world of travel and the company has now launched an annual travel awards to recognise the very best in travel across the globe.
Emirates ranked first in Fodor’s Best International Airline category. According to the travel experts, all cabins on Emirates flights offer comfortable seats. “Whether you’re in coach, lie-flat business class beds, or a private suite in its first-class cabin, Emirates offers one of the comfiest flights in the sky,” writes Fodor’s on its website.
The Dubai airline also received recognition for its high levels of in-flight service and impressive safety record, as well as for having one of aviation’s best entertainment systems. Emirates has won Skytrax’s World’s Best Inflight Entertainment award for the last 14 years.
Cathay Pacific came second in the same category, losing out to Emirates because of its lack of private first-class seats. The Hong Kong carrier received commendation for its wide range of destinations flown to and its good value travel fares.
Blow the budget
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways won the Best Airline for Blowing your Budget award. Fodor’s writes that Etihad offers: “the most luxurious experience you can have in the sky.” The airline’s exclusive VIP lounge, three-room personal suites and in-sky butlers helped secure Etihad top ranking in this category.
Fodor’s also detailed that for travellers on a more modest budget, “Etihad Airways will give you the best experience that money can buy. For example, you can split the cost of an Etihad Apartment and make it a two-person experience complete with a sofa, full-size entertainment center, and touchscreen controls to customise the seat and lighting.”
Emirates was runner-up to Etihad in the same category with recognition given to its Airbus A380 in-flight showers and the airline’s impressive first class bars.
Elsewhere, American Airlines was named the Best Airline for Pets thanks to the recently launched Cuddle Class. This service lets animals flying with passengers on selected routes have their own special cabin cubicles, right at the front of the plane.
If you’re a gastronome then you might want to consider a first class flight with Japan Airlines. The carrier won the Best Airline for Foodies award with Fodor's acknowledging the airline's creative in-flight dining options. The travel experts wrote: “an asparagus-wrapped prosciutto amuse bouche, a caviar appetiser, a filet mignon entree with scalloped potatoes and Béarnaise sauce, plus a cheese course (!). Breakfast features lobster eggs Benedict (cooked to perfection), roast duck, and apple chutney.”
Air Dolomiti was named the Tiny Airline You Should Try — the Italian carrier links travellers to some of the smaller cities in Italy such as Turin, Bari and Verona.
For travellers on a budget, Norwegian Air came out on top. The airline offers lounge access, 46-inch seat pitch and super comfortable chairs. Fodor’s said: “Even Norwegian’s regular economy is simply a cut above its competitors. You still have to pay extra for food, drink, and checked baggage but you’ll still be getting a much more comfortable experience than can be had on just about any other low-cost carrier.”
JetBlue took first place in the Best Airline for Plus-Sized Passengers category and was commended for having wider seats and increased leg room. The chairs on this American airline also have the most seat pitch.
Finally, if you’re travelling in the USA and looking to get some sleep on a plane, then you should fly JetBlue. The airline’s Mint service offer the longest lie-flat seats on domestic routes. Internationally, Virgin Australia’s Business Class has the longest lie-flat beds, and the airline was named runner up in the Best Airline for Getting Sleep category.