Business and first class may get the most attention, but economy class is arguably the product that matters the most to consumers. After all, that’s where the vast majority of flyers will spend their time. It also requires the most precision to execute properly. It’s very difficult for an airline to screw up first or business class enough to make it a miserable experience for passengers. But in economy class, with less room and few niceties to spruce up the experience, the margin between comfort and outright misery is very narrow. Sometimes little things like seat-cushion foam density can make or break an economy-class experience.
Every year, the leading aviation consumer website Skytrax compiles a list of the highest-rated economy-class offerings. According to Skytrax, its award for the best economy-class airline is a “distinction representing passenger satisfaction assessment of the front-line Economy Class product and staff service standards that airlines provide across both the cabin and airport environments.” The Skytrax rankings are based on the impressions of 19.87 million travelers from 105 countries. The survey, which covered more than 320 airlines, measured 49 parameters, from boarding procedures to seat comfort to the quality of service.
Airlines from Asia dominate this list, taking the top nine spots and 15 of the top 20, with Thai Airways emerging victorious. No North American airline managed to crack the top 20. In addition, Skytrax also ranked airlines by their catering and seat quality. Thai Airways won the award for best economy-class catering, followed by Turkish, Asiana, Qatar, and Japan Airlines. Singapore, Austrian, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, and EVA Air rounded out the top 10. The honors for best economy-class seats went to Japan Airlines followed by Asiana, Thai, Korean Air, and Singapore Airlines. Qatar Airways, EVA Air, ANA, AeroMexico, and Garuda Indonesia complete the 10 for best seats.
Here’s a closer look at the 10 best economy-class airlines in the world, according to Skytrax:
1. Thai Airways
2. Qatar Airways
4. Garuda Indonesia
5. Singapore Airlines
6. Japan Airlines
8. ANA All Nippon Airways
9. EVA Air
Special Thanks: Business Insider