Travel and Leisure released its annual report on the best industry operators today and it will surprise almost nobody that Virgin America was voted the top domestic airline for the seventh year straight, while Singapore Airlines again was named the top international airline. Rounding out the top domestic airlines were:
- Virgin America
- Jetblue Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
International winners were ordered as such:
- Singapore Airlines
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Asiana Airlines
Notably missing from the domestic airline rankings are any of the legacy carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines or United, though this phenomenon is fairly common for the Travel and Leisure awards. Ranking for these annual awards are based on a survey of T+L readers; since that demographic tends to lean more towards casual, leisure travelers, their choices in air carriers reflect that.
Virgin America captures that leisure travel market quite well, with highly regarded inflight entertainment systems, beautifully designed cabins and vivacious, friendly staff. Their reach with business travelers, however, is somewhat limited by their smaller route network and their lack of a pervasive loyalty program (a recent survey of made up of primarily business travelers, for example, lauded American Airlines quite thoroughly).
Singapore, on the other hand, enjoys high regard from both business and leisure travelers due to their extensive route network and loyalty program combined with a superior in-cabin design. Incidentally, Singapore’s Changi was also ranked as the number one international airport in the same survey.
Needless to say, as the young Virgin America expands into further markets and explores incentives for business travelers, their influence with the corporate world will continue to grow. And as American, Delta and United continue to push forth cabin upgrades they may soon find themselves in the running for top carrier in the annual survey. For now, however, Virgin America continues to dominate.
Virgin America, Singapore Named As Best Domestic and International Airlines