Some of the annual lists that ConsumerAffairs readers look forward to revolve around travel. After all, if travelers are going to spend their hard-earned money to have a good time on a vacation, then, by George, they should have a good idea of which vacation-related businesses should receive their patronage.
Earlier this year, ConsumerAffairs reported on the carriers that AirlineRatings found to be the safest, and most of those airlines have made it onto 2020’s “best of” list as well.
Drum roll, please…
The Top 20
Air New Zealand*
All Nippon Airways*
Cathay Pacific Airways*
Delta Air Lines
*AirlineRatings 2019 Top 20 “Safest Airline”
Good day, mates!
Air New Zealand edge Singapore Air out of the top position this time around. As a matter of fact, airlines from this region took three of the top 10 slots because of their penchant for giving travelers what they want.
“In our analysis, Air New Zealand came out number one in most of our audit criteria, which is an outstanding performance when it’s up against carriers with more resources and scale on this same list of best airlines for 2020,” commented Airline Ratings Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas.
“Air New Zealand’s commitment to excellence in all facets of its business starts at the top with outstanding governance and one of the best executive teams in aviation through to a workforce that is delivering consistently to the airline’s strategy and customer promise.”
Who owns the specialty trophies?
In consumer rankings, there’s no participation trophy like there is in youth sports. However, there are specialties -- like “Best Cabin Crew” -- that can impact how consumers feel about a carrier when they go to tell someone about their trip.
Best Premium Economy -- Air New Zealand
Best Cabin Crew -- Virgin Australia
Best Inflight Entertainment -- Emirates
Best Business Class -- Qatar
Best Lounges -- Qantas
Best Long-Haul Middle East -- Emirates
Most Improved Airline award for 2020 -- Cebu Pacific
Best Low-Cost Airlines: JetBlue (Americas), Wizz (Europe) and AirAsia / AirAsia X (Asia/Pacific) and Air Arabia (Middle-East / Africa)
Where are the U.S.-based airlines?
The biggest issue, interestingly enough, is because of the weather. Snowstorms, in particular, can play havoc with on-time performance. For example, a few feet of snow in Chicago can cause a terrible domino effect for American Airlines and United since Chicago’s O’Hare is a major hub for both. Added to United’s winter woes are the hubs they have in Newark and Denver.
While weather can indeed be an issue, the U.S. is more relaxed about flight delays. With their collective feet not being held to the fire to get somewhere on time, U.S. carriers might have become a little lax in that regard.
“In Europe, air passengers are well protected by European Commission Regulation EC261, which entitles travelers to be paid up to €600 in compensation for flight delays of more than three hours,” writes TheAirhelper.
“On the other hand, US regulations don’t have a lot to say about air passenger rights regarding flight delays. So anytime bad weather hits, it’s a double-whammy: airline performance suffers and passengers lose money.”