Window or aisle? Coffee or Coke? Choices for airline passengers are shrinking faster than the on-board snack. But there are some airlines that are still mindful of the passenger experience and they were announced last night at the 2011 Passenger Choice Awards.
Winning the top awards for Best Overall Passenger Experience were Emirates and Virgin America. The top awards were split between larger airlines, with over 50 IFE-equipped (In Flight Entertainment-Equipped) planes in fleet (Emirates), and smaller airlines, with under 50 IFE-quipped planes in fleet (Virgin America). Not surprisingly, Emirates and Virgin America each won for their respective regions, Middle East and Americas, and Virgin America also pulled in awards for Best Inflight Video and Best Ground Experience. Another Virgin brand, V Australia – the international airline of Virgin Australia – won Passenger Choice awards for Best in Region: Asia and Australasia, Best IFE User Interface, and Best Food and Beverage. The only U.S.-based airline to win a Passenger Choice award was JetBlue, which won for Best Cabin Ambiance.
Here are all of the winners:
- Best Overall Passenger Experience (Over 50 IFE EQUIPPED IN FLEET) – Emirates
- Best Overall Passenger Experience (Up to 50 IFE EQUIPPED IN FLEET) – Virgin America
- Best in Region: Africa – South African Airways
- Best in Region: Americas – Virgin America
- Best in Region: Asia and Australasia – V Australia
- Best in Region: Europe – Virgin Atlantic
- Best in Region: Middle East – Emirates
- Best Inflight Publication – Avianca
- Best IFE User Interface – V Australia
- Best Inflight Connectivity & Communications – Oman Air
- Best Inflight Video – Virgin America
- Best Cabin Ambiance – JetBlue
- Best Food & Beverage in conjunction with IFSA – V Australia
- Best Ground Experience – Virgin America
Another winner at the Passenger Choice Awards was Air New Zealand, which won the Avion Award for Best Single Achievement in Passenger Experience for the Skycouch Family Experience (pictured above and in this gallery), which is about as comfortable as you can expect to get in economy class on a commercial flight in the foreseeable future.
Photo courtesy Air New Zealand