After receiving my 37th email of the day from an airline PR firm hailing their place in this year’s Zagat survey, I decided it might be worth taking a look into it. Rather than trumpet one airline’s accomplishments over the rest in any particular category, however, I’ll give you the straight up list of their #1’s. You can find it on their website too.
- Best Large Domestic Airlines (Premium Seating): Continental Airlines
- Best Large Domestic Airlines (Economy Seating): Jetblue Airways
- Best International Airlines (Premium Seating): Singapore Airlines
- Best Airline Websites: Southwest Airlines
- Best In-Flight Entertainment: (Domestic): JetBlue Airways
- Best In-Flight Entertainment (International): Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Best Consumer On-Time Estimates (Domestic Only): Southwest Airlines
- Best Midsized Domestic Airlines (Premium Seating): Virgin America
- Best Midsized Domestic Airlines (Economy Seating): Midwest Airlines
- Best International Airlines: (Economy Seating): Singapore Airlines
- Best Frequent Flier Programs: Southwest Airlines
- Best Value for the Money: (Domestic): Southwest Airlines
- Best Value for the Money: (International): Continental Airlines
- Best Luggage Policy (Domestic Only): Southwest Airlines
Prevailing theme? LOW COST CARRIERS. The airline with the best hedged fuel and most leverage in industry, Southwest, captured the most awards, while other carriers like Jetblue and Virgin America cleaned up with most of the rest. The only other domestic airlines to take home prizes were Continental Airlines and the near-defunct Midwest Airlines.
Perhaps this will send a message to the legacy carriers that they’re quickly losing ground to the younger, low-cost crowd and that it’s finally time to come off of their high horse and cater to the masses. Or perhaps they’ll use this as another excuse to instill fees and figure out how to make mileage tickets more expensive. My guess is the latter.