Frankfurt Airport Wins ‘Most Improved’ Award

“Most Improved” isn’t always the most brag-worthy recognition, but in the case of Frankfurt Airport (FRA), the prize comes not long after we wrote about how the airport was at the bottom of the “World’s Worst” list.

The accolade was bestowed upon Germany’s biggest hub by Skytrax, an aviation market research institute. The tipping point for the honor is the airport’s recently introduced “Great to have you here!” service program, which brought electric-powered express vehicles, newly designed relaxing zones, playgrounds for children and a smartphone app in several languages, plus “fast lines” that help travelers with short connection times.

It’s nice to see all that’s developed at FRA. Let’s just hope their improvement plan called for a efficient ways to deal with drunk Ukranians and Russians.

[Photo credit: Flickr user wiwin.wr]

North Korean Airline Dubbed ‘World’s Worst’ Finally Gets On Board With Online Booking

Let’s take a poll: would you fly an airline rated the “world’s worst”? No? Now tell us, if that same airline was owned by North Korea would you consider it any more worthy of your ticket price? Probably not, you say?

The good news is that if you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, booking on Air Koryo just got a lot easier. The Skytrax one-star rated airline is selling its flights to China and Russia online for the first time.

Although we’re not sure that the website will add anything to the airline’s reputation. According to the Telegraph:

Early reports seems to suggest the website is unlikely to help the North Korean flag carrier shake its one-star rating, however. Users have already reported slow response speeds, with some searches not offering any availability for flights, while others result in an error message appearing on the screen.

What happens on a one-star airline? According to Startrax: “very poor quality performance … with poor, inconsistent standards of … service … in on-board and airport environments.”

At present, the airline utilizes a number of planes constructed in the former Soviet Union and is the only airline rated as one-star worldwide. That said, there are 29 airlines ranked just above this dubious distinction as two-star, which include names you may have flown, including Air Zimbabwe, Bulgaria Air and Ryanair.

[Photo credit: screenshot from Air Koryo]

Top ten best airlines revealed in 2010 World Airline Awards

Spoiler alert: U.S. based airlines apparently all suck. At least, if you believe the results of the Skytrax 2010 World Airline Awards. The top ten airlines in the world are mostly from Asia. The only upside for U.S. based airlines is that no European airlines made it to the list either.

American airlines are only represented in the “best North American Airlines” results – and even there, Air Canada takes the top spot.

The results are hardly surprising – I’ve flown many of these international airlines, and their product is indeed miles ahead of anything on offer in the U.S. or Europe. Still, it is a bit of a disgrace that none of the U.S. based airlines managed to make any of the winning categories. The top ten airlines of the world are:

  1. Asiana Airlines
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. Qatar Airways
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. Air New Zealand
  6. Etihad Airways
  7. Qantas Airways
  8. Emirates
  9. Thai Airways
  10. Malaysia Airlines

Still, it isn’t all doom and gloom – in recent weeks, the AOL “spy in the sky” flew all major U.S. carriers and found that there are still some friendly and helpful airlines out there. Check out their report cards for the ten airlines they reviewed.

Airline Seats: Feel Cramped? That’s Normal.

Once, when my husband and I were flying (before kids), I had a window seat and he had the middle. The man next to him in the aisle seat was as broad shouldered as my husband is. My husband wondered sweetly if I would mind switching with him. “Yes, yes I would,” I said. There was no way I wanted to be sandwiched in by shoulders. With the window curving out slightly, I had some room for one of my elbows.

According to the latest travel complaints, a small seat is becoming the number one cause for people’s unhappiness while they wing from one place to another.

Here’s what comfortable seats would look like:

  • A seat wide enough so you aren’t rubbing shoulders with the person next to you. 19-20 inches is adequate.
  • Lap-level workspace
  • A seat pitch that’s 35 to 36 inches. (The pitch is what gives you leg room and is determined by the front-to-back placement of seats.)

The reality:

  • Most airline seats are 17 to 18 inches.
  • Most seat pitch is 31 inches.

If you want wide seats, try Midwest Airlines.
The seat best pitch is on JetBlue airplanes.

For more details about where to find seat comfort, check Ed Perkin’s article, “Finding the Least Worst Coach Seats” at Tribune Media Services. Along with mentioning particular airlines, he tells which models are the most and least roomy. Also, at Skytrax you can view regions of the world, the airlines that fly to them and check out the pitches of the airplanes.