Quality entertainment, comfortable seats, onboard cleanliness, or friendly staff – what matters most to you when choosing which airline to fly with?
With so many airlines circulating routes to, from, or via Asia it can be difficult to know which air service is best suited to your needs. Of course safety is everyone’s main priority, but when flying long-haul a multitude of other important factors come into play. Luckily, nowadays most airlines cater to these needs, so here’s a list of those that we think stand out amongst the crowd.
- Hub: Hamad International Airport (Doha, Qatar)
Qatar flies to over 150 destinations across the globe, and has won multiple awards over the years for Best Catering and Best Business Class. Qatar’s scrumptious food follows through to their economy class so that no one misses out, and their in-flight entertainment is of some of the best across the board.
Qatar has also expanded its fleet to include the latest generation of airliners, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350. And, of course, they won the title of Best Airline of 2019.
- Hub: Singapore Changi Airport (Singapore, China)
Year on year, Singapore Airlines and Qatar appear to be alternating between first and second position within all major airline-critic rankings. The airline is widely recognised for its standout service, with flight attendants treating each and every flyer with the utmost care and respect. Singapore Airlines’ quality remains consistent, having previously won an award for Best Business Class Airline Seat, with the addition of Best Premium Economy Catering. Niceties such as hot towels before take-off and personal TVs stacked with entertainment are just some of the economy class perks.
What’s even better is that their hub is Changi Airport, which has won the title for World’s Best Airport seven years in a row. This airport is truly what stopovers should be about, offering access to its rooftop swimming pool, spa, free tours around Singapore, a cinema, and a multitude of gardens including butterfly, cactus, sunflower, and orchid. Changi is definitely more of a magical wonderland than an airport.
- Hub: Dubai International Airport (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Emirates is probably the best-known airline on this list. Most travellers know about its award-winning, state-of-the-art flight entertainment system which includes a diverse hub of films, music, live television, and sporting events. And with winning the award for Best In-Flight Entertainment 13 years running, well, the proof is in the pudding.
Another element of Emirates that stands out from the crowd is its free Wi-Fi accessibility, which most airlines do not offer, not to mention its world-class bar for a cheeky cocktail to start off your holiday early.
- Hub: Hong Kong International Airport (Hong Kong, China)
Cathay Pacific is one of the most respected carriers from the Pacific Rim and offers one of the finest flying experiences in Asia. The crew provide a friendly service, the seats are comfortable and the in-flight entertainment is solely worth flying with them for. Flying to 76 destinations in 34 countries, Cathay Pacific covers travel to a wide range of places, and they’ve even invested in newly delivered Airbus A350s to keep up with the competition.
The airline is also the world’s first to provide their flyers with a vegan option of a plant-based pork alternative, leading the way for fellow air travel services.
- Hub: Abu Dhabi International Airport (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Etihad is famous for its flying apartments and plush first-class suites, clearly reflected in the awards that they receive: 2019’s title of Best First Class in the Middle East and previous titles of World’s Best First Class, Best First Class Seat, and Best First Class Onboard Catering.
Etihad’s economy class is nothing to sneeze at, either, and the entertainment is definitely something to make note of. Their wide selection of films, music, TV shows and live TV are constantly updated so that no matter what class you may be sat within, you’ll have plenty of media to accompany you along the way.
- Hubs: Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok, Thailand), Phuket International Airport (Phuket, Thailand)
When researching Thai Airways, the one word you will consistently see pop-up is ‘efficient.’ Over the years, Thai Airways’ systematic theme of consistency has led to the airline winning awards for their triumphant service, tasteful catering, and indulgent spa.
Their 2019 awards consist of Best Airline Staff in Asia and Best Cabin Crew in Thailand, proving customer service to be at the forefront of their values. Additionally, their award for World’s Best Airline Spa Facility makes light of their ability to offer a relaxation and rejuvenation experience like no other in the current travel industry. Relaxing and letting go of flight tension with peaceful music and an essential oil Thai massage – what could be better?
See Also: Southeast Asia for Couples
All Nippon Airways (ANA)
- Hubs: Narita International Airport (Tokyo, Japan), Kansai International Airport (Osaka, Japan)
This guide just wouldn’t be complete without a mention of one of Japan’s brilliant carriers! ANA has one of the largest fleets of the Boeing 787 Dreamliners which are most famous for their spaciousness – even in economy class. Their aircrafts also include power and USB sockets for each class, and have consistently won awards for their cleanliness, service, and safety.
Along with their 2019 Best Business Class in Asia title, they also won awards for Best Airline Staff and Cabin Crew in Japan,which follows through all of their classes and leaves very satisfied customers in both business and economy.
So now you know what the best Asian airline features are – what will you go with? Food that hits the post-nap spot, or a heavenly stopover destination? Exceptional cleanliness or a cabin crew that’ll do anything to meet your needs? In saying this, all the airlines mentioned above offer a wide range of these features, so whoever you end up going with, you won’t be disappointed.