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Best airlines for economy long-haul

etihad1aLong-haul flights in economy are nowadays a torment and to some extent risky. Sitting squeezed for 10 hours or even longer may cause thrombosis.

Skift ranks carriers for economy long haul, but admits explicitly that the result is far from perfect.

In order to get a manageable number, they only include airlines with many daily departures and destinations

Factors determining a carrier’s score include website user experience, seat pitch and width, room/comfort, meal/beverage service, in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi, in-seat power, seamless tech, and design appeal.

Some factors are objective and measurable like seat pitch and width, but other elements are subjective like meal/beverage service and design appeal.

Taste is hard to measure, so presentation plays a big part in the meal/beverage rating. By making a little effort to make food look good an airline already scores higher than average.

As to Wi-Fi Skift only looks at whether or not an airline has made the effort to provide connectivity. Thus, airlines get an extra point just for trying, not because it is worth the while.

The score for room/comfort ranges from 4-8 points, which indicates that Skift’s judgment is very mild. In their own words: “You’d have to have make people stand up to get a 0, and your seats would have to be just about ready to fall apart for a 1, 2 or 3.”

Skift does not give more than a 4 score for room/comfort to carriers that put 10-abreast on their aircraft, except in an Airbus 380. This seems reasonable as it is extremely inconvenient to step in and out to go to the toilets or to stretch your legs in 10-abreast cabins.

The best airlines for economy long-haul by region are:

Africa:              South African Airways (state-owned and technically bankrupt)

Asia/Pacific:     All Nippon Airways (ANA)

Europe:            Turkish Airlines

Latin America:   Avianca

Middle East:     Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways (tie)

North America:  American Airlines

Qatar0As usual, Asian and Middle East carriers tend to score relatively high and US airlines low. Star Alliance and oneworld members score higher than SkyTeam members with the exception of LAN/TAM (oneworld) and Air Canada and United Airlines (Star Alliance).

The full ranking list follows.

Airline Score
1. Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways 61
2. All Nippon Airways (ANA), Emirates, Turkish Airlines 60
3. Japan Airlines 58
4. Air China, Avianca 57
5. South African Airways, Saudia 56
6. China Southern 55
7. Qantas 54
8. Lufthansa, China Eastern 53
9. British Airways, Egyptair 52
10. American Airlines, AeroMexico 50
11. Air France/KLM, Ethiopian Airlines 49
12. Delta Airlines, Kenya Airways 47
13. LAN/TAM 44
14. Air Canada, United Airlines 39

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