Route Reviews â€“ Which way should you fly?
Certain airline routes seem to perform better service-wise than others, from big airports with taxiing delays to lost luggage in transit. Let’s take a look at some of the important factors when choosing an airline for your flight.
Your first objective is to choose your route. Where are you heading? What are your departure and arrival airports?
Next thing to know is who flies there. Let us take the London to Shanghai route as an example. At the time of writing for particular dates in October, Etihad Airways were the cheapest at £565pp including taxes, closely followed by Lufthansa at £571pp. Both include a transit in their respective hub cities (Abu Dhabi for Etihad Airways and Frankfurt for Lufthansa). The best direct flight was with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Both offered a fare of £738pp including taxes and have just over an 11 hour flight time. The cheapest fare (with Etihad) including the transit in Abu Dhabi was just shy of 19 hours, whilst the Lufthansa fare was 14 hours and 10 minutes. From what you have read on the above, who would you choose? If you have the money, no doubt you would choose BA or Virgin, otherwise you would probably opt for Lufthansa. Unless of course you wanted a stopover in somewhere like Abu Dhabi. Currently, Etihad Airways has a number of offers available for you to break up your journey and explore the United Arab Emirates’ capital city with a free night offer when you stay two nights.
Figure 1- Image courtesy of British Airways
When you check online at certain travel review websites, you will find a whole host of opinions and experiences from people who have travelled the globe. Take edreams.com for example. Their reviews are only from people who have booked their flights with edreams. Simple enough, but when you take a look at the Singapore to London reviews, the Etihad Airways review is rated in a much higher regard than Lufthansa. But this is just one example of a bad experience. I’m sure edreams have booked
hundreds of flights between Singapore and London, yet only two people have reviewed the service. This goes to prove you have to take online reviews with a pinch of salt.
So now who would you go with? Etihad because they have a good review and offer a stopover in Abu Dhabi? Lufthansa because they have the shortest flight time for relatively cheap, even though they have a bad review written about them? Or BA or Virgin, because they are direct? You will still read reviews online about how bad BA and Virgin were on particular flights but again, it’s because people like to vent their frustrations online. I have never had a problem with either of them, however.
Another thing to take into consideration are flight delays and other problems. According to the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), passengers who are flying to Dubai on average suffer from the longest delays compared to other destinations. Rotterdam on the other hand, was rated as the most punctual airport with 93% of flights leaving on schedule and the 7% that didn’t had an average of…..5 minutes delay. That’s right, just a few minutes. In 2011, American Eagle was the most likeliest US airline to lose your luggage with an average 7.32 people per 1,000 travelling to have lost a bag of some kind according to an airline quality report.
Figure 2 - Image courtesy of Rotterdam Airport
Then of course, there are airlines with the worst accident rates. The national airline of Cuba, Cubana scored the worst according to OAGBack Aviation Solutions. On the other hand, Qantas can revel in the fact that it is the worldâ€™s oldest airline, never to have had a fatal plane crash, something that it really does pride itself in.
Figure 3 - Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines
And lastly, we come across the awards received by the airlines. An Etihad review, conducted by the World Travel Awards, awarded Etihad Airways the worldâ€™s leading airline for the third year running in 2011 and the best leading airline in the Middle East in 2012. On the other hand a handful of airlines have been awarded five-star statuses from Skytrax, a leading airline award company and include Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airlines.
Whichever airline you choose, you will no doubt read a bad review about them so all it is left up to is you simply trying their service and rating it for yourself.