AirAsia and Southwest are the world’s best low-cost airlines: Skytrax poll

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If you want to fly in style without spending a fortune, watch out – there’s a new upper economy class in town.

It is Japan Airlines, based in Tokyo, according to a research firm Skytrax, which on Tuesday published the latest results of its annual ranking of “Best Airlines in the World”. The Japanese carrier finished ahead of finalists Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines, according to Skytrax survey on over 13.4 million airline customers across 356 different global airlines.

Or, if you’re looking to get what you pay for, check out AirAsia in Malaysia or Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which topped this year’s low-cost airline rankings.

South West obtained a particularly high score on the comfort of the seats, WiFi and free snacks and drinks on flights over 250 miles. AirAsia received praise for its in-flight Wi-Fi and power outlets for the seats.

Japan Airlines Economy Class is designed to mimic the kind of luxury you would normally find in First Class. Its seats offer travelers more width and legroom than many other carriers – up to four inches more legroom than the industry standard, depending on Nerdwallet.

Travelers on long-haul flights to Tokyo from cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or London can expect a in-flight menu which includes options like Japanese soba noodles and smoked salmon.

The experience is “designed to ensure that customers of all classes can enjoy premium services,” Japan Airlines said in a statement Friday.

It may sound good, but American travelers should be aware of Japanese restrictions for foreign travelers: show proof of vaccination and quarantine for 10 days upon entering the country.

As for AirAsia, the Malaysian carrier only expands to one U.S. destination – Honolulu – and most U.S. travelers are currently banned to enter Malaysia, due to Covid travel restrictions.

The southwest, meanwhile, seems to have achieved a remarkable recovery. Last year, the carrier reported its first annual loss – $ 3.1 billion – since 1972. But federal aid and a steady increase in the number of domestic travelers returning to the skies led to sales of $ 4 billion in the second quarter of this year alone, Southwest reported in July.

Still, the airline left many bookings on the table as weather and staff shortages resulted in hundreds of flights to the southwest being canceled and delayed over the summer. “While the rapid surge in travel demand in June ensured our financial stability, it impacted our operations after a prolonged period of depressed demand due to the pandemic,” said the CEO of Southwest Gary Kelly in the company’s July earnings release.

Kelly plans to step down in 2022. His successor, Bob Jordan, told CNBC last week that Southwest was increasing its hires to meet increased demand, with plans to add 8,000 employees over the course of the year. next year.

“We’re not going to rehearse last summer,” Jordan said.

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