Are Skytrax Awards Perception over Reality?

The latest Skytrax Airline awards were announced at the Paris Air Show, and I have to say, I’m left wondering whether Skytrax Awards are perception over reality. Don’t get me wrong, I agreed with most of Skytrax perceptions with regard to airports

Skytrax Awards Background

Skytrax Awards are largely revered within the industry. Traveling around Asia this past weekend, I heard it mentioned a couple of times on Bangkok Airways, which received an award for the best Regional Airline, and Thai had advertisements for the best Worlds Best Economy Class.

Skytrax Awards

It is admittedly kind of a big deal when 19.87M votes are cast, but I am still left wondering whether this is a perception thing over reality. 

Qatar Airways Wins Skytrax Award for Best Business Class

For me, this is where the rubber meets the road. I have flown Qatar on the 787 and the 777-300ER. Flying from Washington’s Dulles International Airport, we are serviced by the 777-300ER, so that’s the experience I most commonly associate with Qatar.

Lucky believes Qatar Airways to be deserving of the Skytrax awards and to have the best business class. I’ve shared my opinion of the best business class product in the past.

I totally get that Lucky is basing Qatar’s best Business Class based on the 787, A350 and A380 hard products, however, according to Wikipedia 57 aircraft across those three aircraft types (in fact, most of them, 30 are 787s!). The fact remains though that the seats flown on their 26 A330s, 4 A340’s, 9 777-200LR, and 34 777-300ER’s are a far inferior, 2-2-2 business class configuration. So more than half of Qatar’s fleet has an industry trailing hard product. 

Final Thoughts on Skytrax Awards

Specific to Qatar, I truly question whether this is really a perception over reality. Realize that the ballots were all cast well before the first 777 flew with the new QSuites. I totally get that Qatar provides a very good soft product, but how can an airline that has less than half of their fleet with a solid hard product, be the number one business class product? 


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