Is Skytrax selective in its reviews?Back to Forum
Anonymous10 Oct 2011
Although crew for BA I am fortunate in that I get to experience the premium cabins of some other airlines while travelling with my partner who is often sent abroad for business. His company predominately uses Qatar Airways, Skytrax ‘Airline of the year’ and a ‘Five Star Airline’. My personal opinion is that the airline is over rated. Yes, nice new planes, nice seats, the Premium Terminal is OK but I find their ground staff abysmal, especially in DOH.
On a flight two months ago despite my partner and I being allocated seats together on the LHR-DOH sector in J we ended up having to sit apart as a large Saudi family had made their own seating arrangements in J and refused to budge. When I asked the crew to sort it out they refused. When I called the Purser and complained she insisted there was nothing she could do and that I just had to accept that this is how things were done in the middle east. I ended up being given some rubbish 5% off voucher for my next flight when i complained to QR customer relations and my partner was credited some miles.
Fast forward to my flight four weeks ago KIX-DOH, again in J. During the flight the same japanese passenger was caught smoking in the lavatory THREE times. The (japanese) crew every time were almost kissing his feet and giggling while giving him a ‘telling off’. Which obviously didn’t work given his second and third fag breaks.
And most recently two weeks ago. My partner used his QR miles to buy my mother a J ticket to Singapore to visit my sister. My mother uses a wheelchair and had no problems on the LHR/DOH flight. She had a decent connection in DOH and was taken to the Premium Terminal to wait for her SIN connection. However noone returned to collect her. When she became worried and saw ‘final call’ on the screens she approached the lounge staff. By the time someone arrived to take her to the aircraft she had missed her flight. QR re-booked her to BKK assuring her that QR staff in BKK had been made aware of the situation and would provide her with a SQ J class boarding pass for BKK-SIN. She arrived in BKK and the staff had no idea what she was taking about. It took four hours to be resolved. And to top it off her bags never left DOH.
The strange thing is, in each of these circumstances a negative post has been submitted to Skytrax about QR. Basically a big thumbs down. One submitted by myself. one by my partner and one by my mother. And you know how many have ever made it to ‘print’. ZERO.
Looking over the QR SKYTRAX reviews I find it strange that almost without exception the reviews are positive. And yet I know that at least three negative ones have been submitted recently by my clan alone! So surely there would be others?
Is it possible Skytrax is bias in its view of QR (afterall it was their audit that found them airline of the year) and just ‘bins’ anything negative said about the airline?10 Oct 2011
I agree. I had two bad experiences of Qatar, described them clearly and briefly to Skytrax yet they never appeared. I questioned how the airline could possibly have earned its 5 star rating. Similarly I’m gob-smacked that according to Turkish Airlines, Skytrax found them the “best airline Europe.” How could this possibly be? I avoid Turkish, not least because of its questionable record: getting lost at night over West Africa etc. Skytrax should be more transparent.11 Oct 2011
I have posted a very negative comment about SIA recently and a poor experience that started with trying to book on the website and just got worse thereafter. It was not published though lots of positive reviews have been. I would have thought they should publish all or nothing because at present they seem to publish to suit their own bias and findings.
In comparison to Trip Advisor, it’s completely opaque. With Trip Advisor you can see how often someone posts and the nature of them and make an informed judgement. It’s also easy to spot the rants. Skytrax is completely different, you cannot see any profile of the poster and some airlines seem faultless while others seem to be so bad you’d wonder why anyone booked with them.11 Oct 2011
Skytrax is a completely commercial organisation.
It’s difficult to know for sure what Skytrax’s reputation is, whether Skytrax is biased, potentially misleading. But this thread should make that clearer.
You’ll notice that with a few honourable exceptions (to maintain credibility), the airlines which garner the most praise are often those with a dodgy safety record, or smaller, nascent carriers who need the (managed) publicity Skytrax can confer.
Those airlines who do not pay the membership/associate fee will summarily be dropped lower in the rankings; it’s tantamount to blackmail.
There are many reports from trip reviewers of negative reports being redacted for “member” five star airlines.
Many people trust Skytrax, though, so they must be doing something right.
Qatar Airways (which I wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole) do very nicely out of their five star classification; it’s probably cheaper than addressing some of the concerns I’d have about their operation.
Malaysia Airlines is “under review” (not before time). Perhaps they haven’t paid their bill lately?
Oh, and Hainan Airlines is also five star. Just sayin’.11 Oct 2011
I don’t think it’s true to say that the airlines “which garner the most praise are often those with a dodgy safety record” after all, SIA and CX are up there so unless SIA’s aircraft engineers are trained to the same standards as their website software engineers they are not exactly a dodgy organisation.
I somehow doubt FR pay the fees but if you look at their reviews, they are more balanced than many so the system cannot be so biased. The entries about VS would also appear to be an accurate reflection of comments in other places at the moment but that’s always the problem with over promise and underdelivery. I think the wheels are coming off the Virgin brand across the board.
FWIW, my own experience of QR in F & C is faultless.11 Oct 2011
I have also had bad experiences with Qatar Airways so decided to submit a review on Skytrax. It was an accurate, honest and fare review. I made sure that I did not implicate any individuals but it did reflect my huge disappointment with my business class experience on Qatar Airways.
When my review was not published on the Skytrax website I emailed them to ask why. In my email I also mentioned the fact that I would hate to think that my review was not included because it did not show Qatar Airways in a good light. This was their response:
“Thanks for your feedback. There are a number of reasons our web section may not have posted your review, but as these are all deleted within 24 hrs of original receipt for our data privacy assurance, I cannot track down anything in your name – or further details.
To imply that Skytrax filter good and bad reviews is frankly insulting, and clearly you do not have much knowledge of our core ethos and principles.”11 Oct 2011
And yet they are happy to post a review on BA from a moaning passenger that felt she paid too much for her last minute economy fare and decided that BA is not to be recommended and offers poor value for money as she was upgraded on her outbound flight but not her return.
Skytraxs’ ‘core ethos and principles’….please11 Oct 2011
I, too, took issue with Skytrax over their repeated failure to post critical reviews of five-star airlines. Like DNAdams, I was sent correspondence that was bullying at best, downright rude at worst. It showed me what type of a commercial enterprise they are, which I share with friends and colleagues to the point we just don’t believe what they say, publish or critique.
What was more interesting was travelling to the US once, where I chatted with an airline marketing manager. I raised the issue of Skytrax, and he advised that they “hadn’t paid their membership bill to the extent requested” and were now receiving heaps of complaints on the Skytrax website. Interesting. Gives added validity to VintageKrug’s comments above.
rFerguson – the trip comments you make above are sad for any carrier, let alone one with a “supposed” five-star ranking. Tsk Tsk QR.11 Oct 2011
rferguson – ” I ended up being given some rubbish 5% off voucher for my next flight when i complained to QR customer relations and my partner was credited some miles.” – So sort of like BA huh?11 Oct 2011
Haha true Craig. But my point being that the said situation would never have happened at BA. The interlopers would have been told to take their original seats or the plane doesn’t budge from the gate. End of.11 Oct 2011
That reminds me, I also got a dismissive reply when I asked them why they hadn’t published my criticism of Qatar. They said my message had been deleted for privacy reasons which struck me as a specious excuse as I submitted my comments for publication! Before we slander them I suggest this would be a great topic for the major media, just as Trip Advisor’s recent issues have been. They are more likely to defend themselves to a national paper or TV than to individuals.11 Oct 2011
Perhaps this is something that Tom and the BT team could look into on our behalf.
I too have submitted poor reviews on some ‘5 star’ carriers and none have ever been published.
Over to you Tom, can you look into this for us?11 Oct 2011
I don’t see how it would be of benefit to BT to launch an investigation into skytrax.
BT, wisely in my view, keeps clear of specific consumer advocacy campaigns.
And it should be remembered that http://www.seatplans.com (also owned by Panacea) is a direct competitor of SkyTrax.
Hopefully the reviews on SeatPlans (which are not censored in any way) will provide an honest and transparent counterpoint to the propaganda on SkyTrax and perhaps it is this transparency, and SkyTrax’s rude responses to contributors seen in this thread, which will sound the death knell for SkyTrax and its shady practices.
It would be interesting to understand who owns SkyTrax – seems to be the fiefdom of its CEO, Plaisted, but as to his background or any other corporate info, I’ve drawn a blank, beyond what looks like a brass plate office in London:
It does seem to be rather shady about how it gathers its data; however, better to let market forces decide whether SkyTrax deserves its status; it is after all the best of the benchmarking services out there.
But who’s to say that Panacea might not move into this arena and provide a better, more authoritative and transparent service?11 Oct 2011