Skytrax ratings.Back to Forum
I know Skytrax ratings have been discussed on here before – the methodology they use to ‘rate’ an airline perhaps being the biggest talking point.
They do make some curious decisions. Like last year when they awarded Lufthansa a ‘five star’ rating. Up there with SQ, CX etc. And this award seemed to be on the back of LH’s ‘new’ J class – which won’t actually be available to travel in for another two years.
I noticed last week they had made some changes to some of the airlines ratings.
Etihad, which had a five star rating has been downgraded to a four star. Reading the comments on the Skytrax website this seems fair. It seems Etihad has had a rather spectacular fall from grace with pretty much consistently negative comments.
This one surprised me though – Turkish Airlines has been downgraded from a four star to a three star airline. This, I struggle to understand. I’ve flown TK a few times and have nothing but praise for them. Sure, they are no five star airline but I think their onboard catering and their airport lounges are amongst the best out there. They have a variety of J class seating, some being the older style but this is no different to most of the other four star airlines (Air France, BA, Qantas, Thai etc). They are the only european(ish) airline to provide a ‘proper’ business class. They still provide excellent, free catering in economy on all their flights. So, you can fly Turkish airlines in economy from LHR to IST and be provided with a three course hot meal and IFE. Or BA where you’ll have to cough up to have a M&S sandwich and a cup of tea on the four hour flight. And one has three stars and the other four.
I think what I find most annoying about Skytrax is that they don’t ensure the comments posted are actually relevant to the airline people are posting their comments on. For example ‘I flew BA from Madrid to Bogota and it was great’. BA don’t fly to Madrid. Or ‘The Thai Airways 767 was cramped’. Thai does not fly the 767.
1 user thanked author for this post.14 May 2019
It has always seemed to me to be a complete charade, they clearly are selective and I’ve experienced situations where I’ve posted a 5* review on one of their 1* airlines – not published, and vice versa.
I utterly lost faith in them a few years ago when I posted a review of Aces (a now defunct Colombian carrier) for a flight BOG MIA, and of Avianca for a MIA MAD the next day. I posted the review about a week later from CPT and got an inane reply saying that they wanted ‘verification’ as my IP address didn’t match the routing.
I wrote back explaining that I had no intention of ‘verifying’ anything and that if they didn’t understand that an air traveller can be in country A today, B tomorrow, and C and E and F over the the next few days, then they might as well pack up and go and run a corner shop.14 May 2019
I have made it my business over the last 15 years, to fly the world’s major carriers in First or Business. Having done so, I rarely if ever agree with Skytrax’s ratings. My expectation of the ridiculous 5* rating of a carrier’s business class as an example, would be excellent soft and hard product as well as a lounge suit for flights over 7 hours. No pj provided especially on night flights, that becomes an automatic 1* deduction in my book, irrespective of all the other qualities. Long story short, I would not give a 5* ratings to most of the carriers that receive them from Skytrax.14 May 2019
Does anyone take Skytrax seriously?
And I suppose their ‘5*’ airlines.
With 1 exception (LH) the 5* are all Far Eastern carriers.
They appear to have no 1* airlines
1 x 2* (Spirit Airlines)
50 x 3*
42 x 4*
10 x 5*14 May 2019
I gave up on them long ago, it’s probably 5+ years since i even logged into the website. I much prefer BT and other forums for ratings from professional and experienced travellers. Sure, some posters have an axe to grind with some airlines but like anything you have to read between and make your own informed choice rather than the backslapping, smoke filled rooms and brown envelopes (suspected) method that they use. Skytrax are up there with the fake reviews on amazon, estate agents with the integrity of a PPI seller
1 user thanked author for this post.15 May 2019
I find it somewhat telling that Turkish’s “demotion” to a three-star airline comes after it announced last year that it wouldn’t be participating in Skytrax’s World Airline Audit. Etihad’s downgrade is probably justified given the financial problems that the airline is currently facing, as well as the clear cost-saving measures that it has taken over the past year – to the detriment of its customers. Still, the fact that Skytrax never reveals its methodology for conducting its audits doesn’t actually fill me with confidence.
The sad thing though is that I know that many airlines fall over themselves to please Skytrax as an organisation (e.g. Garuda Indonesia literally has the five-star award plaque hanging in the front of its cabin). I used to work with a four-star airline, and I’ve heard the most outrageous stories from fellow colleagues about what our airline would do during the audit period. From ensuring that they have the very best crew and hard products (e.g. seats and even the toiletries in the washroom) during the audit flight, to having the airline’s top brass meet and pucker up to Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted whenever he’s in town – all of this in hopes of getting a five star rating, or climbing up the “World’s Top 100 Airlines” list.
@capetonianm – I believe that Air Koryo is a one-star airline? Strange that it doesn;t appear on the Skytrax list anymore.15 May 2019
I have made it my business over the last 15 years, to fly the world’s major carriers in First or Business. Having done so, I rarely if ever agree with Skytrax’s ratings. My expectation of the ridiculous 5* rating of a carrier’s business class as an example, would be excellent soft and hard product as well as a lounge suit for flights over 7 hours. No pj provided especially on night flights, that becomes an automatic 1* deduction in my book, irrespective of all the other qualities. Long story short, I would not give a 5* ratings to most of the carriers that receive them from Skytrax.
I guess we all have our personal preferences about what makes a 5* airline. One of the most lauded Five Star airlines doesn not even offer a business class washbag let alone PJ’s 😉
Should only airlines with direct aisle access from fully flat business class beds on longhaul flights be entitled to five stars? That would rule out Asiana and Eva.
How important is the ground experience? Some airlines have amazing attention to detail and service levels on board but (IMHO)fall short on the ground especially in terms of lounges. Here I am again thinking Asiana as well as JAL and ANA whom offer a pretty barebones network of lounges even at their hubs.
And I am still mystified by Turkish being demoted to a three star airline. In my experiences with them I would have given them 4.5*. I’ve had far better service onboard TK flights than I have on many other four star airlines.15 May 2019
Quality is very much a subjective opinion. I look for comfort, reliability and service as prime criteria, food and IFE coming lower down. I also evaluate the entire experience from checkin, through the airport, lounge if applicable, and boarding.
The ‘subjectivity’ can of course be influenced by, as Stevescoots says, the backslapping, smoke filled rooms and brown envelopes (suspected) method that they use and I feel that is ultimately why the Skytrax ratings are so ethereal, or laughable might be a better word.
Air Koryo seems to have dropped out of the current ratings, but still appears with a search : https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/air-koryo/15 May 2019
I found a few links to articles which imply that it is ‘self-funded’. I’m not sure what that means, if anything. It has to cover its costs as a bare minimum.
The following links are interesting :15 May 2019
Skytrax is a business, not a charity, and the essence of all business models is that you can only get what you pay for.
Skytrax ratings are as valid and believable as ratings/accolades for supermarket wines. The only true test of a product is trying it yourself. Some people like Welsh claret….15 May 2019
I’m not sure I understand what a star rating system would do to motivate a potential buyer to choose between airline A and airline B frankly, but I think the comments posted by travellers based on their own experiences of an airline on the Skytrax “Airlinequality” site can be quite informative.
Such comments have no place in determining how many stars are awarded, but they can inform a potential traveller as to what they can expect.
1 user thanked author for this post.15 May 2019