For the second year in a row, airline experts have pronounced Air New Zealand the world’s best airline, calling it a “textbook case” of what airlines should be today.
The editorial team at Airlineratings.com lauded the Kiwi carrier for its record of operational safety and in-flight innovations, notably for its Skycouch seating which can transform three economy seats into a couch, ideal for couples or families with a young child.
Experts also praised the carrier for its young fleet, focus on the environment and motivated staff.
“Air New Zealand has catapulted to the top tier of the industry and while it may be 50th in size in global rankings it is one of the most awarded,” said Airlineratings.com’s editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas.
“Air New Zealand is an airline of first choice and given the airline’s location and the country’s size, its performance is extraordinary.”
The airline also raised the bar in in-flight safety videos and became an industry-wide trendsetter when it enlisted orcs, hobbits and elves to help explain how to don oxygen masks in 2012.
Its cheeky twist on an otherwise mundane aspect of air travel spurred other airlines to jazz up their in-flight videos with musical and dance routines and animations.
The company's latest in-flight safety video also features cameos from Gandalf, Sir Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood.
The carrier also won Best Premium Economy Class.
Here are the winners of the Airline Excellence Awards 2015:
Best First Class: Etihad Airways
Best Business Class: Cathay Pacific Airways
Best Economy: Thai Airways
Best Lounges, Best Catering, Best Domestic Service: Qantas
Best In-Flight Entertainment: Emirates
Best New World Carrier, Best Cabin Crew: Virgin Australia
Best Long Haul Airline: Etihad (Middle East/Africa), Eva Air (Asia/Pacific), Lufthansa (Europe) and Lan Chile (The Americas)
Best Low Cost Airline: jetBlue (The Americas), Scoot (Asia/Pacific), Kulula (Middle-East/Africa) and Norwegian (Europe)