Condé Nast Traveller’s UK Readers Prove How Little They Know About Airlines

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You can file this under “yet another example of why you should pay absolutely no attention to travel magazine polls”.

The British version Condé Nast Traveller has revealed “the best airlines in the world 2017” as voted by its readers. The results are staggering and illustrate two things:

  1. Polls will be heavily skewed by the country in which the poll is conducted (even if the aim is to find “the best in the world”)
  2. A lot of Condé Nast’s UK readers have absolutely no idea what makes a quality airline.

Here are some of the results for you to ponder:

Top airlines for a short-haul holiday:

1. British Airways

2. Swiss International Air Lines

3. Lufthansa

4. EasyJet

5. Turkish Airlines

6. Air France

7. Aer Lingus

8. Air Berlin

9. SAS (Scandinavian Airlines)

10. KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines)

Yes, British Airways is apparently the best airline to fly with if you’re looking to fly on a short-haul holiday….and that’s strange.

Here are a few facts for the Condé Nast Traveller readers who voted for BA:

  • SWISS offers more legroom in Economy Class than BA…as does Air France.
  • easyJet is consistently cheaper than British Airways on most routes I check (often a LOT cheaper) and you don’t generally get any less on board than you do on BA.
  • With Turkish Airlines the fare includes onboard food and drink while with BA it definitely doesn’t.

BA may be “best” if you’re looking at it purely from how many destinations can you get to (because you’re based in the UK) but it certainly isn’t even close to being the best airline for a short-haul break.

Top airlines for a long-haul holiday:

1. British Airways

2. Emirates

3. Qatar Airways

4. Virgin Atlantic

5. Singapore Airlines

6. Cathay Pacific

7. Etihad Airways

8. Qantas

9. Air New Zealand

10. KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines)

This is the list that pretty much proves the point about the Condé Nast readership’s lack of knowledge.

The fact that BA was ranked in 1st place proves that the voting public were mostly clueless but, if that wasn’t enough, the fact that BA is apparently so far ahead of an airline like Singapore Airlines (which offers considerably better food & a lot more personal space at each seat), just confirms how meaningless this list is.

Top airlines for a business trip:

1. Emirates

2. British Airways

3. Singapore Airlines

4. Qatar Airways

5. Cathay Pacific

6. Virgin Atlantic

7. Air New Zealand

8. Etihad

9. Qantas

10. Thai Airways

Hey! BA didn’t come first!…..but apparently Club World is better than this…..

Qatar Airways 787 Business Class

….and this….

Etihad A380 Business Class

…and this….

Singapore Airlines New Business ClassSingapore Airlines Business Class

And let’s not forget that on short-haul flights British Airways offers the same amount of legroom in its Business Class cabin as you’ll find in Economy Class…and less than in an Economy Class exit row.

Is this really the second best airline for a Business Class trip? Are you kidding me??!!

British Airways Business Class doesn’t belong on any list of top Business Class products – on short-haul it’s cramped, on long-haul it’s like a dormitory and, as if that wasn’t enough, it’s out of date, uncomfortable and often very poorly catered.

Bottom Line

Not one of those lists shows a true representation of what the best airlines really are as, for example (and leaving aside the easy BA-bashing for a moment)….

  • If you think that Emirates offers a better all-round Business Class product than Qatar Airways, you’ve either done very little flying or your barman needs to cut you off.
  • If you think that Virgin Atlantic offers a better long-haul product than Singapore Airlines (in any class) you’ve clearly never flown on Singapore Airlines or your name is Richard Branson.
  • If you think that Qatar Airways is better than Singapore Airlines for a long-haul break (I’m assuming in Economy Class) you’re actually saying that you prefer less legroom and less seat width when you fly….and that makes you odd.

This poll doesn’t show what airlines are best, it shows what airline is most convenient for the people taking the poll. It also shows just how few of the airlines mentioned the voters have actually experienced.

How Condé Nast Traveller can publish this drivel is beyond me.


  1. We should also keep in mind that BA is a major advertiser in Conde Naste UK, spending a lot of money with Conde Naste so they more than likely swing it that way.

    I looked at the media spend data and it mostly matches the list, in exact order as their “Best” list. So take this “survey”with a gain of salt.

    Conde Naste looks like fake news to me.

    As with he author of this article, anyone who is a regular traveller would choose BA premium as their last option. I personally have them on my banned list ( along with Saudia ). After F and J round trips fom SEA to LHR on 744 and YVR-LHR on 388, I swore never again. Their Premium products are laughable compared to say QR, EK or even EY.

    But if they are paying big money as an advertiser, well, voila!

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