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Forbes Calls Turkish Airlines, Star Alliance Winners

Annual review praises three Star Alliance carriers for noted customer-facing improvements.

Despite experiencing one of the worst public relations mistakes of the 21st century, a Forbes contributor has ranked United Airlines among the top carriers of 2017. In a lengthy review of the year, the writer praised changes on American Airlines, Turkish Airlines and United, while calling Delta Air Lines and SkyTeam the losers of the year.

The flyer – who logs over 150,000 miles every year – admits to holding high-tier status on both American and United, while attempting to avoid Delta. However, he claims United deserves the top spot among domestic carriers for the past year because of their attention to customer service and availability of upgrades. American came in a close second on his review, specifically for their Airbus A321T transcontinental service.

Among foreign carriers, Turkish Airlines lead the way for their network size: According to the data collected by the Forbes contributor, Turkish has the largest international network among all carriers. In addition, Turkish also received four honors from Skytrax, including Best Food and Best Lounges. Aer Lingus also received praise, thanks to the airline’s expansion after a takeover from British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group.

Looking at carriers, the contributor gave Star Alliance his top spot for their attention to detail for elite passengers. Praise was given for Star Alliance’s reciprocal lounge access to Gold-level flyers across the group’s 28 members. Delta’s alliance, SkyTeam, received the lowest marks in the review, calling their partners “second-rate airlines” with “weak links” and “fewer standout airlines.”

The contributor’s methodology was based around an “expert poll” of “top travel agents, aviation experts and travel journalists focused on aviation.” Although the writer claimed the original poll was for a “major print magazine,” the results were instead published under Forbes’ banner.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
olivedel January 5, 2018

I have a very, very different experience compared to the author. And the perspective is very us-centric.

Artpen100 January 3, 2018

I think for most people loyalty takes a back seat to routes. I fly about 125K miles on UA each year, not because of the quality or loyalty, but because of its routes. I like AF a lot, but also LH. (I might like TK, and do like their lounge at IAD, but routing through IST has always been problematic.) I would fly DL more often if it went where I needed to go. And it is also true that UA miles are the most useful, and you can often get upgrades for miles on UA. If I can get an international business class upgrade at booking on UA, but can't on DL or AF, UA is going to be the choice.

AlwaysFlyStar January 3, 2018

@CeliacChef, you must have had some very interesting flight experiences that do not fit with the majority. I don't know many people who would consider Air China excellent or Aegean poor. (Also, Delta is SkyTeam)

CeliacChef January 3, 2018

I fly over 150K per year. The contributor is accurate when it comes to Delta and Turkish. I think he is unfair to Skyteam when you consider KLM and Aeroflot (I received exceptional service on both this year). My flights with Air France were mundane. Star Alliance has a similar cast of excellent (Turkish, Air China and ANA) average (Lufthansa, Swiss and Delta) and poor (Agean). I am not sure where to put AC because the staff and service are excellent, but the special meals and senior management treatment of business travellers (no SE or MM to signature lounge) this year were inexcusable. I guess this averages our to mundane.

January 3, 2018

I’ve always felt that Skyteam was Delta’s Achille’s heal. I’m also pleased to see someone recognize that Delta’s slightly better on-time performance is not much of a trade-off for worthless Skypesos and a lightweight partner network. United and American are far from perfect, but the bottom line for me is their superior earn-redeem potential on a world-wide range of quality carriers.