Criss-crossing the skies of Iberia and Italy, the United Kingdom and the European heartlands of Germany and the Alps, these fliers are the ones that passengers themselves rated as the best in 2014. The findings come from the acclaimed Skytrax airline awards, which are the result of one of the largest customer satisfaction surveys on the globe—collating the opinions of a whopping 18 million fliers from 105 different countries to identify the cream of the contemporary aviation industry.
So, if you're thinking about hopping off on a transatlantic connection, or considering a jaunt to the east but can't decide which continental carrier is the best option for you, then be sure to check out this selection of the top five airlines currently operating out of Western Europe.
It wasn't just the participants of Skytrax's passenger survey that rated Air France highly last year, because the flag carrier was also nominated for no fewer than seven separate accolades at the World Travel Awards (including Europe's Leading Airline and Europe's best business class). With that in mind, it's easy to see how the Paris-based flier makes this list, touting its fine-dining first class cuisine, its luxurious La Première cabins, and its premium economy seats with a whopping 38-inches of pitch!
Offering up a medley of Viennese schnitzel and sweet apple strudel, an entirely revamped fleet of swish Airbus jets, the best airline staff on the continent (according to Skytrax), oodles of nonstop connections to the winter wonderlands of the Tyrol, Austria's ski fields and loads of cities across Asia and North America besides, this flag carrier is certainly one to look out for in the aviation arena of Western Europe, and perhaps the perfect choice for your next jaunt to the hiking trails and snowy pistes of the Alps!
Despite some turbulent financial years towards the end of the noughties, flag carrier British Airways seem to be flying high on the European stage once more. Touting this hugely coveted accolade from Skytrax as proof of its recent successes (and a profit figure that's firmly in the black), the carrier now offers over 160 destinations to fliers worldwide, not to mention 180-degree, 1.98-meter beds in first class and an acclaimed World Traveller economy class complete with international power outlets and AVOD entertainment systems!
Very much the worthy protégé of their parent company (which you'll find proudly sitting at the tiptop position on this list), Swiss International Air Lines attained a distinguished second place in Skytrax's selection of the top airlines in the Western European region last year. That puts them in good contention for custom on major routes out of their hub in Zurich Airport, which now connects travellers with the desert towns of the UAE, the safari gateway of Johannesburg, countless American metropolises and even the sprawling capital of China to name just a few.
No surprises here folks, because Lufthansa have long been hailed as one of the best airlines in the skies, still standing strong at a respectable 10 th the planet—let alone first amongst the carriers of the Western European region! Expect to find luxurious services, fully flat beds with bespoke linens, and gourmet dining by the likes of triple-Michelin star holder, Harald Wohlfahrt, in the carrier's first class cabins, 31-inches of pitch in economy and on-board mobile and WiFi connectivity on all long haul flights. Nice.