Once the sun creams and sandals and Hawaiian shirts are sorted, the passports are packed and the boarding passes printed and ready for the flight, travelers heading off for their holiday want nothing more than to just kick back, relax and enjoy the ride. That's why it's really important to choose an airline that's suited to the job, one that specializes in transporting passengers to the sunny climes of their Grecian villa, the beaches of whichever riviera is on the menu, or whatever other exotic destination has been a-calling!
Cue Skytrax's World Airline Awards, which offer the public a glimpse of the highest fliers in the industry each year by fielding one the largest passenger satisfaction surveys going. This list looks at the cream of 2014's leisure category — the airlines best suited for holidaymakers in search of rest and relaxation.
It is London-based Monarch Airlines that start our selection off in style here, fielding a fleet of 41 gold and white jets dedicated to ferrying passengers out to some of the hottest holidaying spots in Europe. In the summer, the carrier touts connections to Mediterranean gems like Chania in Crete, the party towns of Ibiza, and the sunny reaches of Turkish Bodrum. In the winter, the offerings focus on ski resorts, with connections to Salzburg and Munich affording easy access to the Austrian Alps.
A long-time staple of the British package holidaying scene, Thomas Cook Airlines now offer a whole host of international connections to travelers eager to break away from the usual European destinations and case out the beaches of the Caribbean, the Pacific coast of Mexico and the paradisiacal sands of Indian Goa, to name just a few. What's more, passengers can also opt for a touch of luxury on their journey, with champagne and gourmet meals available from the carrier at pre-purchase.
Offering some of the most affordable and regular connections between Central Europe and Turkey currently on the market, SunExpress started life as a joint venture between two award-winning continental carriers: Turkish Air and Lufthansa. Given the ancestry, it's hardly surprising to see it flying high at third place here, with the airline keeping its customers happy with a standard weight of 20 kilograms of checked baggage on all SunEco tickets, an on-board SunCafé and duty-free shopping in the air.
Standing tall at second place on a list that's largely dominated by European carriers, Canadian leisure flier Air Transat bursts forth with its seasonal offering of air connections to major holidaying destinations across Europe, the Caribbean and North America. Among the repertoire are spots like sun-kissed Cozumel of the Quintana Roo, fun-loving Fort Lauderdale of the Sunshine State, the ubiquitous party town of Las Vegas and a whole host of cities across the Iberian Peninsula, not to mention scheduled transatlantic routes into the bubbling capital of Budapest set to begin in 2015!
Vacationers eager to travel with the cream of the global industry this year should look no further than Thomson Airways, who are now the largest charter flier on the planet and have been scooting holidaymakers between the hottest spots on five separate continents since their foundation in 2007. Not only can prospective passengers on our number one pick choose from destinations that range from Malta and Thailand to Mauritius and Orlando, but they will also enjoy no less than 32 inches of seat pitch in economy and private widescreen entertainment systems to boot!