Travel Weekly Readers Choice 2015


Airlines

American Airlines

NOMINATED: DOMESTIC, INTERNATIONAL, BUSINESS/FIRST CLASS, OVERALL, GLOBAL NETWORK, SALES &  SERVICE

American flies 6,700 daily flights to 900 destinations in 56 countries. In October, the airline successfully completed its merger with US Airways, integrating the carriers’ flight and reservation systems with little to no impact on flyers. American launched Dallas-Beijing service in May and plans to begin a Los Angeles-Sydney route in December. In 2016, the Dallas-based carrier will begin service to Auckland, New Zealand; Merida, Mexico; and Tokyo Haneda.

British Airways

NOMINATED: INTERNATIONAL, GLOBAL NETWORK

British Airways flies to 174 destinations in 70 countries. The airline began service between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur in May and has announced that next summer it will begin daily service between Heathrow and San Jose, Calif. The new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, featuring British Airways’ luxurious First cabin, will serve the San Jose route. The carrier took delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner this fall and has 37 on order.

Delta Air Lines

NOMINATED: DOMESTIC, INTERNATIONAL, BUSINESS/FIRST CLASS, OVERALL, GLOBAL NETWORK, SALES &  SERVICE

Delta flies more than 800 airplanes to 316 destinations in 57 countries. Among major U.S. carriers, the Atlanta-based Delta has led the way in 2015 when it comes to timeliness and cancellation rates. In July, Delta began flying daily from Los Angeles to Shanghai, and it will begin a direct Raleigh/Durham-Paris route in May. The company announced in November that it intends to acquire as much as 32% more of Aeromexico. With the deal, Delta would have as much as a 49% stake in Mexico’s largest carrier.

Emirates

NOMINATED: BUSINESS/FIRST CLASS, GLOBAL NETWORK

Emirates, which now serves 149 cities in 80 countries and territories, continued its rapid growth in 2015, increasing the number of passengers it carried by 10% during the first six months of the year. In September, Emirates launched its 10th destination in the U.S. with the beginning of daily service between Orlando and Dubai. The airline also added second daily routes between Dubai and Boston and Dubai and Seattle and announced plans to begin serving Panama City, Panama, in February. In October, Emirates completed a codeshare agreement with Alaska Airlines.

JetBlue Airways

NOMINATED: DOMESTIC, SALES & SERVICE

JetBlue carries 32 million customers a year to 92 cities. In November, the New York-based carrier began serving Antigua from New York Kennedy. It has also announced plans to serve Albany, N.Y.; Daytona Beach; Palm Springs, Calif.; Nashville; and Quito, Ecuador. In October, JetBlue, already known for its fast, free WiFi service, completed WiFi installation on its fleet of more than 150 Airbus planes. In February, JetBlue became the first U.S. carrier to accept Apple Pay.

Lufthansa

NOMINATED: GLOBAL NETWORK

One of the world’s largest airlines, German flag carrier Lufthansa serves 198 destinations in 77 countries. In September, Lufthansa inaugurated its intercontinental flight program targeted at leisure travelers with the beginning of service between Frankfurt and Tampa. Routes between Frankfurt and San Jose, Calif., and Munich and Denver will commence in 2016. Also this year, Lufthansa completed a retrofit of its entire long-haul fleet. The upgrades brought new cabins and seats to every travel class and made FlyNet broadband service available on all transatlantic flights.

Singapore Airlines

NOMINATED: INTERNATIONAL, BUSINESS/FIRST CLASS, OVERALL

Singapore Airlines, which serves 60 cities in 33 countries, unveiled its new premium economy class on selected routes in Europe, Australia and Asia in 2015 and will begin offering the service on routes from San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York Kennedy early next year. Premium economy offers more legroom than coach, wider seats and enhanced dining and entertainment. In October Singapore announced that it would bring back direct flights to and from New York and Los Angeles. The routes, which were the two longest in the world, were canceled in 2013. The airline expects to take delivery of the Airbus A350-900ULRs that it will use for the routes in 2018.

Southwest Airlines

NOMINATED: DOMESTIC, OVERALL, SALES & SERVICE

Southwest, which has long bucked the industry trend by not charging fees on the first two checked bags, this year gave that approach a name. The carrier this fall unveiled its Transfarency advertising campaign and in addition to free checked bags is stressing that it doesn’t charge change fees. The Dallas-based carrier operates more than 3,600 flights a day, serving 97 destinations in the U.S. as well as destinations in seven Caribbean and Latin American countries. This year Southwest added service to San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Belize City. In October the airline opened a five-gate international terminal at Houston Hobby.

United Airlines

NOMINATED: DOMESTIC, INTERNATIONAL, BUSINESS/FIRST CLASS, OVERALL, GLOBAL NETWORK, SALES &  SERVICE

United Airlines is the world’s fourth-largest carrier, serving 352 destinations in 58 countries. This year it added 15 routes in the U.S. and 14 international routes. Among the new domestic routes are Vail, Colo., and Tucson, Ariz., to Chicago O’Hare; and Raleigh, N.C., and Charlotte to Denver. New international routes include O’Hare-Rome, Newark-Venice and Dublin-Orlando. The airline is slated to take delivery of 34 Boeing aircraft before the year is over, including the 797-9 and 737-900ER. United Express planned to welcome 49 new Embraer E175s by year’s end.

Virgin America

NOMINATED: INTERNATIONAL, BUSINESS/FIRST CLASS, OVERALL, SALES & SERVICE

Virgin Atlantic introduced a route from Heathrow to Detroit this year, as well as additional service from Heathrow to Los Angeles and San Francisco. As part of the joint venture it formed when Delta bought 49% of Virgin Atlantic in 2013, the carriers now operate 39 flights daily across the Atlantic. Also this year, Virgin opened a Clubhouse lounge at Los Angeles Airport, took delivery of seven Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and began an expansion of its WiFi offerings, with a target of providing WiFi throughout its fleet by the end of 2016. Virgin Atlantic serves 31 destinations worldwide.

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