Lottie Millington in London -
Airlines from Central and Eastern Europe, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) are amongst the worst in the world, according to the Skytrax Airline Awards 2015.
The awards judged 196 airlines from 106 countries, based on criteria related to the quality of service and product. The rankings saw a poor showing from CEE/CIS countries, making up 35% of the bottom 20 and only 10% of the top 20.
Coming last out of the CEE/CIS countries was Bulgaria, at 103rd overall. Reviews suggest that this was not due to poor plane quality within their modest fleet, but poorly handled customer relations especially when dealing with long delays.
The data showed a strong link between customer service ratings and the overall ranking of the airlines, seeing flights as an experience more than service or product. The increasing quality of language skills also correlated with the rankings.
Russia sat in 90th as the best of the worst, scoring an average of 2.8 out of 5.0 across their four airlines. Despite full marks across the board for customer service on Russia’s biggest airline, the removal of over 70 international routes could damage the airlines further at a time in which Western sanctions and ongoing economic hardships are already leaving Russians in an isolated position.
The highest ranked CEE/CIS country was Azerbaijan, which comes after a three-year expansion campaign to boost tourism, led by state-run airline AZAL (Azerbaijan Airlines).
The expansion drive followed Azerbaijan’s hosting of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest and AZAL shows no sign of slowing down after subsequently announcing their admission of flight staff applications “open only to good looking girls aged 18-30, with height between 165-180 centimeters”.
North Korea, 102 places below South Korea, was labelled the worst airline in the world for the fourth year running. Although there have been no fatal incidents in 32 years, condensation dampens the seats and drips on passengers, according to USA Today.
Travellers flying with Koryo can relax to a soundtrack of patriotic ballads and may risk a lecture or verbal dressing down if they absent-mindedly scrunch up a newspaper containing a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. There is also a photograph ban on Air Koryo planes, with customers having their phones or cameras confiscated if they do not comply.
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