EVA Air Becomes The 8th Skytrax 5-Star Airline

Skytrax is the closest thing we have to an “official” airline ranking system, and it’s something some airlines take very seriously. Airlines get “star” ratings, so I guess it’s not surprising airlines want to be rated 5-star, because it’s something great they can add into all their marketing materials. After all, who doesn’t want to fly with a “5-star airline?”

Prior to today there were seven airlines which were considered to be 5-star:

Skytrax-Five-Stars

Personally I’ve never taken Skytrax seriously, as their ratings simply don’t add up. Hainan Airlines is a Skytrax 5-star airline, while Japan Airlines isn’t.

Hainan receives five stars for their longhaul business class product. Having flown it recently, I’ll say that I thought it was fine. The soft product was pretty good, while the hard product was lacking — the seats don’t all feature direct aisle access, there’s no wifi, the entertainment isn’t great, etc.

Hainan-Airlines-Business-Class-787 - 1

Yet somehow Oman Air business class gets a 4.5-star rating and Japan Airlines business class gets a 4-star rating, which is the same rating Saudia gets for their subpar business class product.

Oman-Air-787-Business-Class - 3

I’m not accusing Skytrax of anything, but I’d note that they’re in fact an airline consulting company, so the way they primarily make money is through consulting airlines on how they can improve their products. I’d be very curious about the correlation between airlines they consult for and airlines which get a 5-star rating. I’d also note that in 2014 Etihad pulled out of Skytrax, because they didn’t think the criteria were fair.

EVA Air becomes a Skytrax 5-star airline

EVA Air today became the eighth airline to be awarded the Skytrax 5-star airline rating, which is very impressive. Here’s the video they made about becoming a 5-star airline (I was expecting something to happen… but it doesn’t):

EVA Air joined the Star Alliance in 2013, and it seems like they’ve really been doing a lot to improve their product.

They have reverse herringbone seats in business class on their 777s, which is among my favorite business class hard products.

EVA-Air-Business-Class

They also have top notch champagne, Rimowa amenity kits, pajamas, and wifi on many of their planes.

EVA-Air-Rimowa

Oh, and they have special Hello Kitty flights, which I’m sure were closely considered when they were given this award. 😉

Hello-Kitty-EVA-Air-1

EVA-Air-Hello-Kitty-2

Hello-Kitty-Toilet-Paper

So it’s an all around fantastic business class product. Is the airline on the whole 5-star worthy? I don’t know, because Skytrax isn’t especially transparent about what it takes to get that award, and based on the airlines which didn’t get that rating, I have to wonder.

Bottom line

Regardless of whether or not they deserve a Skytrax 5-star rating, I do think it’s worth noting that EVA Air has a really solid business class product. Come and think of it, I really want to fly with them again, though first I want to fly China Airlines’ new 777-300ER business class, which looks great as well.

How much weight do you put on Skytrax ratings? Are there any other airlines you think deserve a 5-star rating?

Comments

  1. I don’t really pay attention to skytrax either. Having flown Air Koryo, which received 1 star rating, I thought it was certainly better than some of the 2 star and even 3 star rated airlines on skytrax!
    As for other five star airlines, I’d put Japan Airlines, Emirates, and Virgin Atlantic up there as well. I’ve flown each of those airlines in economy, business/upper class, and First and always had a seamless experience from checking-in the airport, boarding, transiting, and arriving.
    BTW, what happened to Malaysia Airlines? I’m guessing they got downgraded?
    What I wish skytrax did is have a separate star category rating on each class of service (i.e. economy/business/first) as leisure travelers are better off ‘trusting’ skytrax’s ratings based solely on their economy cabin rating rather than the overall that puts business/first class in consideration.

  2. Congrats to EVA! I fly with them constantly, and I think their catering improved significantly in the past couple of months. I heard that they now provide mattress in their long-haul Royal Laurel Class. Will find out if that’s true this weekend when I fly them to SFO.

    @ Lucky: I believe EVA Air is retiring some of the Hello Kitty aircraft. Probably bad news for you……

  3. I feel that Skytrax is being aimed at the “average” traveler rather than hardcore aviation enthusiast like us. If they see that they are on a official 5 star airline, they would want to fly that airline and probably expect a 5 star meal and 5 star service.

    I don’t know how Etihad doesn’t get a 5 star ranking and yet, they have products that blow even other 5 star carriers away!

  4. The SkyTrax ratings make no sense at all. For example, while Hainan is a five star airline, for trans-pacific travel, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Korean Air, JAL, and more all rank higher, even though none of those airlines are “five-star”.

    Hainan is 10th for TPAC travel. Is their regional flying just so amazing that it makes up for it? No. Hainan paid SkyTrax.

    Qatar Airways did the same, I assume, as much as I love Qatar Airways, as they seem to be in the top 10 for every category that applies to them. Qatar Airways has the 6th best first class in the world (according to SkyTrax), and they only have their good first class on 6 planes, flying to very few destinations.

    SkyTrax even said that Qatar Airways has the 6th best cabin crew in the world, AND PUT ANA AT 9th! Fools!

  5. I’d like to give Skytrax some credit. In the past I left some harsh comments even for 5* airlines and these were published without any filter. Whether they take advantage I don’t know. I recall a spite between Etihad and Skytrax some years back. Etihad was paying for ads and yet couldn’t climb the ladder to the point that the airline came out with a statement saying they were pulling off from Skytrax (under the line it meant that they were no longer going to spend money on Skytrax). Skytrax remained on their position which for me it’s a good sign of independence. Whether it’s only partial well the doubt will always remain, but to some extent this episode proved to me that Skytrax were genuine. So I trust their evaluation pretty much to be honest.

  6. I honestly think that Skytrax’s ratings are swayed by money. Having Hainan & Garuda in there and not some other airlines just seems off. I’m not knocking Hainan or Garuda, but there are other airlines that should be so called 5 *

  7. To me, any airline with 10 abreast in economy on a 777 shouldn’t be considered 5 stars. Qatar should have been downgraded. Although I do find it impressive that they were able to change the configuration to 10 abreast so quietly.

  8. I recently had an excellent flight on EVA. The food has greatly improved from my previous trips – I actually think it approached First Class in quality. Really good selection of movies and great noise cancelling headsets. They started passing out mattress pads for turn down although I used the ultra thick blanket from an adjacent vacant seat as my “mattress pad”. It was incredibly comfortable. I look forward to flying them again.

  9. You have to remember that they are considering the complete fleets. Emerites has a handful of awesome business class seats and a bunch of aircraft that are still angled and not true lie flat seats.

    Consistency. How could you give five stars to an airline when the majority of guests will not receive that product? You can’t, thus the ratings.

  10. I stopped reading Skytrax after they edited my last review. Skytrax is heavily swayed by their client airlines who win 5-star ratings after purchasing their highest tier consulting services and agree to purchase trophies and other promotional crap to be placed in every office and airport. Whenever an airline boasts about Skytrax, I try to tell them how meaningless it is.

  11. I didn’t know until now that skytrax takes money from the airlinea but it certainly makes sense. They rate Heathrow as one of the world’s top ten airports. Does anyone who has flown through there really believe that? They give BA, with its old planes, tight seats and outdated IFE 4 stars yet Delta gets only 3. And they gave lufthansa’s short hail business class seats 4 stars for comfort. These are economy seats with the middle seats blocked. Are those truly more comfortable than AA, UA or DL short haul business? I think not.

    In any event, I flew Eva business and found it underwhelming, especially after the review on here. The lounge was fair, food was pretty bad and the crew, while polite, were nothing compared to Korean, Asiana, Qatar or Qantas. It was also one of the bumpiest flights Ive been on and I for one would have appreciated some reassurance from the cockpit. Not a word.

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