Péter Jacsó from the University of Hawaii covers sites that review the quality of airlines and airports in the latest issue of Online Magazine.
His picks are the Skytrax and Kayak databases.
He writes that there are "many fluffy rankings of airlines and airports in various magazines," but Skytrax is in his opinion the most comprehensive, respectable and independent.
These are the world's best airlines at the moment, according to Skytrax:
- Asiana Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- Kingfisher Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
Skytrax claims to cover 620 airlines and 645 airports. As Péter Jacsó says, however, the real number is somewhat lower.
It is too bad Skytrax haven't got hold of the skytrax.com domain name, though. Too many visitors probably end up at spam sites with spellings similar to www.airlinequality.com. We first ended up at airlineequality.com. Hm.
Péter Jacsó calls Kayak one of the best federated travel search engines around.
(A federated search engine is one that gives you access to information buried in various online databases -- the so-called "hidden web".)
Unfortunately kayak.com insists on redirecting us to a Norwegian version of the site and I have not been able to replicate Jacsó's experience directly.
Kayak is best not in finding the best fares, he says, but in terms of the amount of information provided and in the way it presents information to foster educated choice at a glance.
It presents all the airlines that serve a particular route and the relevant prices. It does not cover all the best budget airlines, though. It does not sell tickets, and should rather be considered as an advanced referral service.
I am impressed with the Norwegian version, as well. And you may actually use the site for booking tickets, as kayak.no.com provides direct links from your selected journey to the online ticket seller TerminalA.
According to Jacsó the pan is the new Travel Planner Pro database and service of the Official Airline Guide.
In the US it has had a monopoly in print format for decades on airline routing and schedule information, but, Jacsó points out, it is unlikely to survive for long in the Web universe in spite of some recent improvement in its software.
His main complaint is that it is a subscription service prized at US$ 76 per month with a one year subscription as a minimum. Moreover, fares are not shown in conjunction with schedules.
The full article can be downloaded for a fee over at Online.
Per Koch is co-editor of Pandia, a site devoted to search engines.