Top 10 Best Airline

The best airlines of the ‘70s and ‘80s have lost their glamour. Our fathers would scramble to book with companies like Delta, British Airways, Qantas, and Air France, knowing that they were buying a ticket to a comfy seat in a brand-new, big-ass Boeing, where they would be served champagne by a sexy stewardess. Hell, they even had a shot at sleeping with the stewardess. That’s unbelievable service!

Today, these same airlines have lost all that -- and more. Delta now charges up to $75 for checked bags. Qantas recently stranded its passengers when it grounded its flights over a workforce dispute. And Air France has suffered three commercial disasters since the year 2000; in the most recent one, the pilots bickered as the plane crashed. That’s terrible service.

It’s always sad to see once-glorious companies disintegrate, but this is the grim business of life. The old gets rotten and tossed away, to be replaced by the next generation. And the next generation of best airlines is a glorious one indeed, full of Boeings and Airbuses, digital-era service and, yes, hot stewardesses (though they probably won’t sleep with you; those days really are done).

Here are the 10 airlines that offer the best onboard experience in 2012. We selected and ranked our next-generation airlines based chiefly on three factors: youth and quality of fleet, integration of new technologies, and that most missed of great airline qualities, good service. We did not take into account those elements that have no bearing on the in-plane impressions, such as baggage handling and lounge services.

No.10 Korean Air

Korean Air checks all the boxes for an AskMen-approved onboard experience: young planes (30 777s and four A380s), cute stewardesses in designer uniforms (Gianfranco Ferre), free everything for everyone (including pillows and headphones), food that is both good and representative of the home port (bibimbap), unlimited booze, and the little touches that alleviate little anxieties (like the waiting bottle of water that spares you having to flag someone down).

No.9 Etihad Airways

Etihad is definitely the sporting man’s airline. The company sponsors Manchester City Football Club, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, and UK Premiership Rugby. That means you’ll have a lot of games to watch on your 23-inch first-class screen. Etihad also has flatbeds long enough for basketball players; a 6'8" man can sleep comfortably on one.

No.8 Air Canada

Air Canada already has one of the youngest fleets in the world, and with 37 Dreamliners on order (the third-largest order by any airline), it’s about to get even younger. That means big, beautiful Dreamliner windows as well as an upgrade to the already-awesome entertainment systems. This company may be based in North America, but you needn’t fear the customer abuse one typically can expect from a North American stewardess; Canadians are not genetically programmed to be impolite. Air Canada was named Best International Airline North America at the 2011 World Airline Awards.

No.7 Turkish Airlines

A few years ago most of us hadn’t heard of Turkish Airlines -- and likely would have been scared to fly with them. Today it is the reigning Best Airline Europe, having beat out old boys Swiss Air and Lufthansa for the title at the 2011 World Airline Awards. We think this has everything to do with location: With customers coming in equal measure from east and west, Turkish airlines has had to put careful thought into accommodating both cultures. That’s translated into halal meals for the eastern contingent and sick entertainment units for us fat Americans. The most inspired touch is the Turkish Berlitz courses built into the entertainment system for those flying into Istanbul.

No.6 Virgin America

Low-cost airlines generally stay true to their titles by charging customers for absolutely everything. Hell, Ryanair even makes you pay to go to the bathroom! And though Virgin America does attach fees to a lot of its amenities -- food, headphones, pillows -- the important stuff, like leather chairs and live satellite TV, comes built into the ticket cost. And with Richard Branson running things, it’s a given that the female staff are all smiley and lovely (their sister stewardesses at Virgin Atlantic topped our Hot Stewardess Airlines list).

No.5 Cathay Pacific Airways

The quality of your flight experience can often be determined entirely by the man sitting in front of you. Knowing this, the good people at Cathay Pacific put aerospace engineers to work on the economy seats, and they emerged from their labs with a seat that reclines without tilting backward. Genius, but the utilitarian gains were paid for in comfort; passengers complained about insufficient padding. Cathay is now in the midst of a two-year-long program to refit all of its economy seats. Can you imagine American Airlines ever putting this much thought into seating?

No.4 Emirates

Emirates is building a massive collection of enormous, shiny planes. When its current A380 order is fulfilled, it will have 90, the largest fleet in the world. When its current 777 order is fulfilled, it will have 185, also the largest fleet in the world. Line all those big planes up in a row, and it looks scary. But go into one, and it's quite snug and cozy. Stars appear on the ceiling when the lights go out. When you get out of the shower (yes, there are showers onboard), you notice something that you never notice in airplanes: It’s nice and warm inside!

No.3 Singapore Airlines

We all know the "Singapore Girl." You’ve definitely gawked at a gaggle of them clacking through an airport at some time or other. If you’re really lucky, she brought you a travel kit while you were flying economy, or a glass of Krug while you were flying business. If you were flying in first, she made your bed while you changed into your Singapore Air PJs, just like Mommy used to. She’s quite a ways from being your mommy, though. The average age of a Singapore Girl upon hire is 24, and their contracts are limited to five years.

No.2 Air New Zealand

You’ve seen now that good airlines, like all good things in the modern world, are moving east. And you don’t get any further east than New Zealand. Air New Zealand locked a top spot on this list by ensuring that its onboard experience isn’t limited to the front of the plane. Economy passengers get the same touchscreen entertainment systems that business flyers do, and the “Skycouch” option lets everyone sleep flat on their backs. The company is a prominent sponsor of the national All Blacks rugby squad and a champion of the domestic wine industry via the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. But its most telling commitment to giving airborne men an awesome experience is found in its business philosophy. In an interview with Monocle magazine, CEO Rob Fyfe summarized what Air New Zealand does to make guys love them: “It won’t be about a seat or it won’t be about a meal or it won’t be about a bag. It will be about a person and the interaction they’ve had with another person.”

No.1 Qatar Airways

What separates the best airline from the second-best airline -- or, for that matter, from the 10th-best airlines? It’s tough to distill a single element that separates the best from the rest, just as it’s tough to come to a conclusion on who the NFL’s best QB is or who the world’s most desirable womanis. In the case of Qatar Airways, however, the distinguishing factor is clear: It has the entire James Bond film collection in its entertainment library.

Source: Ask Men (dot) Com