"Emirates and Etihad are top airlines in customer survey"

Or so the headline says in a press release which seems to have found its way into a number of travel trade publications. The results of the survey by Ethos Consultancy were:

Emirates 92.3%

Etihad 91.5%

Swiss Air 86.6%

British Airways 84.3%

Virgin 79.8%

Air France 72.3%

Qatar 71.5%

Those publications that have printed the story have done so without comment but, if the survey is to have any credibility at all, it might be worth pointing out the following:

1/ The report refers to an airline called “Swiss Air”. If they do not even know the proper name of one of the airlines they are supposed to be measuring, one wonders just how comprehensive the survey has been or, indeed, how much the consultants know about the airline business.

2/ The survey is based on just “fourteen flight experiences”. We don’t claim to be experts in measuring customer satisfaction but this looks an incredibly small number.

3/ There is no information about who commissioned and paid for this report.

4/ It is interesting to note that Ethos Consultancy is based in Dubai. No doubt it is just a coincidence that their top-rated airline is based in Dubai and the second-best (by a waver-thin margin) is based in Dubai’s friendly neighbour, Abu Dhabi.

5/ Many other surveys show Qatar as one of the best-performing airlines in the world, frequently edging out Emirates and Etihad. Qatar is clearly a major threat to both airlines. In this survey it comes bottom.