Is there a website that reviews airlines?
June 22, 2006 1:33 AM   Subscribe

International-Travel-Filter: How do I tell which airlines are good and which are shit?

I'm about to book a one-way flight from Melbourne, Australia, to London - and I am utterly flummoxed by the pricing variation of economy flights.

The cheaper flights tend to be from airlines I know nothing about (Korean Air, Air China, Malaysia Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, etc.); how can I find out if any of these airlines are decent? Is there, for example, a website where people rate airlines or write reviews? I would very much like to save some money, but the idea of 24 hours in a tin can without the distraction of movies me makes me shudder in horror.
posted by hot soup girl to Travel & Transportation (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Airline Equality is a good place to start.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:42 AM on June 22, 2006

And I quote the movie "Rainman"
"QANTAS - Never had a crash - Never had a crash"

Singapore airlines have always been the pioneers of air luxury and value for money, but I suggest you check out the rivals.
posted by taita_cakes at 1:50 AM on June 22, 2006

Not reviews as such but you might find something of interest in the trip reports section of the site. They are written by and for plane enthusiasts so they can focus on the technical aspects of the plane etc a little too much, but they also do talk about in-flight facilities, entertainement & food.

Personally speaking I flew from London to Sydney on Emirates and the in-flight entertainment (in economy) was excellent. You are able to pick the film, pause it, fast forward it etc - no waiting for the film to start in a cycle.
posted by jontyjago at 2:05 AM on June 22, 2006

Oh reading again - out of your short list of cheap carriers, definitely Malaysia airlines. Their in the same tier of service as Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. If you can get a decent priced economy ticket with them, book it.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:05 AM on June 22, 2006

Thai Airways was good to us.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:34 AM on June 22, 2006

Spend an hour or so perusing FlyerTalk.
posted by madajb at 2:49 AM on June 22, 2006

Avoid Russia's Aeroflot. Or, expect a roller coaster experience that you might not come back from. Oh, and don't eat the candy.

Also, Air India... not relaxing, but entertaining (don't sit anywhere near a restroom, I mean anywhere.)

Malaysia Air is verra nice.
posted by ewkpates at 3:44 AM on June 22, 2006

Air New Zealand
Any American airline*
EasyJet (moooooooo!)

Singapore Airlines
British Airways**

Heard good things about:
Cathay Pacific

Heard scary/bad things about:

* Except Jet Blue. Cheap, good facilities & non-psychotic cabin crew.
** I know people who loath BA and they've had no end of problems but I've always had good experiences.

The Melbournian (?) sitting opposite me came to London with Malaysian & recommends them.

If I were doing your route I'd go for Singapore Airlines or Malaysian. Bear in mind that if your flight is taking 24 hours, paying an extra AUD240 is only AUD10/hr and might be worth it...
posted by i_cola at 5:07 AM on June 22, 2006

On the other hand, it might be best to just pick the shortest. The UAE is much closer to that route than Korea is.
posted by smackfu at 6:24 AM on June 22, 2006

We’ve had this canard about “24-hour” flights on Ask MetaFilter before. Melbourne to London should be no more than 19 hours even if you went the long way. You could have an unreasonably long stopover, of course.

I have done a lot of flying and have read many Web sites, and it’s my impression that airlines are too inconsistent to be rated reliably for economy travel. Sometimes you can’t even rate that. I had a business-class trip on Air Canada that was much worse than a longer economy run in a newer aircraft. I don’t know of any reliable advice on economy travel.

Seat selection is, however, extremely important. is a standard choice, but I know from experience that a few of their aircraft seating maps are out of date.
posted by joeclark at 6:53 AM on June 22, 2006

I fly Korean Air between Hong Kong and the US all the time. It's cheap, good (the bibimbap on the flight is actually really tasty), and the service is good. That makes it worth flying through Incheon.
posted by taschenrechner at 7:00 AM on June 22, 2006

Rainman is from 1988, that's almost 20 years out of date.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 7:23 AM on June 22, 2006

I've loved British Airways the couple of times I've flown with them. Japan Airlines was also quite nice. Korean Air and Iceland Air were comfortable and uneventful, but not as memorably pleasant.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:42 AM on June 22, 2006

Here's an instance of what joeclark was saying, that service is too inconsistent to differentiate all but the absolute best and worst service.. Look at Faint of Butt's experience's above, and then:

I had a great time with BA on EZE-GRU, and a meh experience BOS-HRT and HRT-CPT. I really did not like JAL (Osaka-BKK-NRT). IcelandAir has always been a positive experience. Won't fly Korean until next week.

(I do want to add that on every BA flight I've been on, they have insisted on serving egg breakfasts. On an airplane. How disgusting...)
posted by whatzit at 8:02 AM on June 22, 2006

If there is a flight on Emirates air in your price range, jump on it! I've flown with them a few times and not wanted to get off the plane- even the food is great. My friends say Singapore is equivalent but I have never flown them myself.

And by the way, Qantas has had a crash. Not saying you shouldn't fly with them, when I flew Qantas on my way back from Melbourne to LA, it was good (not great but better than my USair flight there).
posted by rmless at 8:40 AM on June 22, 2006

Korean Air was a dodgy reputation but I've had no problems flying them, many times.
posted by Rash at 10:23 AM on June 22, 2006

was has
posted by Rash at 10:23 AM on June 22, 2006

Air New Zealand
Any American airline*

Ridiculous. Southwest Airlines - even with open seating - blows away some of your listed airlines. Their on-time arrivals are incredible and service is as all service should be.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 5:54 PM on June 22, 2006

Have you ever flown Singapore Airlines from Singapore to LAX?
posted by nathan_teske at 7:43 PM on June 22, 2006

Thanks everyone! Some great advice here. I'm going to do some more research, but so far Malaysian Airlines are impressing me. Thanks again, all.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:37 AM on June 26, 2006

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