Qatar and Etihad Airways take home first class honors at award ceremony

Qatar and Etihad Airways take home first class honors at award ceremony

Individuals who prefer to fly in style may have an interest in learning what carriers are considered to offer the best first class service in the world.

The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2011 were recently held at the Paris Air Show, and Qatar Airways was honored as the Airline of the Year. Skytrax selected the carrier out of more than 200 international airlines based on poll results from over 18 million passengers from around the globe.

In addition to taking home the top honor, Qatar Airways was named the Best Middle East Airline for the sixth consecutive year, as well as being singled out as the carrier with the Best First Class Lounge.

The Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport is a special facility that is designed to service travelers who have purchased first class tickets and business class airfares. According to Qatar Airways' website, visitors to this facility have the chance to do a little shopping before they board their plane at the terminal's duty-free mall.

Individuals who have first class airfares and prefer to relax in a spacious environment before their flight have access to the terminal's First Class Lounge. Here, travelers can have dinner, check their email, freshen up or simply have a drink with fellow fliers.

Qatar Airways also provides its first class passengers with an opportunity to enjoy its Premium Terminal Spa, which the carrier's website refers to as an oasis in the desert.

"Since I became the chief executive officer of Qatar Airways in 1997 at the time of Qatar Airways' relaunch, my goal was simple - for Qatar Airways to reach the pinnacle of the airline industry," said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar's CEO, who collected the awards at the Paris Air Show. "At Qatar Airways we always aim at doing the best in everything we do. To be considered as the top airline in the world is a huge achievement and a very rewarding moment in Qatar Airways' history."

Also honored at the award ceremony was Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. The carrier was recognized by Skytrax for having the Best First Class in the world.

According to airline officials, each of Etihad's Diamond First Class suites are 82 inches and include a fully flat bed, in-seat massager, 23-inch personal TV/video screen, personal mini bar and Arabic-styled sliding privacy doors, among other features. 

By Arnold Meyer

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