And the winner isn't...
By Ian Jarrett ~ The Grumpy Traveller
Tuesday, 13th September 2005
The Grumpy Traveller is drowning in drivel: it's the season for the annual airline awards.

In a five minute period, my email inbox is cluttered by three media handouts from PR companies who are pocketing fistfuls of dollars for writing a load of codswallop about their clients' success in yet another dreary round of awards for "excellence".

I have long suspected that these awards are created to bolster the ego not just of the airlines, but of the magazines and organisations that promote them.

Most times the winners will humbly accept their trophies and say how delighted they are to win such a "prestigious" award. This, of course, makes the magazine editor feel really special and persuades him or her to run the awards again next week, and collect the extra advertising revenue that an awards supplement brings.

What we never hear, of course, is just how many people voted, and where the votes came from.

I was once asked to take part in one of these polls but turned down the opportunity because I felt it unfair to vote only for those airlines I had flown on, and could offer no comparison with those airlines I had not flown on.

This is often reflected in the results, where a national airline will scoop most of the prizes in a poll promoted by a magazine or newspaper from the same country.

No surprise this week  that a certain UK airline that is having trouble feeding its customers won Best Airline,  Best Shorthaul Airline, Best Frequent Flyer Programme, Best First Class, Best Business Class, and Best Economy Class. The poll was run by a UK business travel magazine, many of whose readers would fly on this airline.

I can only assume that the poll organisers baulked at awarding the airline "Best Food in a Polystyrene Box" or "Best Union Action to Strand Tens of Thousands of Passengers".

Across the other side of the world, an Asia-based business travel magazine was – not surprisingly - voting Singapore Airlines Best Airline, Best Asia-Pacific Airline, Best Airline Economy Class, Best Airline Business Class, Best Airline First Class and Best Frequent Flyer Programme.

After wading through these results, I was left with one question. The runners-up never get a mention. Who finished second? Whose Business Class is ordinary? Whose frequent flier programme is a dud?

This I fear is the information you will never read. 

IAN JARRETT is based in Fremantle,
Western Australia from where he travels frequently in Asia on assignments for travel magazines.

He is a member of the BamBoo
Alliance, a group of leading travel writers in the region. He can be contacted at ianjarrett@mac.com
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