I have used many different airlines all over the world, from budget to five-star. I have enjoyed the luxury of eating lavish five-course meals in business class to being cramped in coach, hungry and not willing to pay the $8 for a subpar cold cut sandwich. Although I often choose an airline based on the price of the plane tickets, I have loyalty towards others and am willing to pay a premium to fly with them. The small comforts these five airlines provide make it all worth it.



Asiana is one of only six airlines ranked as a “5-Star airline” by Skytrax and won their prestigious Airline of the Year award in 2010. When I first rode on Asiana, I was struck by how gracious and polite the flight attendants are. They had good in-flight entertainment, with everything from language lessons to games and movies. They serve Western and Korean style meals (the Korean bibimbap was really delicious for airplane food) and serve beverages endlessly. Alcoholic drinks are also unlimited.

For those with children or expecting, their Happy Mom Service and PreMom services are impressive. They provide dedicated check-in counters, priority boarding, seating in the first row (more leg room), bassinets (under six months), and car seat-like baby seats.



Air Asia

Air Asia won the 2012 Skytrax award for being World’s Best Low-Cost Airline. I would absolutely agree. Besides cheap prices, I chose Air Asia for the food. They have an extensive menu including everything from Tandoori chicken tortilla wrap to Spaghetti bolognaise. I bought their slightly more expensive “special combo” for 13.90 MYR ($4.55). When it arrived, it was piping hot. The dish was cheesy rice, with tender chicken and vegetables. It was really delicious. With it came a canned beverage and a box of Hello Panda (chocolate cream filled biscuits).



I always longingly wonder what’s behind the frosted glass doors of elite airport lounges. Porter strives to make every customer feel like a VIP. The regional airlines allows everyone to use their lounges complete with free cookies, Starbucks coffee, Tazo tea, Wi-Fi and newspapers. Onboard, they pour Canadian craft brews and wine gratis. And no dreaded middle seats! Porter ranks second in the world in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards Top Small Airlines category.


Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic has the small touches to make a plane ride more comfortable. I don’t have to flag a flight attendant down when I’m hungry. Instead, I can order and pay for food from my seat using the personal entertainment system. Instead of a harsh florescent light wake up call in the cabin, they employ a soft lighting system to ease passengers into waking before landing. Similar to sun alarms, this more natural method helps people to feel energized instead of groggy. As someone who sleeps on every flight, I love this. A bonus for some: Virgin Airlines won the award for Most Attractive Cabin Crew in 2011.


Turkish Airlines

This year Skyscanner ranked Turkish Airlines as having the best airline food in the world. The carrier serves dishes such as stuffed eggplant and walnut pear tart along with special meals including children’s, vegetarian, seafood, and kosher. Even in economy class they provide an in-flight amenities kit with sleeping mask, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, and ear plugs. This utilitarian package is offered less and less these days, making it refreshing to see. Plus, they have a cup holder that can function independently of the tray table. Genius!

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