Traveling more, spending less... A look at 2010's globetrotter

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The Independent Travel

Singapore Airlines has the world's best premium and economy service, consumer analyst Zagat said November 29 as it released the full results of its survey of this year's travelers.

The perennially popular airline was voted the best international carrier in both premium and economy classes, beating Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Air New Zealand, who also managed to secure a highly placed spot in both categories.

Zagat's annual poll, which included over 8,000 international frequent flyers and 90 major world airlines, rated carriers on the basis of comfort, service, food and website, as well as other categories such as value, punctuality, luggage policy and in-flight entertainment.

Among US domestic airlines, Continental proved the most popular large carrier for premium passengers, while JetBlue took the award in economy.

Virgin America was judged the best of the midsize carriers in both premium and economy classes, beating Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines.

The survey also suggested that Virgin Atlantic boasts the best in-flight entertainment for international travelers and JetBlue is the best for US domestic inflight entertainment.

Although Zagat's survey showed that its respondents were travelling more this year, the priorities for travelers seems to have changed after the economic crisis.

When asked how they felt about fees for checking luggage, 45 percent of respondents stated that they try to avoid flying on such airlines and 42 percent said that they had frequent flyer status to help them avoid the fees - only 18 percent said they opted to pay them.

Similarly, only the routing was more important than ticket price to the respondents of this year's survey, with past experiences, time of day and seat comfort/leg room all being judged less important.

"While fliers are slowly but surely returning to the skies, they remain focused on good values and reliable service," said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey.

"Airlines like Virgin America, Southwest, JetBlue and Continental score well with surveyors for precisely this reason."

The best international airlines

International Premium Class:

1. Singapore Airlines
2. Cathay Pacific Airways / Emirates / Qatar Airways
3. Air New Zealand

International Economy Class:

1. Singapore Airlines
2. Air New Zealand / Emirates
3. Cathay Pacific Airways / ANA (All Nippon Airways)

Data provided by Zagat,