AirlineRatings names 'most excellent' airlines for 2017

Story highlights

  • Air New Zealand named Airline of the Year fourth time in a row
  • Qantas is runner-up, takes top slot in three categories

(CNN)What does New Zealand, home of "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," love better than a blockbusting trilogy?

Hitting the jackpot four times in a row.
Just like when the All Blacks won their fourth Grand Slam in 2010, Air New Zealand has been named 2017 Airline of the Year by AirlineRatings.com in its Airline Excellence Awards, the fourth time it's taken the title.
    The Australia-based website praised the "industry trendsetter" for its record-breaking financial performance, award-winning in-flight innovations, operational safety, environmental leadership and motivation of its staff.
    "Air New Zealand came out number one in virtually all of our audit criteria, which is an exceptional performance," said editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas.
    Breakfast of champions: Air New Zealand impressed across the board.

    Qantas scores a hat trick

    Also showing passengers a good time is Australian airline Qantas.
    Having led the way by installing showers in its lounges several decades ago, Qantas cleaned up in the Best Lounges, Best Catering and Best Domestic Service categories.
    If you're looking for a premium experience, AirlineRatings.com says Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia are the way to go.
    Abu Dhabi-based Etihad was named Best First Class and Virgin Australia's Business Class stole the top prize in its category.
    Virgin Australia and partner airline Virgin Atlantic also won Best Cabin Crew for the third year in a row.
    Emirates, described by AirlineRatings.com as "one of the pioneers in entertaining passengers," won the award for Best In-Flight Entertainment.

    Low cost and long haul

    For value and safety in the low-cost airline sector the AirlineRatings.com team gave the honors to Virgin America (Americas), Norwegian (Europe), Kulula.com (Africa/Middle-East) and Scoot (Asia/Pacific).
    For excellence in long-haul, the winners were Delta Air Lines (Americas), Virgin Atlantic (Europe), Etihad (Middle East/Africa) and Singapore Airlines (Asia/Pacific).
    AirlineRatings.com's top 10 airlines for 2017
    1. Air New Zealand
    2. Qantas
    3. Singapore Airlines
    4. Cathay Pacific
    5. Virgin Atlantic/Virgin Australia
    6. British Airways
    7. Etihad Airways
    8. All Nippon Airways
    9. Eva Air
    10. Lufthansa