To assess and rate an airline’s service quality and aviation safety standards, an international organization performs an audit based on thousands of strict criteria.

Recently, media reports have claimed that some hotels in Vietnam were censured for claiming to have 5-star ratings, or even awarding themselves 7 stars, despite not meeting the industry standards. The same story has emerged in the airline industry, with some airlines implying they have a 5-star rating. In fact, only 11 airlines have achieved this standard in the world.

Which organization is responsible for airline ratings?

Skytrax is the only rating organization widely recognized by the world’s aviation community. This prestigious independent organization classifies airlines on a quality scale from 1-star to 5-star. Skytrax’s star ratings are considered “the Oscars of the airline industry”. They set a global benchmark for quality standards based on strict criteria. According to the latest Skytrax results, only 11 airlines in the world qualify as 5-stars.

5-star airlines

– All Nippon Airways

– Asiana Airlines

– Cathay Pacific

– EVA Air

– Garuda Indonesia

– Hainan Airlines

– Japan Airlines

– Korean Air

– Lufthansa

– Qatar Airways

– Singapore Airlines

Source: Skytrax

What are the criteria for a 5-star evaluation from Skytrax?

On an annual basis, Skytrax rates airlines’ service quality based on survey results from over 20 million customers and 2,000 evaluation criteria checked by experts. To receive a 5-star rating, an airline must achieve excellence and consistency both onboard and in the airport, especially in terms of safety. They must also meet top quality standards in Business and long-haul Economy cabins; have cabin crew with the best skills and experience; and more.   Customers on 5-star airlines can expect excellent and consistent service quality that leaves them feeling inspired.

What ratings do airlines in Vietnam hold?

Vietnam Airlines is currently the only Skytrax-rated 4-star airline in Vietnam, sharing the spotlight with other prestigious international airlines including Air France, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qantas Airways, to name a few. Other airlines in Vietnam are ranked as 3-stars by Skytrax.

The organization also provides annual updates on its evaluation standards, which often grow stricter each year. There’s a lot of pressure on any airline, even big international brands, to maintain their 4-star rating. For this reason, only a few airlines in Southeast Asia have 4-star ratings, including Royal Brunei Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Philippine Airlines, Silk Air, and Vietnam Airlines.

Airlines with 4-star ratings must work constantly to improve. It’s nearly impossible to “take a shortcut” to a 5-star rating, especially for new airlines that have not had time to develop consistency.

Vietnam Airlines’ star-rating under a magnifying glass

According to Skytrax’s latest evaluation, Vietnam Airlines achieved a 4- or 5-star rating on 85% of the assessment criteria. A significant percentage of our 5-star points related to the dedicated service provided by our check-in counter staff; convenient transfer counters; and catering services with a wide range of choices at the domestic Lotus Lounge in Tan Son Nhat Airport. Other highly-appreciated criteria included Business class meal options for long-haul flights; comfortable seats in Business class on our Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s; the quality of seats and entertainment options in Economy and Premium Economy; and an interesting inflight magazine with multiple language options.

The national flagship carrier is the only airline in Vietnam able to provide end-to-end services, both onboard and in airports. Vietnam Airlines is the sole airline with flight caterers as subsidiaries. Other subsidiaries and affiliates, such as Vietnam Airport Ground Services Company Limited (VIAGS) and Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company (VAECO) provide high quality services to almost all airlines operating inbound/outbound flights in Vietnam, including 5-star airlines. This forms a solid foundation and distinctive differentiation of Vietnam Airlines and will help us accomplish our goal of earning a 5-star Skytrax rating in the near future.