Air Canada’s Internal Memo to Employees About SkyTrax Results

Skytrax named Air Canada the North American Airline of the Year.

  • They’ve won it 3 straight years and 8 out of 10. That says more about the competition than about Air Canada.

  • They also won Best Airline Staff in Canada, Best Business Class in North America, Best Aircraft Cleanliness in North America, and Best Lounge Dining in the World.

Whatever you think of Skytrax, and their results are often questionable or inconsistent with how they’ve described their criteria and sometimes appear tied to consulting arrangements they may have with some of the winners, there’s little question that the lounge dining win is reasonable. Air Canada’s Signature Suite in Toronto, still available only to paid Air Canada business class customers, is fantastic. I rate the dining above Cathay Pacific’s first class The Pier and Qantas first class lounge in Sydney for dining, and this is a business class lounge and category.

I suppose there’s not a lot of competition in the ‘best airline staff’ category in Canada. Still — the staff get a win here. So how is the airline recognizing the accomplishment? Here’s the internal message about the award from Air Canada’s CEO:

I am writing today to share with you the excellent news that Air Canada has again been named the Best Airline in North America at the Skytrax World Airline Awards. The award was presented today at the International Paris Air Show, where we also won for Best Airline Staff in Canada; Best Business Class in North America; World’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining; and Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness in North America.

What makes our victory even more impressive is that this is the third consecutive year and the eighth time in 10 years that we have won the Best Airline award. Such consistency shows that beyond dominating the North American market, Air Canada is recognized as a leading global carrier. Our ability to win year after year also reflects our commitment to continuous improvement because, as we know, our competitors are constantly introducing new products and services in a determined effort to catch up, yet we remain ahead.

These and past awards are the result of and a tribute to your hard work over the last ten years transforming our airline. I thank you most sincerely for these efforts and we should all be very proud as the Skytrax Awards are the most highly regarded in our industry. They are based on the results of 20 million direct customer surveys covering 50 aspects of the entire journey—from booking through the airport and onboard experience, right up to baggage pickup. For an airline to win a Skytrax Award, everyone must either support or provide superior customer service at every step, so everyone shares credit for our victory.

Therefore, it is my great pleasure to tell you that all employees will receive a discount code for 33 per cent off any base fare for Air Canada Mainline, Rouge and AC Express bookings for themselves and up to five other passengers on one PNR. That’s 33 per cent for 33,000 outstanding Air Canada employees. Details on how to use the code will soon be available on the Employee Travel Site.

I encourage you to find time today to savour our success and take a moment to go to Yammer, where we have posted pictures and video from the Awards ceremony in Paris, where six of our colleagues joined Andrew Yiu-VP, Product, and Renee Smith-Valade – VP, In-flight Service, to collect our awards.

And speaking of savouring success – I hope you will all enjoy the specially branded Skytrax chocolate bars we’ll be distributing as of tomorrow, so we can all share in the sweet taste of victory together!

We should all be very proud of what we have accomplished, and I have every confidence that by continuing to take care of our customers and transport them safely, we will continue to achieve great things together in the future.

Congratulations on these very well-deserved awards.

American Airlines employees don’t seem to consider their management super generous, but an employee’s spouse or registered companion can buy revenue tickets 20% across the board without celebration.

When American won 2017’s Air Transport World’s Airline of the Year employees received two positive space passes to go anywhere the airline flies.

Air Canada’s employees, who were themselves recognized, get a one-time 33% off discount code applicable to base fare only — carrier-imposed surcharges aren’t even discounted. And they get chocolate bars. Better than a hole in the head, as they say.

Perhaps Air Canada just learned the lesson of American, that generosity that is neither tied to individual performance nor proffered in exchange for better contract terms, goes unappreciated.

By the way there are so many awards that basically everybody gets one. American Airlines, with the only three-cabin first class product in North America, won’t best three-cabin first class product in North America.

United though won best business class seat, which is absurd. And Singapore Airlines’ The Private Room in Singapore isn’t even close to the best first class lounge in Asia. I’m not really sure I can argue, though with Capital Airlines being the best leisure airline in China. That is literally a category.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I honestly think the “union thing” makes it difficult for USA airline employees to appreciate ANYTHING management does for them. Things become tribal. Kind of how liberals hate everything Trump does, even if they would have loved it had Obama done it. Once things become tribal, no good deed goes unpunished.

  2. 33% off a $1000 TATL ticket on Air Canada is literally a $66 discount since its off base fares only.

  3. I don’t think UA winning best business class seat is absurd at all. Sure the legacy seats are bad (depending on what you’re comparing it against) but the Polaris seat is my favorite among AA, DL, and UA (and throw in B6 for kicks). The AA seat isn’t comfortable. The DL seat while as comfy as the UA seat, feels like a coffin, especially with the door though I get that some ppl get all warm and fuzzy thinking they have a private suite. Mint is great for a domestic product, but not on the same page as an international upper cabin seat. I generally believe SkyTrax is a joke and these awards are simply bought and paid for, but I have no issues with UA winning for their Polaris seat.

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