Who won the 2021 APEX/IFSA Awards?


The work of airlines and aviation suppliers over the past 12 months was recognised at an awards ceremony at APEX/ISA Expo in Long Beach, California, where the winners of the Official Airline Ratings, Passenger Choice Awards and APEX/IFSA Awards were announced, as well as the recipients of the APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying certification.

The winners were as follows:

APEX CEO Lifetime Achievement Award

İlker Aycı, group CEO & chairman, Turkish Airlines 

Aycı is certainly a rising star, having become chairman of Turkish Airlines in 2015 after serving on its board of directors for less than a year. Under his leadership, Turkish Airlines has grown to serve more countries from a single city than anywhere else in the world. Find out more about why Aycı received the Lifetime Achievement Award HERE.

2022 Official Airline Ratings

For the fourth year running, airline passengers were able to rate their flight experience on a five-star scale through the TripIt by Concur app. Here are the four- and five-star-rated airlines in the Global, Major, Regional and Low-Cost Carrier categories.

The Five-Star winners

Five-star global airlines:



Air Canada

American Airlines

Cathay Pacific

China Airlines

Delta Air Lines

El Al


Etihad Airways


Japan Airlines (JAL)


Korean Air


Qatar Airways


Singapore Airlines


Turkish Airlines

United Airlines

Virgin Atlantic

Xiamen Airlines

Five-star major airlines:

Air Astana

Air Tahiti Nui

Alaska Airlines


Gulf Air

Hawaiian Airlines

JetBlue Airways

Middle East Airlines

Oman Air

Five-Star regional airlines:


The Four-Star winners

Four-Star global airlines:

Air China

Air France

British Airways


LATAM Airlines Group

Malaysia Airlines


TAP Portugal

Four-Star major airlines:

Brussels Airlines

Caribbean Airlines

Fiji Airways

Philippine Airlines

Royal Brunei Airlines

SriLankan Airlines

Four-star regional airlines:

Aeromexico Connect

Porter Airlines

Four-Star low-cost airlines:

Air Arabia

Allegiant Air



Frontier Airlines




Southwest Airlines

Spirit Airlines



Passenger Choice Awards

Using the TripIt by Concur app, airline passengers can give feedback on how they feel about their flights, in terms of seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment and inflight wi-fi. The results of these surveys culminate in the winners of the Passenger Choice Awards.

Best Cabin Service

Best Seat Comfort
Qatar Airways

Best Food & Beverage
Qatar Airways

Best Entertainment

Best Wi-Fi
Delta Air Lines



A large group of APEX and IFSA members determine the top three finalists in each of the APEX/IFSA Awards categories every year. A panel of industry media then vote on the winners in a final round of judging.

Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation

United Airlines
United Airlines was praised for being the first carrier in North America to install Bluetooth audio in the aircraft cabin as part of its “United Next” customer experience transformation programme. Designed with accessibility in mind like the rest of its IFE offering, the service is currently available across its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet, which has the highest NPS scores across all its different aircraft.

Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation


WestJet was the first and largest customer of Panasonic Avionics’ ZeroTouch service, which it uses to manage real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates across its fleet of 100 aircraft. The airline’s previous update process took three weeks, while the new automated process takes five days, saving 500 hours of manpower each month.

Best Airport Innovation

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines designed its self-bag drop off solution together with the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and, in the process, created a new framework that other airlines can use. Payment-enabled, the solution cuts Spirit’s costs while improving the passenger experience.

Best Product or Service

Purell, powered by Gojo Industries

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Delta Air Lines signed a long-term partnership with Gojo Industries to supply a range of Purell sanitising solutions for use in-flight. Under the partnership, Purell introduced hygiene measures onboard its aircraft including an FAA-compliant mounted bottle of hand sanitiser, specially designed single-snap hand sanitising gel pouches, and moisturising hand sanitiser wipes.

Best Marketing Innovation


Spafax has worked with Singapore Airlines (SIA) to create a digital service for the airline’s elite members that receive its Priority magazine. Accessed through the SIA app, Spafax provides digital-first content that gives readers the ability to book flights, hotels and tours straight from the online content. It also features innovative content ideas, such as audio snippets from photographers about how they captured a certain shot to illustrate an article.

Best Onboard Amenity (IFSA)


Every three months, Buzz creates a new range of children’s amenity kits for Singapore Airlines based on Disney brands including Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King and Marvel. The company’s offering focuses on activities that encourage STEM learning, but has different offerings for children of different ages. The amenities are wrapped in FSC-certified paper printed with soy-based inks, instead of polybags.

Best Cabin Innovation


Airbus is bringing its Airspace cabin to narrowbody jets to provide airlines with a consistent look and feel across their cabins. The benefits of Airspace include endless customisation options, 1in of extra shoulder space thanks to a redesigned cabin sidewall, a lighting system with jetlag-reducing effects, integrated window shades offering passengers 10% more of a view, and more.

Best Inflight Food or Beverage (IFSA)

Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines created its Cool Treats Ice Cream product so that it can serve passengers a popular dessert without having to worry about messy eaters staining the seat covers. Packaged in a wrapper that showcases Malaysia Airlines’ batik motif, the ice cream petit fours are encased in chocolate and can be eaten by hand. Cool Treats have proved so popular that they are now sold on the airline’s website and in retail stores throughout Malaysia.

Newcomer of the year


SpiceJet created SG Docs, a mobile app for cabin crew that hosts a digital view of documents and manuals, cabin announcements, current cabin defects and various digitised operational forms. The app is designed to function seamlessly whether online or offline.

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About Author


Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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