Introducing the 2021 APEX/IFSA Awards Winners


The world’s leading airlines and aviation innovations were recognized at an awards ceremony at California’s Long Beach Convention Center, which saw the announcement of the winners of the Official Airline Ratings, Passenger Choice Awards and APEX/IFSA Awards. Recipients of the APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying certification also gathered onstage for a photo opportunity, having finally received their physical awards in person.

İlker Aycı, Group CEO & Chairman, Turkish Airlines 

Aycı became Chairman of Turkish Airlines in 2015 after serving on its Board of Directors for just one year. Under his leadership, Turkish Airlines grew 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.


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.

Five-Star Winners

Four-Star Winners


Using the TripIt by Concur app, airline passengers are able to give their vote on the best seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment and 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 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 is the first carrier in North America to install Bluetooth audio in the aircraft cabin as part of its “United Next” customer experience transformation program. Designed with accessibility in mind like the rest of its in-flight entertainment 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 automated solution, which takes five days in comparison to their previous process, which took three weeks, saves 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 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 sanitizing solutions in-flight. Under the partnership, Purell introduced an FAA-compliant mounted bottle of hand sanitizer, specially-designed single-snap hand sanitizing gel pouches and moisturizing hand sanitizer wipes throughout the onboard experience. 

Best Marketing Innovation

Spafax has worked with Singapore Airlines to create a digital service for Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) 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 for 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 now 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 on with soy-based inks instead of polybags. 

Best Cabin Innovation

Airbus is bringing its Airspace cabin to narrow-body jets to provide a airlines with a consistent look and feel across their cabins. The benefits of Airspace include endless customization options, one-inch of extra shoulder space thanks to a redesigned cabin sidewall, a lighting solution 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 the messy eating process. Packaged in a wrapper that showcases Malaysia Airlines’ batik motif, the ice cream petit fours are cased in chocolate and can be eaten by hand. It proved so popular, it is now sold on their website and throughout retail stores in 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 digitized operational forms. The app is designed to function seamlessly whether online or offline.