• Kyodo

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Three Asian airlines — Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Japan Airlines — swept the top three positions among international air carriers for quality of service, meals and comfort, according to Zagat, a private U.S. surveyor known for its restaurant guides.

The No. 4 ranking went to Virgin Atlantic Airways of Britain, which rose from No. 10 in 1998.

Singapore Airlines, which has ranked No. 1 in all Zagat Airline Surveys since 1990, has been credited for state-of-the-art personal entertainment systems, “yummy meals” in all classes and an attitude that “goes the extra mile,” the survey said.

Cathay, a repeat second-place airline based in Hong Kong, was credited for “making the best out of long rides” while providing “tasty food” and “great fares.”

JAL provides grateful passengers with “timely departures,” “bento box lunches,” and “bottled water offered hourly,” Zagat said.

The rankings of some “standard-bearer” European carriers, including Scandinavian Airlines System, Swissair, Lufthansa German Airlines and Air France, dropped this year, according to Zagat.

Egypt Air received harsh criticism from Zagat surveyors who said, “the words ‘on time’ don’t exist” for the airline.

Greece’s Olympic Airways was criticized for lack of cleanliness, while Aeroflot Russian International Airlines uses planes “older than grandma,” Zagat said.

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