For the 13th consecutive year, Global Traveler honors the best of the best in the industry, naming 2023’s Airline of the Year and Hotel of the Year.
This year Global Traveler recognizes American Airlines as Airline of the Year and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as Hotel of the Year. Each of these brands leads the industry in pursuing the latest technology and trends as well as continuing to ensure the safety and well-being of its guests and employees.
To award the prestigious honor each year, a select group of Global Traveler staff and Advisory Board members choose the winner through a series of considerations and factors. They take a look at each nominee’s financial information, performance records, loading and boarding time, safety procedures, onboard menus and overall image as a brand. Earning this honor proves rewarding.
AIRLINE OF THE YEAR
Founded more than 95 years ago, American Airlines has led the industry in innovation and firsts ever since. The airline was the first to hire a Black U.S. commercial airline pilot and the first female U.S. commercial airline pilot, and it launched the first loyalty program of any major carrier.
In 1926 American Airlines’ long history began when legendary aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, chief pilot of Robertson Aircraft Corp., took off in his DH-4 biplane and headed to Chicago. Robertson was the first of the many airlines that would eventually evolve into today’s American Airlines. About 10 years later American became the first to fly the Douglas DC-3 in commercial service between New York and Chicago. A few years later American began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
In the 1940s American became the first airline to introduce airport lounges for passengers. It also operated its first scheduled air cargo flights from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, making it the world’s first scheduled air cargo service. Also in the 1940s, a big decade for the airline, American began operating a trans-Atlantic flight service for the first time with American Overseas Airlines.
Throughout the years American Airlines continued to claim more first-time innovations, including opening the world’s first special training facility for flight attendants in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1957, as well as launching the oneworld alliance with other founding members British Airways, Canadian Airlines International, Cathay Pacific Airways and Qantas Airways.
Today American Airlines continues to make strides to be the best in the business. This year the airline launched more than 50 new routes with service to more than 350 destinations around the world. American plans to add more flights and seats on routes to Las Vegas for those looking to make a trip to Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium.
American Airlines continues to make travel more rewarding by introducing new business loyalty programs for travelers. With the release of AAdvantage Business, the airline introduces the first loyalty program of its kind, rewarding both travelers and eligible companies with AAdvantage miles and additional Loyal Points for booking business travel on aa.com or on the American Airlines app. The new program offers a more rewarding experience for companies and travelers alike.
“American has built something no one else offers,” said Scott Laurence, senior vice president, Partnerships and Retailing, American Airlines. “We want to reward both the companies doing business with us and the traveler who’s actually flying in the airplane seat. It’s a win-win. We’ve designed a simple program that goes above and beyond in delivering rewards and tools that benefit everyone.”
On the other hand, American Airlines works closely with local communities to help better the world around them. The airline recently teamed up with CR Smith Museum to introduce a new educational program helping inspire the next generation of aviation professionals. The multiyear Aviation Career Pathway program, designed for middle and high school students, offers access to aviation STEM education, exposure to the industry and career opportunities. To start, the project will begin in multiple schools in the Dallas Independent School District with the hope of growing to other schools in Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond, long-term.
The airline also focuses on sustainability and hopes to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Its strategy focuses on running a more fuel-efficient operation with more fuel-efficient aircraft increasingly powered by low- carbon fuel. Over the past few years, American embarked on the most extensive fleet renewal effort in the history of the industry, giving the airline the youngest mainline fleet among U.S. network carriers. Last year American also added new- generation aircraft to its fleet and finalized its most significant sustainable aviation fuel offtake agreement to date. American also invested in two companies focused on the development of low-carbon, hydrogen-powered aviation.
FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS
HOTEL OF THE YEAR
With luxury locations and options all over the world, it’s no surprise Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has been named our 2023 Hotel of the Year.
The story began in 1961 with the opening of its first hotel; and over the past 60 years, the Canadian-based company has continued to transform the hospitality industry by combining personalized, genuine care with commitment to excellence. In the beginning, Isadore Sharp had no plans to join the hotel business on such a grand scale when the young architect and builder worked with his father, Max Sharp, to construct his first hotel. Over the next decade he opened three Four Seasons hotels that helped pave the way for the creation of a new kind of hotel.
The 1970s brought expansion to London. This hotel set the tone for the future direction of the company and pioneered many of the signature Four Seasons services now offered worldwide. In the 1980s Four Seasons unveiled flagship hotels in cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago. After becoming a leader in hospitality, the Four Seasons brand focused on expanding its portfolio into destinations in Europe and Asia.
During its fifth decade, Four Seasons continued to grow in size and recognition. The company offered more than 50 properties on every continent except Antarctica and created Four Seasons Private Residences and other branded residential offerings with choices in urban and resort locations.
Fast-forward to present day, and Four Seasons continues to stay at the top of the hospitality industry. When COVID-19 hit the world, Four Seasons launched its enhanced health and safety program, LEAD WITH CARE, to continue to provide the trust, care and flexibility the company established with its guests and residents.
Across all Four Seasons locations, properties incorporate sustainability efforts to help lessen their carbon footprint. The environmental, social and governance program, Four Seasons for Good, seeks to preserve and regenerate the beautiful places in which it operates as well as leaving a positive and enduring impact on communities. The Four Seasons for Good program centers around two pillars: Planet, environmental impact, and People, social impact. Each pillar is supported by specific activities and objectives to see that its efforts contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
As part of the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech commitment to sustainability, the resort upgraded its hot water system to harness the power of solar energy. Each building has its own on-site boilers powered by a hybrid solar and electric system. This allows the property to not only use solar energy but also recover waste heat from air-conditioning units to significantly reduce electricity consumption. The electrical heating activates only when the solar energy and waste heat do not produce enough energy to meet the building’s needs. When a building is unoccupied, the system can be turned off to save energy.
Four Seasons supports the philosophy, “Treat people how you want to be treated,” and that includes the environment and people around the properties. One of its newest projects, Helping Girls Dream Big, gathers roughly two dozen girls ages 11–17 years from St. Kitts and Nevis to come together through Girls Illuminated for an empowering two-week program helping them build skills, form friendships, and develop and share their ambitions for the future.
In addition to these campaigns, the luxury brand partners with other sustainability leaders within and outside of the industry to create positive change.
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
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