November 19, 2012 at 14:33 PM EST
Star Alliance Sweeps Premier Traveler's Best of 2012 Awards

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 19, 2012) -  On November 8th, Star Alliance and its member airlines -- Air New Zealand, TAM, Lufthansa, SWISS, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines, to name a few -- take 22 awards. 

Premier Traveler magazine opened voting on its website on August 2nd, asking readers to name their favorite airline alliance among additional travel preferences. On November 8th, at a glittering gala at Sofitel LA, the answer was clear: PT readers voted to honor Star Alliance and many of its member carriers.

Beyond recognizing stellar achievements in travel, the evening also starred actor Chad Michael Murray, who kicked off the magazine's annual fundraising efforts for the Ronald McDonald House of New York, efforts which will culminate in an exciting charity auction that allows bidders to get their hands on high-value prizes while benefitting a great cause. In the past, companies have donated items like four-night hotel stays, pairs of business-class airline tickets, luggage and electronic devices. This year's donations will be available for bidding on PT's website beginning January 15th.

These days, alliances are "the way the world connects, providing a smooth travel experience," observed Mark Schwab, CEO of Star Alliance, voted Best Airline Alliance Program. "Organizing a smooth travel experience for our customers is not always simple," he admitted, "but we are proud that the readers of Premier Traveler acknowledge the collective efforts of our member airlines."

Those efforts were clearly appreciated by PT readers, who voted Air New Zealand the Best Airline to Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific and the Airline with the Best Premium Economy-Class Service in the World and chose TAM Airlines as the Best Airline to South America.

And while some airlines are scaling back, Turkish Airlines is doing just the opposite, adding expansive options and high-quality meal improvements. PT readers rewarded the airline by voting it the Best Airline in Europe.

"We are thrilled. We always knew you were an intelligent bunch!" declared Fatma Yuceler, General Manager, Western USA. "Our main goal is to change the face of air travel. By offering customers convenience at a price they can afford-with a side of Turkish hospitality -- we believe we're well on our way."

Lufthansa was recognized for the Best A380 Layout and Best Airline in the World for International Travel, a choice no doubt attributable to the airline's acknowledgement that its passengers are the real experts on service.

"We engage our customers in developing products," noted Juergen Siebenrock, Vice President of The Americas, referring to the surveys of frequent flyers that have provided the inspiration for some of the airline's innovations -- such as the new V-shaped business-class seat configuration.

With its focus on personal preference, SWISS was voted Airline with the Best Transatlantic Business-Class Service.

"We understand that not everyone likes firm mattresses, or has dinner at six o'clock, or prefers to work throughout an overnight flight -- all small things, but they matter," explained Frank Maier, Head of Product & Services. "When you fly SWISS, the choice is yours. It's about making your journey a relaxing one and making you feel at home."

PT readers look forward to the oases of calm that airline lounges can provide, and gave United Airlines kudos for both Best Airport Clubs/Lounges and for Best Frequent Flyer Program.

"We appreciate our customers' loyalty as we build the world's leading airline and loyalty program," said Tom O'Toole, President of MileagePlus.

And speaking of loyalty, Adam Rodriguez of Premier Traveler, expressed his gratitude to the loyal readers who voted: "I would like to personally congratulate all the winners of this year's awards and thank everyone who participated -- especially our devoted readers. At the same time, I urge all our friends to donate to our upcoming auction. Receiving recognition for excellence is a rewarding experience, but the true heroes are the ones who give back. RMDH-NY does more than you can imagine," he emphasized, "and your donations will provide comfort and a safe haven to a brave group of children and their families. I challenge you to help us make this our biggest fundraising effort ever."

Already, it looks as though this challenge is on track to be met, according to Editor-in-Chief, Ally Miola. "Each year, I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and colleagues who have repeatedly signed up to donate amazing prizes. This year, however, Patrick Khoury, Senior Director of U.S. Sales at Air Canada, amazed us all beyond belief. Calli Kalman was kind enough to attend our awards gala earlier this month so that she could share her personal story about the RMDH-NY, which helped her to thrive after being diagnosed with pediatric cancer. Not only did she recently graduate college, but she also got to marry the love of her life. In response to such heartwarming news, Patrick offered Calli two tickets to anywhere Air Canada flies, providing a happy ending for the newlyweds and a promising beginning for this year's charity efforts."

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Contact Information

For donations, contact:

Julia Rodriguez
juliar@jarppubs.com
www.premiertravelerusa.com

For information, contact:

Premier Traveler
press@jarppubs.com
www.premiertravelerusa.com

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