Australian Traveller’s first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards for 2011; results for Best Regional Airline in Australia. THE WINNER:

REGIONAL EXPRESS
Hundreds of readers voted for Regional Express but very few used its formal name. You prefer to call it Rex, a warm and fuzzy company nickname that conveys the affection many travellers have for the little turboprop planes that comprise this country-bound fleet. Born from the sad collapse of Ansett, Rex is the company that formed to save the Ansett-owned regional airlines Hazelton and Kendell, two very important carriers that serviced regional towns, linking country-based businesspeople to major centres. Rex is one of the few airlines that still provides travellers with a complimentary snack and a cup of tea on their journey. One reader also loves that “the hostie asks who needs a taxi, then rings ahead to make sure there are enough waiting for you at the airport”. It’s five-star service on a small scale, and from genuinely friendly flight staff. And Rex’s frequent-flyer program is beautiful in its simplicity: fly nine legs, get the tenth free – however, the program is currently being “revamped” so we hope it doesn’t become unnecessarily complicated.
THE DETAILS 13 17 13; rex.com.au

RUNNERS-UP:

2 QANTASLINK
Country cousin to the big guys at Qantas, and Australia’s largest regional airline. qantas.com.au
3 SKYWEST
Western Australia’s largest regional airline, with regular flights to various parts of outback WA as well as Denpasar, Bali. skywest.com.au
4 SHARP AIRLINES
Victoria’s largest regional airline also services Adelaide, Port Augusta, Flinders Island and Launceston. sharpairlines.com
5 BRINDABELLA AIRLINES
Brindabella started in 1994 as an executive charter service, and it now has hubs in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. brindabellaairlines.com.au 

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