United Airlines, which lost two planes in the September 11 attacks, has won an award for best in-flight entertainment.

The prize, handed out by the World Airline Entertainment Association, was decided by a panel of media industry figures, including Bruce Johanson of Natpe, David Fraser of Granada Media, Carol Sinclair of Eaton Films, Annie Mather of Gazella Films in Hong Kong, and UK producer Tony Watts.

The airlines were judged for originality, suitability, production value, content and balance. Virgin Atlantic was awarded second prize and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ranked third.

The award was the only bright note in an otherwise grim week for United. On Nov 3 a man was caught trying to board a United flight in Chicago with seven knives, a stun gun and a can of Mace spray in his carry-on luggage. Security personnel had failed to spot the weapons when the luggage was put through an X-ray scanner. On Nov 2 United had reported a record $1.18bn loss in the third quarter. Since the attacks it has cancelled 20% of its flights and shed 20,000 jobs.