Only one US airline is in the top 10 in the world – here’s who came out on top

Many people are taking to the skies again after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination – so which airline should they choose?

According to AirlineRatings.com’s annual rankingTheir best bet is Qatar Airways, which tops the list of the World’s Top 20 Airlines on the travel search site. The ranking was based on a range of factors, including safety and innovation.

To be included in the list, an airline must have achieved “a safety rating of seven stars,” according to the website. The ranking also took into account improvements to the flight experience and passenger comfort. Passenger feedback submitted via the website also played a role in which airlines came out on top.

“We focus on leadership and airlines innovating to make a real difference to the passenger experience,” AirlineRatings.com editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said in the report.

Qatar Airways took the No. 1 spot “for its cabin innovation, passenger service and its dedication and commitment to continuing to operate during the COVID pandemic.” The ranking noted that Qatar Airways was the first to be COVID-audited by AirlineRatings and aviation consultancy Skytrax. Qatar Airways also participated in the trial for the COVID travel pass created by the International Air Transport Association.

Air New Zealand AIR,
-0.65%
came in second, while Singapore Airlines C6L,
-1.03%
took third place, as well as the best ranking for first-class accommodations.

Of the US-based airlines, United Airlines UAL,
+4.12%
performed best in the rankings and jumped to eighth place after not being in the Top 20 in the previous ranking. AirlineRatings.com attributed United’s climb to the recent announcement of plans to reintroduce Concorde-style supersonic jets to the airline industry. In June, United announced it was purchasing a fleet of supersonic planes that could travel between San Francisco and Tokyo in just six hours.

Other US airlines that have been in the Top 20 include Hawaiian Airlines HA,
+6.71%
(No. 16), Alaska Airlines ALK,
+3.84%
(No. 17) and Delta Air Lines DAL,
+2.62%
(no. 19). Here’s the full ranking, per AirlineRatings.com:

  1. Qatar Airways

  2. Air New Zealand

  3. Singapore Airlines

  4. Qantas

  5. Emirates

  6. Cathay Pacific

  7. Virgin Atlantic

  8. United Airlines

  9. EVA Air

  10. British Airways

  11. Lufthansa

  12. ANA

  13. Finnair

  14. Japan Air Lines

  15. KLM

  16. Hawaiian Airlines

  17. Alaska Airlines

  18. Virgin Australia

  19. Delta Airlines

  20. Etihad Airways

A number of US-based airlines were also on AirlineRatings.com’s separate, unranked list of the 10 Best Low-cost Airlines: JetBlue JBLU,
+3.58%,
Southwest LUV,
+3.41%
and Border. ULCC,
+4.52%
That list was largely based on airline safety ratings.

“Each of these airlines has an excellent track record of safety and has made a big difference in their market,” Thomas said. “From Southwest Airlines, which started the low-cost revolution in the 1970s, to JetBlue, which is redefining the low-cost product, every airline has made a huge contribution to affordable travel.”

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