Discover the ultimate list of the world’s best airlines — assessed according to punctuality, service, and customer support. 

world's best airlines

We all know that flying can be everything from an enjoyable and relaxed trip to the worst nightmare. However, the experience doesn’t solely depend on the compartment (first, business, premium eco, or eco) you choose. On the contrary, the likeliness of an enjoyable trip or the nightmare is —of course— tightly linked to the airline you choose. But here’s the good news: We put together the list of the world’s best airlines that can help you increase the probability of an enjoyable trip. 

World’s best airlines — how we ranked?

When ranking the airlines, we considered three aspects that —from our point of view— contributes to the ultimate customer experience:

  • On-time performance: Arriving on time at your destination is one of the core quality factors. That’s why we looked at the on-time performance of airlines.
  • Service Quality: Based on surveys, this aspect includes everything you experience on-board: From meals to in-flight entertainment, or crew friendliness.
  • Customer/Claim Support: Sometimes problems occur: Flights are delayed or baggage got lost. But there’s nothing more annoying than not finding any help in such cases. Therefore, we assessed the quality of airlines’ customer support in terms of handling problems and claims. 

Of course, one can argue that these three aspects do not cover all relevant factors that contribute to a perfect customer experience. However, we believe that the best airline is the airline that brings you to your destination on time, lets you enjoy exceptional service on board, and provides perfect customer service. The shown results are based on data from airhelp.com.

The results: World’s best airlines — the ultimate top 10

So let’s get right into it and present the world’s best airlines.

#10 — Emirates

Rating
Although we expected Emirates to rank higher, the flag carrier and largest airlines of the United Arab Emirates kicks off the list of the world’s best airlines. Famous for its outstanding service and amazing business and first-class, the airline shows an excellent service quality score. However, on-time performance and customer support can’t keep up with its service quality result. Overall, Emirates Airlines scores 7.8 out of 10 points.

Emirates Airlines | World's Best Airlines Results
Emirates Airlines | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
Emirates Airlines was founded in 1985 and operates out of its base in Dubai. The airline operates a fleet of 250 aircraft mainly Airbus A380 and Boeing B777. With more than 100 Airbus A380, Emirates is the world’s biggest operator of this aircraft. Emirates Airlines flies to more than 150 destinations all over the world. Pre-COVID, the airline had more than 60,000 employees.

Emirates airlines aircraft
Emirates Airlines | Source: Wikipedia

#9 — Austrian Airlines

Rating
Austrian Airlines, Austria’s flag carrier, outperforms Emirates and ranks 9th in the list of the world’s best airlines. The airline convinces with outstanding customer support and a very good service quality. Similar to Emirates the on-time performance does not keep up with the other aspects. Overall, Austrian Airlines achieves 7.9 of 10 possible points.

Austrian Airlines | World's Best Airlines Results
Austrian Airlines | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
Austrian Airlines was founded in 1957. Today, Austrian’s biggest airline is part of the Lufthansa Group and operates from its hub in Vienna. The airline operates a diversified fleet of 77 aircraft (Airbus 319, 320, 321; Boeing 767 and 777 and Embraer). Austrian Airlines operates flights to 130 destinations and had ~6,000 employees prior to COVID-19.

Austrian Airlines
Austrian Airlines | Source: Wikipedia

#8 — Luxair

Ranking
Depending on your location, Luxair probably is an airline you’ve never heard about since it is a rather small European carrier. Nevertheless, the airline can be proud of excellent results making Luxair one of the world’s best airlines. Similar to Austrian Airlines, Luxair passengers can rely on outstanding customer support. On-time performance and service quality are both ranked very good. Overall, the airline achieves a score of 7.9 out of 10 possible points.

Luxair | World's Best Airlines Results
Luxair | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
Luxair is the flag carrier of Luxembourg. With a fleet of 19 aircraft, Luxair operates scheduled services to destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. Luxair’s fleet consists of Boeing 737 and De Havilland Dash 8. The airline operates flights to 80 destinations in more than 30 countries.

Luxair
Luxair | Source: Wikipedia

#7 — WestJet

Rating
I guess you are surprised to see a low-cost airline ranked in the top 10 of the world’s best airlines. Believe me, we were surprised too. But: WestJet can be proud of one of the world’s best customer services. With 8.9 out of 10 points, WestJet shows one of the best performances in this area. On-time performance and service quality are also good — however, not comparable to its customer support. Overall, WestJet achieves a result of 7.96 out of 10 possible points.

WestJet | World's Best Airlines Results
WestJet | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
WestJet is a Canadian low-cost airline founded in 1996. The airline operates hubs in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver. WestJet operates a Boeing fleet of 123 aircraft, consisting of mainly B737 (600, 700, and 800) and some 787-9. The airline currently flies to 108 destinations in 25 countries across North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

WestJet Los Angeles Passengers Are The First To Benefit From Quarantine  Trial - Simple Flying
WestJet | Source: SimplyFlying

#6 — LATAM

Rating
LATAM is the first (and only) South American airline ranked in the top 10 of the world’s best airlines. The airline shows equally good results across all aspects. A good on-time performance with 7.8, but also service quality with 8.1 and customer support with 8.2. Overall, the airline achieves a result of 8.01 points out of 10.

LATAM | World's Best Airlines Results
LATAM | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
LATAM is the largest airline in South America with subsidiaries in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru. The airline operates a combined fleet of more than 300 aircraft from hubs in different countries. Moreover, LATAM operates flights to more than 120 destinations. Pre-COVID the airline had 43,000 employees.

LATAM
LATAM | Source: SimpleFlying

The Top 5! World’s best airlines

#5 — Qantas

Ranking
Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier is ranked 5th among the world’s best airlines. It shows very good results for the aspects of on-time performance and customer support. However, Qantas also shows one of the best results when it comes to service quality. Overall, the airline scores 8.04 out of 10 possible points.

Qantas | World's Best Airlines Results
Qantas | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
Qantas is Australia’s flag carrier and besides one of the world’s best airlines, Qantas is also one of the world’s oldest airlines. The airline was founded in 1920! Today Qantas operates a fleet of 120 aircraft from its hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. The fleet consists of Airbus 330 and 380 and Boeing 737-800 and 787-9. Qantas flies to more than 80 destinations and has 30,000 employees.

Qantas
Qantas | Source: SimpleFlying

#4 — SAS Scandinavian Airlines

Ranking
We’re getting closer to the top 3 of the world’s best airlines. SAS almost won one of the trophies. The rounded overall score even looks equal to the airline ranked third. However, the detailed calculation showed that SAS’s performance was slightly below the airline ranked third. Nevertheless, SAS showed an outstanding performance particularly in the area of customer support. With a rating of 9.0, SAS achieved a best-in-class result in this area. Unfortunately, on-time performance is below most of the other top airlines. Overall, the airline achieves a score of 8.07 out of 10 points.

SAS | World's Best Airlines Results
SAS | World’s Best Airlines Results

Based data
SAS is a Scandinavian airline group with its headquarters in Sweden. The airline group was founded in 1946. Today the airline group operates more than 150 aircraft with a diversified fleet. Besides various Airbus models (A319, A320, A321, A330, A340, and A350), the airline also operates Boeing aircraft (B737) and Bombardier. SAS operates flight to destinations in Europe, Asia and North America.

File:Airbus A319-132, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) JP6547828.jpg - Wikimedia  Commons
SAS | Source: Wikipedia

Top 3 — World’s best airlines

Let’s enter the Top 3 of the world’s best airlines. From our point-of-view the top 3 hold some big surprises. Actually we expected some Asian carriers, famous for their outstanding service quality, among the top 3. However, the results are different. Let’s take a look!

#3 — Aeromexico

Rating
Actually an airline we did not expect to see in the top 3 of the world’s best airlines (we’re sorry, Aeromexico). However, it turns out that Aeromexico showed extremely good results across all areas. Besides an excellent service quality (8.4), the airline can also rely on an excellent customer support and a solid on-time performance. Overall, Aeromexico achieves 8.07 out of 10 points.

Aeromexico | World's Best Airlines Results
Aeromexico | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
Founded in 1934, Aeromexico is the flag carrier of Mexico. Today, the airline operates flights to almost 90 destination in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. Aeromexico operates a Boeing fleet of 60 aircraft consisting of B737 (700, 800, Max 8, and Max 9) and 787 (-8 and -9). The airline has more than 13,000 employees.

File:Aeromexico Boeing 767-200ER KvW.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Aeromexico | Source: Wikipedia

#2 — American Airlines

Rating
Another airline that definitely surprised us. Again, we did not expect to see American Airlines rank that high. Nevertheless, with excellent customer support (8.8), and very good service quality (7.9) and a solid on-time performance American Airlines wins the silver medal. Overall, the airline achieved a outstanding result of 8.07.

American Airlines | World's Best Airlines Results
American Airlines | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
American Airlines is a major American airline and one the of biggest airlines in the world. Founded in 1926, the airline today operates a fleet of 861 aircraft. American Airlines operates several hubs, for example Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, or New York. With more than 130,000 employees, the airline flies to 350 destinations all over the world.

Cargo Is Driving American's International Route Resumptions - Simple Flying
American Airlines | Source: SimplyFlying

#1 — Qatar Airways

Ranking
And here it is! The winner and best airline in the world: Qatar Airways. With one of the best results in terms of service quality and on-time performance, the Middle East carrier takes the gold medal home. Although customer support is slightly below other airlines in the top 10, Qatar Airways scores an outstanding result of 8.23 out of 10 points.

Qatar Airways | World's Best Airlines Results
Qatar Airways | World’s Best Airlines Results

Base data
Qatar Airways is the flag-carrier of Qatar. Founded in 1993, the airline today operates a fleet of 235 aircraft. The fleet consist of different Airbus types (A319, A320, A321, A330, A350, A380) but also Boeing aircraft (B777). The airline has more than 50,000 employees and operates flights to 170 destinations.

What’s your “best airline in the world?”

We would love to know more about your experiences! Leave a comment and tell us your best airline! Or get in touch with me on social media.

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Benjamin is an information-enthusiast, a content-maniac, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions with the aim to change the way companies use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry, and working with renowned companies all over the globe.