WHICH ARE THE TOP 20 AIRLINES IN THE WORLD?

Skytrax website unveiled the winners of its World Airline Awards on Tuesday. A ranking that rewards the best airlines in the world. This year, the big winner is Qatar Airways. The Qatari company is gaining a place compared to last year when it failed on the second step of the podium behind Singapore Airlines. This year is therefore the year of revenge, with Qatar Airways ahead of Singapore Airlines, second and All Nippon Airways (ANA) in third place. It should be noted that Air France is not in the top 20 developed by Skytrax, and relayed by Business Insider. The French company is only 23rd in the ranking and has moved up two places over the past year.

Which are the best airlines? Each year, several rankings are published to rate the main airlines. How to decipher these rankings and how to know if the airline you want to use is reliable?

On this page of the blog, we will talk about ranking the best airlines but not only! Indeed, there is nothing like real feedback, an opinion on an airline after a trip.

Of course, it is always possible to have a small glitch with an airline and a simple negative opinion on a round trip may not be totally representative.

In the first part of this blog article, we will talk about the ranking of the best airlines. This ranking will be updated annually to include updated data.

Then I will tell you my opinion on the airlines I have been able to travel with on my various trips in recent years.

Best Airline Rankings: Which Rankings to Consult?

Each year, several airline rankings are published. Some clearly mention the criteria taken into account while others are rather vague…

I recommend you to rely on the Skytrax ranking which is the most complete! Indeed, this ranking, based on the vote of hundreds of passengers, takes into account many parameters.

The ranking of Skytrax’s best airlines takes into account the following parameters:

  • better economy class
  • best premium eco class
  • best first class
  • best business class
  • better on-board staff
  • better entertainment system (personal screen)
  • best airport / airline hub
  • cleanliness of the cabin

The synthesis of all these Skytrax rankings gives the overall ranking. We often summarize Qatar Airways, the best airline in 2017. It is in the combination of all these rankings that Qatar Airways comes out on top. Of course, this means that Qatar Airways is well placed in many of these rankings. But for example, it is second in economy class and only in 8th place on the cleanliness of the aircraft.

If you want to consult a ranking, you can rely on the Skytrax airline ranking. Avoid reading random rankings where obscure votes and/or parameters are taken into account…

Skytrax 2017 Airline Ranking

The latest Skytrax ranking is the June 2017 ranking.

Here is the global Skytrax airline ranking for 2017:

1Qatar Airways
2Singapore Airlines
3ANA All Nippon Airways
4Emirates
5Cathay Pacific
6EVA Air
7Lufthansa
8Etihad Airways
9Hainan Airlines
10Garuda Indonesia
11Thai Airways
12Turkish Airlines
13Virgin Australia
14Swiss Int’l Air Lines
15Qantas Airways
16Japan Airlines
17Austrian
18Air France
19Air New Zealand
20Asiana Airlines
21Bangkok Airways
22KLM
23China Southern
24Hong Kong Airlines
25Finnair
26AirAsia
27Cathay Dragon
28Norwegian
29Air Canada
30Aeroflot
31Malaysia Airlines
32Delta Air Lines
33Virgin Atlantic
34Korean Air
35China Airlines
36Alaska Airlines
37Aegean Airlines
38Aer Lingus
39jetBlue Airways
40British Airways
41easyJet
42Iberia
43Virgin America
44Jetstar Airways
45AirAsiaX
46Air Astana
47Vietnam Airlines
48Ethiopian Airlines
49South African Airways
50Avianca


This airline ranking already gives you an idea of the companies that are considered reliable and appreciated by travellers. If you wish to have more details on the ranking of airlines, in particular to obtain the classification by criteria, you can consult their website.

In addition to this Skytrax ranking, having passenger reviews, real detailed feedback is also a real plus. Even if a passenger’s experience on a return flight can sometimes be bad, it is still a real opinion that can be taken into account without necessarily taking it for granted. Who, for example, has never had a perfect one-way flight and a more chaotic return flight?

In addition, it is important to distinguish between things when you encounter a problem during a flight. Is it the airline’s fault? Or the departure airport? Or the one of destination? All these elements are to be taken into account and important criteria such as:

  • duration of the stopover
  • services offered at the company’s hub, in particular for stopovers of more than 3 or 4 hours
  • possibility to benefit from a prolonged stopover to visit a country during a long stopover or even over a few days
  • punctuality of the company
  • abusive practice of overbooking
  • prices

After this first part, which dealt with the ranking of airlines, I now have a personal opinion on the airlines with which I have had the opportunity to travel.

The Airlines With Which I Have Travelled

First of all, here is a non-exhaustive list of the companies with which I have been able to travel:

  • Air France
  • Qatar Airways
  • Gulf Air
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • EVA Air
  • Japan Airline (JAL)
  • Jet Airways
  • Air India
  • Swiss Air
  • Air Europa
  • British Airways
  • Iberia
  • Avianca
  • Thai Airways
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • China Southern
  • Air China
  • China Eastern
  • American Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Corsair
  • Delta Airlines
  • United United

I have also had the opportunity to travel on many occasions with low cost airlines such as:

  • Ryanair
  • Easyjet
  • Air Asia
  • VietJet Air

I certainly have to forget some, but here are the main airlines I have been able to travel with. Among these flights, some went badly, others were excellent and the majority of the flights are to be classified as “correct”.

Here are the best airlines in my opinion, the companies I particularly recommend:

  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Gulf Air
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air

These airlines are excellent and without being able to name a single best airline, they are all very good and should be used for your flights. Feel free to pay 30 or 40 euros more on your flight to travel with a good airline. It’s a real plus! Don’t forget the possibility of a stopover!

The possibility of a stopover must be taken into account when choosing an airline for a trip. To have the opportunity to discover a country that you don’t necessarily think of thanks to a stopover without extra cost is a real argument in my opinion.

Among the companies mentioned above, we can for example take advantage of a stopover to visit Singapore (with Singapore Airlines), Dubai (with Emirates), Bahrain with Gulf Air but also visit Doha with Qatar Airways.

On the negative side, here are some companies that I don’t like and with which I don’t particularly want to travel again:

  • Swiss Air for more than laborious stopovers and many delays on the flights I was able to make with them
  • Iberia
  • Ryanair
  • Air France, although I appreciate direct flights, I really have a big problem with Air France (strike, delayed baggage, friendly staff, age of some planes,…)

My Opinions On Airlines

To close this post on the best airlines, here is the list of airlines for which I have published a detailed notice.

In these detailed opinions, I talk to you about different criteria and my experience on flights. Quite often, I write these detailed notices after having travelled several times with the airline.

Indeed, writing a detailed notice after a round trip flight makes no real sense. It’s hard to judge the company on one or two flights. At the beginning of each of these notices, I specify the number of flights operated with the company.

Here are my opinions on airlines:

  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Oman Air

I hope that reading this guide on the best airlines has been useful to you. Feel free to react by commenting on this post.

Attention! Aggressive / hateful notices following a single incident with a company will be deleted. You can give your opinion on an airline or on your personal experience but you must not fall into exaggeration, aggressiveness or even defamation…

Skytrax ranked the different airlines based on 21 million responses received after a survey of flight passengers. It should be noted that Qatar Airways is the big winner this year as it also wins the award for best business class, best seat in business class and best airline in the Middle East. Its major rival Singapore Airlines won the award for the best cabin crew in the world and was awarded the First World Class, Best First Seat and Best Airline in Asia prizes.

British Airways’ strong performance

In fourth place among the world’s best airlines are Cathay Pacific, which gained two places compared to 2018 and Emirates Airlines, fifth. From 6th to 10th place are Eva Air, Hainan Airlines, Qantas, Lufthansa and Thai Airways. These airlines are ahead of Japan Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Swiss International Air Lines, China Southern Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Air New Zealand, Bangkok Airways, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and British Airways is the company that has gained the most places in this Top 20 over the past year, moving from 31st to 19th place, an increase of 12 places. Last company in the ranking: the first low cost company, AirAsia.

Among the other performances to remember from these World Airline Awards, those of Asian airlines that rank the top 8 in terms of flight crew quality. The best leisure airline in the world is ANA with its airport services, Norwegian Airlines is crowned best long-haul low-cost airline and Star Alliance best airline alliance in the world.

Bonus

As a bonus, since you will need a few nights at the hotel if you want to test all the companies, I will give you the site on which I book most of my accommodation when I am on the move. This is FindHotel, a price comparison service that compares prices and finds you the best deal for each hotel.

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