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20 Best Airlines in the World

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AirlineRatings has once again revealed the best airlines in the world for 2022, and three US carriers made the list.

On Thursday, editors at the airline ranking website published its top 20 best carriers based on several factors, including safety, innovation, passenger comfort, service, and staff engagement.

“We are focused on leadership and airlines that innovate to make a real difference to the passenger experience,” AirlineRatings editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said in a press release. “Of course right now the airline industry is under unprecedented pressure as it strives to recover from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Taking the number one spot is Doha-based Qatar Airways, which also won in 2021. The carrier consistently comes out on top, with airline ranking website Skytrax also naming it the best airline last year.

Qatar was named the world’s best airline because of its “cabin innovation, passenger service, and its commitment to continue to operate throughout the COVID pandemic,” AirlineRatings said.

Air New Zealand (ANZ) came in second behind Qatar because of its “constant innovation and industry leadership.” The airline also ranked number two in 2021, but took the top spot in 2020.

ANZ has been pushing the envelope with new products and routes recently, including a bunk-bed economy seat and a new 18-hour nonstop between New York and Auckland.

The flight will launch in September using its Boeing 787 Dreamliner and become the world’s fourth-longest flight.

Other Middle Eastern carriers, including Etihad Airways and Emirates, also made the top 20 list. Etihad came third and also won the Best Environmental Airline Award for its Boeing 787 “Greenliner.” The carrier introduced its new Airbus A350-1000, dubbed Sustainability50, in March as part of its environmental initiatives.

Carriers from Europe, Australia, Asia, and North America were also represented in this year’s rankings.

US carriers that made the top 20 in 2022 are JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. JetBlue did not make the list last year. However, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines fell out of the top 20 this year after coming in at number 19 and number eight in 2021, respectively.

Southwest Airlines did not make the top 10 list because it is a low-cost carrier, but AirlineRatings did name the company as the best low-fare airline in the Americas.

Here are the top 20 best airlines in the world, according to AirlineRatings.

20. British Airways

British Airways aircraft.

London-based British Airways is the UK’s national carrier and operates flights to Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

19. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines is a US carrier based in Seattle, Washington. The carrier mostly operates flights on the West Coast but has transatlantic service to destinations like New York. The carrier merged with Virgin America in 2016.

18. Air France-KLM

Air France/KLM.

Air France and KLM merged in 2004 to become one entity, though both still operate under their respective brands. The airlines offer extensive networks throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

17. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330

Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines operates domestic flights throughout the Hawaiian islands, as well as service to the US mainland and Asia.

16. Emirates

Emirates Boeing 777-200LR.

Emirates is based in Dubai and flies a large international network. The carrier is the biggest operator of the A380 aircraft, having recently received the last-ever double-decker jet to be produced. AirlineRatings also named Emirates as the airline with the best inflight entertainment.

15. Finnair

Finnair.

Finland flag carrier Finnair operates domestic and regional flights in Scandinavia and Finland, as well as routes to Europe, Asia, and North America.

14. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways A321neo.

JetBlue Airways did not make the top 20 list in 2021, but has been launching new routes and improving its service. The carrier mostly operates domestic flights, but expanded to the UK last year, flying its inaugural flight to London in August. Its domestic operation is complimented by its Northeast Alliance with American Airlines, which was announced in July 2020.

13. Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines.

Japan Airlines (JAL) operates a strong international network out of its Tokyo Narita International Airport and Tokyo Haneda Airport hubs.

12. Virgin Atlantic

Passengers disembark a Virgin plane parked on a runway.

UK-based Virgin Atlantic flies to North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia from London Heathrow. The airline was founded by British billionaire Richard Branson who also runs space tourism company Virgin Galactic.

11. Cathay Pacific Airways

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 aircraft.

Cathay Pacific Airways is Hong Kong’s flag carrier, operating routes to the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

10. All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways

Major Japanese airline All Nippon Airways has hubs at Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, and Kansai Osaka airports, where it operates a strong domestic and international network.

9. Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines.

Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines is a major international airline serving Europe, Africa, North America, South America, and Asia. It also operates domestic and regional routes throughout Turkey and the Middle East. AirlineRatings named Turkish as the world’s most-improved airline and the best airline for long-haul travel in Europe.

8. Eva Air

EVA Air

Eva Air is Taiwan’s second-largest airline behind Air China. Eva flies to south-east Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, as well as operates regional service to China.

7. Virgin Australia

Virgin.

Also founded by Richard Branson, Virgin Australia is based in Queensland and operates a large network throughout Australia, the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South Africa. AirlineRatings also named Virgin as the airline with the best cabin crew.

6. Qantas

Qantas 787-9 before departure at Buenos Aires

Australian flag carrier Qantas is consistently named one of the best airlines in the world, particularly in safety. The carrier flies to New Zealand, the Americas, Asia, South Africa, and Europe. Qantas was also named the world’s best regional carrier by AirlineRatings.

5. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800.

Rounding out the top five list is Singapore Airlines, which is one of the largest operators of the A380 jumbo jet. The carrier flies an extensive network across Asia, North America, Australasia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. AirlineRatings also gave Singapore awards for having the world’s best first class and best lounges.

4. Korean Air

Korean Air A380.

Seoul-based Korean Air is the flag carrier of South Korea and flies a strong domestic and international network. AirlineRatings named Korea the cargo airline of the year.

3. Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner "Greenliner" — Dubai Airshow 2021

Etihad Airways took the number three spot this year after barely making the top 20 last year. The airline has pushed its sustainability efforts with new aircraft, including its Boeing 787 “Greenliner” and its Airbus A350 “Sustainability50” jet. Etihad’s initiatives earned it the environmental airline of the year award from AirlineRatings.

2. Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand.

Auckland-based Air New Zealand (ANZ) is the second-best airline in the world for 2022 for the second year in a row after being named the best carrier in 2020. ANZ flies domestic routes in New Zealand, as well as international service to Australia, the Pacific, Asia, and North America. AirlineRatings awarded ANZ several titles, including best premium economy, best economy class, and best long-haul airline in the Pacific.

1. Qatar Airways

Qatar A321.

Qatar Airways is the world’s best airline this year, having also won the top spot in 2021. The airline is famous for its luxurious Q-Suite, as well as its passenger-focused onboard service. Qatar also won best business class and best long-haul for the Middle East and Africa.

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