As air travel demand continues to rebound in 2021, and as airlines have recovered from the pandemic last year, which airlines have been recognized as the best operators of this year? Airlineratings.com, a website that ranks airlines in many different categories, recently published its annual assessment for the best airlines this year, and to reach the number-one spot, airlines were ranked and evaluated based on innovations to passenger comfort, passenger reviews, and fleet ages. Additionally, airlines had to achieve a seven-star safety rating to be first selected as a nominee for the best airline. With all of these criteria in mind, let’s take a look at which airlines emerged to the top this year.
1. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is no surprise to the list of best airlines each year, coming in at the number one spot, Qatar Airways has been awarded multiple titles over the past decade and has made the top 10 list several times in the past. Moving up from the number 2 spot last year, Qatar Airways demonstrated great dedication and perseverance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that moved it up to the number 1 spot this year.
- Qatar Airways was the first airline to complete the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) safety audit, among the first to trial the IATA’s Covid Safe Travel Pass, and the first airline to be fully COVID audited and compliant by both AirlineRatings and Skytrax. Qatar’s response to the pandemic was one of the most significant contributors to the airline’s rank this year.
- Along with this, Qatar Airways has one of the youngest fleets in the world and spends millions on innovating its aircraft with its award-winning products. Qatar Airways also won the best business class award and the best in-flight catering award this year.
2. Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand has been labelled as the world’s best airline 6 times in the last 8 years and held the title for 5 consecutive years at one point, so it is expected for the airline to be high on the charts this year. Air New Zealand still features one of the best economy and premium economy classes in the airline industry with their “Skycouch” product, and the airline unsurprisingly won awards for both this year.
3. Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines is another common contender for the top airlines each year. After being selected as the year’s best airline in 2019, Singapore Airlines comes in as the 3rd best airline this year. Making the top 3 airlines, Singapore Airlines has also won an award for the best First Class product this year.
Besides these top 3, here’s the list for all of the best airlines this year:
- Qatar Airways
- Air New Zealand
- Singapore Airlines
- Qantas (Won safest airline of the 2021)
- Cathay Pacific
- Virgin Atlantic
- United Airlines
- EVA Air
- British Airways
- Japan Air Lines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Virgin Australia
- Delta Air Lines
- Etihad Airways
Overall, most rankings stayed relatively where they were in previous years. There were a few notable or honorable mentions this year, including United Airlines and British Airways. United Airlines propelled its way into the number 8 spot this year after not making the list at all in previous years, and British Airways reached the top 10 airlines, jumping up 7 spots from previous years. United Airlines’ shocking order of supersonic and electric aircraft this year, comfortable cabin renovations and improvements, and enormous aircraft order a few months ago drastically improved their airline rating. In the coming years, maybe other airlines will appear on the lists as well with impressive innovations and technologies. Will you be flying on any of these top 20 airlines soon?
Cover Image: Atl_planespotter | Instagram