Travelers back on the fence about flying may want to read a new list of the world’s best airlines.
The flight safety website AirlineRatings.com published its list of the “Top Airlines in the World”, which traditionally classifies airlines according to safety, on-board service, passenger comfort and flight routes.
But this year new evaluation criteria are shaking up the ranking. For the first time, airlines are being judged in part on how they have responded to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“Covid has affected ratings in two ways,” said AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas. “Airlines had to be Covid compliant by our standards to be considered, and we removed profitability as a criterion this year.”
Qatar Airways took first place this year and was named “Airline of the Year” by the website.
The Doha-based airline received the grand prize for its cabin innovation, in-flight service and “commitment and dedication to keep operating during the Covid pandemic,” according to the website Notice on the 20th of July.
Qatar Airways, based in Doha, was founded in the mid-1990s and currently flies to more than 140 destinations.
Courtesy of Qatar Airways
According to AirlineRatings.com, Qatar Airways also presented industry innovations, such as being the first provider of the International Air Transport Association Security audit and one of the first to test their Covid Safe Travel Pass.
Qatar Airways also has one of the youngest fleets in the world, the announcement said.
Here is the full list, followed by each airline’s position over the past year:
1. Qatar Airways (9)
2. Air New Zealand (1)
3. Singapore Airlines (2)
4. Qantas (4)
5. Emirates (6)
6. Cathay Pacific (5)
7. Virgin Atlantic (7)
8. United Airlines (not applicable)
9. EVA air (8)
10. British Airways (17)
11. Lufthansa (11)
12.ANA or all Nippon Airways (3)
13. Finnair (12)
14. Japan Airlines (13)
15. KLM (14)
16. Hawaiian Airlines (16)
17.Alaska Airlines (18)
18.Virgin Australia (10)
19. Delta Airlines (19)
20. Etihad Airways (20)
Most airlines maintained a similar position to the 2020 list. However, Qatar Airways has jumped eight places to take the top spot, a position typically dominated by Air New Zealand.
“Air New Zealand has been our Airline of the Year for six of the past eight years for its outstanding innovation and cabin service,” said Thomas.
The much-acclaimed Qsuites from Qatar Airways, which create a private room with double beds and privacy screens, have been named the airline’s “Best Business Class” for three years in a row.
Courtesy of Qatar Airways
British Airways jumped seven spots in the rankings to 10th place while United jumped 8th place after failing to make the 2020 list at all.
Only airlines with seven security stars are taken into account for the annual list. This assessment is based on crash history, pilot-related incidents, government audits – and now Covid logs like social distancing, aircraft cleaning and masked cabin crew.
Less than 150 of the 350 airlines rated by AirlineRatings.com have seven stars. Eight airlines have only one star, according to the website.
The company said rankings judged by the site’s editors also take into account airline service, staff engagement, and passenger feedback.
Individual airlines are also honored with the “Airline Excellence Awards” for their outstanding service and products. This year’s awards went to:
Best First Class: Singapore Airlines
Best business class: Qatar Airways
Best Premium Economy Class: Air New Zealand
Best economy class: Air New Zealand
Best Low Cost Airline in Asia Pacific: Jetstar
Best low-cost airline in Europe: EasyJet
Best Low Cost Airline in America: Southwest
Best ultra-low-cost airline: Vietjet Air
Best regional airline: Qantas
Best cabin crew: Virgin Australia
Best lounges: Qantas
Award for catering on board: Qatar
In-flight entertainment award: Emirates
Separately, AirlineRatings.com gives an annual “The twenty safest airlines“List that analyzes crash recordings and safety compliance. In the next year, too, they will take into account the airlines’ Covid compliance measures,” said Thomas.
This list is expected in January 2022.