Special Report

The World's Best Airlines, According to Passengers

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The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization has assigned individual identification codes to more than 5,000 airline companies worldwide. Many of these are tiny regional carriers most people have never heard of, though some are also among the most famous brands of any kind in existence.

As of January 2023, according to Forbes, the largest airline in terms of revenue, market capitalization, and value of assets, was Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines. The American Airlines Group, meanwhile, was in second place for revenue, but first in passenger miles, fleet size, destinations, and number of employees. (These are the best and worst airlines for getting you to your destination on time.)

Only one of those two made the top 25 in the 2023 edition of the World Airline Awards published by Skytrax, a U.K.-based airline industry research and consultancy firm: Delta. It was, in fact, the only U.S. carrier among the 25 best, and it came in at only No. 20.

For a complete list of the world’s 25 best airlines in 2023 according to Skytrax, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the upper echelons of the site’s top 100 list. To arrive at its ranking, Skytrax asked a large sampling of airline passengers, representing more than 100 nationalities and responding to surveys in a choice of six languages, to rate some 325-plus carriers in a total of 50 categories, grouped under “cabin service,” “ground/airport,” and “onboard product.” (Information on each airline’s founding year, corporate headquarters, and alliance affiliation came from company websites and news reports.)

Click here to see the world’s 25 best airlines in 2023

Asian and Middle Eastern airlines fared best of all, capturing a total of 13 places in the top 25, including all but one of the top 10, with Air France sneaking in at No. 7.

 Skytrax also ranks the world’s best low-cost, regional, cleanest, leisure, and most improved, and most family-friendly airlines, as well as cabin crews, airline staff, airport services, airport lounges, airline alliances, and various classes of service, among other aspects of the flying experience. 

In case you’re interested, the No. 1 airline for first class is also the overall No. 1, Singapore Airlines. In the back of the plane, Japan Airlines scores for best economy class. (Here’s a list of the worst airports in America for customer satisfaction.)

25. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
> Ranking in 2022: 17
> Year founded: 1919
> Corporate headquarters: Amstelveen, Netherlands
> Airline alliance: SkyTeam

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24. Finnair
> Ranking in 2022: 21
> Year founded: 1923
> Corporate headquarters: Helsinki, Finland
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

23. Saudi Arabian Airlines
> Ranking in 2022: 34
> Year founded: 1945
> Corporate headquarters: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
> Airline alliance: SkyTeam

22. Virgin Atlantic
> Ranking in 2022: 19
> Year founded: 1984
> Corporate headquarters: London, England
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

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21. Lufthansa
> Ranking in 2022: 15
> Year founded: 1926
> Corporate headquarters: Frankfurt, Germany
> Airline alliance: Star Alliance

20. Delta Air Lines
> Ranking in 2022: 24
> Year founded: 1928
> Corporate headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
> Airline alliance: SkyTeam

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19. Air New Zealand
> Ranking in 2022: 30
> Year founded: 1940
> Corporate headquarters: Auckland, New Zealand
> Airline alliance: Star Alliance

18. British Airways
> Ranking in 2022: 11
> Year founded: 1974
> Corporate headquarters: London, England
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

17. Qantas Airways
> Ranking in 2022: 5
> Year founded: 1920
> Corporate headquarters: Sydney, Australia
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

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16. Vistara
> Ranking in 2022: 20
> Year founded: 2013
> Corporate headquarters: Gurugram, India
> Airline alliance: Star Alliance

15. Fiji Airways
> Ranking in 2022: 36
> Year founded: 1947
> Corporate headquarters: Nadi, Fiji
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

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14. Iberia
> Ranking in 2022: 25
> Year founded: 1927
> Corporate headquarters: Madrid, Spain
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

13. Etihad Airways
> Ranking in 2022: 12
> Year founded: 2003
> Corporate headquarters: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

12. Swiss International Air Lines
> Ranking in 2022: 10
> Year founded: 1939
> Corporate headquarters: Zürich, Switzerland
> Airline alliance: Star Alliance

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11. Hainan Airlines
> Ranking in 2022: 14
> Year founded: 1993
> Corporate headquarters: Haikou, China
> Airline alliance: SkyTeam

10. Korean Air
> Ranking in 2022: 9
> Year founded: 1962
> Corporate headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
> Airline alliance: SkyTeam

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9. EVA Air
> Ranking in 2022: 18
> Year founded: 1989
> Corporate headquarters: Taoyuan, Taiwan
> Airline alliance: Star Alliance

8. Cathay Pacific Airways
> Ranking in 2022: 16
> Year founded: 1946
> Corporate headquarters: Hong Kong
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

7. Air France
> Ranking in 2022: 8
> Year founded: 1933
> Corporate headquarters: Paris, France
> Airline alliance: SkyTeam

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6. Turkish Airlines
> Ranking in 2022: 7
> Year founded: 1933
> Corporate headquarters: Istanbul, Turkey
> Airline alliance: Star Alliance

5. Japan Airlines
> Ranking in 2022: 6
> Year founded: 1951
> Corporate headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

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4. Emirates
> Ranking in 2022: 3
> Year founded: 1985
> Corporate headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
> Airline alliance: SkyTeam

3. ANA All Nippon Airways
> Ranking in 2022: 4
> Year founded: 1952
> Corporate headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
> Airline alliance: Star Alliance

2. Qatar Airways
> Ranking in 2022: 1
> Year founded: 1993
> Corporate headquarters: Doha, Qatar
> Airline alliance: Oneworld

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1. Singapore Airlines
> Ranking in 2022: 2
> Year founded: 1972
> Corporate headquarters: Singapore
> Airline alliance: Star Alliance

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