When it comes to air travel, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that some airlines continue to offer comfortable seating, few and short delays, and a pleasant all-around experience. If you haven’t had such an experience lately, maybe you’re flying with the wrong airline.
Travel planning and booking firm TripAdvisor on Tuesday released its 2019 list of the world’s best airlines. The top-rated airline is Singapore-based Singapore Airlines, and the top-rated North American and U.S. carrier is Southwest Airlines. Both achieved the top ratings for the second consecutive year.
TripAdvisor determined its Travelers’ Choice award rankings based on the quantity and quality of airline reviews and ratings submitted by travelers worldwide between January and December 2018 on TripAdvisor flights.
Travelers’ Choice award winners are also named in six other regions — Latin America, Asia, South Pacific and Oceania, Europe, Middle East, and Africa and Indian Ocean — along with awards in four service classes: First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy.
According to TripAdvisor’s rankings, the world’s top 10 airlines and their home countries are Singapore Airlines (Singapore), Qatar Airways (Qatar), EVA Air (Taiwan), Emirates (United Arab Emirates), Japan Airlines (Japan), Southwest Airlines (United States), Azul (Brazil), Air New Zealand (New Zealand), Jet2.com (United Kingdom) and ANA (All Nippon Airways) (Japan).
South Korea’s Korean Air dropped out of the top 10 this year, replaced by ANA. The other nine are all repeat-winners, although the order changed, with Qatar Airways moving up the most (from eighth to second) and Air New Zealand dropping the most (from second to eighth).
For the service class awards, Emirates had the top-ranked first class service, Qatar was rated first for its business class, Air New Zealand led in the premium economy class and Singapore Airlines topped all airlines for its economy class service.
The six regional winners included Azul (Latin America), Singapore Airlines (Asia), Air New Zealand (South Pacific and Oceania), Jet2.com (Europe), Qatar Airways (Middle East) and FlySafair (Africa and Indian Ocean).
Southwest Airlines was named the top U.S. airline and also the best low-cost U.S. airline. Other top-ranked U.S. carriers included Delta (best major airline) and Alaska Air (best midsize airline). WestJet was rated as the top Canadian carrier and Cayman Airways was the best Caribbean airline.
By class of service, the top-rated North American airlines were Air Canada (best business class), JetBlue (best regional business class), American (best premium economy) and Southwest (best economy class).
And the bad news? Check out our report from earlier this year on the 13 biggest air travel complaints of 2018.