Travel + Leisure has published the results of its annual World’s Best Awards survey, revealing readers’ picks for the best international airlines of 2019. Readers ranked carriers based on factors such as on cabin comfort, service, food, customer service, and overall value.
One thing that this year’s list makes clear is that readers’ picks for the best international airlines haven’t changed much over the past few years, proving that dedication to providing excellent service consistently puts many of the same 10 winners at the forefront of air travel.
Unsurprisingly, Singapore Airlines was once again ranked No. 1, further setting the standard for exceedingly comfortable (and actually enjoyable) long-haul flights. Singapore Airlines operates one of the world’s longest flights — an almost 19-hour journey between Singapore Changi Airport and Newark Airport in New Jersey — and staffers are known to overlook no detail.
One loyal passenger wrote after flying from the American West to Tokyo many times over the years: “Even flying coach makes you feel like you're having a luxury experience. The service is excellent, they just keep feeding you (lots!), the entertainment options are endless and all-included, and the plane is beautiful and comfortable. I'm always surprised when it's actually the most budget-friendly option as well.”
Emirates once again secured the No. 2 spot, thanks to its outstanding service and small luxuries in economy class, according to readers. “Didn't want to get off the plane after a 15-hour flight,” one fan said. In-flight meals are described as top-notch. “Food is taken seriously on Emirates,” another fan wrote. “Love the printed menus and amenity kits, even in economy.”
Airlines based in the Middle East and Asia dominated the list. Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines (JAL) won the No 3. and No. 4 spots, respectively, for the second year in a row. A frequent flier praised Qatar, saying it’s the “best service I've experienced in over 40 years of business and personal air travel.” Another pointed to its attentive service: “I liked being asked when I would like my food served and liked having my bed made and given pajamas,” the reader wrote. “It was an experience that I am sure I will never get on any other airline."
Another Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA), also made a repeat appearance, at No. 7. The company recently added the world’s largest wide-body plane to its fleet.
There was one surprise newcomer to the list: The all-business-class La Compagnie, which comes in at No. 10.
2019’s Top 10 International Airlines
10. La Compagnie
9. Cathay Pacific Airways
8. Korean Air
7. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
6. Air New Zealand
5. EVA Air
4. Japan Airlines (JAL)
3. Qatar Airways
1. Singapore Airlines