GLOBAL – 2020 was one of the strangest years in the aviation industry due to the global lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But, as air travel returns in most destinations around the globe, AirlineRatings.com has released its annual round-up of the world’s best carriers, ready to help passengers decide which airline to choose for their next journey.
These ratings are usually announced in November in anticipation of the year ahead, but this time around the pandemic forced the agency to make some adjustments.
The Australia-based aviation safety and product rating agency usually compile its Airline Excellence Awards annually based on several criteria that include fleet age, passenger reviews, and product offerings. Interestingly, the team of global editors made airlines’ Covid-19 responses as part of the criteria this year.
Qatar Airways jumped up the rankings to nab the top spot this year, beating out the previous winner Air New Zealand, which has topped the list six times over the past several years.
Usually, profitability is one of the key factors assessed by judges as they rank the top airlines, but because of the steep financial impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry, finances weren’t taken into consideration this year.
AirlineRatings.com’s top 20 airlines for 2021
- Qatar Airways
- Air New Zealand
- Singapore Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- Virgin Atlantic
- United Airlines
- EVA Air
- British Airways
- Japan Air Lines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Virgin Australia
- Delta Air Lines
- Etihad Airways
AirlineRatings.com also gave out additional awards – best first-class (Singapore Airlines), best cabin crew (Virgin Australia), and best airport lounges (Qantas).
In addition, budget carrier EasyJet was awarded the best low-cost airline award for Europe, while Jetstar won in Asia/Pacific and Southwest won in the Americas.