What makes an airline the best?

A close look at the top 5 airlines in the world

Singapore Airlines is the best carrier in the world, according to TripAdvisor. The company just got the first prize, again, at the 3rd Travellers’ Choice Awards for Airlines. The award is given based on calculations made upon the quantity and quality of airline reviews and ratings submitted by travelers across the world over a 12-month period. But why are “the best” the best?

emirates airline first class experience
This is how Emirates Airlines welcomes you in first class

The top-10 ranking of the best airline companies includes names from Asia (4), Middle-East (2), The United States (1), The UK (1), Oceania (1), and even Brazil (1).

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. EVA Air, Taiwan
  4. Emirates Airlines, UAE
  5. Japan Airlines (JAL)
  6. Southwest Airlines, USA
  7. Azul, Brazil
  8. Air New Zealand
  9. Jet2.com, UK
  10. ANA (All Nippon Airways), Japan

What makes them the best airlines? We took a closer look in the top 5 best airlines. Check them out below.

Reasons to fly with Singapore Airlines

singapore airlines economy class

As the favorite of travelers, what can you expect when flying with Singapore even in Economy Class?

We traveled with Singapore Airlines a couple of times, and couldn´t agree more: it is a top-notch airline company. It was not the cheapest of our options but we wanted to give it a try. No money wasted. It really marked a “before” and “after” in our experience with airlines. Their main 3 strengths, for us, are: first, the crew. Second, the food. Third, legroom.

You normally expect cabin crew to pour you a drink and smile, right? With Singapore, it goes kilometers beyond that. What calls the attention at first is the elegance of their crew. Yes! Their uniforms have clearly a higher level of fabric and modeling. And to wear those cute uniforms they’ve chosen professionals with a keen sense of closeness and helpfulness. They make you feel you, customer, are important for the company. It is said that Singapore’s crew goes under a 4-month training program before flying. They can talk to you about the wine, seem to know the basics about your culture and are very, very polite. They smile like in a genuine way. Maybe it’s a “fake it till you make it” but in, anyway, it works.

Second, the food is really better than the one served in most of the airlines. It is known that the highest classes have wonderful meals on a flight, but even in economy class in Singapore the food tastes delicious, the cutlery is the real one, and portions are generous.

Third, the fleet age and… space! Ageing is challenging for everyone, including airplanes. So it is really nice to know that Singapore’s fleet is young (average: 7 years old), and also that its planes are more spacious as they have fewer seats. Yes, legroom in Singapore is real. So if you are a bit big, you’ll love not to travel like a sardine. If you are not big, you’ll love to travel comfortably.

Reasons to fly with Qatar Airways

qatar airways onboard lounge
An onboard lounge to socialise while traveling

Besides getting the second prize in the world general ranking, Qatar Airways was chosen as the best business class. The company seems to have nailed in details, like one reviewer commenting: “Even though I travelled economy class, I still got a pre-flight drink. Now that is service!”.

For economy class, Qatar Airways does really good too with the age of its fleet (5 years on average) and bigger legroom than the average. However, the company really excels in business class. To start with, these passengers have 78 inches of seat pitch and 22-inch wide seats. The seats also have built-in massagers.

Qatar also has a “Qsuite”, an experience offered for business class passengers, who have customizable seats, allowing them to work, dine and socialize together.

Another differentiator is the double bed for passengers to have a restful trip combined with soft pajamas, 100% cotton sleeper suits, no-slip socks, an eye mask, and pure wool blankets. And… the pajamas are a gift!  

Reasons to fly with EVA Air

eva air hello kitty
EVA Air has a thing with Sanrio’s famous character, Hello Kitty

EVA is a Taiwanese airline that code-shares with Air New Zealand and is famous for its Hello Kitty branded silverware, pillows, flight attendant uniforms, graphic materials and even toilet paper. They are known for being the “sweetest airline” and a real treat for the kitty’s fans.

Though very present in the Asian skies, EVA flies to several US cities like Seattle, Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Houston (IAH) and San Francisco (SFO).

So besides having a cute crew wearing Hello Kitty, they are really polite, friendly and helpful. In Premium Economy, you can choose delicious dishes from their “Sky Menu”. In their specific “Hello Kitty flights”, children have a special menu with healthy and delicious treats.

EVA puts lots of attention to detail started during boarding, when business class passengers are offered Godiva chocolates along with pre-departure beverages. Dinner includes menus designed by an award-winning Taiwanese artist and is served on beautiful tablecloths.

Reasons to fly with Emirates

emirates airlines first class
Emirates is the first one in the first class: pure luxury

Well, it´s no secret that if you are wealthy or able enough to get a business class upgrade, you’ll certainly want to experience flying with Emirates, the most luxurious of airline companies. In TripAdvisor’s award, Emirates got the 4th position in the general ranking and is the winner of first-class (of course).

In some aspects, it doesn’t really matter where you have your seat in Emirates. Whether it is economy or higher class, you can access up to 3,000 channels of entertainment, from news to movies to interactive games on their entertainment system. Besides, Emirates A380 aircraft and a few select Boeing 777 have free Wi-Fi.

However, the most practical benefit of Emirates is their baggage allowance: 30Kgs for economy class passengers and 40 Kgs for business class passengers. Their service comes with cargo tracking so your luggage doesn’t go missing.

But when we take a closer look at Emirates first class… It’s impossible not to have a Wow! Moment. It’s basically like flying at a 5-star hotel. The experience starts on the bus leading to the aircraft: leather seats and a few travelers to make you feel incredibly rich.

Lots of room available, in opposition to the crammed services offered by average airlines. This is the first impression: there’s enough space for luggage and for your body, no matter the size you are. The finest chocolates, coffee and tea, or a “Mimosa” (champagne with orange juice), are the pre-departure treats in this luxury class. Not necessary to add that the wine carte includes the best French champagne obviously poured in sparkling glasses.

The first class suite is literally a SUITE. You have a closet, amenity kits, pajamas, everything else to need to feel at a luxury flying hotel, including “room service” call service.

It also adds some curious elements to your first class experience, like for example, binoculars to explore the sky and Earth in a much closer look.

The menu, no need to say, comes from award-winning chefs, and during the whole flight you can count on a mini-bar for those sudden thirsty moments.

And when you finally want to sleep, a smiling flight attendant comes over to prepare your comfy seat turned bed.

Reasons to fly with Japan Airlines

As airlines in Asia and Middle-East really dominate the skies in terms of quality, Japan Airlines is not left behind. The pillar of the company is based on omotenashi, or “Japanese hospitality”, which relies on a careful observation to the guests’ needs and being promptly responsive to them. This includes sparkling clean aircraft, minimalist interiors, wider seats, tasty meals, and, of course, amazingly professional flight attendants.

japan airlines children menu
The Japanese hospitality impressed into the cutest children’s menu ever

But maybe the best reason to fly with JAL is the price. Among these top-5 best airlines in the world, it has the lowest cost. A long-haul flight from Tokyo to San Francisco in May, for example, starts in 3,000€ roundtrip for business class. All the other ones go above that.

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