The World’s Best Airlines

South African Airways Airbus A340-600 at London Heathrow

Top 10 Airlines

As a backpacker you are always looking for the cheapest, most efficient way to get from point A to point B. However, not all airlines are the same. Sometimes its worth the extra splurge to have the flying experience offered by these top 10 airlines; and while the experience may not justify the price point, you should also consider the rewards program offered by the various airlines. While it may not make financial sense to purchase a more expensive ticket for the sake of their rewards program, remember that reward points equals free flights. There is nothing better than flying half-way across the world for the cost of a pair a boots. Keep in mind that most major airlines have sister programs with other airline reward programs. For instance, both Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines are part of the Star Alliance reward program, which includes Air Canada, Continental Airlines and U.S. Airways. Whereas American Airlines is part of the Oneworld rewards program which includes top airlines such as British Airways and Cathay Pacific. For the top 10 airlines based on food, comfort, on-board service, customer service, in-flight entertianment and overall experience check out the list below. (all rankings out of 5)

What are the top 10 Airlines?

1. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is the flag carrier for Singapore and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Australia/New Zealand markets. Not only is it one of the most reputable airlines in the world but it was ranked 27 on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies 2010. It has also been named the Best Airline in the World 2010 (for 7 consecutive years) by Global Traveler and has been awarded Conde Nast Traveler’s 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Global Airline Award (22 of of 23 years).

Food

4

Comfort

4

On Board Service

5

Customer Service

5

Inflight Entertainment

5

Overall Experience

5

Airbus | A380-841 | Singapore Airlines | 9V-SKE | Hong Kong | HKG | VHHH

2. Thai Airways

Thai Airways is the national carrier for Thailand and the largest airline in Thailand. As one of the founding members of Star Alliance, Thai Airways now flies to over 72 destination in 35 countries. Thai Airways has been awarded numerous awards including: “World’s Best Cabin Staff and The Best Airline in the World” (2006), placing second in the “Airline of the Year” category (2007) and Thai Airways First Class Lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok was awarded “World’s Best First Class Lounge” (2009).

Food

5

Comfort

4

On Board Service

4.5

Customer Service

4

Inflight Entertainment

4

Overall Experience

4.5

Orchid for the ladies

3. Asiana Airlines

Formerly known as Seoul Airlines, Asiana Airlines is one of South Korea’s major airlines, in addition to Korean Air. A member of Star Alliance, Asiana services destinations throughout Asia, Europe, Oceania and North America. In 2010 Asiana, was named “Best in Flight Service in the World” by Global Travelers magazine. As well, in 2010 Asiana was rated the “Best Airline in Northern Asia”. Asiana won the prestigious “Airline of the Year” award (2010) awarded by Skytrax and it is one of the seven airlines to be ranked as a 5 star airline (Skytrax).

Food

4

Comfort

4.5

On Board Service

4.5

Customer Service

4

Inflight Entertainment

4

Overall Experience

4.5

Main Course: Pan Fried Seafood, served with Lobster Sauce, Vegetables and Steamed Rice

4. Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier for Hong Kong and now services 114 destinations in 36 countries. Cathay Pacific is a founding member of the Oneworld alliance program, along with its wholly owned subsidiary Dragonair (a discount Asian airline). Cathay was awarded the “Best Airline of the Year” Award by Skytrax and is one of the 7 airlines to be ranked a 5 star airline (Skytrax)

Food

4

Comfort

4.5

On Board Service

4

Customer Service

4

Inflight Entertainment

4.5

Overall Experience

4

Turn Down Service

5. Emirates Airlines

Emirates is the national airline of Dubai, United Arab Emirates and is the largest airline in the Middle East, operating over 2400 passenger flights per week. Emirates has built up a strong name in the aviation industry particularly in the area of service excellence and consistent customer service. It was voted the eighth best airline in the world by Skytrax and in February 2011, Air Transport World awarded Emirates the title of “Airline of the Year” 2011.

Food

4

Comfort

5

On Board Service

4

Customer Service

4

Inflight entertainment

5

Overall Experience

4.5

Exclusive Bar for First and Business Class Passengers Onboard Emirates Airbus 380

6. British Airways

British Airways is the flag carrier for the United Kingdom and is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet, size, frequency of flights and serviced international destinations. British Airways is also one of the founding members of Oneworld alliance servicing nearly 150 destinations. Winning “Best Airline Worldwide” and “Best Longhaul Airline” at the Business Travel Awards, it is the airline of choice for many business travellers throughout Europe. Its also a great airline to ride if you want a free stopover in England.

Food

3.5

Comfort

4

On Board Service

4

Customer Service

4.5

Inflight entertainment

4

Overall Experience

4.5

British Airways Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde G-BBDG

7. Ethiad Airlines

Ethiad is the national airline for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Established in 2003, this young, fresh company has quickly grown the ranks in the category of the best airlines in the world servicing 64 destinations in 42 countries; such as, North America, Oceania, Asia, Europe and Africa. Ethiad has received over 30 awards since its inception in 2003. While it received a 4 star rating from Skytrax, its business and first class programs received a 5 star rating. In addition, it won World Travel Awards designation for the “Best Business Class in the World” (2009) and received Skytrax’s award for “World’s Best First Class” (2010). World Travel Awards has also awarded Ethiad the title of  the “World’s Leading Airline” for 2 consecutive years (2009, 2010).

Food

4

Comfort

5

On Board Service

4.5

Customer Service

4.5

Inflight entertainment

4

Overall Experience

4.5

Air Canada Business Class

8. Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines is the government owned national carrier of Malaysia. Since its inception in 1963, Malaysian airlines has made a name for itself in the aviation industry for both safety standards and its strong brand presence.  It flies to 87 countires across 6 continents.  Malaysia Airlines is one of 7 airlines to be ranked as a 5 star airline by Skytrax and has also received the firm’s “Quality Improved Airlines” award. Not only is Malyasian Airlines a 5 star airline, it introduced the Everyday Low Fares Programme in 2008, which offers zero fare tickets in order to generate income for unsold seats through fuel surcharges, airport taxes and  and admnistrative fees; therefore, making travel more accessible to penny conscious travellers.

Food 4.5
Comfort 4
On Board Service 4
Customer Service 5
Inflight entertainment 4
Overall Experience 4

Malaysian Airline MH Business Class

9. Qantas Airways

Qantas is Australia’s national carrier, flying to 20 domestic destinations and 21 international destinations in Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania. While it is considered a 4 star airline by Skytrax it was also voted the seventh best airline in the world (Skytrax).

Food

3.5

Comfort

4

On Board Service

4

Customer Service

4

Inflight entertainment

3.5

Overall Experience

4

Qantas

10. Lufthansa

Lufthansa, is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of per passenger transported. It is a founding member of Star Alliance and services 18 domestic destinations and 183 international destinations in 78 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. World Travel Awards awarded Lufthansa the title of “Europe’s Leading airline” (2009) and it was voted in the top position by Business Traveler magazine for “Best Business Class on Domestic German and European Flights” and  ”Best Airline Website for Business Travellers”.

Food

3.5

Comfort

4

On Board Service

4

Customer Service

3.5

Inflight entertainment

4

Overall Experience

4

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While most airlines will get you from point A to point B, the top 10 airlines offer a level of service unparalleled in the aviation industry.

Backpacking Bex