The 20 Best Airlines of 2016

aircraft on tarmac

Get your passports out, here are the 20 best airlines according to Skytrax’s 2016 consumer rankings.

Skytrax is the leading consumer-aviation website and the recognised airline rating system, with their Star Ratings a global benchmark for airline standards. Rankings from their most recent consumer survey are based on the impressions of 19.2 million travellers from 104 different countries. The survey covered more than 280 airlines and measured 41 parameters including boarding procedures, meal quality, the quality of service and even toilet cleanliness. Emirates has been named the World’s Best Airline for 2016, in addition to achieving the World’s Best In-flight Entertainment for a record 12 consecutive years. Below we list the Top 20 airlines for 2016 in accordance to Skytrax’s rankings.

1. Emirates

Emirates plane on tarmac

Previous rank: 5

Emirates has developed into one of the world’s premier long-haul carriers over the past 30 years, boasting the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380 Superjumbos and Boeing 777 wide-body jets. The airline also has the latest in in-flight entertainment systems including an extensive selection of video and music options on demand, as well as live television and sporting events through its “ice” entertainment system.

2. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Business Class

Previous rank: 1

After falling back from the coveted top spot, the Doha-based- airline took comfort in praise for their seat quality and in-flight entertainment and took home the prize for Best Business Class, Best Business Class lounge and Best Airline Staff in the Middle East.

3. Singapore Airlines

Hostess on Singapore airlines fligh

Previous rank: 2

Named the Best Airline in Asia, and well as titled with the Best Business Class Airline Seat, Singapore Airlines is a standout for its incredible service. Changi International Airport, the airline’s home base, is one of the best airport facilities in the game and has been named Best Airport in the World four years in a row by Skytrax.

4. Cathay Pacific

Cathay pacific taking off at LA airport

Previous rank: 3

Declared the World’s Best for Cabin Cleanliness, Cathay Pacific has also been awarded the Best First Class Lounge for its recently renovated facility at its home base airport in Hong Kong.

5. All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways plane at airport

Previous rank: 7

All Nippon Airways, the largest international carrier in Japan and home to one of the world’s largest fleets of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, has achieved the World’s Best Airport Services and Best Airline Staff in Asia for the second successive year. The airline has received praise across the board for near-perfect scores in cleanliness, service and safety as well as many of their aircraft featuring slide-forward-style reclining seats.

6. Etihad Airways

Bar lounge on Etihad plane

Previous rank: 6

The airline was named as having the World’s Best First Class cabin, Best First Class seat and Best First Class catering. Based in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways is the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, becoming famous for its trademark flying apartments and lavish first class and business class suites.

7. Turkish Airlines

turkish airlines plane

Previous rank: 4

Turkish Airlines was named as the Best Airline in Europe – its sixth consecutive year in a row now. The Istanbul based carrier was also acknowledged for its Business Class catering with top prizes for both on-board and lounge dining standards. The airline also received the title of Best Airline in Southern Europe.

8. EVA Air

EVA Air hello kitty plane

Previous rank: 9

The world’s newest 5-Star airline EVA Air was named as the Best Transpacific Airline and was also considered to have the Best Business Class Comfort Amenities. The Taipei-based carrier has grown immensely in the past two decades and is credited with pioneering the “premium economy” cabin.

9. Qantas

Qantas plane on tarmac

Previous rank: 10

Despite suffering a series of severe financial setbacks in recent years, Qantas has taken home the title for Best Airline in Australia/Pacific for the fourth successive year and also taking the award for Best Airline Staff in Australia /Pacific and Best Premium Economy Catering. There is also Qantas’ calling card — it has a fatality-free safety record in the jet era.

10. Lufthansa

Lufthansa first class cabin

Previous rank: 12

Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, was again successfully named as the Best Transatlantic Airline for the fifth time, also winning the Best Airline in Western Europe award.

11. Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia plane

Previous rank: 8

Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia secured the top prize of World’s Best Cabin Staff for the third year in a row. Experiencing a dramatic turnaround in recent years. Garuda Indonesia has undertaken extensive fleet renewal and service-improvement measures to regain the trust of both fliers and safety regulators.

12. Hainan Airlines

Hainan Airlines plane

Previous Rank: 22

Hainan Airlines secured the award for Best Airline in China, in addition to the Best Airline Staff Service in China. They’re also the only Chinese airline to hold the coveted Skytrax five-star rating. With a brand-new fleet of more than 160 Boeing and Airbus jets, Hainan Airlines is expanding rapidly throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia.

13. Thai Airways

inside of thai airways plane with multicoloured ligh

Previous rank: 19

Named the World’s Most Improved Airline, Thai Airways’ lounge spa in Bangkok was also honoured with an award for Best Airline Lounge Spa Facility.

14. Air France

Air France First Class lounge dining at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Previous rank: 15

For the third successive year, the Air France First Class Lounge at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was judged to be the world’s best by customers. On-board, their First Class comfort amenities were ranked best in the world.

15. Swiss International Air Lines

Swiss International Air lines plane

Previous rank: 14

Swiss International Air Lines emerged in 2002 from the remnants of the now defunct Swissair, and is now a member of the Lufthansa family. Skytrax praised the cabin crew for their friendly service and the airline for its wide assortment of complimentary alcoholic beverages.

16. Asiana Airlines

Asiana airlines plane in air

Previous rank: 11

Asiana Airlines Economy Class cabin won the awards for World’s Best Economy Class, Best Economy Class seat and Best Economy Class catering. This was the second successive year the airline has secured the award for best overall Economy Class.

17. Air New Zealand

air new zealand lane at queenstown airport

Previous rank: 17

Air New Zealand, for the fifth time, took the top position for World’s Best Premium Economy Class, in addition also securing the award for Best Premium Economy Seat.

18. Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia aircraft

Previous rank: 16

The biggest airline in billionaire Richard Branson’s portfolio of Virgin brands, Virgin Australia has experienced massive growth in the Asia-Pacific market since its founding in 2000.

19. Austrian Airlines

Austrian Airlines

Previous rank: 13

For the second successive year, the Vienna carrier and Lufthansa-owned airline was voted as having the Best Airline Staff in Europe.

20. Bangkok Airways

cabin crew on bangkok airways

Previous rank: 23

Chances are that unless you’ve flown through Southeast Asia you’ve neither heard of nor flown Bangkok Airways who were named the World’s Best Regional Airline for the second time.