The Top 25 Airlines in the World

These carriers are the best of the best in the skies in 2024.

aircraft taxiing to airport runway
Updated June 27, 2024
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Peace of mind is paramount when you step off the jet bridge and into a plane’s cabin, ready to embark on your next adventure. Thanks to the folks at AirlineRatings, we now know which airlines are the cream of the crop.

AirlineRatings looked at a dozen factors — including safety, number of incidents, passenger reviews, the health and age of planes, innovation, and profitability — and concluded that these airlines are at the top of the food chain.

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Qatar Airways

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Environmentally conscious and frequently lauded as the world’s best, Qatar Airways is a multi-award-winning airline that took this year’s top spot. Based in Doha, Qatar, it flies to nearly 170 international destinations.

Korean Air

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Famous for its delicious cuisine and fun amenities, Korean Air is a venerable airline that flies to 111 cities in 40 countries. It is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.

Cathay Pacific Airways

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This Hong Kong-based airline flies to 92 destinations worldwide. The award-winning carrier has the widest first-class seats of any airline, so upgrade if you can.

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Air New Zealand

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Air New Zealand has one of the newest fleets of planes in the entire industry. The Auckland-based carrier flies to 49 destinations in New Zealand and worldwide.

Emirates

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With 137 international destinations on six continents, Emirates has its hub in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The airline is known for putting customer experience first instead of cutting costs.

AirFrance/KLM

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AirFrance/KLM is a Paris-based airline that is the first European carrier on this list. The group flies to 300 destinations in 125 countries and has notably exceptional first-class amenities and service.

All Nippon Airways

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Headquartered in Tokyo, All Nippon Airways is Japan’s biggest carrier, with 50 domestic and 32 international destinations. Expect more space and better-than-average customer service in all classes.

Etihad Airways

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The second Dubai-based airline on this list, Etihad Airways makes its hub in Abu Dhabi and connects to 70 destinations globally. It has earned honors for its sustainability initiatives and superb customer service.

Qantas

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Australia's largest airline, Qantas, flies to more than 95 cities worldwide from its primary hub in Sydney. It’s been named the safest airline in the world multiple times, arguably setting the gold standard.

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Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic

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London-based Virgin Atlantic flies to 32 cities while Virgin Australia visits 30 for a combined 62 destinations. These airlines are known for being the “fun” way to fly.

Vietnam Airlines

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Vietnam Airlines flies to more than 230 locales worldwide. Reviewers point out that the customer service is excellent.

Singapore Airlines

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Known for its luxury service and doing things right — even in economy class — Singapore Airlines flies to 120 international cities from its hub at the busy and elegant Singapore Changi Airport.

EVA Air

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EVA Air is a Taiwanese airline that operates out of Taoyuan International Airport. It lands in more than 60 destinations in Asia, Europe, North America, and down under, and is famous for its Hello Kitty-themed planes.

TAP Portugal

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TAP Portugal is a Portuguese carrier based in Lisbon that takes off from 80 cities in 30 countries worldwide. It earns high marks for being affordable. The airline also offers free stopovers in Lisbon and Porto on some itineraries.

Japan Airlines

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The second Japanese airline on this list flies to 66 countries and regions. The airline prides itself on exceptional economy-class service and offers great food and amenities, and ample entertainment options.

Finnair

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One of the oldest airlines in the world — it just celebrated a century of service — Finnair stops in around 100 destinations worldwide. The airline is also one of the most on-time carriers in Europe.

Hawaiian Airlines

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The biggest airline in Hawaii flies to 138 destinations in Hawaii, North America, Asia, and beyond. The airline has received awards for excellent cuisine, great customer service, and reliability.

Alaska Airlines

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Alaska Airlines has 125 cities on its list of destinations. The airline’s excellent rewards program is based on distance flown instead of the cost of your fare, which makes it one of the best.

Lufthansa/Swiss

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Lufthansa flies to 204 destinations, while Swiss has more than 100 destinations on its roster.

Turkish Airlines

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Not only does Turkish Airlines have one of the biggest hubs in the world at Istanbul Airport, it also flies to 120 countries — the most of any airline. This carrier is known for its phenomenal cuisine.

IGA Group

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The IGA Group touches down in more than 250 airports in 91 countries. Airlines include Iberia — the largest carrier in Spain — and British Airways.

Air Canada

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Consistently voted the best carrier in North America by Skytrax and lauded for its delicious business class cuisine, Air Canada taxis in and out of more than 200 cities around the world.

Delta Air Lines

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Delta Air Lines is a large American carrier that flies to 275 airports in 50 countries. It is one of the most punctual airlines in North America and has a good track record for safety.

United Airlines

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Chicago-based United Airlines flies to 210 domestic destinations and 120 international destinations. It is known for being a safe airline, with a good track record and a relatively young fleet of planes.

American Airlines

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American Airlines has more seats than any other airline in the U.S. It flies to more than 350 destinations across six continents. This airline often keeps ticket costs lower than the competition, which can help you save more on travel.

Bottom line

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If you are looking for ways to travel more in 2024, there is a good chance you will book more flights throughout the year. The airlines on this list are known for being safe and reliable.

Many of them also offer perks that make them stand out. So, try one or more of the airlines on this list and see if you discover a new favorite.

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Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

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Author Details

Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.