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This is America's best-ranked airline

U.S. airlines are not doing so great on this world ranking by

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

When it comes to booking airline tickets, most of us try to balance economics with the perceived comfort level of the airline we are selecting. And while some of us have horror stories that prevent us from ever flying a particular carrier ever again, we might prefer an airline enough to be willing to pay a little more to ride with them. Here to help us out on weighing things are the Airline Excellence Awards and the accompanying ranking of the 25 top airlines in the world by, as reported by Thrillist.

First, here are the top 25 airlines, and then we’ll do a little analysis:
1. Air New Zealand
2. Qatar Airways
3. Etihad Airways
4. Korean Air
5. Singapore Airlines
6. Qantas
7. Virgin Australia / Virgin Atlantic
8. EVA Air
9. Cathay Pacific Airways
10. Emirates
11. Lufthansa / Swiss
12. SAS
13. TAP Portugal
14. All Nippon Airways
15. Delta Air Lines
16. Air Canada
17. British Airways
18. JetBlue
19. JAL
20. Vietnam Airlines
21. Turkish Airlines
22. Hawaiian
23. KLM
24. Alaska Airlines
25. United Airlines

A quick glance shows that no American carrier appears on the list until #15: Delta. And then we wade through some more international airlines before hitting somewhat of a surprise, the budget carrier JetBlue at #18. Luckily, we finish strong with Hawaiian at #22, Alaska at #24 and United at #25.

Hmmmm, are we missing any large-scale U.S. airlines we might’ve expected to see on this list? We’re scouring the list for American and Southwest, which are the second and fourth-largest U.S. carriers by capacity, respectively.

According to, “To be named in the top 25, airlines must achieve a seven-star safety rating and demonstrate leadership in innovation for passenger comfort.” In case you’re wondering, American and Southwest both have seven stars for safety. For other U.S. carriers in the top 10 by capacity, but not appearing on the Top 25 list, Frontier, Alaska and Allegiant all have seven stars, but Spirit has six.

Of course, the report mentions the additional pressures on the airline industry both because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and because of lingering concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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