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Only one U.S. airline ranked among the 10 best in the world — here's who came out on top

Jacob Passy

Airlines' track records amid the COVID-19 pandemic factored in the new ranking

Many people are taking to the skies again after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination -- so which airline should they choose?

According to's annual ranking (link), their best bet is Qatar Airways, which topped the travel search site's list of the Top 20 carriers around the world. The rankings were based on a range of factors, including safety and innovation.

To be included in the list, an airline must have achieved "a seven-star safety rating," the website noted. The ranking also factored in improvements to the flight experience and passenger comfort. Passenger feedback submitted through the website also played a role in which airlines came out on top.

"We are focused on leadership and airlines that innovate to make a real difference to the passenger experience," editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said in the report.

Qatar Airways took the No. 1 spot "because of its cabin innovation, passenger service, and its dedication and commitment to continue to operate throughout the COVID pandemic." The ranking noted that Qatar Airways was the first to be COVID-audited by AirlineRatings and airline consulting firm Skytrax. Qatar Airways also participated in the trial for the COVID travel pass created by the International Air Transport Association.

Air New Zealand came in second place, while Singapore Airlines took the third spot as well as ranking best for first-class accommodations.

Among U.S.-based carriers, United Airlines (UAL) performed best in the ranking, jumping to eighth place after not featuring in the Top 20 in the previous ranking (link). attributed United's climb to its recent announcement of plans to re-introduce Concorde-style supersonic jets to the aviation sector. In June, United announced it was buying (link) a fleet of supersonic planes that could travel between San Francisco and Tokyo in as little as six hours.

Other U.S. airlines that featured in the Top 20 include Hawaiian Airlines (HA) (No. 16), Alaska Airlines (ALK) (No. 17) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) (No. 19). Here's the full ranking, per

A number of U.S-based carriers also featured on's separate, unranked list of the 10 best low-cost airlines: JetBlue (JBLU), Southwest (LUV) and Frontier. (ULCC) That list was based largely on the airlines' safety ratings.

"Each of these airlines has an excellent safety record and has made a big difference in their market," Thomas said. "From Southwest Airlines which started the low-cost revolution in the 1970s to JetBlue which redefines the low-cost product, each airline has made a huge contribution to affordable travel."

-Jacob Passy; 415-439-6400;


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

07-24-21 0826ET

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