The 2020 list of the world’s best airlines is as always special , and regaining the top spot this year from Singapore Airlines is Air New Zealand.
The much-awaited annual Airline Excellence Awards are carried out by AirlineRatings.com, which is an aviation safety- and product-rating site based out of Perth, Australia.
To decide who wins, seven editors at the agency consider a dozen key factors including operational safety, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, fleet age, and product offerings such as premium economy on long-haul flights and seating options in other classes.
Air New Zealand’s number-one score should come as no surprise since, aside from last year’s loss to Singapore Airlines, the carrier has claimed the top spot for six of the past seven years.
he carrier beat out relative behemoths like Emirates, which recently introduced all-new first-class suites as well as new business-class seating, Qatar Airways with its much-lauded Qsuites in business class, and Japanese airline ANA, which is also recently unveiled stunning new cabins in first and business class.
You can find all the rankings here, but this is the complete list of AirlineRatings.com’s best airlines in the world for 2020.
1. Air New Zealand
2. Singapore Airlines
3. All Nippon Airways
5. Cathay Pacific
7. Virgin Atlantic
8. EVA Air
9. Qatar Airways
10. Virgin Australia
13. Japan Airlines
15. Korean Airlines
16. Hawaiian Airlines
17. British Airways
18. Alaska Airlines
19. Delta Air Lines
20. Etihad Airways
Unlike previous years, fliers will find airlines from the Americas and Europe on this list since it has been expanded from just 10 entries to a full 20 spots.
Some surprising inclusions are Cathay Pacific given the hurdles that airline has faced due to social unrest in its hub of Hong Kong, and Virgin Atlantic nabbing the number-seven slot thanks to the launch of new routes and a new business-class cabin.
Perhaps it’s not astonishing that Delta eked out a spot on the list thanks to outstanding suites in business class and a rapidly expanding list of partners. But it only edged in at number 20, perhaps due to the complexities (and traffic snarls) of running one of the world’s largest aviation operations.
In addition to the overall rankings, AirlineRatings.com also picks individual winners in 13 specific categories. Here are those results.
Best First Class: Singapore Airlines took the top prize again with its new first-class suites.
Best Business Class: Despite slipping to number nine in the overall rankings, Qatar Airways held onto its best business class title again this year. “The airline’s Qsuite is a first-class experience in business class,” said Thomas. “It leaves little to chance, and our judges rated it as one of the best overall business-class products they had seen. It sets a standard to which some airlines can only aspire.”
Best Premium Economy: Air New Zealand won this round thanks to comfortable seats and upscale amenities.
Best Economy: Virgin Australia pulled out the win here thanks to spacious cabins in its Boeing 777 long-haul fleet.
Best Cabin Crew: Virgin Australia also took home this trophy for the second year in a row. “Virgin Australia has redefined the travel experience with its Economy X, Premium Economy, and standout Business Class,” said Thomas. “Add to that its cabin crew, which are the world’s best, and you have another airline punching well above its weight.”
Best Catering: Qatar Airways scored in this category for another year thanks to dine-on-demand service.
Best Lounges: Qantas Airways remained the champ in this category for yet another year. “The judges were unanimous on the airline’s lounges which are exceptional,” said Thomas.
Best In-Flight Entertainment: Emirates won this category last year, too. “Emirates was one of the pioneers of IFE, and one of the first to install seatback videos in economy,” explained Thomas. “Today’s its IFE platform ICE is in a class of its own.”
Domestic Airline of the Year: Qantas picked up the prize for best domestic airline service with a call out to its premium transcontinental product aboard the Airbus A330.
Most Improved Airline: Philippine airline Cebu Pacific took home the top spot in this category thanks to “a move to expand its global footprint using new generation fuel-efficient aircraft,” said Thomas.
Best Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier: Vietnam-based carrier VietJet once again earned top honors here thanks to “a smart business plan that brings affordable travel to millions.”
Best Long-Haul Airline: AirlineRatings.com breaks this category down by region in the following way: Emirates (Middle East/Africa), Cathay Pacific (Asia), Lufthansa (Europe) and Delta (Americas).
Best Low-Cost Airline: Also ranked by region, the winners here were JetBlue (Americas), Wizz (Europe), Air Asia/AirAsia X (Asia/Pacific) and Air Arabia (Middle East/Africa).
As with any rankings system, the importance of this one to most fliers will depend more on the carriers operating in their home region and their own flying habits. For a more general overview of the aviation industry and the top players, check out rankings from other major publications, including Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and SkyTrax.
If you like more hit the the follow button and stay tuned for more in the future. Your Besthoteltester Team.