The key to being a happy traveler is embracing the journey as much as the destination, and the flight carrier you choose can make or break your holiday vibes. The best airlines fall into the sweet spot where price meets perks, pampering their passengers with little extras that turn a regular flight into something memorable. Read on to uncover the best international airlines that will leave you with nothing but smiles on your way from A to B.
You don’t have to take our word for it. Singapore Airlines was officially voted the best airline of 2023 in the Annual Air Transport World (ATW) Airline Industry Achievement Awards. It’s a top choice for those heading to East Asia and Oceania via their Singaporean hub.
Comfort is king for Singapore Airlines. The seats are designed to provide more personal space, with Extra Legroom seats available in Economy. The business class seats are handcrafted from Scottish leather, offering reclined positions like Lazy Z and Sundeck for the epitome of relaxation. On the fleet’s A380 superjumbo aircraft, passengers can even book a private suite.
Why We Think They’re Winners: One of the main reasons they earn bragging rights as one of the best airlines in the world is that they truly invest in their crew. Their flight teams undergo intensive training, mastering everything from pouring drinks with finesse to becoming cultural experts.
Bonus for Family Travelers: Picky eaters aren’t a problem, as Singapore Airlines offers a range of child and infant meals. For young travelers in Suites, First, or Business Class, they can even select their main course from the Book the Cook child menu, which features 15 dishes to choose from.
Qatar Airways stands out with its ultra-modern fleet. You can expect spotless cabins and elegant touches, like tray tables that resemble luxurious marble. The airline’s extensive network of over 100 destinations across six continents means you’re likely to find the perfect flight for wherever you’re headed. This makes earning your Avios loyalty rewards—your passport to earning perks like bigger baggage allowances—even easier.
It’s the little things that truly make the journey with Qatar Airways exceptional. Take the A350-1000, for instance, where passengers are eased into and out of sleep by the advanced LED lighting system, meant to emulate sunrise and sunset and help passengers adapt to different time zones.
Why We Think They’re Winners: From movies and TV shows to video games and music, boredom doesn’t stand a chance on Qatar Airways. Every seat is equipped with the Oryx system, offering thousands of entertainment options. You also have to love an airline that offers food on demand, including buttered popcorn for watching movies.
Bonus for Business Travelers: Business class passengers on long-haul flights are in for a treat with soft, high-quality cotton sleeper suits. Slip into cozy, no-slip socks and an eye mask, and get ready for a night of restful sleep. The best part? You can keep the Qatar pajamas as a bonus souvenir from your trip.
With a vast network covering over 150 destinations from its hub in Dubai, booking with Emirates Airlines is like having the world at your fingertips. The convenience and ease of flying to almost any major city across the globe make Emirates a go-to choice for wanderlust-filled adventurers.
If you’re lucky enough to have a layover in Dubai, get ready for a little extra excitement. You can enjoy their comfortable airport lounges, indulge in some retail therapy, or step out for a quick exploration of Dubai’s attractions. It’s like adding a bonus adventure to your journey.
Why We Think They’re Winners: Can you imagine indulging in a luxurious shower high up in the sky? Emirates offers its first-class passengers a unique spa-like shower experience on their Airbus A380 aircraft. The airline goes the extra mile by providing complimentary amenity kits to all passengers, and yes, that includes economy class too.
Bonus for Family Travelers: Emirates provides discounts for infants and children, making it more affordable for families to fly together. They also offer complimentary strollers at Dubai International Airport, making it easier for parents to navigate the airport with their little ones. For the littlest flyers, Emirates offers the full range of organic Ella’s Kitchen baby food onboard.
Turkish Airlines might not be as famous as Emirates or Qatar Airways, but over the past 88 years they’ve quietly grown into a significant global player.
They have an impressive route network, good food, and fantastic lounges with their homebase at Istanbul Airport (IST), one of the largest aviation hubs worldwide. Turkish Airlines stands out for flying to more countries than any other airline—over 120 countries, to be precise.
Why We Think They’re Winners: When it comes to value, Turkish Airlines offers a decent deal with their points and miles system. As part of the Star Alliance, passengers on Turkish Airlines flights can earn miles for programs like United Mileage Plus, Air Canada Aeroplan, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Lufthansa Miles, and more.
A Bonus for Remote Workers: Turkish Airlines has internet on board, so you can stay connected throughout the flight.
Spreading French excellence around the world since 1933, Air France understands that traveling should be a stylish affair. Their airport lounges are chic havens designed by some of the best architects and their uniforms are on trend too, thanks to top couturiers. Onboard, passengers are treated like royalty, with access to a sommelier-curated wine list and out-of-this-world meals whipped up by top chefs.
Why We Think They’re Winners: The business cabin is all about helping passengers get things done efficiently and comfortably, featuring individual power outlets to charge your phone or computer, an adjustable reading light that won’t bother your neighbor, noise-reducing headphones, and dedicated storage spaces for your gear.
A Bonus Treat for Travelers: What’s a flight without a little bubbly? Air France has got your back with free champagne in all cabins.
Step aboard Japan Airlines (JAL) and you’ll find yourself in a world of genuine hospitality. With a soaring legacy since 1951 and a fleet of over 230 modern aircraft, JAL is a major player on the global scene. Japan Airlines expanded its reach by joining the Oneworld Alliance in 2007, and now connects travelers to 95 destinations across 20 territories through their major hubs in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Okinawa.
But what truly sets JAL apart is their economy class experience, where they’ve cracked the code for ultimate comfort. With increased pitch and slim seatbacks, passengers get more legroom than ever before. And it’s not just about your legs; the generous space between armrests lets you spread out in comfort.
Why We Think They’re Winners: You’re in for a treat with tantalizing menus inspired by Japan’s iconic food culture, and ever-changing collaborations and innovations.
A Bonus for Budget-Conscious Travelers: If you’ve booked an economy or premium economy ticket through the JAL website, you have a chance to secure a better deal and enjoy an upgraded experience without breaking the bank. Simply enter your bid, and they’ll let you know seven days before your flight if you’re eligible.
Watch this space—this airline is on our list for the next best international airline. They’ve got major a refurbishment planned.
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is Switzerland’s national airline. Even though they might not be the biggest airline around, they make up for it with that incredible Swiss attention to detail and high service standards.
As part of the Lufthansa family, along with Austrian and Brussels Airlines, SWISS has you covered with flights from their Zurich hub to major US cities like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, and San Francisco.
Why We Think They’re Winners: Passengers traveling in all classes on SWISS flights can send text and photo messages through messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, and Telegram.
A Bonus Treat for Travelers: The airline teamed up with Victorinox, the brand behind the famous Swiss army knives, to bring first and business class passengers next-level amenity kits.
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