Best airlines to fly with in 2022

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In 2022, you can choose the best airline based on your preferences and demands on the flight. For example, connoisseurs of comfort will appreciate Qatar Airways for their top-rated business class. Eco-aware passengers should pay attention to Etihad Airways, which became the most eco-friendly company in 2022. Travelers with limited budgets will appreciate Southwest (US), EasyJet (Europe), Jetstar (Asia), and FlyDubai (Near East) for their affordable prices.

Check out the information below to help you choose the most suitable airline.

Largest airlines in the world

Considering different metrics, such as the number of destinations, passengers, aircrafts and workload, we can highlight the following largest airlines:

  • American Airlines — more than 6700 flights daily, 881 aircrafts, 157 destinations
  • Delta Airlines — around 5400 flights daily to all continents, 834 aircrafts, 355 destinations
  • Turkish Airlines — 312 aircrafts and 306 destinations
  • China Southern Airlines — 121 destinations, 626 aircrafts, in the top 10 in number of passengers per year

Largest airlines in Europe:

  • Ryanair — serving only 34 countries, Ryanair carries more international passengers than any other airline
  • Lufthansa — 201 destinations, in the top 10 in number of passengers per year
  • International Airlines Group (with British Airways and Iberia as subsidiaries) serves about 200 destinations worldwide
  • EasyJet — in the top 10 in number of aircrafts and passengers per year

Largest airlines in US:

  • American Airlines and Delta Airlines mentioned above as the biggest airlines not only in the US but in the world
  • Southwest Airlines — more than 700 aircrafts and more than 100 different destinations
  • TAM Airlines — the largest airline in South America

Featured airlines

Normally, airlines are divided into traditional and low-cost ones. Look at the table below to understand the difference between them.

Traditional airlines
Low-cost airlines
Division into economy and business class A shared cabin for all passengers
High baggage allowance Baggage is usually strictly limited or paid additionally
Options of ticket exchange or money refund in case of cancelling the flight No ability to change or cancel a flight for free, money is not refunded
Both direct and transfer flights Direct flights only
Drinks and food are free on board Drinks and food are paid additionally
Ability to choose seats Random seats (particular seats can be booked for an extra charge)
Both online services and offline ticket offices Online purchase of tickets only

Consider the facts above to decide which type of airline suits you best.

Pay attention to top-rated low-cost airlines, such as Ryanair, WizzAir, FlyDubai, AirAsia, and others, if you don’t mind random seating or the absence of free food and drinks.

If you are not limited in budget, consider traditional airlines and their specific features. For example, virtual reality glasses are included in the price of a first-class ticket on Qantas, and the ability to listen to pilots' conversations is free on board United Airlines.

Traditional airlines

Low-cost airlines

Airline alliances

Air alliances are global airline partnerships. What are the benefits for passengers of using flights within a particular alliance? Here are the main advantages:

  • A wide variety of destinations
  • Common bonus programs that allow you to collect reward points through air travel with any of the participating airlines
  • A simplified procedure for connecting flights

For example, if you have to fly from the USA to Europe, airlines of one alliance will offer tickets, guaranteed connections between flights, and baggage delivery to the final destination. You don‘t have to book several tickets separately with a transfer, calculate your time between flights, and check in for each flight individually.

The three largest airline alliances are Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and OneWorld.

Explore airlines

The choice of airlines in the world is immense. However, here is some useful information about the airlines to help you organize your trip. Usually, flying from one continent to another implies a long duration of the flight. Use these criteria and our lists of airlines to make the right choice for a comfortable trip:

  • A big, comfortable distance between seats (AirArabia, Air France, AirBaltic, El Al, Etihad Airways)
  • Good food service (Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines)
  • Entertainment to pass the time (Etihad Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines); passengers of these airlines can watch movies on the screen built into the back of the seat in front of them, listen to music, or play interactive games
  • Free baggage allowance (Etihad Airways and Atlasglobal are the leaders)

Safety is an essential factor for any flight, especially a long one. Air New Zealand and Qantas are recognized as the best airlines in 2022 regarding safety.

Middle East and Africa

Asia

Europe

Oceania

North America

  • Spirit Airlines
  • Volaris
  • Allegiant Air
  • VivaAerobus
  • Flair Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Linx Air
  • Swoop
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • MX
  • TAR Aerolineas
  • Porter Airlines
  • Aeromar
  • interCaribbean Airways
  • Sunwing
  • Caribbean Airlines
  • Sky Airline
  • EZ Air
  • Bahamasair
  • Key Lime Air
  • Seaborne Airlines
  • Vieques Air Link
  • Air North
  • PAL Airlines
  • Pacific Coastal Airline
  • Pascan Aviation
  • Southern Airways Express
  • Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos
  • Tropic Air Limited
  • AirCentury
  • Cayman Airways
  • Orbest

South America

Popular destinations

Frequently asked questions

What are the best airlines in the world?

When it comes to safety, pricing policy, and services, the three best traditional airlines are:

  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Norwegian Airlines

Which airline has the best first class?

Emirates has the best first class. Passengers have at their disposal:

  • A large bar
  • Two shower rooms with marble sinks and a complete set of toiletries
  • Completely separated cabins
  • A mini-bar and a dressing table with a mirror
  • Exotic and luxurious dishes on the menu

What are the best economy airlines in the world?

Every continent has its leading economy airlines:

  • Ryanair, AirBaltic (Europe)
  • AirAsia, Lion Air (Asia)
  • Southeast, Jet Blue (North America)
  • GOL (South America)
  • Jetstar (Australia and Oceania)

Is United or Delta better?

There is no clear winner; both airlines are great. Use the table below to compare selected criteria and make your choice.

United

Delta

Fewer than 300 destinations

More than 300 destinations

You earn points in loyalty programs based on the miles you cover

You earn points in loyalty programs based on the cost of your ticket

Higher fees for baggage

Lower fees for baggage

What are the best airlines to fly internationally?

The following airlines will also give you a great experience on international flights:

  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Air New Zealand

Travel between Europe and America with:

  • British Airways
  • AirFrance
  • Lufthansa
  • KLM
  • Iberia

Travel between Asia and America with:

  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • China Eastern Airlines

Travel between America and Oceania with:

  • JetStar
  • American Airlines
  • Hawaiian

Travel between Europe and Africa with:

  • Qatar Airways
  • British Airways
  • KLM
  • Air France
  • Turkish Airlines

Travel between Africa and Oceania with:

  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines

Travel between Africa and America with:

  • Qatar
  • KLM
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Air France

Travel between Africa and Asia with:

  • China Southern
  • Etihad Airways
  • Qatar

Travel between Europe and Asia with:

  • Lufthansa
  • KLM
  • LOT
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Emirates

Travel between Europe and Oceania with:

  • United
  • Etihad

Travel between Asia and Oceania with:

  • China Eastern
  • Scoot
  • Flydubai
  • Malaysia Airlines

What are the best airlines to fly with pets?

The following airlines are the best to fly with pets in terms of price and level of service:

  • American Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Delta
  • Air India
  • Air France
  • Swiss
  • Turkish Airlines

On average, the price for four-legged friends starts from $30-50, except for American Airlines, which costs at least $120.

In addition, most airlines allow pets to travel with you in the cabin if they are not so big and are kept in a special kennel.

Which airlines are the safest?

Air New Zealand and Qantas are recognized as the safest airlines in 2022.

Which airlines have the best frequent flyer programs?

In 2022, the following frequent flyer programs are recognized as the best:

  • AAdvantage (American Airlines)
    • You can earn miles with more than 1,000 partner companies
    • Frequent promotions to earn extra miles
  • Executive club (British Airways)
    • You can pool earned Avios in a family account to maximize your earnings
    • Elite members can invite a guest in the airport lounges
  • Skypass (Korean Air)
    • You can book award flights with all SkyTeam members online
    • Many interesting non-SkyTeam partners (Alaska Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Japan Airlines)
  • Lifemiles (Avianca)
    • The program is easy to use
    • The entry-level for elite status is one of the lowest of all airlines
    • You can also book award tickets on non-Star Alliance partner Iberia
  • Miles&Smiles (Turkish Airlines)
    • The program is easy to use, with one award chart for all airlines
    • Elite members have access to a family miles pooling program
    • Frequent flyer elite status is valid for two years

Which airlines have the best premium economy seats?

  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Lufthansa

The main features of premium economy seats are:

  • Seats are roomy; usually a few inches wider than regular economy
  • Seats can recline and have footrests
  • Power sockets and USB ports

How to get the best fares on airlines?

  • Do not believe in “the best” days to book a flight, like Tuesdays. Recent research has shown there is no significant difference in what day you book a flight. Moreover, booking on weekends sometimes happens to be even more beneficial. Compare prices for different days and destinations at Kiwi.com.
  • Book in advance (but not too early) and use price alerts to get the best options
  • Let the airline choose a seat for you if it is not essential. A number of airlines charge extra fees if you want to pick a particular seat.
  • Check further airports and taxi rates to your destination to save money. For example, a flight to a smaller airport on Long Island may cost much less than flying into New York City via bigger ones like Newark, JFK, or LaGuardia.
  • Get the benefit of comparing prices for tickets online.

Which airlines have the best food?

  • Turkish Airlines (for example, salmon as a starter, chicken with rice and herbs as the main course, and cheesecake for dessert).
  • American Airlines (for example, lasagna, salad, and a piece of carrot pie)
  • AeroMexico (for example, rice or beans, salad, and bean stew)
  • Air Canada (for example, cheese omelet and yogurt with pudding)
  • Cathay Pacific (for example, linguine with seafood sauce, fresh salad, and fruit or ice cream for dessert)
  • Air France (for example, pasta with chicken in a creamy sauce and a sweet tart with apple compote for dessert)

All the dishes listed above are available in economy class. Passengers in first class may find more delicious and luxurious dishes like seafood, steaks, and more (sometimes even from top chefs with a Michelin star.)

Which airlines have the best business class?

  • Singapore Airlines (soft bedding and pillows, a high-definition 18-inch screen with noise-canceling headphones, all the necessary toiletries, and delicious food and drink options)
  • All Nippon Airways (known for their “roomy” seats with a door that closes for privacy, as well as wide seats that turn into a lie-flat bed)
  • Qatar Airways (comfortable seats on board and the best business class lounge in the world in 2021)

How many five-star airlines are there in the world?

By 2022, only ten airlines have achieved a five-star rating, namely:

  • ANA All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines

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