World’s Top Twenty Airlines named for 2021

by Christine Forbes Smith
July 20, 2021
Top Twenty Airlines has announced along with its Airline Excellence Awards its 20 Top Airlines in the World for 2021.

Heading the list is Qatar Airways followed by Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, EVA Air, British Airways, Lufthansa, ANA, Finnair, Japan Air Lines, KLM, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Virgin Australia, Delta Air Lines, and Etihad Airways.

To be named in the top twenty, airlines must achieve a seven-star safety rating and demonstrate leadership in innovation for passenger comfort.

READ: names Qatar Airways Airline of the Year.

The editors of, some of the most experienced and awarded, look for a consistent level of service, innovation, and staff engagement from each major contender.

According to Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas, “we are focused on leadership and airlines that innovate to make a real difference to the passenger experience.”

“In our evaluation, we also consider the audited feedback from passengers on our website.”

Qatar Airways was ranked number 1 because of its cabin innovation, passenger service, and its dedication and commitment to continue to operate throughout the COVID pandemic.

The airline has a host of industry firsts. First to complete IATA’s important IOSA safety audit, first to be fully COVID audited and compliant by both AirlineRatings and Skytrax, and amongst the first to trial IATA’s COVID Safe Travel Pass.

Air New Zealand which took the second position in the Top Twenty, is always at the forefront of airline awards because of its constant innovation and industry leadership.

Air New Zealand’s multi-award-winning Skycouch

In the third position is Singapore Airlines which continues to excel in technology innovation and in-flight products. The airline also took out Best First Class.

Qantas took the fourth spot in the Top Twenty for its outstanding safety record and fiscal performance during the extremely difficult COVID pandemic. It also took out Best Lounge and Best Domestic Service awards.

Qantas has introduced its suites to the A380.

Emirates climbed to the fifth spot and has just introduced a premium economy class which is being hailed as one of the best in the industry.

Emirates Premium Economy

Cathay Pacific Airways took the sixth spot and is always in the winner’s circle. It has won numerous awards from including Best Business Class in 2013 and 2015 and Best Asia-Pacific Airline for 2016.

Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class review
Cathay Pacific Airways Business Class is superb

In the seventh spot is Virgin Atlantic which has always been at the forefront of cabin innovation.

Leaping up the rankings to the eighth spot in the Top Twenty is Chicago-based United Airlines which has stunned the aviation world with its huge commitments to supersonic, subsonic, and electric aircraft to rejuvenate its fleet and offer passengers the very best in comfort and eco-technology.

United Airlines

EVA Air takes ninth spot. EVA Air is a leader in Taiwanese aviation and has always been at the forefront of cabin innovation such as premium economy in 1992.

Making up the Top Ten is British Airways, which for decades has been amongst the winners for product, service, and innovation.