These Are the World's Best Airlines of 2021

AirlineRatings.com's annual list is here.

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If you're taking a quick trip, you might be fine opting for whatever airline is the cheapest. When it comes to long-haul flights, however, the airline you choose could make all the difference. Fortunately, we have a handy little guide outlining which airlines are the cream of the crop.

AirlineRatings.com, whose name is pretty straightforward but is an aviation safety and product rating agency, released its annual Airline Excellence Awards, unveiling the 20 Top Airlines in the World for 2021. To compile its list, the site looked at several factors, including safety ratings, innovation for passenger comfort, and service—to name a few. This year, airlines' COVID responses were also factored in.

At the top of the list is Qatar Airways, followed closely by Air New Zealand (which won the top spot last year), Singapore Airlines (which was number one in 2019), and Qantas. Holding it down at the bottom of the list is Alaska Airlines, Virgin Australia, Delta Air Lines, and Etihad Airways. 

All of the airlines in AirlineRatings.com's top 20 received a seven-star safety rating. It's the other factors that helped determine which ones ranked towards the top and which fell to the bottom. Qatar Airways received top marks because of its cabin innovation, passenger service, and because it stayed committed to staying up and running during the pandemic. Similarly, Air New Zealand was ranked second due to high marks in innovation and industry leadership categories. 

Here's the full list of the 20 Top Airlines in the World for 2021:

  • Qatar Airways
  • Air New Zealand
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Qanta
  • Emirates
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • United Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • British Airways
  • Lifthansa
  • ANA
  • Finnair
  • Japan Air Lines
  • KLM
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Virgin Australia
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Etihad Airways

Some of the airlines on the list were also featured on The Points Guys' annual list of the best airlines in the United States. Delta, which ranked 19th in the world, took the top spot in the US-based list for the third year in a row. United, Alaska, and Hawaiian were also featured on that list.

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.