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This Is the World’s Best Airline for 2018

Skytrax is out with its annual list of the World’s Top 100 Airlines, perhaps the most recognized worldwide ranking of best airlines. As usual, and to the chagrin of travelers here in the states, most of the top performers are not U.S. airlines. Instead, the list is dominated by Asian, Middle Eastern, and, to a lesser extent, European carriers.

Skytrax winners for best airline are determined by survey results from travelers—20.36 million, to be exact, from over 100 countries. Respondents rate airlines on a 1-5 scale and assess aspects of their experience across both the airport and onboard environments. More than 330 airlines are included in the survey. Here’s the top 10, according to Skytrax.

The World’s Best Airlines for 2018

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. ANA All Nippon Airways
  4. Emirates
  5. EVA Air
  6. Cathay Pacific Airways
  7. Lufthansa
  8. Hainan Airlines
  9. Garuda Indonesia
  10. Thai Airways

How Did U.S. Carriers Fare?

In short, not very well! Out of 100 airlines that made the cut, Delta finished highest … in 37th place. Alaska finished right behind it, followed by JetBlue at 42nd. Other U.S. carriers to make the list were Southwest at 57, American at 71, Hawaiian at 77, American Eagle at 79, and United at 88. Air Canada was the highest ranked North American airline, at 30th.

While the methodology is sound, the Skytrax results are usually lacking in detail. All we get is a list which, while helpful, offers no insight into what separates the airlines and by how much. Is Singapore significantly better than Thai, or significantly better than Delta? In the latter case, probably. But it would be helpful to know by how much. There is, however, a list of best airline superlatives.

One interesting detail to look at is these rankings’ year-to-year change. Delta fell from 32nd to 37th this year, for example, and most other U.S airlines on the list fell a few spots on the rankings as well. Nine of the overall top 10 were in the top 10 last year as well, albeit with some shuffling of the order.

Readers, how many of the world’s top airlines have you flown? What would be your top 5?

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