Travel News

The 20 Best Airlines In The World

20 best airlines
Written by Charlie

The Business Insider has put out their list of the 20 best airlines in the world. The area they focus on is the economy portion of these airlines.

20 best airlines

Singapore Airlines, Business Insider’s pick for number 1 economy airline

The 20 Best Airlines In The World (In Economy)

I know that many people prefer to travel in business or first class, but the truth is that more people travel in economy than travel in premium cabins (just look at airline seat maps!). I have traveled on many airlines and dozens of flights in economy class. Believe it or not, the people in economy get to the same destination as those in business class! 🙂 Furthermore, they get to do it as quite a bit less – whether you are talking miles or dollars.

Does It Matter?

So, when it does come to flying in economy, it is for sure that not all airlines are created equal. While it is nice to try and pick the best business/first class cabins in the sky, it is almost essential to know which are the best economy seats in the sky! I mean, is it really a total deal breaker to have an angled seat in business instead of lie-flat? Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy the lie-flat and prefer it over angled seats, but even in an angled seat, I am still sleeping better than I would in coach.

It is nice to see a list like this and to see which airlines they classify as having the best economy products in the sky. They rank them based on many things including in-flight experience and on-time performance. Some of the airlines I have flown and can agree with while I do not have personal experience with others. One I was glad to not see on the list was Air Canada – after a flight in economy last year, I was really frustrated with the seat space on them!

Here is the list (from Business Insider) – which ones have you flown on and do you agree with the list?

  1. Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance)
  2. All Nippon Airways – ANA (Star Alliance)
  3. Qatar Airways (Oneworld Alliance)
  4. Asiana Airlines (Star Alliance)
  5. Malaysia Airlines (Oneworld Alliance)
  6. Emirates (not part of an alliance)
  7. Korean Airlines (Skyteam Alliance)
  8. Lufthansa Airlines (Star Alliance)
  9. Oman Air (not part of an alliance)
  10. 10th is a tie – Thai Airways (Star Alliance)
  11. Tied with Thai – South African Airlines (Star Alliance)
  12. Air Astana (not part of an alliance)
  13. Three-way tie – Etihad Airways (not part of an alliance)
  14. Three-way tie – Turkish Airlines (Star Alliance)
  15. Three-way tie – Garuda Indonesia (Skyteam Alliance)
  16. Cathay Pacific (Oneworld Alliance)
  17. Japan Airlines (Oneworld Alliance)
  18. Virgin Australia (not part of an alliance)
  19. Swiss International Airways (Star Alliance)
  20. Austrian Airlines (Star Alliance)

Looking At Alliances

20 best airlines

Star Alliance pulls in 9 slots on the list

When looking at the alliances represtented by the airlines on the list, it is very evident that Star Alliance takes the prize. There are 9 airlines from that alliance represented on the list. That means that 9 of the top 20 airlines (for economy) are bookable with United Airline miles! That is great considering how easy it is to book using the United Airlines award engine.

The second place alliance is Oneworld Alliance with 4 airlines. In addition, one of the airlines that is not part of the big three alliances are actually bookable with American Airline miles – Etihad Airways. That opens up even more options! The news about the Oneworld airlines on this list is great because it is bookable with American Airlines and US Airway miles – twice the mile opportunities!

The last place alliance is Skyteam with only two airlines represented. The good news is that Virgin Australia flights are actually bookable with Delta Skymiles so that opens up a lot more destinations and some great availability.

To make it even more interesting, three of those 20 airlines are actually bookable with Alaska Airline miles! Those three airlines are Emirates, Korean Airlines, and Cathay Pacific.

The real winner is the traveler with SPG points as thirteen of those airlines are transfer partners of SPG:

  • Singapore
  • ANA
  • Qatar
  • Asiana
  • Emirates
  • Lufthansa
  • Thai
  • Etihad
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Japan Airlines
  • Virgin Australia
  • Swiss Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines

That is a lot of different ways one could book some of the best economy seats in the sky. From what I know of many of those airlines, I am confident that they belong on the list. It is somewhat peculiar that there are no US-based airlines on the list. 🙂

Have you flown economy on some of those airlines? Do you agree with the list or no?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.