World’s Best Awards 2021: Top 10 International Airlines

Singapore Airlines reigns supreme at No. 1 for 26 straight years. See where everyone else ranks on this list of best international airlines.

Singapore Airlines

Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines

Sep 10, 2021

THOUGH THE PAST YEAR has presented international airlines with numerous challenges, the high-flying brands that keep the world connected have persevered. And as travel restrictions ease, the best international airlines continue to impress Travel + Leisure readers with outstanding in-flight service, comfortable cabins, reliable operations, and food that simply wows.

Eva Air continues to climb in the World’s Best Awards. The airline specializes in long-haul trips to Asia from several U.S. gateways. “This is one of the best airlines I’ve ever traveled with,” said one fan. “Excellent service and food,” wrote another. “I can’t wait to fly them again,” added a third EVA enthusiast.

Boutique airline La Compagnie moved up in this year’s voting, thanks to its all-business-class service to destinations in France. This summer, the carrier added flights to Tel Aviv, and Milan flights are slated to start in November.

Champagne just tastes better at 35,000 feet.

Readers also had high praise for Qatar Airways. “Excellent crew, amazing food, it’s comfort on point,” as one respondent put it. “It’s really my favorite airline,” said another frequent passenger, who added that “the seats — even in economy and of course in business — are comfortable. The food and entertainment always exceed expectations. I really appreciate all their COVID-19 protocols. All in all, they are a class act!”

A familiar winner was also the model of consistency at the very top of the rankings. Readers once again voted Singapore Airlines into the No. 1 spot for the 26th year in a row. Read on for the rest of the best international airlines, as voted by T+L readers.


1. Singapore Airlines *

Call it the king of the World’s Best Awards: Singapore Airlines is an unprecedented 26-time winner in T+L’s annual rankings, a year-in, year-out stalwart that impresses travelers with cosseting service, particularly in premium cabins, and continual innovations, such as a new digital platform that lets travelers book curated cultural experiences with KrisFlyer points.

“We felt like we were at home,” gushed one voter who traveled in the airline’s ultra-luxurious suites. Many voters raved about the intuitive service on board, mentioning how flight attendants were always ready to lend a hand, refresh a drink, or go the extra mile. “Traveling with them is a dream come true — I’m not sure what more anybody could want,” said one impressed reader. Added another: “They’ve been my favorite for decades because they make most other carriers seem like amateurs.”

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 91.96

2. Qatar Airways * 

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 91.35

3. Eva Air

Score: 89.82

4. Emirates *

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 89.64

5. La Compagnie

Score: 89.32

6. Turkish Airlines

Score: 89.17

7. Japan Airlines (JAL)

Score: 87.59

8. Virgin Atlantic

Score: 86.74

9. Korean Air

Score: 85.39

10. Air New Zealand *

Courtesy of Air New Zealand (2)

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 84.85

For more World’s Best Awards 2021 lists of your favorite hotels, resorts, cities, islands and more, visit:

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