March 02, 2020

Best Airline in the World Awards 2020

With so many airlines vying for top position this year, the award for the world’s best airline 2020 has gone to Air New Zealand regaining its no 1 position from Singapore Airlines.

Air New Zealand Best Airline 2020

The eagerly awaited annual Airline Excellence Awards are carried out by Airlineratings.com who are based in Perth, Australia. 

To decide who wins each award, seven editors at the company consider a range of key factors including operational safety, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, fleet age, and product offerings such as cabin classes and seating options.

Air New Zealand’s table topping score should come as no surprise as the carrier has occupied first spot in six of the past seven years only losing out to Singapore Airlines last year.

Singapore Airlines only dropped down one place and occupying the number-two position primarily due to their new and incredible first-class suites and industry leading catering and wine programs.

Singapore Airlines Suites

Airline Ratings editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas commented “In our analysis, Air New Zealand came out number one in most of our audit criteria, which is an outstanding performance when it’s up against carriers with more resources and scale on this same list of best airlines for 2020.”

Air New Zealand’s number one position is all the more amazing when you consider it beat some of the larger and more dominant carriers who are widely regarded as having much larger and deeper financial pockets including Emirates, which recently introduced re-designed first-class suites as well as new business-class seating, Qatar Airways with its innovative and highly praised Qsuites in business class, and ANA, the Japanese airline who also recently unveiled their gorgeous new cabins in first and business class.

The Top 20 Ranking Positions

You will have noticed the list has been expanded for 2020 from a top 10 list to a more comprehensive top 20. The expanded list now sees airlines from Europe and the Americas appearing for the first time.

The main rankings are listed below; however, you can see the full list of the awards for 2020 here.


1. Air New Zealand
2. Singapore Airlines
3. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
4. Qantas
5. Cathay Pacific
6. Emirates
7. Virgin Atlantic
8. EVA Air
9. Qatar Airways
10. Virgin Australia
11. Lufthansa
12. Finnair
13. Japan Airlines
14. KLM
15. Korean Airlines
16. Hawaiian Airlines
17. British Airways
18. Alaska Airlines
19. Delta Air Lines
20. Etihad Airways

A Few Surprises

Some may be surprised by a few of the inclusions. Given the social unrest in Hong Kong and their well-documented financial issues, Cathay Pacific still performed well and made it to fifth on the list. Virgin Atlantic launched a number of new routes and a new business class cabin which ensured they secured seventh position overall.

The biggest surprise or indeed shock to some industry specialists was that Delta Airlines made it to the top 20 appearing at number nineteen. This may well be down to their excellent suites in business class and is proof of the huge improvements made by one of the world’s largest airlines.

Other Category Winners

In addition to the overall rankings, AirlineRatings.com also picks individual winners in 13 specific categories. Here are the results for those categories.

Best Economy: Virgin Australia won this one largely thanks to spacious cabins in its Boeing 777 long-haul fleet.

Qantas Australia Spacious 777 Cabins

Best Premium Economy: A win for Air New Zealand with its really comfortable seats and upscale amenities.

Best Premium Economy Air New Zealand

Best Business Class: Although only ninth in the overall rankings, Qatar Airways retained the best business class title again this year. “The airline’s Qsuite is a first-class experience in business class,” said Airline Ratings editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas. “It leaves little to chance, and our judges rated it as one of the best overall business-class products they had seen. It sets a standard to which some airlines can only aspire.”

Qatar Airways Qsuites

Best First Class: Singapore Airlines took home the top prize this year with its new first-class suites.

Singapore Airlines New Suites

Best Cabin Crew: Virgin Australia retained this award for the second year running. “Virgin Australia has redefined the travel experience with its Economy X, Premium Economy, and standout Business Class,” said Geoffrey Thomas. “Add to that its cabin crew, which are the world’s best, and you have another airline punching well above its weight.”

 Qantas Australia Best Cabin Crew

Best Catering: Qatar Airways took the award in this category for another year thanks largely to their dine-on-demand service.

Qatar Airways Award Winning On Demand Dining

Best Lounges: Remaining top of the pile in this category for another year is Qantas Airways “The judges were unanimous on the airline’s lounges which are exceptional,” said Thomas.

 Qantas Business and First Class Lounges

Best In-Flight Entertainment: Emirates won this category for the second year running. “Emirates was one of the pioneers of IFE, and one of the first to install seatback videos in economy,” explained Thomas. “Today’s its IFE platform ICE is in a class of its own.”

Emirates Airlines Best In Flight Entertainment - IFE

Domestic Airline of the Year: Largely due to its A330 premium transcontinental product, Qantas take home the best domestic airline of the year award.

Qantas Australia Best Domestic Airline 2020

Most Improved Airline: Philippine airline Cebu Pacific won first place in this category thanks to “a move to expand its global footprint using new generation fuel-efficient aircraft,” said Thomas.

Cebu Pacific Most Improved Airline

Best Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier: VietJet, the Vietnam-based carrier won top honours in this category primarily thanks to “a smart business plan that brings affordable travel to millions.”

Vietjet - Best Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier

Best Long-Haul Airline: AirlineRatings.com breaks this category down by region as follows; Delta (Americas), Lufthansa (Europe), Emirates (Middle East/Africa) and Cathay Pacific (Asia).

Best Low-Cost Airline: Also ranked by region, the winners were JetBlue (Americas), Wizz (Europe), Air Arabia (Middle East/Africa) and Air Asia/AirAsia X (Asia/Pacific).

Categories Travel, Airlines


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