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The 20 Best Airlines in the World

All of the airlines regularly featured on “best of” lists feature on-time departures, friendly flight attendants, and low incidence of lost luggage and destroyed baggage.

Every flight isn’t perfect and sometimes even the best airlines have a few things go haywire, but more often than not your flight experience on one of the best airlines in the world will inspire you to purchase another ticket or find any excuse you can to travel again.

Start your journey off on the right flight with one of the following airlines, which are 20 of the best in the world.

1. AirTran

After increasing capacity and reducing overall flights for reasons of efficiency, the Southwest Airlines subsidiary posted positive sales figures and a reduction of average seat vacancies, according to numbers published by The Republic. It’s only in the past few years that airlines started to recoup some of the billions of dollars of losses sustained during and after the recession, according to figures published by the Department of Transportation.

With one statistic from SociétéInternationale de TélécommunicationsAéronautiques (SITA) suggesting that 3,000 bags go missing from airlines every single hour of every day, AirTran’s performance with baggage handling and its low-cost approach to baggage fees are some of its strong points. Like parent company Southwest, AirTran instituted some changes in 2012 to reduce extra charges required for baggage taken on flights, according to a report on Smarter Travel. Extra charges for baggage have become an industry standard so airlines like AirTran that have reduced baggage fees have garnered positive attention from budget-conscious consumers.

In addition, AirTran’s reputation for handling bags has been one of the best in the industry with AirTran posting the lowest rate of baggage losses in the industry as of 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and keeping that reputation for smart baggage handling for several years. Another report in 2013 from “Travel & Leisure” found AirTran retaining its record for safe baggage handling. In addition, AirTran ranked well in a recent Purdue University publication where it came in second in the least number of baggage complaints for the year. Only Virgin America posted fewer mishandled bags for flights in 2013.

For overall complaints, the airline also performed well. A study by the CalPIRG Education Fund counted the complaints lodged with various airlines around the United States and found that AirTran, like its parent company Southwest, had a low ratio of complaints when compared to its overall size.

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