The 22 most dependable airlines in the world
Airlines can make even the most patient passenger grumpy at times, with their nickel-and-diming ways and lackluster customer service.
But when you need to get somewhere relatively quickly, flying is generally the best way to do it.
And when you need a reliable carrier to get you there, certain airlines stand out as the ones to choose.
Travel site WanderBat looked across the globe to find which airlines were the most dependable, ranking each carrier in three areas: On-time performance, low costs to check bags, average age of an airline fleet.
The site came up with a pretty interesting list. You won’t find some major U.S. airlines on here, but you will find some surprises — names you may not be familiar with.
1. Qatar Airways
Fleet size: 130
Number of destinations: 144+
On-time percentage: 82.8%
Average age of fleet: 5.5 years
Qatar Airways has an on-time percentage that other airlines would kill for. And it has a relatively young fleet, which means its planes are more modern and comfortable.
As if that’s not enough, the Doha-based airline now gives business and first-class passengers a Giorgio Armani kit with fragrances, earplugs, eye masks, socks and lotions.
Qatar recently bought a 9.99 percent stake in International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways. The move will likely help the airline expand into Europe.
Fleet size: 232
Number of destinations: 142+
On-time percentage: 73.9%
Average age of fleet: 6.3 years
Emirates is “eating all the other airlines’ lunch,” writes International Business Times. The Dubai-based airline has been profitable every year for more than two decades, partly because its geographical location makes it a perfect transfer point between key markets.
And Dubai has an advantage because it can add more runways and terminals nearly without limit, IBT noted. Finally, its shares are not traded on stock exchanges, so it doesn’t have to keep shareholders satisfied.
Emirates offers free Wi-Fi on its planes — a perk Americans aren’t accustomed to. It will also fly to 10 U.S. destinations this year when it begins nonstop service between Dubai and Orlando in September.
3. China Eastern
Fleet size: 363
Number of destinations: 300+
On-time percentage: 62.4
Average age of fleet: 6.3 years
Airlines are seeing business boom, thanks to lower fuel prices along with strong growth in air traffic, and China Eastern is no exception. The Shanghai carrier said its profit rose a stunning 45 percent in 2014, aided by an increase in demand in its domestic market.
But like China Southern, the carrier is warning that fiercer competition could hurt business in the future.
4. Singapore Airlines
Fleet size: 107
Number of destinations: 62+
On-time percentage: 82.7%
Average age of fleet: 7.4 years
Singapore Airlines is considered one of the most decadent airline flight experiences in the industry, and it’s easy to see why. Check out this man’s account of his flight from Singapore to New York.
Derek Low booked a $23,000 suite last year. Before he even boarded the plane, he was eating lobster and a foie gras burger in the airline’s lounge. Once on board, he was served caviar, more foie gras and lobster — and a perfectly cooked steak.
5. China Southern Airlines
Fleet size: 480
Number of destinations: 207+
On-time percentage: 68.6%
Average age of fleet: 6.4 years
The carrier focuses on commercial airline services throughout China and Southeast Asia, and also has maintenance and catering units. Its financial performance suffered last year as market competition grew fierce and yuan depreciation led to currency losses.
Chinese investors are bullish on the stock, however, sending it to a 52-week high this week.
6. Ethiopian airlines
Fleet size: 76
Number of destinations: 101+
On-time percentage: 71%
Average age of fleet: 7 years
Africa’s largest and most profitable airline has been in rapid expansion mode to capture the hot Africa-Asia market.
Ethiopia is building a massive airport to house the airline’s home base. The country is looking to shed its image of famine and poverty, and showcase its booming economy.