Luxurious Business Class Flight Accommodations

Business class seats are becoming more luxurious than ever. Some would even consider the flight a vacation in and of itself. To give you an idea of what modern-day business class can look like, we’ve compiled a list of 7 airlines offering some of the most luxurious business class flight accommodations.

British Airways

British Airways first revolutionized business class 20 years ago with its introduction of the first fully lie-flat seat and an innovative “Ying/Yang” seat plan. Since then, British Airways has provided a consistently luxurious business class experience through its wide-body fleet and private seating. Plus, British Airways has gone through a serious upgrade over the past couple of years resulting in improved catering (from an internationally-acclaimed Austrian catering company, DO&CO), excellent bedding, and some of the most stylish amenity kits available in the sky. In addition to this, last July British Airways introduced a new suite concept on-board its A350 planes consisting of direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy, luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 18.5-inch entertainment screens, and 40 % more storage space per seat (including a vanity unit and mirror).

Source: British Airways

Emirates

Business-class passengers aboard Emirates’ Airbus 380 fleet enjoy a staggered 1–2–1 configuration, direct aisle access, and the perfect amount of privacy. They even cater to passenger party sizes, with the window Business Class seats being suited for solo travelers and the dual and more intimate center cabin seats being suited for partners traveling together. Throw into the mix large amenity kits, an extensive in-flight entertainment selection, chauffeur service to the plane, a gigantic Dubai airport lounge, and even a spacious, stocked bar on the upper deck, and Emirates’ A380 becomes the quintessential business class experience.  However, it’s important to know that this Business Class experience is typically only offered on the Airbus A380 and not the Emirates’ Boeing 777s, which offer an inferior 2-3-2 configuration with no direct aisle access for all passengers.

Source: Agent Wolf / Shutterstock.com

Japan Airlines

JAL Sky Suites, the name for business class suites aboard Japan Airlines, are completely enclosed for each individual passenger. In other words, all business class passengers have their own private space. Passengers can also control the amount of privacy they want with retractable privacy partitions (which can be lowered when you are traveling with a companion). The JAL Sky Suite III, introduced in 2017, offers an even more spacious 1-2-1 configuration, providing all passengers with direct aisle access. Inside each Sky Suite, passengers have access to ample storage space beneath an ottoman, a 23-inch LCD monitor (one of the largest in its class), and comfortable bedding with a highly resilient airweave mattress and pillow. As far as other perks, JAL offers both Western and Japanese menus created by world-renowned chefs. Without even so much as peaking your head out of your Sky Suite, you can order in-flight meals from an a la carte menu by simply tapping a touch screen. You can also order food at any time, and as often as you wish.

Source: Japan Airlines

United Airlines

New to the upgraded business class experience is United Airlines. United introduced their new Polaris Business class concept just a couple of years ago, which features staggered seats that allow every other row to have “true” window seats. These seats still maintain a high degree of privacy, and, similar to Emirates, every other row also has “honeymoon” seats in the center section that is perfect for traveling couples. Outside of seating, United Polaris offers bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, restaurant-quality dining with a rotating monthly menu, cozy slippers, premium skincare items from Sunday Riley, earplugs, an ergonomic eye mask, and even pajamas on flights longer than 12 hours. United Polaris can also take advantage of the United Polaris lounge in select airports around the world. Keep in mind that United Polaris is currently only available aboard all United Boeing 777-300ERs and 787-10s, and some 767-300s and 777-200s.

Source: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

JetBlue

Despite being otherwise known as a low-cost airline, JetBlue’s Business class offers very unique perks not offered by other, higher-end airlines. Mainly, JetBlue is the first to provide business class seats with doors. Otherwise, JetBlue’s Mint Suites provide lie-flat seats (which extend to 6’8″) and plenty of storage space. Outside of the cabins, JetBlue Mint offers artisanal dining, tons of free entertainment, award-winning service, and a complimentary Hayward & Hopper amenity kit. JetBlue Mint can be found aboard all Mint configured Airbus A321 aircrafts.

Source: Jet Blue

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways’ newest business class experience provides seat configurations catering to all kinds of travelers. Solo travelers can enjoy the spacious window seats and couples can enjoy the “honeymoon” seats in the middle of the cabin. Both options offer plenty of privacy and ergonomically-designed, comfortable seating. Other than this, Business Class passengers aboard Etihad Airways benefit from direct aisle access, more than enough storage space, seat upholstery by Poltrona Frau, and 22-inch wide seats that convert into lie-flat beds (which support up to 6 feet and 8 inches in length). There’s even a lounge aboard A380 aircraft located between first and business class that seats up to six guests. In this lounge, passengers can take advantage of a power supply and connectivity ports.

Source: Dmitry Birin / Shutterstock.com

Eva Air

EVA Air’s ‘Royal Laurel Class’ Business class experience maximizes space for its passengers through its reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout. When it’s time to sleep, seats can be converted into beds approximately 82 inches long providing more than enough space for passengers to stretch out and relax. Passengers can also take refuge in the fact that they can use fixed panels to create their own space and enjoy as much privacy as they like. Like coming home to your apartment, Business class passengers even have a space to hang clothing, a shoe cabinet, a retractable armrest, and a cocktail table. Also provided are amenity kits, noise-canceling headphones, Fiji water, seasonal cuisine, and the over-the-top attendant service (in the best way possible) that EVA Air has become known for. Similar to United Polaris, EVA Air is also one of the few airlines to offer pajamas in Business Class.

Source: EVA Air

Airport Travel Hacks To Make Your Trip Easier

Are you ready for your next vacation? While air travel means jetting off to a new and perhaps exotic place where you can rest, relax, and adventure, it also means airports and all the other not-as-enjoyable aspects of travel. So to help you prepare for the time before, during, and after your flight, we’ve compiled this list of travel hacks to make your trip easier, cheaper, and more comfortable.

1. Pre-Booking: Incognito Mode

When you’re ready to start looking for flights, always use your browser’s incognito mode. When you do this, the airline websites aren’t able to track your searches using cookies, ultimately resulting in lower flight prices being shown to you. Yes, that means that the more frequently you look up a flight, the more the cost of the flight will go up because the airlines know you’re interested. It’s the law of supply and demand, people!

Source: Shutterstock

2. Pre-Booking: Fly Direct

Whenever you’re able, fly direct. By flying directly to your final destination, you avoid the risks that come with a layover – missing your connecting flight or having it canceled, losing your luggage or having it end up at the wrong destination, and so on. It may cost a little bit more but, it’s always worth it and makes travel less stressful. If you aren’t able to fly direct, look for a flight that has a longer layover. This way if your first flight gets delayed you won’t have to run frantically through the airport trying to catch your next flight.

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3. Pre-Booking: Red-Eye Flight

If you’re someone who can sleep on a plane, consider flying red-eye for your next trip. You’ll be able to skip the crowds and lines because you’ll be taking off and landing during off-peak hours. Red-eye flights are often cheaper as well, making your trip more affordable overall. If you can’t handle a red-eye, try to take the earliest flight out, even if that means you’ll be getting up super early. Early morning flights are often less likely to get delayed or canceled, making your airport experience more enjoyable. They also tend to be slightly cheaper than flights leaving at more convenient times.

Source: Shutterstock

4. Before You Fly: Switch to Solids

There is nothing worse than opening up your suitcase and realizing that one or more of your liquids has leaked or exploded. There are a couple of ways to try to prevent this from happening, but the best way is actually to avoid liquids all together! Before you travel, pick up a shampoo bar, conditioning bar, and bar of soap from a store like LUSH. They’re just so good that you might actually find yourself making the switch permanently! You can also get items like facial cleanser, facial oil, body lotion, and toothpaste as a solid. It simplifies travel without sacrificing the quality of your skin and hair care!

Source: Shutterstock

5. Before You Fly: Layer Your Clothing

When you’re packing for your trip and choosing what you’ll wear for the flight, consider layering your clothing. The temperature often varies quite a bit as you travel to the airport, on the plane, and to your final destination. Rather than sweating it out or freezing when your seatmate blasts their air vent, you can simply remove or add layers as needed, making for a much more comfortable experience. Plus you can avoid paying for one of those overpriced thin blankets they offer you on the plane!

6. Before You Fly: Wear Bulky or Heavy Clothing and Footwear

If you’re only planning on taking a carry-on suitcase or you’re jam-packing your checked baggage, you’re going to need to pack smart! If space or weight is a concern, wear your bulky or heavier clothing items and footwear (like winter boots) through security. If you want, you can always change into more comfortable clothing before boarding your plane. Since airlines don’t count what you’re wearing towards your maximum weight allotment, this is a great way to squeeze in some extra weight without overloading your suitcase.

Source: Shutterstock

7. Before You Fly: Wear Comfortable Clothing

While we understand that some people need to wear suits and ties on their flight, most of us don’t have to. It’s pretty obvious – wearing comfortable clothes will help keep you comfortable during your trip. This becomes even more important when you experience a flight delay or it’s an overnight flight! Ditch the suit or skirt and opt for comfy jeans or leggings and a cozy sweater layered over top of your fav t-shirt. No one is judging you!

Source: Shutterstock

8. Before You Fly: Pack a Reusable Empty Water Bottle

The liquid limitations that you can bring on a plane are strict and that causes many people to think they have to buy water once they’re through security! To reduce plastic waste and keep yourself from spending money on water, bring an empty reusable water bottle through security and fill it up at one of the many water fountains throughout the airport. This will help keep you hydrated, which is incredibly important because the high altitudes (drier air) when flying dehydrates you. Fight the temptation to not drink water to avoid using the onboard toilets and drink up. You’ll feel better post-flight if you keep chugging back that water (especially if you’re planning on a glass or two of wine)!

Source: Shutterstock

9. Before You Fly: Pack Dry Snacks From Home

Airports are notorious for overpriced and often bland-tasting foods and snacks. But did you know that you can bring dry snacks like trail mix, chocolate bars, or protein bites through security and onto the airplane? However, as always, be sure to check your specific airline and call ahead if you aren’t sure. Generally speaking, you don’t need to buy food in the airport if you plan ahead, which is great for your wallet and for those with dietary restrictions.

Source: Shutterstock

10. Before You Fly: Pack Earplugs and a Sleep Mask

Earplugs and a sleep mask come in handy whether you’re planning on trying to take a little snooze in the airport or on the plane and can help block out the constant noise and fluorescent lighting. They’re also good to have on hand in case your flight gets delayed or you get stranded in the airport and need to catch some shut-eye. You may be able to buy them from an airport kiosk or from a flight attendant, but you’ll pay a pretty penny, so why not just bring them from home?

Source: Shutterstock

11. Before You Fly: Know Where You’re Going

Before you fly, do a quick Google search of the airports you’re flying into to get a sense of what they’re like. This is important if you’ve got a layover that you could miss or that could be canceled, leaving you stranded in the airport longer than anticipated. It’s important to know if the terminal stays open overnight, and if your connecting flight departure gate is close by (or even in the same building!) as well as what kind of food and shops are available. This may seem like a lot, but it’s better to be prepared and have a backup plan in case you find yourself stranded.

Source: Shutterstock

12. At The Airport: Download Your Airline App

You might feel like you’ve got enough apps on your phone already, but having the free airline app downloaded and your flight information entered is helpful to stay up to date with gate changes, delays, and heaven forbid cancellations. You generally get the updates before they make the announcement and you don’t have to worry about missing them – crucial if you tend to have headphones in at the airport. Some airlines have also started using their apps for in-flight entertainment, so if you want to watch a free movie while you’re up in the air, be sure to download it while you’re still on the ground and on Wifi.

Source: Shutterstock

13. At The Airport: Airline Lounge

Did you know that most airlines have VIP lounges in every airport? Did you know that they’re absolutely wonderful to stay in? Some people get access to them because they are airline VIPs from flying so much (many business people have this status), but you can actually purchase a day pass for many of them! They offer comfortable seating, peace and quiet, free high-speed Wifi, and in many, snacks and buffet-style meals and alcoholic drinks are included! While you may not choose to pay for this if your layover is only an hour, these lounges are totally worth it if you’ve got a longer layover or you get stranded in the airport.

Source: Shutterstock

14. At The Airport: Get a Seat Close To The Gate

More people are choosing to only bring a carry-on suitcase and a backpack or purse – a common luggage allowance. This can lead to overpacked overhead bins and requests for people to volunteer to check their hand luggage for free. If that’s okay with you, then go right ahead and sacrifice your bag, but many people pack a carry-on so that they don’t have to wait at the luggage carousel upon landing. If you want your carry-on to stay a carry-on, grab a seat close to the boarding desk and hop in line as soon as your zone is called. More frequently, the last group of people to board end up having to check their baggage, which adds hassle and time upon landing if you didn’t check another bag.

Source: Shutterstock

15. At The Airport: Load Leftover Currency Onto a Gift Card

If you’ve got a small amount of foreign currency left at the end of your trip and there’s a store in the airport that you also have at home, load the change onto a gift card. This works especially well if there’s a Starbucks, David’s Tea, Booster Juice, or Tim Hortons – all shops commonly found in big airports. If you’ve got big bills leftover, take them back to your bank, but most currency exchanges and banks won’t accept small amounts of foreign currency back, so this is a great way to not waste leftover change!

Source: Shutterstock

16. On Flight: Snacks and Drinks

Most airlines thankfully still offer complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and small snacks while you are aboard. When they come around and ask what you’d like, don’t hesitate to ask for the full can of whatever you’re ordering and one of each snack. Most of the time, the flight attendant doesn’t care and will happily hand it over, especially if you’re polite.

Source: Shutterstock

17. On Flight: Moisturize

Flights tend to leave our skin dehydrated and more prone to breakouts. The longer the flight, the worse your skin will be upon landing. Since you can’t bring big bottles of cleanser or cream on the plane, use an empty contact lens container and put a little bit of cleanser and cream in each divet. Part of the way through your flight, head to the bathroom and wash and moisturize your face. Bringing a small airplane-sized facial mist onboard and spraying a little bit on every hour can also help keep skin moisturized and may help you feel more alert! Also, bring a face sheet mask to do once you get to your destination to rehydrate even more.

Source: Shutterstock

18. On Flight: Peppermint Essential Oil

Another great item to bring on board is a small roll-on of peppermint essential oil (like this one from Saje!). You can roll it onto your temples and neck if you get a headache or have tension, roll some onto your hands and breathe the oil in to clear your sinuses, feel more alert, or help with nausea, and generally just to help with odors. It’s a great multi-purpose oil that’s perfect for some of the negative health effects of flights. Plus, you’ll smell great!

Source: Shutterstock

19. When You Arrive: Break a Sweat

Most people are a little bit tired upon landing, even if there hasn’t been a time change. You might be tempted to take a nap, but that will most likely just mess up your sleep that night. Getting active and breaking a sweat can combat those sluggish feelings and help you wake up and enjoy the rest of your day at your destination. It can be as simple as a short yoga session in your room, some weight lifting at the hotel gym, or a quick jog or brisk walk outdoors, which doubles as a way to see what’s in the area!

Source: Shutterstock

20. Before You Head Home: Online Grocery Shop

Does anybody else try to empty out their fridge before they go on a trip? You never want food to rot while you’re away, but this also means you come home to a very empty fridge. A couple of days before you get on your flight to come home, order some grocery staples online from whatever local grocery store offers the service and choose delivery for the day you’re arriving back home. That way there’s something to eat when you get home sleep-deprived and jet-lagged and you don’t need to worry about breakfast, lunch, or dinner the day after.

Source: Shutterstock

How to Actually Use Your Travel Reward Miles

“I can’t use my miles to pay for the taxes.” “I can’t find any flights that I can use my reward miles on.” “I have all these miles collected and just cannot figure out the best way to use them.” Do any of these sound familiar? Collecting reward miles from airlines is a must for any frequent flier; or even those who travel occasionally as these reward programs are free and easy to use. But the main complaint is that these reward miles are just so hard to use and often come at a price higher than anticipated. Between blackout dates, excess fees and other restrictions the process of actually using your miles can seem to outweigh the benefits. Here are a few tricks that make using your reward miles a little easier and some tips on how to actually use them correctly.

Tip #1
Don’t spend hours whittling away on the Internet trying to find the best route to take. With the growing trend of everything going “self-serve” this is one instance you’ll want to go the old fashioned route. Get on the phone and call the airlines reward desk as they often have better suggestions for routes and alternative dates. One thing to note is that some reward programs are now charging for this service. To get around this make sure to get the information from the agents such as flight number, exact day and time of departure and then book it online yourself. That way you can avoid the service fee that comes along with the booking. If your ticket cannot be booked online the airline will often waive the booking fee.

phone call

Tip #2
Use your miles to upgrade into business class. Flying Blue is a great example to use when we talk about using your miles to go from economy to business or business to first class. KLM and AirFrance along with many of their partners allow passengers to upgrade with a certain number of miles. This takes away the hassle of trying to use the miles for flights and instead lets you have a much more pleasurable flying experience. Asia Miles with its 25 partner airlines also offers the chance to purchase companion tickets with your miles.

Maxene Huiyu / Shutterstock.com
Maxene Huiyu / Shutterstock.com

Tip #3
Use miles to pay for your excess bags. As most of us know the day has come where almost every airline is now charging for checked luggage. One way to avoid paying for these baggage fees is to use your miles to pay for them. This is a new concept for many airlines but Flying Blue is one reward company that currently offers this program. Keep your eyes peeled as other reward programs start getting on board with this.

Checked Baggage

Tip #4
Use reward maps. Airline websites are becoming more and more user friendly and offering easy-to-use reward maps is just one of the ways. These interactive maps show passengers routes that are often easily available, reward seats that are available and different options for flight paths. Simply putting in your starting destination and how many miles you want to redeem opens a world of possibilities on these maps.

flight map

Tip #5
Venture outside your comfort zone. Most people have an airport they prefer to fly out of. Whether it is the free parking, easy accessibility or the fact that you know exactly where the Starbucks is located inside the terminal, you tend to stick with what you know. But looking at other airports in your area opens a whole new possibility of how and when you can use your rewards. A very large busy airport offers more flights and therefore more seats but a smaller airport may be less busy and therefore may actually offer more availability of “reward seats” on some of the flights.

Airport

Tip #6
Call in the experts. There are many companies that now exist if you truly cannot be bothered or don’t have time to figure out how to best use your reward miles. These experts will take your information such as where you want to go, what reward miles you have to use, when you want to go, etc and get to work finding you the best way to use them. These experts charge a flat fee usually ranging around $150USD for the first passenger. They are also capable of transferring miles from certain programs to another to ensure you get where you’re going in the best way possible.

customer service

Tip #7
Make sure you are booking as early as possible. This is possibly the number one most important thing to remember when you want to use your reward miles. As early as you can book, do it! Booking 6-12 months in advance promises the best opportunity to get the flight you are looking for. Along with this comes flexibility. Travelers that are flexible on the days of the week, even the month will find it much easier to use their miles for the destination they want. The motto for grabbing a flight using your reward miles should be “try and try again” as airlines often release seats in bunches. That means that one week you may check and there is no opportunity to use your miles but the next week there is plenty. If you haven’t booked your ticket early you will want to keep checking back for more flight availability.

Calendar

Tip #8
Find different ways to spend them. Although using your miles to fly places gives you the best “bang for your buck” your miles can be used in many other ways. Some reward companies now offer the chance to pay for hotels or car rentals with miles. Each reward company has different items it offers so it pays to do a little digging to see what the best value is for your particular reward company.

Hotel

Using your reward miles can be a daunting task, with blackout dates, extra taxes and fees and a plethora of conflicting information from multiple sources. By using the above tips and tricks you will finding using your miles isn’t as hard as you once thought and as you are flying in business class to the destination of your dreams, you will remember why you began collecting them in the first place.

The Best Ways to Avoid Airline Baggage Fees

There is nothing worse than arriving at the airport for your flight; ridiculously early as you have been warned that check in and customs and security will take you hours upon hours to get through to find out that the crazy expensive plane ticket did not in fact cover the luggage you now need to check in. Baggage fees…the dreaded words that one does not want to utter; whether you are a passenger or airline employee these fees can cause havoc, crying, screaming and other behavior that is not acceptable anywhere except an airport; where stress levels are off the charts and emotions run high.
Airlines in the last few years have shifted dramatically when it comes to what the basic fare includes. Gone are the days when you could check bags for free, receive hot meals and complimentary wine and carry on not just one but two bags for free. These days the airlines see $$$ signs when it comes to charging for everything; including the bathroom. But there are ways to avoid these annoying baggage fees and savvy passengers with a little help from the insiders can carry on flying with minimal added expenses. Here’s a few tips for avoiding those dreaded baggage fees:

Pack Light

It sounds simple and for some it is but when you are a family of four traveling for two weeks you simply can’t fit everything into a couple of carry-on bags. When faced with this situation chances are you will have to pay at least one or two baggage fees. The key is to avoid paying any more than necessary. Most passengers when faced with per bag fees think the way around getting charged more is too stuff everything into one bag and only pay the $25 (the most common first bag fee) once. WRONG. In addition to checked baggage fees there are overweight fees, which can be a killer with some airlines charging up to $100 if your bag is simply a pound or two over. Compared with checking in an extra bag for a measly $25; it is easy to see why it pays to pack multiple lighter bags. Checking the weight of your bag at home is perhaps the smartest thing a traveler can do as there is nothing worse than arriving at the airport to find out your bag is 10lbs over. Take the five minutes at home and put your bag on the scale to ensure it’s of proper weight. Airlines vary in weight allowance so make sure you are checking your airline’s baggage policies beforehand.

luggage

Be Nice

Once again it sounds simple but is often harder to do as the airport is a stressful place and tends to bring out the worst in people. The number one most important thing to remember is to be nice to the airline employees. A smile, a “how is your day going”, a gesture of kindness; these will all go a long way in reducing your baggage fees. For example; if you storm up to the counter with a scowl on your face, throw your luggage onto the scale, complaining about a middle seat and your bags are over by two pounds how do you think that employee will react? As a former airline employee I can assure you they will charge you and not give you a chance to even rearrange your luggage. Compare that to someone who walks over, asks how the day is going, smiles, lets the employee know their bag might be a couple pounds overweight and they are willing to take some stuff out. Do you know what that employee is going to do? They are most likely going to smile back, send the luggage on its way and not charge you a dime. Airline employees don’t like overcharging people for their bags as much as people don’t like paying for them and they have the power to waive fees, change fees and make your flying a little less expensive. So remember; be nice.

airport check in

Be Loyal

Flying with the same airline time and time again will get you loyalty rewards. Signing up for the free reward miles program is one of the best ways to avoid paying for baggage fees. Most systems are tiered now and the more you fly the more benefits you reap; including waived bag fees. If you are a real go-getter sign up for one of the airline credit cards where you will earn miles even faster and a lot of bigger airlines will waive the baggage fees for card holders. Passengers who fly frequently with different airlines can sign up for multiple reward programs; and yes we know it is annoying but hey if it saves you baggage fees we think it is worth it.

airline rewards
Nadalina / Shutterstock.com

Carry On

For now most airlines allow passengers to carry on one bag for free and one personal item (whether that be a purse, laptop, etc). We’re not sure how long this trend will last as with increasing bag fees airlines are seeing more and more passengers trying to carry on enormous amounts of stuff. Different airlines have different carry-on baggage allowances and it pays to check them out before you book. For example JetBlue Airlines allows carry-on bags to be up to 56 inches with no weight limit compared to Virgin American with its stickler 16lb weight limit. Some airlines allow for a bag and a personal item while others are charging for any bag that won’t fit under the seat in front of you. It really pays to do your research when it comes to carry-on luggage as a single traveler on a business trip can more than get away just carrying one bag under 40lbs and a personal item on a Delta flight for free. A trick some passengers are now using are compression bags when they pack their bags. Simply put your garments inside, zip them up and roll; the bags do the rest sucking the excess air out and reducing packing volume by up to 80%. There are so many varieties of these bags available now ranging from luxury high end fabric compression cubes to the normal plastic zip ones.

Photo by: Travel Leaders CNY
Photo by: Travel Leaders CNY

Fly Southwest or JetBlue

Domestically speaking as of February 2015 these are the only two airlines that allow you to check in a first bag for free. It has been rumored that JetBlue will start charging for first bag in 2015 so go ahead and book that ticket now while it’s still free. Southwest on the other hand has made it publicly known that it will never charge for a first bag. Only time will tell how long this lone airline will be able to hold out.

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Do Your Research

With all the flight compare sites on the Internet one can spend hours upon hours checking for the cheapest flight but buyers should beware when it comes to what is included in that price. Many airlines offer different tiers of pricing and baggage fees may not be included in the bottom fare brackets. One thing to check before you buy from a site like this is what fare class you are buying, is there an excess of fees and what baggage is allowed. Likewise many airlines have now partnered up with one another and what may be free on one isn’t free on the other. Checking the airlines own website is the best source of accurate information and will ensure no surprises at check in. Make sure you are adding any extra fees to the price advertised on these “discount” sites before booking. Often it is cheaper too book through the airline once you have added on booking fees, baggage fees and all those other fees that sneak up on you.

Being prepared and savvy is the way to go when approaching baggage fees. By doing your research ahead of time and knowing what is allowed and what you will be charged for ensures a smooth flying experience. Pack light, join a frequent flyer program and carry-on luggage if you can.  Remember to smile and be nice to airline employees and you will be amazed at what that gets you; from waived overweight fees to surprise class upgrades, the possibilities are endless.

computer research

15 Best Airlines in the World

The skies are full these days and as the demand to reach far flung places grows, airline carriers are responding. Not only with more convenient routes and schedules but also with increased amenities and better customer service; because in a world where commuting no longer just means by land, it’s those carriers that go above and beyond that make all the difference. These 15 airlines do just that, offering enhanced amenities, excellent customer service and receiving worldwide acclaim for striving to be the best in class. The top 10 were actually rated as the best airlines of 2014 by Skytrax World Airline Awards –the largest and most comprehensive passenger satisfaction survey in the world, while entries 11-15 have become widely known and recognized for outstanding customer service and product offerings. Here are 15 of the best airlines in the world:

15. WestJet

Westjet is Canada’s best offering to the North American low-cost carrier scene and offers an impressive choice of destinations; 91 to be exact, in Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and recently expanded to offer flights to Europe including Dublin and Glasgow. The airline was rated among the top low-cost carriers in the world in the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards, aside from this Westjet tends to think outside the box of typical customer service. In 2007 they became the first airline in North America to offer electronic boarding passes -a major time saver and convenience for tech savvy passengers.

Digital Media Pro / Shutterstock.com
Digital Media Pro / Shutterstock.com

14. JetBlue

American Low-cost carrier jetBlue has been making a name for themselves through excellent customer service and enhanced economy services. It’s clear that North American customer customers love this airline as jetBlue was ranked first in a recent customer satisfaction survey by The American Customer Service Index. In addition, the airline has received 10 consecutive awards for ‘Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Low-Cost Carriers in North America’ by JD Power and Associates.

JetBlue
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

13. Air Canada

Canada’s largest and flagship airline has been a favorite of Canadians and North Americans for decades. The airline offers customers spectacular accessibility with more than 180 destinations on five continents. The airline is also the founding member of the Star Alliance Network; the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. In 2014 Air Canada was named ‘Best Airline in North America’ by Global Traveler magazine and also won ‘Best North American Airline for International Travel’ by Business Traveler magazine.

Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

12. Delta

Delta Air Lines is the preferred choice of many Americans who appreciate the company’s commitment to quality and customer service. In fact following a successful pilot project, this year Delta announced their commitment to ensure domestic passengers receive their luggage in 20 minutes or less. This luggage guarantee is one of the first of it’s kind in North America and comes with a reward for passengers who experience longer wait times. Over the years Delta has received many awards and accolades including 2nd in the 2013 JD Power & Associates customer satisfaction survey of major North American airlines, and was named ‘Best Domestic Airline’ in the 2013 and 2014 TravelAge West WAVE awards.

Erasmus Wolff / Shutterstock.com
Erasmus Wolff / Shutterstock.com

11. Air New Zealand

If you’ve ever flewn Air New Zealand you’ll probably agree it deserves to be in just about any list of exceptional airlines. The company’s principles clearly state that they strive to be the “customers’ airline of choice when traveling to, from and within New Zealand” and they do this well with luxuries like 3-course meals in economy seating and HD screens offering premium inflight entertainment. The list of awards for Air New Zealand is seemingly endless with some of the most notable including ‘Airline of The Year’ and ‘Best Premium Economy’ by AirlineRatings.com, ‘Best Premium Economy Class’ by World Airline Awards and ‘Australasia’s Leading Airline’ as per the World Travel Awards.

Stanislav Fosenbauer / Shutterstock.com
Stanislav Fosenbauer / Shutterstock.com

10. Qantas

Aside from being named the Safest Airline in the World, Australia’s flagship air carrier has been receiving praise for its commitment to quality and customer service for decades. On the company website you can even view ontime performance for domestic flights for the past 2 years. In 2013, their average ontime performance for domestic flights was over 88% -an exceptional result by any standards. In the Skytrax annual awards, Qantas was ranked as 10th and 11th on the list of the ‘World’s Top Airlines’ for 2013 and 2014 respectively. It’s the consistency of quality and high level of customer service that keeps Qantas among the top airlines year after year.

InsectWorld / Shutterstock.com
InsectWorld / Shutterstock.com

9. Lufthansa

Lufthansa is the largest airline in Europe and the German flagship carrier is also one of the founding members of the Star Alliance Network. The company has started that “2015 will be the year of Lufthansa Premium Quality” and it looks like they are living up to this with customer-centric amenities like broadband internet access on more than 90% of long-haul flights, some of the most spacious and adjustable economy seating in the industry and live television sporting events. Notable awards and achievements include being named one of the ‘Best Airlines’ for receiving the International Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences for their first class product offering and first class lounge at New York’s JFK Airport.

VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock.com
VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock.com

8. Etihad Airways

The United Arab Emirates is well known for luxury airlines and as the region’s flagship carrier,  Etihad exceeds expectations with excellent customer service and luxury products. The airline has brought new meaning to the phrase luxury air travel as their ultra-high end product called ‘The Residence’ is the only 3-room suite in the sky; featuring a living room, ensuite bathroom, bedroom, private chef and personal butler. Superior customer service isn’t only for those who can afford it either as the commitment to quality continues all the way through economy class on Etihad. The economy Smart Seat features ergonomic design and even adjustable lumbar support for enhanced comfort. These features paint a clear picture of why Etihad made the top 10 Best Airlines in the World Airline Awards.

Lukas Rebec / Shutterstock.com
Lukas Rebec / Shutterstock.com

7. Asiana Airlines

With a fleet of 84 aircraft, Asiana serves 24 countries and carried over 17 million passengers in 2014. The South Korea based carrier may be much smaller than some airlines on this list, but their focus on the customer is just as large. Another member of the Star Alliance Network, Asiana approaches customer service “without compromise”. The company’s premium First Suite Class features the world’s largest  32 inch HD personal monitor for ultimate entertainment. Even the food in economy class is worth noting, as it has won awards from the International In-Flight Catering Association. All reasons why Asiana is among the World Airline Awards top airlines in the world.

Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

6. ANA All Nippon Airways

Japanese carrier ANA All Nippon Airways is the 13th largest airline in the world by revenue. They currently fly over 187 domestic and international routes with a fleet of over 240 aircraft. Along with being ranked the sixth best airline in the world by the World Airline Awards, the carrier was also awarded a 5 star rating by Skytrax -the highest rating given by the air travel rating and review company. ANA All Nippon was also the launch customer and biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which in addition to offering breakthrough technology and increased efficiency, also offers new modern features which are designed with the passenger in mind.

Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com
Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com

5. Turkish Airlines

One of the older airlines on this list, Turkish Airlines was established in 1933 and at the time flew to more countries than any other carrier in the world. Fast forward to present day and they have a fleet of over 261 aircraft flying to 243 cities around the world. The Star Alliance member airline’s motto is “Widen your world” reiterating the company’s expansive service network, it’s perhaps this diverse service offering that landed Turkish Airlines as the fifth ‘Best Airline in the World’ according to the World Airline Awards. They were also named ‘Europe’s Best Airline’ in the 2014 Skytrax Passengers Choice Awards.

Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com
Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com

4. Emirates

The second of the flagship carriers for the United Arab Emirates, Emirates is a Dubai based airline known for their unique brand of luxury in the skies. Customer comfort  is the first priority when you fly Emirates and the company has received recognition for their artfully prepared in-flight cuisine and high quality entertainment system. One look at the company’s awards page which features highlights such as ‘Aviation Company of the Year’ by the Aviation Industry Awards and ‘Best Airline Worldwide’ by the Business Traveller Awards, and you’ll get a picture as to why Emirates was voted the #4 airline in the world by the World Airline Awards.

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

3. Singapore Airlines

The flagship carrier of Singapore, this is one of the most well-respected travel brands in the world. Singapore Airlines flies to 62 destinations in 35 countries on 6 continents and operates one of the youngest fleets of aircraft in the industry. Founded in 1972, this brand has been setting industry benchmarks since inception including being the first to offer passengers free headsets, choice of meals and drinks in economy class in the 70s, first to introduce satellite phones in 1991, and being the first airline to offer audio and video on-demand entertainment systems in 2001. It’s this commitment to the customer that has earned this airline such titles as 2014 ‘Best Overall Airline in the World’ by Business Traveler USA, 2014 ‘Best International Airline’ by TravelAge West, and ‘Best Business Class’ by Global Traveler; making Singapore Airlines the world’s most awarded airline.

Jordan Tan / Shutterstock.com
Jordan Tan / Shutterstock.com

2. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways wasn’t always a recognized name in the airline industry but the company has swiftly made a rise to the top by offering excellence at every level. The airline flies one of the most modern fleets of 134 aircraft in the skies today and has received many awards of achievement. Since the airline was relaunched in 1997, they’ve won numerous accolades celebrating their commitment to higher standards including being awarded a prestigious 5-star rating by Skytrax as well as being named the ‘Airline of the Year’ in 2011 and 2012 by the Skytrax industry audit. In 2014 they are still very much at the top of class coming in 2nd on the list of best airlines in the world.

Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com
Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com

1. Cathay Pacific

The competition is fierce in the industry and as this list proves, many airlines are striving to be the best in class by offering exceptional customer service and product offerings. In 2014 the best in class is Cathay Pacific as they were awarded the Best Airline in the World by the Skytrax World Airline Awards. It’s the fourth time that this Hong Kong flagship airline has won the number one spot making them the only airline to have accomplished this. Other notable awards earned in 2014 include ‘Best airline to China’ by the Premier Traveler’s awards, ‘Best Business Class’ and ‘Top 10 Airline for 2015’ by AirlineRatings.com, and ‘Best Premium Economy’ by Business Traveller.

Eric Hui / Shutterstock.com
Eric Hui / Shutterstock.com

Like this? Check out: The 12 Safest Airlines in the World and 15 Worst Airlines in the World

Angry Passenger Slaps Airline Employee

Most airline freak-outs seem to happen in the air, but one passenger hadn’t even boarded the plane before losing her temper and throwing a fit.

A woman at Tan Son Nhat International airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam was heading to her gate to board a plane for Hanoi when she was stopped by a VietJet employee who requested she have her bags weighed. 

VietJet

The airline’s requirements for carry-on luggage is a weight of 7kg (about 15.5 pounds) or less, with a size of 56x36x23. When the employee looked at the woman’s two bags he suspected they were over the limit. After weighing them, he confirmed that they indeed exceeded the weight limits set by the airline. 

The woman disagreed with the scale’s results and instead of negotiating with the airline employee, she wound up and slapped him right in the face. According to reports, officials responded to the incident quickly and the woman was made to sign a statement about the incident and also fined VND7.5 million, or approximately $345 USD. Ironically, this is more than it would have cost her had she just paid the overweight baggage charges.

Airline Promises Luggage in ’20 Minutes or Less’

In February Delta airlines ran a pilot project ensuring that customers on domestic flights would receive their checked luggage in 20 minutes or less.

While this was done on a trail basis, the airline has just announced that the 20 minute luggage guarantee will become a permanent feature.

Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant says “Customer response was positive and our employees are rallying to achieve the 20-minute mark, so it’s here to stay,”  when he spoke to USA Today. The guarantee covers all itineraries where a traveler’s last leg is a domestic Delta flight – including those operated by Delta’s regional Delta Connection affiliates.

Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

The consolation for those whose luggage takes longer than 20 minutes to reach the carousel is 2,500 bonus SkyMiles, however the guarantee comes with a fair amount of fine print:

-Customers must be traveling on a domestic U.S. flight. International flights are not included. However, a passenger traveling from Paris to Chicago via New York would be eligible since the passenger’s last leg would be a U.S. domestic flight.

-Customers must be a Delta SkyMiles member in good standing at the time of travel.

-The offer is limited to one request per passenger per outbound or return travel. Fliers will be eligible only for 2,500 miles, regardless of number of bags they’ve checked.

-Lost, mishandled, and damaged bags are excluded. Oversize and overweight baggage and special items also are not eligible.

Alaska Airlines has long been offering a similar 20 minute luggage guarantee where customers are given 2,500 bonus miles, but unlike Delta, Alaska Airlines offers an alternate choice of a $25 travel voucher instead of the miles. We think it’s nice to see some positive press on airline customer service as of late!

The World’s Most Dangerous Airlines

AirlineRatings.com has released a list of the world’s most dangerous airlines to fly, basing them on a rating scale out of seven stars. The airlines below all have a rating of two stars or below and are rated on factors such as is the airline certified by the International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), are they blacklisted from the European Union, have they been fatality free for 10 years, are they FAA approved and do they meet all 8 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety parameters. To explain; the IOSA certification is an evaluation system designed to assess the management and control system of an airline whereas the ICAO measures the standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity. Most of these airlines do not offer in-flight products, have terrible on time performance and have been grounded or investigated at least once in their lifetime. Between bomb threats, hijackings, overshot runways and crashes; these twelve airlines have a history of being unsafe. Discover the world’s most dangerous airlines according to AirlineRatings.com.

13. Yeti Airlines

Yeti Airlines is the parent company to Tara Air (mentioned later); an airline that was rewarded only one-star by AirlineRatings.com. Yeti Airlines comes in with two-stars however, being rewarded for being fatality free and FAA endorsed. Based in Kathmandu, Nepal this airline was established in 1998 and together with Tara Air forms the largest domestic flight operator in Nepal. Yeti Airlines serves ten domestic destinations with seven aircrafts in operation.

In the past decade Yeti Airlines has had a handful of incidents resulting in the deaths of over thirty passengers and crew as well as destroying a couple of aircrafts. They do boast the highest on time performance of any airline in Nepal though and offer beverages and snacks on flights. Yeti Airlines also offers an hour long express Everest mountain flight that remains popular with visitors. Like all Nepalese airlines they are banned from flying into the European Union airspace and have not completed any components of the IOSA.

Yeti Airlines mountain runway

12. Sriwijaya Air

This Indonesia airline comes in with a two-star rating as the country’s third largest airline. Sriwijaya Air is a privately owned airline that started its operations in 2003 and services cities within Indonesia and 3 international destinations. This airline is classified as a medium service airline and does offer snacks and beverages throughout the flights. They had hoped to be a full-service airline by 2013 but that has not yet happened as of 2015.

In regards to safety, Sriwijaya Air is lacking in a lot of departments. With no international safety recognition, blacklisted from flying into European air space and not being FAA approved it was only the lack of fatalities that earned them any stars. Not without incident though, this airline has had a number of runway incidents that have resulted in injury and aircraft damage.  Sriwijaya Air has a large fleet of aircraft, totaling 39 with an average lifespan of 24 years old and has been in negotiations to replace a large number of the aging aircrafts. Perhaps with newer aircrafts and added destinations this airline will consider participating in safety certifications that will bump their star rating up in the coming years.

Airplane flying 1

11. Air Bagan

One of the only two-star rated airlines on this list that is allowed to fly into European airspace is Air Bagan. Established in 2004 Air Bagan operates domestically in Myanmar with over 20 destinations. International flights were a go-ahead in 2007 but since have been cancelled due to safety concerns. Only one international destination remains on their flight schedule. Another fact about this airline is that U.S citizens are prohibited from dealing with this airline due to U.S sanctions against the Myanmar government.

With two accidents and a handful of fatalities Air Bagan looks to be slightly safer than most others on this list especially considering they are well on their way to completing the necessary requirements for the ICAO audit. Air Bagan also offers good in-flight products with meals and beverages offered on all their flights no matter what the flight length and distance. Passengers seem to like this airline so we expect to see them rise in ratings as they obtain further safety accreditation.

plane flying indonesia

10. Susi Air

The airlines of Indonesia seem to be heading up the race for two-star ratings from AirlineRatings.com. The combination of extreme terrain, smaller panes, weather, non-cooperation from local tribes and communication difficulties with air traffic control are all factors that contribute to the safety of these airlines. Susi Air operates commercial and charter flights throughout the islands of Indonesia and has been around since 2004. They are one of the only airlines in Indonesia that hires most of their pilots from Western Countries; most often hiring young pilots wanting to clock up their flying hours.

Besides being banned from flying into the European Union, Susi Air has another type of ban on them. After a rough decade of crashes and casualties United States Embassy personnel are now prohibited from flying on this airline. Due to the nature of the planes, don’t expect any flight crew other than the pilots. With an open cockpit and access to all of the pilot’s controls passengers who are rowdy also pose a serious safety threat to these flights. Although Susi Air is said to be one of the better Indonesian Airlines, expect them to stay at about 2 stars in the safety rating from AirlineRatings.com.

plane taking off

9. Merpati Airlines

Merpati Airlines was established in 1962 by the Indonesian government as the second-state airline. Currently it is a major domestic airline with service to over 25 destinations in Indonesia, as well as flying to East Timor and Malaysia. The history of this airline has been a financial mess and as of January 2015 the airline is not operating any flights. The fate of the airline is up in the air as the Indonesian government has promised to invest the money they need to start flying again.

As for their safety record, in the past decade they have had over 50 casualties over six serious incidents and are banned from flying in any European airspace due to safety concerns. Merpati boasts a training center and pilot school which makes their safety record even more surprising. In the past this airline has expressed interest in obtaining their IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) from International Air Transport Association but with unpaid fuel bills, unhappy employees and frozen operations we would be shocked if they are still an airline by the time this study comes out again next year.

Airplane generic

8. Daallo Airlines

This two-star safety rated airlines has some of the worst passenger reviews in regards to safety, cleanliness and service. Daallo Airlines is a Somali owned airline with its headquarters in Dubai and its main operating hub at Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport. Destinations include the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Facts and information are hard to come by about this airline and perhaps this is what makes it even more unsafe.

All flight operations were grounded in 2010 for Daallo Airlines but resumed later in the year; with no reason given as to why. As for the safety record, although this airline hasn’t suffered any casualties there have been a couple serious incidents. An unsuccessful hijack attempt took place in 2009 and in 2010 a man tried to board a flight with enough explosives to blow up the plane. Now banned from the European Union with no recognized safety certificate; you may want to add Daallo Airlines to your list of airlines to avoid flying.

old airplane cabin

7. Ariana Afghan Airways

The largest airline of Afghanistan comes in with a safety rating of two stars according to AirlineRatings.com. Established in 1955 this airline has been blacklisted from the European Union since 2006 due to safety concerns. During the Taliban era the airline was completely grounded and has to rebuild itself after the overthrow. The UN lifted the sanctions that were preventing the airline from flying internationally although the EU blacklist continues to this day.

Due to its age and history the safety record of Arian Afghan Airways is not a pretty one. As of 2014 they had written off 19 aircrafts and counted a total of 154 casualties. Although most of these incidents occurred in the late 1990’s; there are enough of them to justify a low safety rating. No internationally recognized safety audit certificate also bumps this airline down to two stars. Currently operating to three domestic sites and seven international destinations it seems this airline isn’t proactive in trying to earn further safety accreditation.

airplane controls

6. Bluewing Airlines

Bluewing Airlines, a regional carrier based out of Zorg en Hoop Airport in Paramaribo, Suriname has operated since 2002. This small airline generally transports passengers to destinations in the interior of Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela and the Caribbean. The airline has spent time on and off the blacklist for the European Union and currently in 2015 remains banned from flying into the EU.

Bluewing has had its share of problems from aircraft safety issues to crashes. In the early 2000’s the four Antonov 28s that were part of their fleet came under fire for not meeting specific safety regulations including the absence of Ground Proximity Warning Systems (GPWS) on board. In the past decade there have been a number of crashes with both crew and passenger deaths. With a poor safety record, a blacklist from the EU and often poor landing conditions it is not likely that this airline will be awarded more than two stars in the near future.

airplane black and white

5. Tara Air

Tara Air, a subsidiary of Yeti Air (previously mentioned) is a newly formed airline being established in 2009 and uses the Yeti Air fleet. With its main hub at the Tribhuvan International Airport this airline operates the short take off and landing services, focusing on remote and mountainous airports and landing strips. This small fleet of 8 aircraft earned its one star from being FAA approved.

The safety record of Tara Air, to put it gently, is not good. In the years 2010 and 2011 there were three incidents that resulted in 22 deaths of passengers and crew. Small aircrafts combined with the extreme mountainous terrain make flying this airline a risk. Tara Air is also banned from flying into the EU and has no internationally recognized safety certificate although rumor has it that this airline is working towards obtaining possible IOSA recognition in the future. We will keep an eye on this airline over the coming years to see if they can move themselves up on the star rating.

Yulia_B / Shutterstock.com
Yulia_B / Shutterstock.com

4. Lion Air

Indonesia’s largest privately run airline started operations in the year 2000 and perhaps has the worst safety record on this list, along with a slew of other issues it has faced since being established. In the fourth most populous country the demand for medium-haul jets has been on the rise and Lion Air has stepped forward with significant orders of Boeings and Airbus. Lion Air flies passengers to over 80 destinations and has jointly established two additional airlines in Malaysia and Thailand.

The safety record for Lion Air can rightfully be called atrocious with over eight serious incidents and a number of fatalities in the last decade. From overshot runway landings to water crashes it’s surprising that this airline hasn’t had more casualties. Just recently in 2012 Lion Air came under scrutiny for pilots and crew being in possession of methamphetamine (aka crystal meth). As expected they are banned from flying into the European Union and as of January 2015 the ministry of transportation had frozen fifty-three of their routes. It’s no shock that Lion Air is only given one-star from AirlineRatings.com and expects them to stay at that rating for some time, unless drastic changes are made.

Lion Air

3. Nepal Airlines

The only airline in the one-star category to even get an in-flight product rating is Nepal Airlines, formally known as Royal Nepal Airlines. It was Nepal’s first airline in 1958 with a handful of domestic flights. It has now grown to flying to over 39 destinations including seven international ones. None of these destinations include anywhere in the European Union as all Nepalese airlines are blacklisted; including Nepal Airlines.

The safety record for this airline isn’t pretty. Since the 1960’s there have been numerous incidents and accidents resulting in the deaths of passengers and crew members. The most recent accident occurred in 2014 when a plane went missing on-route to Jaumla and crashed; resulting in the deaths of 18 people. Nepal Airlines has not participated in any of the internationally recognized safety audits and continues to be one of the world’s most dangerous airlines according to AirlineRatings.com. This airline has recently purchased a few new aircrafts including an Airbus A320 and will be using that to fly to Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Nepal Airlines
Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com

2. SCAT Airlines

The low cost carrier SCAT Airlines was established in 1997 and operates out of its man hub Shymkent Airport with service to all major cities of Kazakhstan and neighboring countries. Rewarded a ranking of one star by AirlineRatings.com this airline is deemed one of the most dangerous airlines in the world according to this study. The airline is in fact FAA approved and that is what earned them the one star. SCAT is banned from entering European airspace though after an audit by the ICAO deemed them non-compliant in keys areas of regulatory oversight.

SCAT has been accident and incident free for the most part since operations commenced but just recently in 2013 suffered a loss. An aircraft carrying 21 people crashed while flying from Kokshetau to Almaty and all onboard perished. A few other minor incidents have occurred with this airline and it continues to operate without an internationally recognized safety audit certificate. The good news about SCAT is they are genuinely trying to improve and working towards professional accreditation.

plane landing

1. Kam Air

Coming in with just one star Kam Air is amongst only 4 others that topped the list for the most dangerous airlines in the world. This Afghanistan based airline is based out of Kabul and has been in operation since 2003. Kam Air was the first ever privately owned passenger airline in Afghanistan and operates domestic passenger’s services and regional international services. Kam Air did try to schedule flights into Europe but as of 2010 the European Union (EU) banned all afghan carriers from flying into the EU due to safety concerns.

Kam Air has had its share of incidents in the past 12 years which include a crash that resulted in the deaths of 96 passengers and 8 crew members. Other incidents include a bomb threat that resulted in the plane being diverted and a tail strike incident that was not taken seriously by the airline; thus resulting in the ban from the EU. Along with not completing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit Kam Airlines is also not allowed into American airspace. This airline is clearly failing at becoming a safer airline and will most likely remain on the bottom of this list for a long time.

airplane cockpit

The 12 Safest Airlines in the World

With frequent air travel becoming more and more popular and perhaps even becoming the “norm”; it is no surprise that more and more airlines are popping up all over the world. The demand from passengers to reach their destinations quicker, better and cheaper has increased tenfold in the past decade. With over 3.3 billion people flying each year the demand on safety has become a key factor. So what are the world’s safest airlines and how does one determine that? AirlineRatings.com has released their top ten list of the safest airlines based on a 7 star rating system. The rating system takes into account a number of different factors including having the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification, not being blacklisted from flying into the European Union, fatality free for ten years, and whether or not the airline’s fleet has been grounded for safety concerns. The in-flight product that is offered along with audits from various groups was also taken into consideration. Discover the top ten safest airlines that all have a star rating of 7 stars for safety and above 5 stars for in-flight product. We have also included two more airlines in our list that we feel deserve special mention. Although they were not listed in the AirlineRatings.com top ten list; discover why Air Canada and Lufthansa are also rated seven out of seven stars for safety.

Qantas

The number one safest airline in the world according to AirlineRatings.com is Qantas. Nicknamed “The Flying Kangaroo”, Qantas is Australia’s largest airline and the second oldest airline in the world; founded in 1920. It’s global reputation for safety excellence and boasting some of the top pilots in the world; it is easy to see why this airline ranks number one. Along with the above, Qantas has a fatality-free history in the pure jet era; no easy feat for the second oldest airline.

Being the world’s longest continually operating and experienced airline has allowed Qantas to become the leader in developing air navigation systems, real time monitoring of its engines and other highly sought after technology. Qantas also boasts the best domestic in-flight offering in the world with complimentary full meals and beverages including alcoholic, audio and video on-demand systems or iPads and a generous baggage allowance. Qantas continues to impress the world with its ever growing technology, superior safety initiatives and excellent customer service. We will not be surprised to see this airline on the list time and time again.

PomInOz / Shutterstock.com
PomInOz / Shutterstock.com

Air New Zealand

One of the oldest airlines on this list is Air New Zealand and has been around since the 1940’s operating as Tasman Empire Airways Limited until 1978 when the name became what it is today. Carrying approximately 12 million passengers per year and flying to 25 domestic and 26 international destinations; Air New Zealand is not only safe but has great fun with its advertising. Coming in with seven out of seven stars in terms of safety and in-flight product, this airline has not been without incident over the past decade. In 2008 a woman tried to hijack an Air New Zealand flight and injured both pilots and passenger. Despite this, the airline still boasts a fatality free record over the past decade.

In-flight products are some of the best with this airline including complimentary snacks, refreshments and meals along with in-seat entertainment, blankets and pillows on longer flights all being provided. The premium economy class takes economy to a new level with in-seat power, reclining lounge like seats and seats that can face each other designed for people flying together to share a meal. Air New Zealand’s dynamic marketing deserves a special mention; from the Lord of Rings safety video to the Nothing to Hide campaign that showed the world why Air New Zealand offers so much more than other low cost carriers. Safe, low cost and fun; it’s no wonder why this airline makes the top ten.

Digital Media Pro / Shutterstock.com
Digital Media Pro / Shutterstock.com

Emirates

It probably would have been a shock to travelers if Emirates had not made this list as the largest airline in the Middle East operating over 3,500 flights a week is known for its safety, reliability and luxury. Operating since in the mid 1980’s, Emirates now operates out of Terminal 3 in the Dubai International Airport; the terminal is capable of handling 60 million passengers a year and was built exclusively for Emirates. A few minor accidents have occurred over the past decade but no injuries were reported for any of those incidents. This is a huge feat for such a gigantic airline that operates so many flights.

Luxury is another word other than safety that people will associate with Emirates. Being one of the first airlines to provide personal seat-back TV’s in the early 1990’s it is no surprise Emirates is way ahead of the game with in-flight entertainment and products. High speed in-flight Internet, live international television programs, views from the exterior cameras located on the aircrafts and larger high definition screens are only a slice of what you will find. From first class private pods and suites that include mini-bars, showers and spa to lie-flat sleeper seats and in-seat power there is no shortage of luxury. With a first class safety rating, endless flight options and extreme lavishness; there is no better time to fly Emirates than right now.

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Etihad

Operating more than 1000 flights a week this second largest airline in the UAE is just a newcomer to the scene starting operations in 2003. Since then, Etihad has become a household name in the Middle East and promises luxury, safety and efficiency. This is one of the most luxurious airlines to fly in as money has seemed to be of no object in outfitting these planes. The cabins have recently undergone a facelift and certain aircrafts now offer 3-room private spaces including a bedroom and bathroom or private suites with mini-bar, wardrobes and personal vanity. Each passenger aboard an Etihad aircraft will have access to their own personal entertainment unit and power hub in the seatback along with mood lighting.

Safety-wise, Etihad Airlines get an A+ boasting seven out of seven stars from the above study. James Hogan, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, sees no limits on expanding this airline and making it the “best in class”. Did we mention certain flights have a nanny service that allows parents to rest while their children are cared for? Safety always being the number one priority coupled with a new kind of luxury in the air is why Etihad is a rapidly growing airline and why we will continue to hear more about this newcomer in the future.

Art Konovalov / Shutterstock.com
Art Konovalov / Shutterstock.com

Cathay Pacific

Winning “world’s best airline” four times along with an excellent safety record, re-vamped cabins and flying to 177 destinations was enough to get Cathay Pacific on this list at number five. Cathay Pacific is also the founding member of the Oneworld Alliance and between them and Dragonair transports over 27 million passengers per year. Founded in 1946; Cathay Pacific has had enough years to experiment with what works and doesn’t work and was recently awarded for having the best business class of all the airlines, with emphasis on how well they listened to what their passengers wanted.

Passengers are guaranteed twin-aisle aircrafts with seat-back entertainment, full meals and complimentary beverages. Pillows, blankets, in-seat phones and USB ports are also offered on longer flights. Business class passengers can choose to swivel their seats to talk to other passengers while first-class passengers have the option to turn their seat into a bed. Cathay Pacific shows no sign of slowing down in terms of innovation and safety so we expect them to remain on this list time and time again.

Eric Hui / Shutterstock.com
Eric Hui / Shutterstock.com

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is one of the only airlines to use exclusively wide-body jets and was the customer for the first ever Airbus A380. This airline manages a fleet of 108 aircrafts; all of which are the Airbus A330, Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777. A big focus for Singapore Airlines is keeping their airplanes young and they often renew their fleet; perhaps this is one of the reasons they are rated in the top ten safest airlines. With an extensive and efficient route system, along with 4 classes of cabins and based at one of the world’s most efficient airports; Changi Airport; it is no wonder people love to fly this airline.

The in-flight product offered is consistent amongst the classes and Singapore Airline was the first in history to offer free headsets, free meals and drinks in Economy class and beds in business class. Over the past sixty years they have grown into a world class airline offering restaurant quality meals, designer suites and in-seat entertainment in all of their aircrafts. Combining the excellence of product with the excellence of their safety record to make for a winning airline.

Pincasso / Shutterstock.com
Pincasso / Shutterstock.com

Virgin Atlantic

Another airline on the list that uses exclusively wide-body jets is Virgin Atlantic and coming in at number seven on the list; it is no surprise the safety record of this airline is fantastic. In over thirty years of service there have been only two incidents recorded including one with minor injuries reported in 1997.  Operating out of Gatwick, London and Manchester Virgin Atlantic prides itself on appealing to the business traveler.

Specific flight times are chosen to suit business travelers and Virgin Atlantic offers a snooze zone along with the longest beds on the New York-London Route found on any airline. The snooze zone guarantees dim lighting and quiet in a section of the plane where passengers can sleep on overnight flights. From economy to upper class; three or four course meals are served along with an alcoholic or non-alcoholic “welcome” cocktail. Mobile connectivity, Wi-Fi, games and movies on demand all make flying Virgin Atlantic pleasurable and safe.

IanC66 / Shutterstock.com
IanC66 / Shutterstock.com

EVA Air

The second largest Taiwanese airline first took flight in 1991. Since then EVA Air has rapidly expanded and now operates flights to over 50 international destinations. The safety record of this airline has been impeccable boasting no airline losses, accidents or passenger fatalities in its operational history. In the most recent years EVA Air has become a member of Star Alliance and is offering more passenger routes to new cities.

In-flight catering ranges from restaurant style meals to champagne to pre-ordered gourmet meals depending on which class you fly. EVA gets honorable mention for offering their economy guests full beverage and meal service, audio and video on-demand entertainment and the ability to send email and text message throughout the flight. Business class and above comes with satellite phones, in-seat power and almost fully reclining seats. Couple all of the above with a great price point and it is easy to understand why so many passengers choose to fly EVA Air.

EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

All Nippon Airways

Operating the largest international airways in and out of Japan is no easy feat but All Nippon Airways manages to do it both with ease and style. Coming in with 7 out of 7 stars; this airline continues to be safe while offering exceptional customer service on all flights. Although not entirely incident free, ANA has remained fatality free for the past decade. In 2013 all Boeing 787’s were grounded due to battery issues; and did not take off again until all investigations and issues were resolved.

As far as comfort and in-flight products are concerned; All Nippon Airways stepped up their game in 2010 with a new cabin design. Included in this was fully lie-flat-bed business class seats, an in-flight entertainment system with iPod hook up, women only washrooms and more leg room in economy class than most others. With their many choices of meals, beverages and their generous baggage allowance it is no surprise All Nippon Airways is Japan’s largest and safest airline.  If you are flying this airline perhaps you may even find yourself taking off in one of their theme planes including a Pokémon plane, a panda themed plane and even a Woody Woodpecker themed plane.

TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com
TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com

Royal Jordanian

Royal Jordanian was established in 1963 and started its days with three aircrafts and flights operating out of its home base Amman, Jordan. Today the airline operates over 500 flights a week with at least 110 daily flights.  What got this airline into the top ten is the combination of its fatality and casualty free safety record over the last 10 years, its dedication to obtain the safety audit each year and the excellent in-flight product they offer. Since 2004 Royal Jordanian has obtained the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) yearly without incident and became one of the first international airlines to do so.

The in-flight product this airline offers is unlike most carriers and while many airlines have implemented cost-cutting strategies in this area; Royal Jordanian has not. Presently they offer snacks and beverages on all flights regardless of the flying time. On flights over an hour one hot meal is served and economy passengers have their choice of poultry, beef or fish; one of only five international airlines to offer economy guests this choice. Any flight over two hours offers three main meals. Along with food and alcoholic beverages; passengers are treated to blankets, pillows, eye masks and newspapers free of charge. Not only is Royal Jordanian safe to fly but offers some of the best in-flight products regarding food, entertainment and extras.

InsectWorld / Shutterstock.com
InsectWorld / Shutterstock.com

Air Canada

As mentioned in the beginning of the article Air Canada finds itself on this list due to the seven star safety rating it was issued by AirlineRatings.com, along with its excellent in-flight product offering. Considering this airline is Canada’s biggest airline and takes over 35 million passengers a year to over 178 destinations worldwide; the opportunity for accidents and incidents remains high. Air Canada has become a leader in safety and has operated over the last decade without any passenger or crew fatality or injury.

Air Canada offers a variety of economy and business class options on their short and long-haul flights. From executive pods that offer similar lay-flat beds as Cathay Pacific’s business class and personal Audio and Video on Demand devices to in-seat power, personal seat-back TV’s and full meals and alcoholic beverage service on international flights; Air Canada has you covered in terms of flying comfortably. Safe, experienced and always trying to improve are just a few factors why Air Canada made this list.

Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

Lufthansa

Lufthansa has one of the largest passenger airline fleets in the world and the entire Lufthansa Group carries over 100 million passengers worldwide. Over the past decade they have maintained one of the best safety records in the airline world. Not without incident though; the past has been a rough time for this airline with quite a few incidents and fatalities in the 1970’s. Lufthansa in response has made it their goal to become one of the leading airlines in terms of safety and are putting their best foot forth in ensuring each passenger arrives safely to their destination.

Lufthansa offers four cabin classes from economy to first class and most flights offer full meal service, beverages, audio and video on-demand, and internet access on the longer hauls. Business and first class offers fully lay flat beds, amenity kits and in-seat power. Lufthansa is a rapidly growing airline as they continue to purchase smaller European airlines and expand their fleet more every year. Couple that with their dedication to safety and don’t be surprised if you see this airline on top of next year’s list.

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

The Worst Airlines in the World

We live in a modern age of travel where it’s just as possible to fly to the other side of the globe as it is to drive to a neighboring state. With this new found accessibility comes demand from consumers who yearn to see things few others have seen. But what’s the thing that many consumers say they hate most about traveling?  Flying. Traveling and taking vacations are memorable experiences but the catch is always getting there. Confusing airports and busy terminals, lost luggage, tight cramped quarters, poor service and delay after delay after delay… This is often the reality faced by passengers world-wide and while some airlines are better than others, there are definitely those that are worse than others as well. These 15 airlines have all been called ‘the worst’ in one way or another and have reputations for delays, poor customer service and even some questionable business practices. Many have received a very poor 2 star rating from Skytrax Global Airline Ratings which bases its ratings on quality of product and service standards.

15. US Airways

One of the largest American airline carriers, US Airways has made attempts to change its reputation for lost luggage and poor overall quality and customer service. According to flightstats.com, the company’s global on-time performance for the first quarter of 2015 is an average of 75.34% with February reaching a low of 73.15% on-time. The good news is that the stats show US Airways seems to be making improvements, albeit they are slow ones. Their most recent stats on lost baggage claims as per the US Department of Transportation were 2.70 claims per 1,000 passengers. Not as bad as many on this list but definitely not good either.

Vacclav / Shutterstock.com
Vacclav / Shutterstock.com

14. Frontier Airlines

While American small carrier Frontier Airlines may have received an overall 3 star rating from Skytrax, a look at the closer details show many areas in which they were only given a 2 star rating including waiting times, standard of customer support service and boarding service efficiency. They actually only received a 1.5  star rating for handling delays/cancellations which is exceptionally low. Surprisingly, lost baggage isn’t as big of an issue with this airline as their stats for lost baggage show 2.21 claims per 1,000 passengers, though we attribute this to the much smaller size of this air carrier when compared to other American airlines.

David Gaylor / Shutterstock.com
David Gaylor / Shutterstock.com

13. United Airlines

This large American carrier has built a reputation for poor customer care…maybe even bordering on abusive as there have been cases of customers being left on the tarmac for hours on end. This reputation got so bad that in 2013 the US Department of Transportation actually fined the airline over $1 million for this offence. For the first quarter of 2015 they only have an on-time performance average of 75.39% with the month of February going as low as 72.96% on time. Not only are the delays a problem but lost luggage is a relatively common occurrence as well with a reported 3.66 baggage claims per 1,000 passengers according to the US Department of Transportation’s most recent statistics.

Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

12. Tigerair

Tigerair, originally Tiger Airways is a Singapore born carrier that was meant to be on a similar level as low-budget European carrier Ryanair (mentioned later on this list). Singapore service started in 2004, with the carrier expanding to Australia in 2007. In both markets Tigerair is widely considered sub-par by passengers due to their poor customer service and cheap product where absolutely everything costs extra. The company was even known to use their own poor reputation and complaints record as a publicity stunt to show their bottom-basement airfare prices. It seems however that even Tigerair is trying to start a new and better reputation as in 2013 they changed their name from Tiger Airways to Tigerair. They should probably realize it’s going to take a lot more than a name change to get off the worst airlines list any time soon.

Peterfz30 / Shutterstock.com
Peterfz30 / Shutterstock.com

11. EasyJet

Europe is infamous for its number of low-budget air carriers and UK based EasyJet is exactly one of these airlines. No one should really expect luxuries with any budget carrier but that doesn’t mean passengers should have to sacrifice service just to get a good deal. In the Skytrax quality rating, the airline received 2 stars or lower in the areas of in-flight entertainment and handling delays/cancellations. They also received only 2.5 star ratings for airline product information, in-flight service information, and arrival assistance. It sounds like if you fly with EasyJet you’d better prepare yourself for a lack of information.

Giovanni G / Shutterstock.com
Giovanni G / Shutterstock.com

10. Pakistan International Airlines

If you’re the kind of person who values timeliness Pakistan International Airlines is not one you should consider flying with. So far in 2015 their on-time performance average is a dismal 37.53% -granted they only fly about 3,000 flights a month compared to a major carrier like US Airways who operates nearly 90,000 each month but one would think less flights might make it easier to be on time. In addition, the Skytrax ratings show only 2 star ratings for important areas like check-in services, arrival assistance, transfer services and staff language skills.

Naufal MQ / Shutterstock.com
Naufal MQ / Shutterstock.com

9. RyanAir

Dublin based carrier RyanAir isn’t just a budget airline it’s an ultra-budget airline. They’ve taken the phrase “you get what you pay for” to the extreme and with their cheap fares comes a cheap product as well. They’ve seemingly built their business on cutting corners in order to offer the lowest fares possible but as a result, customer experience is pretty atrocious. Seats do not recline meaning you’re upright the entire flight, they have no seatback pockets and historically the airline has even reduced the number of washrooms on board to make room for extra seats. Everything costs extra with Ryanair, from having an allocated seat to bringing an infant on your lap and even using a credit card.

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Marco Prati / Shutterstock.com

8. China Eastern Airlines

Another airline to avoid if you can’t stand delays, China Eastern Airlines is headquartered out of Shanghai, China and operates as a budget carrier. According to flightstats.com global airline arrival performance, the company is plagued by issues with delays and cancellations. Their average on-time performance for 2015 thus far is 53.87% which is not only bad, but is worsened by the fact that this airline operates around 50,000 flights per month. We’d expect as large a carrier to have better organization and practices in place but then again, a look at some reviews on Yelp paint a clear picture of a very low-quality product and almost non-existent customer service.

Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com
Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com

7. Lion Air

Established in 1999, the Jakarta, Indonesia based airline Lion Air is the largest low cost carrier in Asia with service to Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, mainland China and Hong Kong. Despite being the biggest, the budget airline is certainly not the best. In fact, it’s far from it with problems like chronic delays and even drug use by pilots and crew. In 2011 the company was forced to ground 13 planes due to poor on-time performance until an OTP of 80% could be reached and in 2012 there were several incidents of pilots and crew members being found with crystal meth. In one case, a Lion Air pilot was arrested after testing positive for methamphetamine and had been scheduled to fly to Surabaya only a few hours later.

aoo3771 / Shutterstock.com
aoo3771 / Shutterstock.com

6. SmartWings

SmartWings is a european low-cost carrier based out of Prague, Czech Republic. They were established in 2008 and are owned by parent company Travel Service Airlines. A look at many reviews of this carrier paint a picture of deceptively low airfares with some even claiming poor business practices of charging fares and spontaneously cancelling flights a week before departure with no options to re-book. Skytrax ratings only gave the airline a 2 star overall rating with a mere 1 star in areas including product information, service information and online check-in. They also only received 2 stars in the areas of arrival assistance, cabin cleanliness and check-in wait times.

Lukas Rebec / Shutterstock.com
Lukas Rebec / Shutterstock.com

5. Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is the only 2-star rated airline on this list that operates in America. They’ve gained a strong reputation for being cheap to the extreme…and not in a good way. Outrageous fees like charging for carry-on luggage and strict no-refund policies all worsen the customer experience. Seats do not recline and passengers often complain about the cramped conditions. Skytrax gave them very poor ratings in the areas of in-flight entertainment, cabin cleanliness, staff enthusiasm and attitude, staff response to requests and handling of delays/cancellations. It seems the only good thing about this airline are the low-fares but clearly these come at a cost.

Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.com
Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.com

4. Nepal Airlines

This tiny national carrier of Nepal is based in Kathmandu and has a fleet size of only 7 active aircraft, most of which are relatively old. Skytrax only gave them a 2 star overall rating for product and service quality with only 1 star being awarded in areas like on-board comfort, in-flight entertainment, washrooms/shower facilities and the company’s website. They may not be the most reliable of airlines either with many passenger reports of sudden flight cancellations. This is clear when looking at their on-time performance for February 2015 as they’re on-time performance of 34% is nearly matched by their flight cancellations at 32%. Rightly so, Nepal Airlines was banned from flying within the EU in 2013.

Nepal Airlines

3. Pegasus Airlines

Pegasus Airlines is another low-cost budget carrier and is the second largest airline in Turkey. It was named the cheapest low-cost European carrier in both 2013 and 2014, but cheap usually comes at a cost. Pegasus operates only 1 flight class on their aircraft with no in-flight entertainment or meals. Skytrax ratings gave nothing higher than a 3-star rating for any of the rated categories with the areas of standard of customer support service, handling delays/cancellations, in-flight entertainment and staff language skills all receiving below 2 stars.

cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com
cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com

2. Bulgaria Air

A relatively new carrier, Bulgaria Air was founded in 2002 and is based out of the
Bulgarian capital of Sofia. Even though this article is focused on product and customer service rather than safety, it’s worth noting that there are reports of numerous incidents where this airline has had aircraft skid off the runway and has had sanctions on flying in American airspace due to a lack of equipment safety documents. Skytrax ratings gives the airline a 2 star overall rating with some of the poorest rated categories being in-flight entertainment, staff response to requests, transfer services and arrival assistance.

Senohrabek / Shutterstock.com
Senohrabek / Shutterstock.com

1. Air Koryo

This North Korean state-owned carrier is the only airline to receive a 1 star overall rating from Skytrax airline rating system. That easily puts Air Koryo in the #1 spot for worst airline for product and customer service in the world. The amount of extremely poor 1 and 2 star ratings in the Skytrax categories are too numerous to name but here’s just a few: check-in service, transfer service, arrival assistance, comfort, language skills, and staff response to request all the the lowest ranking of 1 star. Air Koryo was also banned from flying within the EU in 2006 due to safety and maintenance concerns. In 2010 they were allowed to fly certain Tu-204s aircraft into the EU after improved safety features, however all other aircraft in the company’s fleet remain banned.

Attila JANDI / Shutterstock.com
Attila JANDI / Shutterstock.com

Like this? Check out: The World’s 13 Most Dangerous Airlines and 15 Best Airlines in the World