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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.