Qatar Airways voted World's Best Airline in 2019 SKYTRAX Awards

jetBlue highest-ranked U.S. airline

Qatar Airways has received the honor of being named the World’s Best Airline in the 2019 SKYTRAX World Airline Awards, bestowing upon it the title of "World's Best" for the fifth time in the history of the awards.

“Becoming the first airline to be named as ‘Airline of the Year’ for the fifth time is a landmark achievement," Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, said. "It is testament to the tireless efforts of the entire Qatar Airways team [and] is a proud moment for the airline."

The accolades, which were bestowed on June 18 at the Paris Air Show, also named Qatar as having the World's Best Business Class, the World's Best Business Class Seat and the Best Airline in the Middle East.

Qatar Airways 777; photo provided by the airline

Last year's first-place airline, Singapore, slipped to No. 2 on the World's Best list. It was followed by Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA), Cathay Pacific, and Emirates.

EVA Air, Hainan Airlines, Qantas Airways, Lufthansa and That Airways rounded out the Top 10.

World's Best Airlines
  1. Qatar Airways
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. Emirates
  6. EVA Air
  7. Hainan Airlines
  8. Qantas Airways
  9. Lufthansa
  10. Thai Airways
Nearly 22 million airline passengers from around the world voted in the SKYTRAX awards, which are described as "The Oscars of the aviation industry" and constitutes the world’s largest airline passenger satisfaction survey.

“SKYTRAX World Airline Awards are coveted quality accolades for the world airline industry,” the organization said on its website. “The World Airline Awards are a global benchmark of airline excellence, and widely known as the Passengers Choice awards." Customer representing more than 100 nationalities participated in the survey, which was conducted from September 2019 to May 2019.

The complete World's Best list ranks the world's top 100 airlines and is available here.

The highest-ranked U.S. airline on that list was jetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU), which came in at No. 40. Last year's top-rated U.S. carrier, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), slipped to No. 41 after its No. 37 ranking in 2018 and No. 32 in 2017.

No-frills carrier Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) was voted third-best U.S. carrier, rising to No. 47 this year after achieving No. 57 in 2018. It was also named No. 4 of the World's Best Low-Cost Airlines. Seattle-headquartered Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) was fourth overall among U.S. airlines but tumbled to No. 54 worldwide after ranking No. 38 in 2018 and No. 36 in 2017.

Chicago-headquartered United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) reversed its slide of the last several years and was rated No. 68, its highest rating of the last four years and making it the No. 5 U.S. airline. It was also voted No. 7 of the World's Most Improved Airlines,

Dallas-headquartered American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) slipped back to No. 74, the same rating as in 2017, while Hawaiian Airlines (NYSE:HA) slipped to No. 83 from No. 77 last year. American Eagle, last year's lowest-rated American carrier, slipped to No. 84 from No. 79 in 2018's ranking.

At No. 31 on the World's Top 100 Airlines, Air Canada was also named Best Airline in North America.

Emirates Business Class seat with ICE controls
Emirates Business Class seat with ICE controls

While Emirates manged to hold a place int the top five among the World's Best Airlines, its ICE entertainment system continued to occupy top spot as Best Inflight Entertainment. ice stands for Information, Communication and Entertainment. Emirates also won the award for Best First Class Comfort Amenities.

The survey also rates other aspects of air travel and grants global awards for Best Low-Cost Airlines, Best Airline Cabin Staff, Best Regional Airlines, Most Improved Airlines, Best Leisure Airlines, Best Airport Services, Best Airline Alliance, Best In-flight Entertainment, and Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness.

Best Low-Cost Airlines
  1. AirAsia
  2. easyJet
  3. Norwegian
  4. Southwest Airlines 
  5. AirAsiaX
  6. Jetstar Airways
  7. WestJet
  8. IndiGo
  9. Ryanair
  10. Eurowings
Best Leisure Airlines
  1. Air Transat
  2. TUI Airways
  3. TUIfly
  4. Capital Airlines
  5. SunExpress
  6. Condor Airlines
  7. Thomas Cook Airlines
  8. Sunwing Airlines
  9. TUIfly Nordic
  10. Arkefly
Most Improved Airlines
  1. Philippine Airlines
  2. British Airways
  3. Malaysia Airlines
  4. Fiji Airways
  5. Royal Brunei Airlines
  6. Gulf Air
  7. United Airlines
  8. Air Mauritius
  9. LEVEL
  10. Spirit Airlines
Best Airline Cabin Crew
  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Garuda Indonesia
  3. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  4. Thai Airways
  5. EVA Air
  6. Cathay Pacific Airways
  7. Hainan Airlines
  8. Japan Airlines
  9. Qatar Airways
  10. China Airlines
Best Airport Services
  1. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  2. Thai Airways
  3. Japan Airlines
  4. EVA Air
  5. China Airlines
  6. Singapore Airlines
  7. Cathay Pacific Airways
  8. Garuda Indonesia
  9. Asiana Airlines
  10. Hainan Airlines
Best In-flight Entertainment
  1. Emirates
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. Virgin Atlantic
  5. Delta Air Lines
  6. Qantas Airways
  7. United Airlines
  8. Lufthansa
  9. Turkish Airlines
  10. American Airlines
Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness
  1. EVA Air
  2. Japan Airlines
  3. ANA All Nippon Airways
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Asiana Airlines
  6. Hainan Airlines
  7. Swiss International Air Lines
  8. Cathay Pacific Airwars
  9. Qatar Airways
  10. Lufthansa
Best Regional Airlines
  1. Bangkok Airways 
  2. Cathay Dragon 
  3. jetBlue Airways
  4. Aegean Airlines 
  5. Azul Airlines
  6. Azerbaijan Airlines
  7. Alaska Airlines
  8. Silk Air
  9. Vistara
  10. Atlas Global
The survey also grants awards in other categories and subcategories.

Those categories include Best Airline by Region and Best Airline Staff by Region, which rank airlines and their staffs in 14 different regions of the world.

The category Best Airlines for First Class Travel rank the carriers overall as well as their first class lounges, seats, airline catering, lounge dining and first class amenities. Singapore Airlines was ranked Best First Class Airline overall, followed by Lufthansa, Air France, Etihad, and Qatar.

The top five airlines awarded Best Airlines in Business Class were Qatar, ANA All Nippon Airways, Singapore Airlines,  Emirates and Qantas Airways.

The top five airlines given accolades for Best in Premium Economy were Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Austrian Airlines, and Air Canada.

Finally, honors for airlines with the Best Economy class went to Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways and ANA All Nippon Airways.

Full details are available on the Skytrax website.

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Photos by Carl Dombek unless otherwise noted
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