If you get pre-flight jitters, you’re not alone. Many travellers experience some anxiety when flying, whether it stems from a fear of heights, concerns about germs, or worries that something will go wrong mid-flight. Of course, others are most anxious about plane crashes and overall airline safety. By Elizabeth Rhodes
To70, an aviation consulting firm, examines accidents among large, commercial passenger planes in its civil aviation safety review each year. In 2020, there were 40 accidents around the world — five fatal — resulting in 299 deaths. These accidents happened in Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, India, and the US (the US incident resulted in one fatality after a person breached security and was hit and killed by the aeroplane as it landed). The year before, there were 86 accidents — eight fatal — resulting in 257 deaths. Fatal plane accidents are not common — just think of the thousands of flights that happen every day without an issue — but they can be anxiety-inducing, nonetheless. Thankfully, there are plenty of carriers with great safety records, so you can give yourself some extra peace of mind by booking your next trip on one of the world’s safest airlines.
AirlineRatings.com analyses 385 airlines, taking into account their safety, in-flight product, and now, COVID-19 procedures, to rate them according to a seven-star system. To determine the safest airlines, the site considers crashes, serious incidents, the age of the airline’s fleet, and audits from governments as well as aviation associations and governing bodies. Using its safety rating tool, you can compare airlines to see how they stack up (or find the airlines ranked as the least safe so you know which have had more fatal crashes or other incidents in the past).
Here are the world’s safest airlines this year, according to AirlineRatings.com.
World’s Safest Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Air New Zealand
- Singapore Airlines
- EVA Air
- Etihad Airways
- Alaska Airlines
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- British Airways
- Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- American Airlines
- United Airlines
Qantas, the popular Australian airline that has operated for over 100 years, was ranked this year’s safest airline and has consistently received high ratings for its safety. These top-ranked airlines offer more than just safe flights, too — many were also among Travel + Leisure readers’ favourite international airlines in the 2020 World’s Best Awards, commended for their outstanding service, tasty in-flight meals, and comfortable seats. Singapore Airlines topped our list, followed by Qatar Airways, Emirates, EVA Air, and more.
Alaska Airlines was the only US carrier to crack the top 10, but Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines followed in the top 20. AirlineRatings.com also identified the top airlines for COVID-19 compliance in January of this year, listing (in alphabetical order) — Air Baltic, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, AirAsia, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, KLM, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Qatar Airways, and WestJet. The site selected these airlines based on their website information on COVID-19 procedures, face masks for passengers and PPE for the crew, deep cleaning the aircraft, and more.