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The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) revealed the global airlines that received 5-star ratings from passengers, with 23 carriers across nearly two dozen countries making the list.
APEX, which is one of the world’s largest international airline associations, dropped its 2022 airline ratings honoring carriers that excel in things like seat comfort, the food and beverage service, and inflight entertainment. APEX explained that the ratings are based on airline passenger surveys that rated nearly 1 million flights across 600 worldwide carriers on a five-star scale.
After collecting the surveys, which were conducted in partnership with TripIt, APEX “verifies, validates, and independently certifies the customer data” through a professional third-party auditing organization. According to the association, only a handful of airlines receive the prestigious five-star rating, and the honor is not easy to achieve.
“Only verified five-star ratings from passengers help airlines reach this highest level requiring the vast majority of their independently verified customer ratings to be five-star,” APEX said in a press release. “For example, APEX requires four times the number of five-star votes to counteract a single one-star vote. This provides tremendous power to customers when they are disappointed by their customer experience as airlines rely upon feedback to further improve their in-flight product and airline service.”
Of the 23 global carriers that ranked highest by passengers, three were from the US, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines. However, Asian carriers made up a majority of the top list, will 11 airlines representing the continent.
Here’s a closer look at the 24 five-star global carriers. The airlines are listed alphabetically.
Aeroflot is Russia’s flag carrier and was founded in 1923. The airline has a robust domestic and international network serving destinations in North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Aeromexico is Mexico’s flag carrier and was established in 1934. The airline has a robust domestic and international network serving destinations in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.
Air Canada is the national carrier of Canada, having been founded in 1936. The airline is the largest carrier in the country and operates in North America, South America, Central America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Dallas-based American Airlines was formed in 1936 and is the largest carrier in the world. The company has a strong domestic and international route map with flights across the US, as well as to Europe, Asia Pacific, Central America, and South America.
Established in 1946, Cathay is Hong Kong’s flag carrier with service across four continents, including Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
China Airlines is the state-owned national carrier of China and was founded in 1959. The company is based in Taipei, Taiwan and has a domestic and international network operating in Asia, North America, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the Pacific.
Delta Air Lines is the US’ oldest airline still in operations, having been founding in 1925. Along with being a five-star airline, the Atlanta-based company was also given APEX’s Passenger Choice Award for best WiFi. Delta operates a huge domestic and international network spanning six continents and up to 300 destinations worldwide.
Founded in 1948, El Al is the flag carrier of Israel and operates to Europe, the America, Africa and Asia. The airline holds the record for the most passengers carried on a commercial flight when it airlifted 1,088 Jews from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Israel aboard a Boeing 747, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Emirates was founded in 1985 and is one of the world’s fastest-growing carriers with over 260 planes and flights across six continents. The Dubai-based company is one of the two national carriers of the United Arab Emirates and operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380s. Emirates was also given an APEX Passenger Choice Award for best entertainment and named a “World Class” airline.
Founded in 2003, Etihad is the youngest airline on APEX’s list and is the second national carrier of the UAE alongside Emirates. The Abu Dhabi-based airline has a rapidly growing international network across Middle East and to Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia, as well as a robust cargo division.
EVA is the second-largest airline in Taiwan, behind China Airlines, and is a younger airline compared to others on the list, having been founded in 1989. The carrier operates domestic flights throughout China and international routes to Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada and the US. APEX also honored EVA this year with Passenger Choice Award for best cabin service.
Japan Airlines was founded in 1951 and is one of two flag carriers of Japan. The Tokyo-based carrier operates an extensive network across Japan as well as in Europe, Canada, the US, and Australia. Japan Airlines also received recognition as one of APEX’s “World Class” airlines.
KLM is the world’s oldest airline in service still operating under its original name, having been founded in 1919. The company is based at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and is the Netherlands national carrier with flights across five continents. KLM was also named a “World Class” airline by APEX.
Korean Air is the second South Korean carrier to make the five-star list, alongside Asiana Airlines, and was founded in 1969. The Seoul-based airline has a strong international network serving destinations across Europe, North America, Australia, Asia, and the Middle East. The company also operates one of the world’s largest cargo divisions.
Lufthansa was formed in 1953 and is Germany’s flag carrier. The company has a robust network via its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich and flight extensively in Europe as well as the Asia Pacific, Middle East, North America, South America, and Africa.
Qatar is one of the younger airlines on the list, having been establish in 1993, and is based in Doha, Qatar. The company offers flights to Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific, Europe, South America, and North America, and is known for its impressive inflight product. Qatar was named one of APEX’s ‘World Class’ airlines and also given the Passengers Choice Awards for best seat comfort and best food and beverage.
Founded in 1945, Saudia is the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia and operates a network spanning five continents. The company was also named a “World Class” airline by APEX and praised for its meal service. Saudia is one of the few airlines in the world with inflight chefs to personalize dishes for premium passengers.
Singapore Airlines was founded in 1972 and is the flag carrier of Singapore. The company was the launch customer for the Airbus A380 and operates an extensive network across Asia, North America, Australia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Singapore is one of APEX’s “World Class” airlines.
Swiss was established in 2002 after the bankruptcy of Swissair and is now the the national airline of Switzerland. The company has its main hub in Zurich, but also has a focus on Geneva, and operates flights without Europe and to Asia, North America, and Africa.
Founded in 1933, Turkish Airlines is the national carrier of Turkey and one of APEX’s “World Class” airlines. The company is based in Istanbul and offers over 250 routes to destinations in Europe, Africa, North America, South America, and Asia.
United Airlines is a US-based carrier headquartered in Chicago and was formed in 1926. The company operates a large fleet serving cities in Central America, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa. United was the first carrier worldwide to operate a passenger jet using 100% sustainable aviation fuel and has been an industry leader in environmental efforts.
Virgin was established in 1984 by billionaire Richard Branson and is based in London, England. The company flies to destinations in North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia and is partially owned by Delta Air Lines, which currently holds a 49% stake.
Founded in 1984, Xiamen is a privately-owned Chinese carrier that operates flights across China, Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia with a fleet of over 200 planes. The company is the only operator in China to be profitable for 33 consecutive years, according to the carrier.
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