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The Most Awarded Airlines of 2019

From the best first-class cabin in the world to the long-haul airline that will save you the most money on your next faraway vacation, here are the most awarded airlines of 2019.

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Passenger plane is landing during a wonderful sunrise.Nieuwland Photography/Shutterstock

Passenger’s Choice Awards

Twenty million airline passengers worldwide cast a ballot in Skytrax World’s Best Airline Awards this year. Here are some of the winners in key award categories, plus a look at the airlines least likely to lose your luggage and those that won’t leave you waiting at the gate for a delayed flight—because, for road-weary travelers, those are the real airline awards worthy of celebrating! Find out the answer to 12 airplane trivia questions.

qatarVytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock

World’s best airline

The top two spots in the best overall airline category in Skytrax’s annual World Airline Awards flip-flopped year over year, with Qatar Airways taking top honors in 2019 over 2018 winner Singapore Airlines. According to Lonely Planet, Qatar is no stranger to the gold medal as, “The airline also won in 2017, 2015, 2012 and 2011.” The middle eastern airline has also claimed the top spots for the world’s best business class cabin and best business class seat. Find out the 20 best airlines for customer service.

deltaCassiohabib/Shutterstock

Most on-time airline in the world

Domestic U.S. travelers may want to sit down and buckle up for this one, because surprise-surprise, Delta has been determined to be the most on-time airline in the world, narrowly squeaking past Qatar, with 86 percent on-time departures, according to aviation data company FlightGlobal. These are the 15 most bizarre reasons for flight delays that we’ve ever heard of.

air canadaDux Croatorum/Shutterstock

Best airline in North America

Air Canada scooped up this prestigious award this year, but their awards haul didn’t stop there. The Canadian airline’s overhead bin space was stuffed with 2019 Skytrax trophies as Air Canada also won Best Business Class and Best Cabin Cleanliness in North America, Best Business Class Lounge Dining in the World, and Best Airline Staff in Canada. How far out should you book your flights on Air Canada or any other airline?

singaporeSorbis/Shutterstock

Best cabin crew in the world

In Skytrax airline rankings for 2019, Singapore Airlines relinquished its hold on best airline but their cabin crew stands proudly on the top pedestal. This award judging all-round performance looks at everything a cabin crew does, including the efficiency of service, attention to passengers, enthusiasm for their job, and general friendliness. Find out the 22 secrets your flight attendant won’t tell you.

JALEQRoy/Shutterstock

Best economy class in the world

While Japan Airlines (JAL) ranks third in the world for best economy food, its comfortable economy class seats have earned them Skytrax 2019 award for the Best Economy Class service in the world as voted on by customers. JAL ranks second in the world for the cleanest airline—find out how the others stack up.

deltaSharkshock/Shutterstock

North American airline least likely to lose luggage

Once again, a stunner here as Delta tops the charts. According to a 2019 report including research conducted from 2012-2018 by LuggageHero.com, Delta lost only 1.55 lost luggage claims per 1000 passengers, better than the North American airline industry average of 2.89 claims per thousand. Delta probably won’t lose your luggage but do they fly the most popular flight route in the United States?

Southwest Airlines 737-800 MAX aircraft on final approach at Midway Airport.Carlos Yudica/Shutterstock

Best low-cost airline in North America

No surprises here, as Southwest Airlines is rightfully considered the best airline in North America for low-cost service. Turns out, customers still like checking a couple of bags for free…and Southwest famously still offers this service on every single flight. It helps that their flight attendants are funny and sometimes sing their way through the pre-flight safety checklist. Standby passengers can expect to be in the back of economy cabins, here’s how flying standby works.

american airlinesFirst Class Photography/Shutterstock

Best first-class in North America

Air Canada may have taken home the majority of North American best honors but their first class wasn’t deemed the best by passengers. Instead, American Airlines planes rank as having the best first-class cabin in North America according to the 2019 World Airline Awards. It’s easier to look great and feel great upon landing when you’ve flown first class, but for the rest of us here are the secrets to not looking like a mess after a long flight.

aer lingusGB-Photographie/Shutterstock

Best breakfast in Europe

On flights within Europe, Aer Lingus offers the best breakfast available in the sky (and possibly on the ground too), reports Travel + Leisure. Belly up to a fantastic traditional Irish breakfast, “Consisting of sausage, hash browns, tomato, and black and white pudding served alongside McCambridge’s brown bread, Irish butter, marmalade, and orange juice,” while 30,000-feet in the air. When you’re not flying on Aer Lingus, you’ll want to know these secrets to getting a better meal on a flight.

lufthansaBelish/Shutterstock

Best airline in Europe

Not only deemed the best airline in Europe this year, but Lufthansa swept through Europe in the 2019 Skytrax awards, taking top prize for best first, business, and economy class of cabins. As Forbes points out, while this is an achievement, travelers should take the recognition of Lufthansa’s success in Europe with a grain of salt because, “There is relatively little competition for a really high quality and consistent product in Europe.” Here are the most underrated cities to fly to in Europe.

norwegianPhilip Pilosian/Shutterstock

World’s best long haul low-cost airline

The future of Europe’s third-largest airline may still be in doubt, according to CNN, but as long as their planes are still taking off and landing, it will be difficult to beat Norwegian for a low-cost, long haul flight. The Norway-based carrier famously offers ridiculously low fares ($190 roundtrip from JFK to Oslo!) and beautiful Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes for their award-winning world’s best long haul low-cost service. Find out how to best sleep on a plane, according to experts.

emiratesSorbis/Shutterstock

World’s best inflight entertainment

Emirates has been tapped as having the best inflight entertainment of any airline in the world. The Emirates ice platform serves up, “150 channels, including 50 Disney movies, 100 video games, and [lots of] music,” according to Emirates flight attendant Lauren Guilfoyle, who shares more details on what it’s really like to work for a luxury airline.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award-winning photographer, avid traveler, and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment, and more for Reader's Digest. Jeff has also written for Parents Magazine, Esquire, PBS, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. He is the proud dad of teen daughters. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @OWTK.