Skip to navigationSkip to content

Qatar Airlines is named the world’s best airline, putting pitiful US carriers to shame

Sorry, American carriers
AP / Francois Mori
Flying the Gulf skies is just plain dreamier.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Qatar airlines has been named 2015’s best airline in the world in the annual top 100 airline ranking of airline consumer website Skytrax.

No wonder. The airline is known for lavishing first-class passengers with designer amenities and meals prepared by Michelin-starred chefs, as well as for equipping a lavish terminal in Doha with massage rooms, saunas, and jacuzzis. Its economy cabins have also been praised for comfortable seats and ample baggage allowances, particularly for long flights.

Skytrax says its rankings are based on independent surveys of more than 18 million passengers from 100 countries. The website also named Qatar the best airline in the Middle East in its regional ranking.

While Asian airlines dominated the top 20, the Middle East’s three major carriers all made the top 10. Not one American airline made the top 20. The best spot snagged by a US-owned airline was Virgin America, which ranked 26th. Delta, JetBlue, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Eagle, and American Airlines all fell much further down the list.

Qatar’s top marks should be a warning to US and European carriers, which have repeatedly called on their governments to reconsider trade agreements with the major Middle Eastern carriers—Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways,and Emirates.

In March, American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines submitted a 55-page report estimating that subsidies to gulf carriers totaled $42 billion since 2004. Gulf airlines have retorted that American airlines enjoy their own forms of protectionism. 

In any case, attempts by US carriers to gussy up their customer offerings with pittances like plush pillows and espresso machines, have yet to pay off.

Here are the top 50 in the Skytrax rankings:

Qatar Airways
2Singapore Airlines
3Cathay Pacific Airways
4Turkish Airlines
6Etihad Airways
7ANA All Nippon Airways
8Garuda Indonesia
9EVA Air
10Qantas Airways
11Asiana Airlines
14Swiss Int’l Air Lines
15Air France
16Virgin Australia
17Air New Zealand
19Thai Airways
20British Airways
21Japan Airlines
22Hainan Airlines
23Bangkok Airways
24Malaysia Airlines
26Virgin America
27Air Canada
29Aegean Airlines
30Hong Kong Airlines
32LAN Airlines
34South African Airways
35Oman Air
36China Southern
37Virgin Atlantic
38Korean Air
40Air Astana
41Jetstar Airways
43AirAsia X
45Delta Air Lines
48Porter Airlines
50jetBlue Airways

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.