The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization has assigned individual identification codes to more than 5,000 airline companies worldwide. Many of these are tiny regional carriers most people have never heard of, though some are also among the most famous brands of any kind in existence.
As of January 2023, according to Forbes, the largest airline in terms of revenue, market capitalization, and value of assets, was Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines. The American Airlines Group, meanwhile, was in second place for revenue, but first in passenger miles, fleet size, destinations, and number of employees. (These are the best and worst airlines for getting you to your destination on time.)
Only one of those two made the top 25 in the 2023 edition of the World Airline Awards published by Skytrax, a U.K.-based airline industry research and consultancy firm: Delta. It was, in fact, the only U.S. carrier among the 25 best, and it came in at only No. 20.
For a complete list of the world’s 25 best airlines in 2023 according to Skytrax, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the upper echelons of the site’s top 100 list. To arrive at its ranking, Skytrax asked a large sampling of airline passengers, representing more than 100 nationalities and responding to surveys in a choice of six languages, to rate some 325-plus carriers in a total of 50 categories, grouped under “cabin service,” “ground/airport,” and “onboard product.” (Information on each airline’s founding year, corporate headquarters, and alliance affiliation came from company websites and news reports.)
Asian and Middle Eastern airlines fared best of all, capturing a total of 13 places in the top 25, including all but one of the top 10, with Air France sneaking in at No. 7.
Skytrax also ranks the world’s best low-cost, regional, cleanest, leisure, and most improved, and most family-friendly airlines, as well as cabin crews, airline staff, airport services, airport lounges, airline alliances, and various classes of service, among other aspects of the flying experience.
In case you’re interested, the No. 1 airline for first class is also the overall No. 1, Singapore Airlines. In the back of the plane, Japan Airlines scores for best economy class. (Here’s a list of the worst airports in America for customer satisfaction.)