If you've been on a flight recently, you might have noticed that some of the comforts that have long been taken for granted are gone. Some airlines have opted to keep making cuts as their bottom line gets squeezed ever tighter, such as lessening seat space and taking away the ability to store a bag without paying a premium. But some airlines do still believe in service, and these are some of the best at achieving that goal.
Qatar Airways has made itself into one of the most highly-regarded airlines in the world since its launch in 1993. The flag carrier of Qatar now serves more than 100 nations and has earned a reputation for excellent service and comfortable accommodations. Qatar Airways also has some of the newest airplanes in the industry, so if you're looking for the latest in airplane technology, this is where you'll find it. Wide, comfortable seats and a robust in-flight entertainment system are just some of the reasons why this airline has a sterling reputation.
In an era where economy is being stripped as much as possible, it's nice to see airlines like Air New Zealand make their experience genuinely enjoyable. Paying for premium economy is worth it here, as you'll enjoy wide seats, an in-flight entertainment system that plays until your flight has completed its landing, and a touch-screen system for ordering beverages from your seat. Air New Zealand only serves Asia, Oceania, and North America, but if you can find a flight here, it's worth the experience.
For friendliness from the crew, it's hard to beat Singapore Airlines' well-trained staff, because the airline trains crew members for four months, roughly double the standard amount for the industry. Singapore Airlines places a heavy emphasis on making customers comfortable and staying out of their way unless needed. Meal service tends to come at the beginning of the flight to maximize uninterrupted rest, and first and business class seats fully recline into beds.
It's impossible not to notice the multitude of "Fly Emirates" shirts in the soccer world, and those sponsorships are there for a good reason. Emirates Airlines offers some of the best food in the industry, as its meals are prepared by international chefs in accordance with your travel destination. While on the way, you'll have an abundance of entertainment and information options available, as Emirates' ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) system provides 2,000 programs in multiple languages. With 80 nations served, it's convenient and comfortable to get an Emirates flight.
Punctuality and preparation are two things Germany is well known for, so it makes sense that Germany's airline would offer those same benefits. Lufthansa is the most on-time airline in the world, and it offers the largest frequent-flyer miles program in Europe. First-class seats are some of the widest in the industry, and first-class passengers receive special ground transportation services upon arrival in Frankfurt. If you're looking to have your own concierge in the sky, this is about the best way to do it.
You've got to offer good service if you're going to be the flag carrier at Europe's busiest airport, and British Airways consistently receives high marks for making customers feel valued. The airline offers wide seats in all classes and makes it easy to earn frequent-flier miles, so much so that travelers in other nations served by a OneWorld member often opt for a British Airways membership because it's easier to earn Avisos than their own airline's rewards. You might have trouble finding a lounge spot at London Heathrow, but most of your experience will be a genuine pleasure.
If you're the type of traveler who needs that glass of wine before takeoff, this is the airline for you. Qantas offers a robust selection of Australian wine on its flights and has a sommelier on board for assistance. The airline also prides itself on reliability and comfort, as Qantas boasts the best safety rates in the industry and wide seats with footrests to ensure that all guests are as comfortable as possible. If you've got Australian travel coming up, this can be a great choice.
American carriers don't tend to score high marks with travelers, but Delta is one of the stronger options for domestic service. It's the largest airline in the United States for a reason, and its SkyMiles program is one of the best frequent-flyer programs available. Delta offers bed-like seats on its Delta One tier, and with destinations available on six continents, it's easy for you to get to where you need to go with them.
Finnair isn't a name that's well-known among most travelers, but that might be changing soon. Finland's airline has long been known for making its flights as green as possible, and it offers one of the best layover programs in the industry, as any flight that goes through Helsinki can add a stopover of up to five days in Finland at no extra charge. If you'd like to get two destinations for the price of one, Finnair is a great way to see more of Europe and Asia at once.
Privacy and comfort are key parts of Japan Air Lines' service, as its First and Business Class seats offer a suite-like experience, similar to what you'd find on a Middle Eastern airline. Like partner Finnair, Japan Air Lines believes in maximizing travel destinations, and it offers easy stopovers in Tokyo and other destinations to ensure travelers get the most out of their trip. If you just want to get to Japan right away, they've got that covered too: JAL offers non-stop service to 11 destinations in the United States, including Boston and New York.