International travel can be time-consuming, uncomfortable and expensive — but some airlines provide a better experience than others. GOBankingRates analyzed Airline Ratings’ list of the World’s Top Ten Airlines, which was based on perfect safety ratings and demonstrated leadership in innovation for passenger comfort, as well as the site’s Airline Safety Ratings chart to determine the best and worst airlines for international flights.
GOBankingRates has provided examples of one-way flight prices for each airline — the departure and arrival cities are not all the same as these airlines do not all travel to the same locations.
Click through to find out which airlines are best and worst for domestic travel — and see how these airlines for international flights stack up.
Best: Air New Zealand
Cost: A flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand runs around $950.
International flights on Air New Zealand feature ergonomically designed seating, 9-inch HD touch screens giving access to plenty of entertainment options, USB ports, in-seat power connections and fresh New Zealand-inspired cuisine, all of which can make for a better-than-average travel experience. The airline was named “Airline of the Year” by Airline Ratings because of its financial performance, in-flight features, environmental friendliness, new fleet and motivated staff.
Air New Zealand was also recognized for having the best airline premium economy class. Premium economy tickets on the airline come with more personal space, two carry-on bags, two checked bags, premium check-in and even an amenity kit with in-flight essentials like a toothbrush and eye mask.
Best: Qantas Airways
Cost: A flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia costs roughly $1,068.
Qantas Airways was recognized by Airline Ratings for having the best catering services among all the international airlines, and even economy passengers enjoy a premium dining experience on international flights. Meals served include spiced lamb kofta with tomato, roasted potatoes with Riverina feta, honey chicken salad with roasted vegetables and farro or a yellow curry barramundi with jasmine rice.
Passengers also get a bespoke welcome drink and snacks throughout the flight. Other onboard amenities include in-flight entertainment featuring the latest movies and TV shows, and free WiFi on some flights. Qantas also scored the Airline Ratings awards for Best Lounges — which airport insiders know to take advantage of — and Best Domestic Class.
Best: Singapore Airlines
Cost: A flight from New York to Singapore runs around $655.
You can fly in comfort — even in economy class — on Singapore Airlines thanks to the ergonomically designed seats that are contoured to support your back, adjustable footrests and a six-way headrest. If you don’t care about booking cheap flights, it might be worth the extra cash to upgrade to first class, as the airline received the Best First Class award from Airline Ratings.
First-class amenities include private extra-wide leather seats, mood lighting, full restaurant table service, a thousand entertainment options and Bose noise-canceling headphones. No matter which seat class you choose, expect to be well taken care of by an attentive staff; the airline also received the Best Cabin Crew award.
Best: Virgin Australia
Cost: A flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia is priced at roughly $1,065.
All Virgin Australia international passengers enjoy all-inclusive food and drinks, and complimentary seatback entertainment is included in the cost of the plane tickets. Upgrade your seats on long-haul international flights to experience what Airline Ratings calls the Best Business Class, which includes a private cocoon-like suite, 80-inch fully flat bed, turn-down service, pajamas, skincare products, an 18-inch screen to enjoy the in-flight entertainment, welcome champagne, bespoke dining options, Nespresso coffee, fine wine, access to a bar area that seats up to 10 passengers, priority check-in and boarding, lounge access and extra baggage allowances.
Best: Virgin Atlantic
Cost: A flight from New York to London runs around $1,694.
Virgin Atlantic might be your best bet if you’re traveling to Europe, as the airline received the award for Best Long-Haul Airline from Airline Ratings. In-flight amenities include complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the flight, a three-course meal, over 300 hours of entertainment and in-seat power to charge devices.
Worst: Air Koryo
Cost: A flight from Pyongyang, North Korea to Vladivostok, Russia will run you about $225.
The North Korean-based Air Koryo provides complimentary meals and beverages on international flights, but its safety ratings are less than stellar. The airline only received a one-star safety rating on Airline Ratings and is one of only six operating airlines to receive this lowest score. It did, however, meet all eight safety parameters established by the International Civil Aviation Association, which includes legislation, organization, licensing, operations, air-worthiness, accident investigation, air navigation service and aerodromes.
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Worst: Blue Wing
Blue Wing is a regional airline that travels to tourist destinations within Suriname. The airline operates a small commercial fleet consisting of two single-engine Supervan planes, a Cessna plane that can accommodate up to 400 kilograms (882 pounds) of passengers and cargo and two Twin-Otter planes, which can each carry up to 19 passengers. Blue Wing has a one-star safety rating on Airline Ratings and has met only five to seven of the eight safety parameters established by the International Civil Aviation Association.
Worst: Nepal Airlines
Cost: A flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Kathmandu, Nepal is priced at about $153.
Nepal Airlines travels to destinations across Asia, including Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Hong Kong; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai, UAE. Onboard amenities include meals prepared by chefs from Kathmandu’s five-star hotels and an array of drink options.
Despite its promise of high-class dining options, the airline ranks as one of the worst for international travel due to its poor safety rating. The airline only received a one-star rating from Airline Ratings and only met four or less of the eight safety parameters established by the International Civil Aviation Association.
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Worst: Tara Air/Yeti Airlines
Cost: A flight from Kathmandu, Nepal to Bhadrapur, Nepal will run you around $131.
Tara Air and Yeti Airlines are sister airlines that provide domestic flights within Nepal. Tara Air operates seven short takeoff and landing aircrafts, and Yeti Airlines operates seven Jetstream 41 aircrafts, which can seat up to 30 passengers. Both airlines received a one-star safety rating from Airline Ratings and only met four or less of the eight safety parameters established by the International Civil Aviation Association.
Worst: Trigana Air
Cost: A flight from Jakarta, Indonesia to Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia is priced at roughly $52.
Trigana Air offers domestic flights within Indonesia. In addition to operating smaller aircraft, Trigana owns and operates two Boeing 737 planes, which can each seat a max of 149 passengers. The Trigana Air Boeings are from the 300 and 400 generations, which can date back to 1991. The older aircraft could contribute to the airline’s poor safety rating; Trigana Air only received one star on Airline Ratings. The airline also met four or less of the eight safety parameters established by the International Civil Aviation Association.
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Methodology: Flight prices were sourced from Google Flights for a one-way trip from Los Angeles or New York to the airline’s country of origin on June 1, 2018, if available. Flight prices for Tara Air/Yeti Airlines, Trigana Air and Air Koryo were not available on Google Flights, so prices were sourced directly from their respective websites for flights available that day. Blue Wing prices were not available. Prices were sourced on April 6, 2018.
Rankings for the five best airlines are based on Airline Ratings’ list of the “World’s Top Ten Airlines.” To be named in the top 10, airlines must have achieved a seven-star safety rating and demonstrate leadership in innovation for passenger comfort. Rankings for the five worst airlines are based on Airline Ratings’ “Compare Airline Safety Ratings” chart. All airlines considered the worst earned a one-star rating out of a possible seven stars.