This year, air travelers have endured a parade of woes. But even as an understaffed commercial aviation industry struggles to keep up with heightened demand following the easing of Covid restrictions, a few airlines have actually managed to keep customers happy.
Too bad none of those carriers is based in the United States.
The air travel review and ranking site Skytrax held the 2022 edition of its well-regarded World Airline Awards in London on Friday, dispensing accolades based on a multitude of independent customer satisfaction surveys completed by passengers around the globe from September 2021 to August 2022.
From that data, which includes ratings for cabin crew, cleanliness, in-flight entertainment, economy seating, and other factors, Skytrax compiles a ranking of the world's 100 best airlines.
No U.S.-based carrier made the top 10.
Or the top 20.
And only one managed an appearance in the top 30.
That would be Delta Air Lines, coming in at an unimpressive #24. Delta was also named the Best Airline in North America, winning (comparatively) high marks for its cabin crews, business class, and economy class, at least by North America's so-so standards.
Other U.S. airlines that cracked the top 100: Southwest Airlines at 35 (named best low-cost airline in North America), JetBlue at 41, Alaska Airlines at 59, United Airlines at 60, Hawaiian Airlines at 65, and American Airlines at 68.
Meh all around.
At the top of the heap, Middle Eastern and East Asian airlines predominate.
Skytrax named Qatar Airways the world's best for a record seventh time since the awards were established in 1999. Flyers praised the Doha-based airline for its comfortable seats, good food, up-to-date in-flight entertainment, attentive customer service, and modern fleet of aircraft averaging around 5 years of age.
On a U.S. flight, meanwhile, we count ourselves lucky if we get an extra Stroopwafel.
Here's the complete top 10 as determined by Skytrax:
1. Qatar Airways
2. Singapore Airlines
3. Emirates (UAE)
4. ANA All Nippon Airways (Japan)
5. Qantas Airways (Australia)
6. Japan Airlines
7. Turkish Airlines
8. Air France
9. Korean Air
10. Swiss International Air Lines
To see the full ranking of 100 airlines, as well as winners in quality and regional categories, go to the Skytrax World Airline Awards website.