The Safest Airlines in the World in 2016

safest airlines in the world in 2016

The beginning of the year means endless possibilities in terms of travel. As travel lovers, my husband and I like to get away as often as possible with and without the kids – though it’s more difficult than ever with the kids growing up and taking on more extracurricular activities that keep us busier than ever before. We have very full lives with four kids, two careers and we work hard so we can play hard; and that means travel. Whether we have the kids with us or we leave them home for a few days so we can enjoy some ‘grown-up’ time sleeping past 7 am and enjoying leisurely meals together, we always have one thing in mind; safety. Choosing the safest airline, the safest rental car, the safest routes and even deciding to forgo specific cities and locations when they seem as if they might be too dangerous, we put safety first.

We might not be flight experts, but when we see an increasing number of flights from a particular airline landing due to emergency issues, having trouble in the air and otherwise requiring we sit around the airport longer than ever constantly waiting on new planes for flights, we decide we no longer want to fly that airline. Without naming any names, I’ll tell you that we decided to forgo one of our favorite airlines in the past year after seeing flight after flight making emergency landings and after we had three flights delayed after it was determined that planes we were slated to board were not safe for flight at that time. It happens; it’s life.

The world of airlines and flights is one that is on constant alert. The industry suffered astronomically following the hijacking of four planes in 2001 that killed thousands of people at the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania and in New York City when two planes hit the towers of the World Trade Center. Over the years, travelers have learned to trust airlines once again and more and more people are relying on airline travel once again. However, the past two years have been fraught with incidents that have caused people to question air travel yet again. There was the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in 2014. It’s been almost two years since the plane simply disappeared from the radar in the middle of the night and has not been seen since. Debris from the plane was recently found in the ocean, and all 239 passengers and crew members on board are presumed dead. There was an explosion on a MetroJet flight in Egypt last year killing 224 people on board the flight, a Germanwings crash in the that killed 156 and several more incidents all over the world that resulted in many deaths and injuries.

While these are isolated incidents, people worry. It seems like a dangerous way to travel, but when you consider that there were only 16 flight accidents and 560 deaths on flights in all of 2015, it seems pretty safe in comparison to the more than 32,000 people killed in car accidents in 2013 – in just the United States. Flights are very safe, but it’s also a good idea to get to know your airlines, which ones have the best safety ratings and which ones are the most reliable. This helps plan travel when you need to, and it also provides you with a sense of comfort when you purchase those tickets.

Safest Overall Airlines in 2016

With that in mind, we have a few upcoming trips and we’ve carefully considered our flights, the airlines we choose and how we can make our trips as cost-effective, fun and fantastic as we expect. Thanks to, we always know which airlines are the safest and which don’t quite make the cut. Using a comprehensive list of qualifications, the site ranks and scores more than 400 airlines every year to see which is the best in terms of safety. Using methods such as safety innovation, the age of planes in a particular fleet, incident and fatality records and even government-controlled studies, the site spends significant time figuring out which airlines are the safest for passengers. For the third year in a row, Australian-based Qantas Airlines is the safest airline in the world, followed by 19 other well-known airlines that you might want to consider before any others.

Air New Zealand

Alaska Airlines

American Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines

United Airlines

Virgin Atlantic

Cathay Pacific Airways


Etihad Airways



Scandinavian Airline System

Singapore Airlines

Swiss Air

Virgin Australia

All Nippon Airlines



Japan Airlines

The rating system uses approximately 7 stars, and the good news is that 148 airlines across the world earned a 7-star rating. That’s the best of the best, which means that any of the airlines in this category are considered the utmost in safety and reliability, with a much lower chance of incident than most other airlines. If you’re looking to avoid the airlines with the lowest safety ratings, you’ll want to avoid flights that originate from airlines located in Surinam, Indonesia and Nepal. With 10 airlines in the world that ranked only one of seven stars, all are from these three countries.

Safest Low-Cost Airlines in 2016

If you prefer a low-cost carrier (and who does not love saving some money on flights?) you’ll want to consider one of the safest low-cost airlines in the world this year.


Virgin America


Aer Lingus

Jetstar Australia


HK Express

Thomas Cook



Each of these low cost carriers makes it possible for you to feel safe in the midst of a long flight, as well as when you book your tickets. With savings as a huge selling point for many of these airlines, it makes sense that you are able to save and consider your safety at the same time – and there is nothing wrong with that.

Airlines with the Best Flight Experience in 2016

Safety first, right? But what about onboard experience? There is nothing wrong with wanting to choose safety first and then rely on a secondary rating of airlines with great experiences. I love a great experience. I have flown a number of airlines, and I’ve learned in my time flying that some of the best customer service, the best in-flight crew and the best experiences I’ve had have been on two very particular airlines; JetBlue and Spirit. Ironically, they are both low-cost carriers than fly out of my local airport (Tampa) to places we travel often to see family.

On a recent trip to Texas to visit my grandmother on her farm (did I mention she is 97 and the coolest woman that ever lived?), we flew Spirit Airlines. Our flight crew was beyond fabulous, playing with our 1-year-old twins and talking chocolate and Frozen with our 4 and 7-year-olds. When the head flight attendant came on the loudspeaker to tell us that we have a very special passenger on board (for a second I thought maybe it was me…it wasn’t) who was celebrating his 98th birthday with his very first flight ever, we all clapped and cheered and that’s when he said, “So don’t forget to wish the pilot a happy birthday on your way out!” and we laughed and laughed and laughed; and that was just the first of his many jokes, his hilarious antics and the beginning of one of the most hilarious and entertaining flights we’ve ever taken. I like that.

This year, some seriously awesome airlines have stepped up and above the plate to make sure that their passengers are getting the most for their money. After all, we are spending a lot to be on board these flights, so we might as well get as much as we can for it, right? That’s why these airlines are being recognized for their supremely cool efforts, and we have to agree that they make flying more fun, simpler and a lot more enjoyable.

Best Crew – Virgin Australia

  • One of the things that, in my humble opinion, makes travel more fun is a staff that is welcoming, friendly and entertaining. I love when the crew on my flights engages us in conversation, talks to us, makes us laugh and has personality. There is nothing worse than ordering a glass of champagne at 8 in the morning at the start of a 12-hour flight and making a joke about it that the flight attendant doesn’t consider amusing – laugh with me, people. The crew on Virgin flights are reputed to make everyone in first class to the back of the plane feel a lot like the President traveling on Air Force One; everyone is important, special and a VIP on these flights.

Best for Long Flights – Delta, Cathay, Lufthansa, Etihad

  • If you have to make a long flight (and sometimes it’s unavoidable), you’re going to want to check with these airlines first. They’re touted the best of the best in terms of comfort and enjoyment on long flights, and that makes it far more bearable to be confined to a plane for hours and hours.

Best Entertainment – Singapore Airlines

  • When it comes to being entertained on your flight, you want to go with Singapore Airlines. IFE is the entertainment system, and it’s available to passengers in every single seat. You can choose from 1,000 on demand entertainment options, which is great news for all.

Best Airline Lounges – Qantas

  • Just like it’s the best overall airline, Qantas also has the best airport lounges. Luxurious, friendly staff and high-end amenities pretty much take the cake with this particular category, which is just another reason so many people choose to fly this airline as often as possible.

Best Low-Cost Airline Value – Virgin America, Norwegian, Kulula, and Scoot

  • These are each low-cost airlines. While the fares are typically lower than many major airlines, it’s not always a guarantee that they are the lowest cost in terms of low-cost airlines. However, that’s all right when you consider that you might pay more for a ticket but end up with more in terms of leg room, space, and other onboard experiences that some low-cost airlines might not otherwise offer.

Best First Class – Etihad Airlines

  • This is where you are going to want to spend more for the upgrade. Not only do you get more than you do in coach or economy, you get a lot more. A private cabin, champagne, a private television, a bed of your own; it’s all too much for us to pass up. It’s the most luxurious and most amazing first class experience you will ever take.

Best Business Class – Singapore Airlines

  • We can’t all spend thousands on first class tickets, so we might as well go up a notch without cutting out college as an option for our kids. That’s where Singapore Airlines comes into play. They offer the best experience in business class you’ll ever find. It’s high-end, but very cozy. This is an airline that makes it a point to hear what their customers want, and they work very hard to provide that type of experience for passengers.

Best Economy Class – Air New Zealand

  • This is the third consecutive year this particular airline has taken home the title of best economy flights. Unlike other airlines, flying coach here is much more interesting with upgraded seats, more experiences and a much more luxurious cabin.

Best Food – Qantas

  • Let’s just call it what it is; a winner. Qantas has the best food of any other airline, too. With all these ‘bests’ is it any wonder that the airline is the best overall? This is the second year that Qantas takes home the prize for this particular category, and it’s because economy passengers get to choose from four meals that are all upscale and actually taste good. The meals are twice as big as standard airline meals, and passengers can peruse the menu ahead of time so that they can order online ahead of their flight for faster service.

Photo by Getty Images


Leave a Reply