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These are the 5 best premium airlines in the world, according to travel experts

Joey Hadden   

These are the 5 best premium airlines in the world, according to travel experts
Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand made the list of the top five premium airlines in the world.Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images, Bai Xuefei/Xinhua via Getty Images
  • AirlineRatings.com named Qatar Airways as the world's best premium airline for 2024.
  • The ranking evaluates factors like safety, fleet age, customer reviews, and innovation.

Flight passengers looking for an upscale experience in the air book their travels with premium airlines.

In May, AirlineRatings.com ranked the top premium airlines around the world in 2024. The website that rates air travel products and safety judged airlines on both criteria, as well as customer reviews, fleet age, and innovation.

Five of the website's editors, who combined have more than 100 years of experience in the travel industry, decided the winners.

The ranking also includes categories for specific features, such as the best economy and business classes and the best long-haul travel airline in each region.

Read on to find out which airlines topped the list.

5. Emirates

5. Emirates
An Emirates flight prepares to take off from Los Angeles.      AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

The Dubai-based airline Emirates ranks No. 5 on the list and also won the website's awards for best premium economy and in-flight entertainment.

As Business Insider previously reported, Emirates launched its first premium economy cabins in 2021, with upscale features such as reclining seats, leg rests, and footrests.

4. Air New Zealand

4. Air New Zealand
An Air New Zealand flight arrives at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia.      Bai Xuefei/Xinhua via Getty Images

In addition to ranking fourth, Air New Zealand was awarded best economy class and was the top pick for long-haul travel in Australia and the Pacific.

Since 2011, the airline has had lie-flat bed seats in economy. BI's reporter Taylor Rains previously booked a seat — known as a "Skycouch" — for a 17-hour flight and found that the added comfort made the long flight go by quickly.

BI's reporter Monica Humphries flew with Air New Zealand in business class. She was impressed by spacious seats with footrests, three-course meals, and Champagne service before takeoff.

3. Cathay Pacific Airways

3. Cathay Pacific Airways
The headquarters of Cathay Pacific Airways in Hong Kong.      Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Cathay Pacific Airways also received the website's excellence in long-haul travel award for South-East Asia.

BI previously reported that Cathay Pacific Airways was included in Skytrax's roundup of 10 five-star-rated airlines.

2. Korean Air

2. Korean Air
A Korean Air plane parked on the tarmac in Los Angeles.      DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

No. 2 on the list, Korean Air, won the excellence in long-haul travel title for North Asia.

Rains reviewed her experience on a 12-hour flight in Korea Air's business class and said the cabin looked like a private jet with private, boxed-in quarters, and her seat felt more like a hotel room with a lie-flat bed, an amenity kit, and storage bins for her belongings.

1. Qatar Airways

1. Qatar Airways
A Qatar Airways flight prepares to land in London.      Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In addition to being the world's No. 1 premium airline, Qatar Airways won the best business class award for the fifth year in a row and received the excellence in long-haul travel award for the Middle East.

AirlineRatings.com editor in chief Geoffrey Thomas said Qatar Airways was the No. 1 pick for many of the criteria, according to the company's website. In passenger reviews, Thomas noted the luxury airline scored far "ahead of all airlines, and its consistency and high standard of service delivery came through in the feedback."

BI previously reported that Qatar Airways has impressive business-class suites, lavish complimentary amenities, gourmet food, and luxurious turn-down service.

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