By Chris Morris
July 27, 2018

U.S. airlines might ferry more passengers than any other carriers in the world, but when it comes to making those passengers comfortable, they’ve got a long way to go.

A ranking of the world’s best economy-class seats doesn’t mention a single U.S. carrier. That’s not a complete surprise, given seemingly ever-shrinking seat and row sizes and the fact that some carriers have charged extra to avoid the dreaded middle seat. But it’s still a damning statement on domestic air travel.

Skytrax, the U.K. group which has ranked the world’s best airlines since 1999, based its ratings on more than 20 million customer satisfaction surveys. Nine of the top 10 spots went to airlines based in Asia.

  1. Thai Airways

  2. Singapore Airlines

  3. Qatar Airways

  4. Emirates

  5. ANA All Nippon Airways

  6. Cathay Pacific Airways

  7. Garuda Indonesia

  8. EVA Air

  9. Lufthansa

  10. Japan Airlines

Thai Airways

Singapore Airlines

Qatar Airways


ANA All Nippon Airways

Cathay Pacific Airways

Garuda Indonesia



Japan Airlines

Adding insult to injury, U.S. carriers fell flat when it came to first class as well. Just as with coach, no American airline was listed among Skytrax’s ranking of the best first-class cabins. Those honors went to:

  1. Singapore Airlines

  2. Etihad Airways

  3. Air France

  4. Lufthansa

  5. Emirates

  6. ANA All Nippon Airways

  7. Qatar Airways

  8. Cathay Pacific Airways

  9. Qantas Airways

  10. Thai Airways

Singapore Airlines

Etihad Airways

Air France



ANA All Nippon Airways

Qatar Airways

Cathay Pacific Airways

Qantas Airways

Thai Airways

Overall, Singapore Airlines was named the world’s best carrier in the survey. Not surprisingly, no U.S. carriers made that list either.

It’s far from the first defeat for domestic airlines. A TripAdvisor list of the Top 10 carriers earlier this year only named one based in the U.S. — Southwest.


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