On September 23, Skytrax released its Passenger Choice Awards for 2022. Although the awards purport to identify the world’s best airlines, the survey is a actually more of a “beauty contest” where people vote for their favorite airline in a variety of categories. This year’s list is a round up of the usual suspects for awards like this with a surprise or two sprinkled in.

Qatar Airways came out on top for the seventh time in the last 11 years and held on to the No. 1 spot it earned in 2021. The Featured Image shows a Qatar add from several years ago based on the results of the Skytrax survey in 2018.

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The results in the add are valid for the 2022 survey as well except this year Qatar placed second in the category of first class lounges and it fails to mention five other awards Qatar earned in 2022. It is noteworthy that a flight attendant gets top billing in the add because I believe the service of its cabin crew is responsible for much of the positive impression many have about the airline. Qatar’s rating also benefits from operating its hub at Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) which was named the world’s best airport in 2022.

Skytrax, a UK-based airline and airport consultant and ranking site, received more than 14 million survey responses in more than 100 countries from September 2021 to August 2022 to gauge how passengers felt about airlines. It has been conducting annual airline passenger satisfaction surveys since 1999. This year’s survey covered more than 350 airlines, and was conducted in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Chinese.

Top 10 Airlines

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No.s 11 – 20 airlines in order are British Airways, Etihad Airways, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, EVA Air, Virgin Atlantic and Vistara.

Having flown seven of the top 10 and 14 of the top 20 airlines in various classes of service in recent years, these rankings seem broadly accurate even though it is easy to argue with the precise ranking for any airline. The Qantas ranking may be the most questionable one. Qantas is a very good airline, but No. 5 in the world may be a stretch.

Qatar Airways deserves the top spot based mainly on its outstanding business class seat with a door (QSuite) and cabin service and its lounges at Doha Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (DOH). Qatar’s business class service is better than first class service on some other airlines, American Airlines for one. I have been very pleased with flights in Qatar business class and with its first and business class lounges in DOH. As an example of the over-the-top service, these photos depict a typical business class meal on a long-haul Qatar flight. Scroll over the photos to see the caption.

Only one European airline, Swiss International, is ranked in the top 10. No airline based in the Western Hemisphere made the top 20. Except for Turkish Airlines, all top 10 airlines offer international first class service.

Top Ten First Class Airlines

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Singapore Airlines First Class Champagne

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Cathay Pacific first class caviar service.

Top Ten Business Class Airlines

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Qatar Airways QSuite
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Qatar Airways QSuite

Top Ten Premium Economy Airlines

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Emirates premium economy. Emirates photo

Top Ten Economy Class Airlines

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Japan Airlines 777-300 economy cabin

Top Ten Low-Cost Airlines

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Top Ten First Class Lounges

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Singapore Airlines Private Room first class lounge (SIN).

Top Ten Business Class Lounges

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Qatar Al Mourjan business class lounge (DOH)

The complete list of the top 100 airlines is here. You can see the results for your favorite airline by viewing the A-Z listing of the 2022 World Airline Award Winners here.

Final Thoughts

We are blessed to have many great airlines to choose from and this survey does a good job of broadly identifying them. Unfortunately Skytrax does not publish the entire rankings. In making travel decisions, knowing which airlines were ranked at the bottom can be as helpful as knowing which ones were ranked highly.

Have you experienced any of these airlines or lounges? Which are your most and least favorites?