These are the Top-Eight airlines in the world

The Airline Passenger Experience Association is a network of the world's leading airlines, suppliers and related companies committed to elevating the level of the airline passenger experience.

The Airline Passenger Experience Association, a global non-profit, announced its global Top 8 airlines at its annual APEX Expo in Los Angeles on Wednesday — and not one US carrier made the list.

The organization says it used more than a million passenger surveys that asked people about their experiences on 600 airlines around the world. Passengers were asked to rate their journeys on a five-star scale, similar to what they’d do after an Uber or Lyft ride. They were asked about things like seat comfort, the food and beverage service, and in-flight entertainment.

APEX then took the cream of the crop of those surveys and used third-party auditors at advisory firm Yates and Partners to winnow the list further based on metrics of sustainability, safety, wellbeing, and customer experience, the nonprofit said.

Only a small group of airlines made it through that in-depth assessment, which also included a peer review of the audits by Associate Professor Maxwell Winchester of Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, the group said.

APEX said eight airlines made it through that gauntlet and it dubbed them all World Class. The winners were not much different from last year when the group named seven top carriers. All of them made the list again for 2023. These include Japan Airlines, Dutch national airline KLM, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines; and Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways, Saudia, and Emirates.

This year, however, another carrier was added to the high-scoring list — China’s Xiamen Airlines.

The passenger surveys were recorded through the travel app TripIt. APEX CEO Joe Leader told Insider that the platform is good because it gets input from people who fly several different airlines a year.

“Sometimes, you have someone who just flies one airline in particular, out of loyalty to their program or because of their hub,” he explained. “So, it’s good to have travelers that have a different lens of comparison — and ones that are on verified itineraries.”

While there are several airline rating websites out there, APEX says it distinguishes itself as the “North Star” of aviation because of its “more comprehensive recognition” of safety, the inflight experience, and sustainability, the group says. The leader told Insider the nonprofit is particularly focused on sustainability, which is worth 25% of an airline’s score. Also key: a passenger’s experience in the economy cabin.

“It’s very important to APEX that economy class passengers are treated in areas of service, because often many surveys look to the front of the cabin, and not enough to where 80 to 90% of passengers fly,” he said.

While no US carriers made the list this year, Leader is optimistic about next year.

“I’ve watched airlines unable to get soda at the right size and things that are surprising to be happening in the US,” he said. “But nearly all the supply chain issues have been addressed, so I believe one will break into the World Class ratings next year.”

Here’s a closer look at the Top 8 airlines named by APEX for 2023, listed in alphabetical order. The group gives all of the listed airlines its World Class rating, but doesn’t rank them in a particular order.


Emirates A380 registered A6-EDB.
Airbus’ MSN13 that flew for Emirates, registered A6-EDB.Adrian Pingstone

The Dubai-based carrier is the world’s largest Airbus A380 operator and is one of two national airlines of the UAE.

Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines.
Japan Airlines.Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan Airlines is the nation’s flag carrier and dates back to 1951.


KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777-300.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777-300.Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Dutch flag carrier KLM is considered the oldest airline in the world that still uses its original name, having been founded in 1919.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways' Boeing 777 special FIFA livery.
Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777 special FIFA livery.Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is the official host of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and was named the world’s best airline by Skytrax for the third year in a row.


SAUDIA airlines.
SAUDIAMarkus Mainka/Shutterstock

SAUDIA is the flag carrier of Saudia Arabia and offers premium services, like inflight chefs.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines A350-900.
Singapore Airlines A350-900.KITTIKUN YOKSAP/Shutterstock

Singapore Airlines is the country’s national carrier and operates the world’s longest flight between New York and Singapore, which journeys about 19 hours nonstop.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines plane is seen at the Barajas Airport in Madrid on July 1, 2022.
Turkish Airlines plane is seen at the Barajas Airport in Madrid on July 1, 2022.Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Image

The Istanbul-based carrier is the flag airline of Turkey and was named Europe’s best airline by Skytrax for 2022.

Xiamen Airlines

Xiamen Airlines.
Xiamen Airlines.PomInOz/Shutterstock

China’s Xiamen Airlines is new to APEX’s list.

Source: APEX

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