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This year's World's Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year's honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.

Though the past year has presented international airlines with numerous challenges, the high-flying brands that keep the world connected have persevered. And as travel restrictions ease, the best international airlines continue to impress Travel + Leisure readers with outstanding in-flight service, comfortable cabins, reliable operations, and food that simply wows.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. In the airlines category, readers rated carriers on cabin comfort, in-flight service, food, customer service, and value.

A Singapore Airlines plane in the clouds
Credit: Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

No. 3 Eva Air continues to climb in the World's Best Awards, rising from No. 4 last year to third place in 2021. The airline specializes in long-haul trips to Asia from several U.S. gateways. "This is one of the best airlines I've ever traveled with," said one fan. "Excellent service and food," wrote another. "I can't wait to fly them again," added a third EVA enthusiast.

Boutique airline La Compagnie moved up in this year's voting, landing at No. 5 thanks to its all-business-class service to destinations in France. This summer, the carrier added flights to Tel Aviv, and Milan flights are slated to start in November.

Readers also had high praise for No. 2 Qatar Airways. "Excellent crew, amazing food, it's comfort on point," as one respondent put it. "It's really my favorite airline," said another frequent passenger, who added that "the seats — even in economy and of course in business — are comfortable. The food and entertainment always exceed expectations. I really appreciate all their COVID-19 protocols. All in all, they are a class act!"

No. 6 Turkish Airlines returned to this year's top 10 after not making the cut in 2020. No. 8 Virgin Atlantic moved up a couple spots. Meanwhile No. 7 Japan Airlines (JAL) held steady year over year. 

A familiar winner was also the model of consistency at the very top of the rankings. Readers once again voted Singapore Airlines into the No. 1 spot for the 26th year in a row. Read on for the rest of the best international airlines, as voted by T+L readers.

1. Singapore Airlines

A Singapore Airlines plane landing at an airport
Credit: Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

Call it the king of the World's Best Awards: Singapore Airlines is an unprecedented 26-time winner in T+L's annual rankings, a year-in, year-out stalwart that impresses travelers with cosseting service, particularly in premium cabins. "We felt like we were at home," gushed one voter who traveled in the airline's ultra-luxurious suites. Many voters raved about the intuitive service on board, mentioning how flight attendants were always ready to lend a hand, refresh a drink, or go the extra mile. "Traveling with them is a dream come true — I'm not sure what more anybody could want," said one impressed reader. Added another: "They've been my favorite for decades because they make most other carriers seem like amateurs."

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 91.96
More information: singaporeair.com

2. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways plane flying over a city
Credit: Courtesy of Qatar Airways

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 91.35
More information: qatarairways.com

3. EVA Air

Aerial view of EVA Airways plane
Credit: Courtesy of EVA Airways

Score: 89.82
More information: evaair.com

4. Emirates

Aerial view of Emirates plane
Credit: Courtesy of The Emirates Group

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 89.64
More information: emirates.com

5. La Compagnie

La Compagnie plane on tarmac
Credit: Courtesy of La Compagnie

Score: 89.32
More information: lacompagnie.com

6. Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines Airbus A330 Landing In Amsterdam
Credit: Nicolas Economou/Getty Images

Score: 89.17
More information: turkishairlines.com

7. Japan Airlines (JAL)

Japan Airlines (JAL) airplanes at Haneda Airport Terminal 1
Credit: Stanislav Kogiku/Getty Images

Score: 87.59
More information: jal.co.jp

8. Virgin Atlantic 

Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350-1000 aircraft as seen on final approach arriving and landing at JFK
Credit: Nicolas Economou/Getty Images

Score: 86.74
More information: virginatlantic.com

9. Korean Air

An Airbus A330-300 passenger plane belonging to the Korean Air lands at Hong Kong International Airport
Credit: Marcio Rodrigo Machado/Getty Images

Score: 85.39
More information: koreanair.com

10. Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand plane preparing to land on the Wellington Airport in Wellington, New Zealand.
Credit: Xinhua/Getty Images

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 84.85
More information: airnewzealand.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.