Why Singapore Airlines Was Voted the Best International Airline 25 Years in a Row

Singapore's in-flight service is so top-notch, travelers "hate to get off the plane."

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

Every year, Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards kick our wanderlust into high gear. As we browse the lists, we inevitably start picturing ourselves lounging at the winning resorts, exploring the top islands and cities, and setting sail on the best cruises. But we can't forget the ones who actually get us to these magnificent destinations in the first place.

Yes, we're talking about airlines, and when it comes to international air travel, one carrier stands out above the rest, according to T+L readers — and it has consistently done so for the past 25 years (that's every single year the World's Best Awards have been in existence, but who's counting?).

Interior of a premium cabin on Singapore Airlines plane
Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

What is it exactly about Singapore Airlines that our readers love so much? Above all, the level of service, especially in business class. (Although one reader noted that even flying economy on Singapore "is like flying premium economy on other carriers.")

"Excellent customer service that starts [at] the airport all the way to [the] final destination," a T+L reader wrote. "Definitely will be traveling with them in [the] future."

Giving the ultimate compliment, another noted, "What deluxe treatment! I hate to get off the plane."

Citing their high-quality food service, extras like in-seat yoga, and ultra-comfy A380 suites, our in-the-know travelers' devotion to Singapore Airlines has not waned since 1995. "Singapore wrote the book on excellence in flying," one wrote. "There's a reason this is always at the top of the list," another added. "They just do it right."

As someone who took the world's longest flight twice in four days — that's about 37 hours on Singapore Airlines' planes in one long weekend — I have to agree.

Singapore Airlines plane flying through the clouds
Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

I also sat in business class on my 2018 flights, on board what was then a brand-new Airbus A350-900ULR outfitted with anti-jet lag features, including lower cabin pressure, double humidity, hospital-grade air filters, and advanced climate control.

The flight itself was like a mid-air Canyon Ranch wellness retreat, fully geared at having passengers feel their best upon landing. Surprisingly healthy and fresh meals were served, stretching and exercise videos encouraged us to keep moving, and seats that reclined into 78-inch-long beds ensured we got plenty of rest.

I may not be using all the exclamation points our readers did when sending in their enthusiastic comments — "All aspects of their service are EXCELLENT!!!!" is a direct quote — but I have to say, I have never gotten off a plane feeling more refreshed.

And to keep up that level of service for a quarter of a century? That's something to be proud of.

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.

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