After a very difficult year in 2020, travel is picking up again, and so are airlines. As you prepare for your first trip after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Points Guy and AirlineRatings have put together their annual reports ranking the best airlines for 2021 so you can make an informed choice as to which carrier will take you on vacation this year.

The Points Guy’s best US airlines of 2021

Coming in hot for the top spot for the third year in a row is Delta with a score of 67.93 out of 100. The airline is praised for rarely bumping passengers and how easy it is to find and get into its lounges, but suffered in the affordability category.

Spirit and Allegiant switched places this year. Spirit was 10th (the last place) in 2020. It now sits in eighth place for the lack of canceled flights and its affordability. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make up for all of the expected fees for everything — bags, wheelchairs, and change fees. Allegiant is now dead last. It failed to make sure flights arrived on time, or at all. It reportedly also has poor family-friendly policies and rewards points aren’t worth much.

The best US airlines of 2021 according to The Points Guy:

  1. Delta
  2. Southwest
  3. United
  4. Alaska
  5. American
  6. JetBlue
  7. Hawaiian
  8. Spirit
  9. Frontier
  10. Allegiant

AirlineRatings’ ranking of the best airlines in the world in 2021

AirlineRatings rated 20 airlines this year. Air New Zealand, which has ranked six times over several years as number one, including last year, is now ranked number two. And Singapore Airlines, which ranked number one in 2019, is now number three. CNN reported that Air New Zealand has now been replaced by Qatar Airways for its cabin innovation, catering, in-flight service, and its commitment to staying open during the pandemic.

“In our objective analysis Qatar Airways came out number one in many of our audit criteria, which is a great performance at this very difficult time,” Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings, said. “For years Qatar Airways has been the gold standard, and it just keeps getting better with new passenger innovations and new state-of-the-art aircraft models.”

Qantas sits at the number four spot and is also ranked as the safest airline. And rounding out the top five is Emirates. Other awards were best first class (Singapore Airlines), best cabin crew (Virgin Australia), and best airport lounges (Qantas).

The best airlines in the world in 2021 according to AirlineRatings:

  1. Qatar Airways
  2. Air New Zealand
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. Qantas
  5. Emirates
  6. Cathay Pacific
  7. Virgin Atlantic
  8. United Airlines
  9. EVA Air
  10. British Airways
  11. Lufthansa
  12. All Nippon Airways
  13. Finnair
  14. Japan Airlines
  15. KLM
  16. Hawaiian Airlines
  17. Alaska Airlines
  18. Virgin Australia
  19. Delta Air Lines
  20. Etihad Airways