Flying through the alphabet: Naming and Shaming airlines I love and love to hate

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn

As a travel blogger who makes a living off writing about the best of the best on offer around the world by way of travel experiences, it is with an huge leap of faith that I go ahead and write this post that will inevitably mean that I will never be invited by the likes of Air Canada to advertise their product. Naming and shaming airlines isn’t something bloggers usually do… but that’s just too bad, because I’d rather be honest and lose a potential job than lie to you and lose the trust of my readers.

So here goes nothin’….. A brutal(ly honest) recount of airlines I love and those I love to hate.


Air Asia

Let’s kick things off with a budget airline I have flown with on a few occasions a couple of years ago. For the price that you pay, Air Asia offer a pretty good product. This is a no-frills airline so you will have to pay extra for anything beyond your base ticket, but you do save a lot of money flying with them and they have a lot of destinations on their books throughout Asia. All in all, they offer a fair product for a very fair price.

Air Canada

As I alluded to in the opening of this blog post, I cannot say I would ever again voluntarily fly with Air Canada. I actually especially booked this flight with Air Canada to try their product on a long-haul journey from New York JFK to Buenos Aires, heading North via Toronto and Santiago. The flight was not the cheapest option, so I must have been keen to try Air Canada if I was willing to go North first before making my way down to Latin America. I’ll cut straight to the chase — the service I encountered on two of these flights was absolutely appalling to the point where I was in tears by the way the airline staff treated me. I had ordered a vegetarian meal (or so I thought) – but was abruptly told I hadn’t done so (???) and told by the air hostess “you can eat meat like everyone else or nothing at all – up to you”. Talk. About. Rude. I was flying with Air Canada for over 30 hours on this journey and she honestly had the nerve to tell me I could eat meat or starve? Having been a vegetarian for over 8 years, this was simply not an option. I later asked for her name so I could follow up with the airline afterwards and was denied the privilege. When asked if this was company policy she flatly replied “no. personal choice. I’m not giving you my name.” Well, that was clearly because she knew she was in the wrong. The second leg of my journey from Santiago to Buenos Aires I encountered a second rude air hostess – talk about a miserable flight. After flying internationally for a decade and having taken hundreds of flights in the past year, these two staff members from Air Canada were the ONLY bad encounters I have had.

Needless to say – never again.

Air France

Back on a positive note, I really love Air France. Then again, I really love the French so perhaps I more or less enjoy the nature of the air hostess’ and top service I have always encountered with this airline. Oh and of course, the French inspired menu – no one does a breakfast quite like the French.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific are one of my favourite airlines, specifically for their economy product. I used to fly with them often on the route from Melbourne to Europe, always stopping over in Hong Kong. Sadly I haven’t been back in the region much lately, but otherwise I would fly with them more often if given the chance. The staff are some of the most accommodating you will find in the airline industry, always very pleasant and polite.


Emirates are what Ferrari’s are to the car loving world, to the airline geek world. I can say with 100% certainty that the Emirates product in both Economy and Business has been my favourite I have encountered so far. Recently I splurged and upgraded my ticket to Business for my trip from Hong Kong to Cape Town via Dubai. The Business Class on the A380 is in my opinion, one of the best travel experiences you can enjoy. The product itself is what was so enjoyable, and I have always found the Emirates staff to be polite and welcoming, but I haven’t ever encountered any service above and beyond (like I have with Qantas staff in particular). Nonetheless, this is still my favourite airline and I am constantly spending extra hours in the air just so I can fly with them.


I want to love Etihad – but I can’t just yet. My first experience with them was a shocker (7 hours of lost luggage), but I’m willing to give them another chance as I’ve heard great things, as well as the fact that this is still a very new airline.


I haven’t flown with them for a few years now, but have always enjoyed the Finnair product. Just beware of Helsinki airport – that place is a money cruncher!


It may come as a surprise to you, but I am actually very fond of Jetstar – the budget sister company of Qantas. The staff are very laid back, friendly, and always very cheery. The planes are 90% of the time new and clean, and I think if you were to criticise this airline you would be picking at tiny faults that are completely irrelevant when compared to some of the other products out there. The only criticism I would have is the ongoing delays – are Jetstar flights ever taking off on time!?


It’s the mature service on Qantas flights that make them such a joy to travel with. And yes, by mature I mean that the flight attendants are almost always older, as Qantas makes a conscious effort to employ staff with ample experience. My only complaint would be the lack of television screens on a few long-haul flights over the years. I last flew with Qantas in January when flying from Melbourne to London


I flew with Qatar from Budapest to Singapore return and thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience. My only regret is that I didn’t stop overnight in Qatar, so I will definitely have to return! The service on board was a big highlight, as well as the comfort and quality of the product on offer.


Just when we were all getting accustomed to complaining about RyanAir, they come out and waive all the silly fees and restrictions they have been so heavily imposing for the past how many ever years. For a budget airline who will get you from major European destinations for a fraction of the price of other airlines, I have to say that RyanAir are pretty passable in my books. Sure, you will be counting down the minutes til you land as soon as you board the in the air ad campaign – I mean plane – but regardless, it’s a huge money saver.

South Africa Airways

I’m neither here nor there with this airline. The product is fine, the service is fine, the food is fine, and the overall verdict is fine.

TAP Portugal

I didn’t mind TAP Portugal aside from the fact they lost my luggage for two days in Africa, which was quite a spanner in the works at the time. Aside from that the experience was fine but nothing to rave about.

Turkish Airlines

I’m still on the fence about Turkish Airlines. There flights are always fairly cheap in comparative terms so I have flown with them a few times, however their product hasn’t really stood out either. I must say, however, that they do a mean homemade lemonade! Mmm mmm!

US Airways

This section should really say “US Airways, American Airlines, and Delta” – because I think collectively the airlines of the United States are pretty dismal in comparison to all the other airlines out there on offer. Truth be told, I avoid each of these airlines like the plague – though if I had to pick one, I would say Delta is my preferred out of these three. Bonus points for in-flight wi-fi to all three.

Virgin Atlantic

I really really really love Virgin Atlantic – enough to make me want to live in either London or New York just so I can cross the Atlantic with this airline frequently. I’ve tried both their economy and upper class options, and I must say both are highly enjoyable. The lie flat beds in upper class are hard to pass up, however, and I would certainly recommend splashing out a little extra cash to try it at least once in your lifetime.


This budget airline will take you where RyanAir and Easyjet won’t – over into the depths of Eastern Europe (actually one of my favourite areas in the world). It’s super cheap, reliable, and will get you to the more remote off-the-beaten-track European locations.


So there you have it! Now over to you – what is your all time favourite airline and your worst experience with an airline? Let’s open up the conversation and see who claims the WOW airline of the year!?

You Might Also Like

    Kevin Flynn
    April 25, 2016 at 1:22 am

    You are right about Air Canada especially Air Canada Rouge where wannabe flight attendants seem to find their first job. On one flight I was asked to move from the Comfort Economy seat that I paid extra for to the rear in order that a family could fly together. I told the attendant that I would gladly move forward to an empty business class seat nut she said that was not possible even though I could see several empty seats.
    My most recent bad experience with them was on a flight to Barbados where my prepaid snack was not covered by a voucher that was not on my boarding pass through no fault of mine.
    Air Canada Rouge has adopted the mistakes made by lesser known brands to save a buck. Avoid them if you can.

    Beverley Lamb
    March 7, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Recently flew Turkish airlines. Istanbul to uk. Always avoided them as had years ago bad safety record. Flight fantastic. Facilities up to what you’d expect on a top class long haul flight.
    Great media and even in economy they had a chef with the hat on. They were great especially as came to my rescue when the late flight I was scheduled on with a budget airline was cancelled due to technical problem. Top marks all round I will never try to avoid them again quite the opposite. Friend who was travelling with me but took flight home elsewhere was also impressed with their service.

    September 12, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to compile this report. However I think it is far to bland to make an informed decision about which airline to choose. For example, we flew jetstar from Singapore to Melbourne recently in business class and it was decidedly awful. Seats not much bigger than economy but at least we got a meal and water. Thai smile and Emirates / quantas are much better and offer better service. Please be more descriptive in your reviews, people would like to know the bad things as well.

    Sara Barnes
    May 19, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Has anyone flown with Air Transat? I’m looking at booking a flight from Toronto to London for my honeymoon and want to avoid Air Canada! haha Any recommendations world travelers??

    Shankar Sivaprakasam
    March 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

    The worst airline by far is MALAYSIAN AIRLINES. And, I have flown many airlines and hold Platinum status with OneWorld and Gold with Star Alliance to say this. It is no wonder MH can’t make a profit. I fly (at least was until this post) MH 1-2 times a month in J-class. I have had any complaint or feedback that I might have given at check-in, at-lounge, or on-air, all written, ever acknowledged or answered. This would not be a case with SQ, QF, CX, Virgin or the like.

    The latest is my luggage, which has not been delivered yet, over 24hrs, since arrival in Sydney from KL. I was promised a few times by MH’s handling agents TOLL in Australia, but the luggage is yet to turn-up. Malaysian’s local contact number is never answered and, when I called the MH contact center, the agent hung-up after putting me on hold for 30mins. I am yet to receive a call back.

    There is no way to speak to anyone senior in MH, so I have chosen this medium to let my feedback be heard publicly and to MH, if someone happens to read this post.

    An airline that can’t get its basics right is unlikely to survive just by changing the Head. Muller has his work cut-out. But, first my luggage…

    Lauren M
    January 1, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Next time you fly in or around the USA try Southwest Airlines. The Customer Service is so much better then the others. I have flown with majority of the US Airlines but Southwest is the best. The prices are not that expensive and they are getting new routes because of the merger with Air Tran. Last time I flew it was 115 to Phoenix AZ from Orlando FL and on the way back it was 130. Not bad considering the bigger airlines are like 200+ for the same route. 🙂

    frontyard landscaping ideas
    December 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website so i came to return the want?.I’m trying to in finding things to improve my website!I suppose its good enough to use some of your ideas!!

    Spencer Sorrell
    December 1, 2014 at 1:59 am

    I’ve flown Air Canada three or four times for travel in Canada and after my last flight, I said, “No more!” Alaska Airlines services a majority of my regional business territory and over the last 3 years and 100’s of flights later, I am still just as satisfied with their service and on time departures/arrivals; give them a try if you’re ever able (HUB is in Seattle). I’ve also been taking a few Delta flights weekly for the past few months and they’ve also done a great job. My old job had me commuting from Seattle to Philadelphia – I now avoid US Airways & American like the plague, their service was abysmal!

    November 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve flown a few of these, and I have got to say I haven’t had an amazing experience on the ones I’ve tried so far. I was unimpressed with Turkish Airlines. They were not very friendly or helpful when I needed it.

    But I have to say the one that I (maybe) hate the most is Norwegian Airlines. I know hate is a strong word, but I strongly disliked the way I was treated. I wanted a budget flight so I didn’t pay for a meal for my 10-hour flight. They didn’t give me water or even acknowledge my existence at all because I didn’t order a $30 meal. Yes, the flight was extremely cheap, but that did not mean they had to ignore me. Really not pleased with them.

    October 26, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I agree with everything that Ms. Saward has said about Air Canada. I flew Executive First (and what a joke that name is) with them and the service was appalling. I asked for a complaint form, filled it in and gave it to the Hostess. About an hour later I asked the same hostess if my complaint form had been registered and asked when I would get a response. she said, “What complaint form?”

    I subsequently wrote to the “Vice-President of Customer Satisfaction” (I am not making up this! There really is someone with such a joke title!). I listed all the problems during the flight. I never got a response.

    Avoid this airline at all costs! Appalling.

    Liz Marsden
    October 25, 2014 at 10:45 am

    You are not the first person I respect the opinion of to give a cripplingly negative account of Air Canada! For a nation with such a good image, their airline sure needs to clean up its act! Think you will enjoy and relate to this:

    October 10, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I just flew with Delta from Frankfurt to JFK in business class and can honestly say I’ve never experienced better flight even though I was as sick as a dog. Lie flat beds with soft poofy blanket and pillow, delicious food galore and super nice attendants.

  • Kangaroo, Merlion or camel? | Travelling Omnomnivore
    October 7, 2014 at 12:13 am

    […] blogger of the year Brooke Saward has recently posted a comprehensive review of multiple airlines, here. This post is by no means meant to be a duplicate nor a contradiction of Brooke’s opinions, […]

    vivienne carter
    September 30, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    well I just hate im not worried if the food isn’t upto scratch either.its silly because ive flown a lot but I have to go to Tokyo so anyone out there can tell me the best airline please.for stupid nervous passengers like me.i always feel that im in a sardine can but like 30 0dd thousand miles up.gosh I have to book within the next week.from the way my daughter flew by Aeroflot had to stop in Moscow.she didn’t find it a pleasant experience at all.
    hehehe wish I could get a bus train or boat all the way but I have to any advice I would be grateful.

    Claire (@Kurea_San)
    September 27, 2014 at 7:43 am

    I 100% agree with you about Air Canada. I’ve travelled a lot in my life too (not as much as you) and the worst service I’ve ever had while in the air was on a Air Canada flight. Never, never again. My favourite airlines are Cathy Pacific, Air New Zealand and GermanWings (budget airline).
    Claire xx

    September 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Air New Zealand are amazing! Travelled on a RTW ticket with them and the service was absolutely impeccable!
    I had a serious head cold and the pain on descent was unbearable. I was crying and in so much pain. The stewardesses were so helpful, they got me cans of coke (to try and relieve the pressure) Olbas oil, hot flannels and painkillers. It didn’t work in the end but I so appreciated their efforts. The whole crew were really funny, the food was nice, the planes were lovely. I couldn’t recommend them enough!
    The US airlines are absolutely pants I definitely agree! Qantas is great. Couldn’t fault them either.
    BA used to be very fancy and upmarket but the plane I went to New York on recently was very shabby and the service felt tired.
    Jetstar is a really good basic airline. Much nicer than it’s European counterpart Ryan Air.
    The horrible garish colour scheme and cattle class atmosphere was not pleasant but it was very cheap.
    All in all I would 100% recommend air NZ over any other airline 🙂

    September 20, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Really useful post. I can’t believe how rude the Air Canada staff were!

    I’ve flown with quite a few airlines in my life and my personal favourites are Qantas, Virgin, Etihad and Thai Airways were really nice. Also for budget options in Europe, I quite liked Monarch. I really want to fly with Emirates though as I’ve never heard a bad word about them.

    My least favourite airline without a doubt was American Airlines. The service wasn’t the best! Maybe it was just a bad day!

    September 20, 2014 at 4:33 am

    I work with international students and the ones that always arrive with misplaced luggage have flown with lufthansa..
    They always get it back the next day but try having 30 teenagers coming at you and telling you they have no clean underwear.
    I also got to experience ti first hand over christmas when my backpack did not arrive till the next day.
    Interjet have been on top of my list the past year with their brilliant customer services and their ability to be flexible with you if you happen to fall in love with a place and want to extend your stay…
    I was a lover of AirNewzeland with their direct, economical flight from London to LA until they gave me a very hard time at the airport where I was close to tears and made me 100 times more nervous about being about to take off into the big wide world on my own…
    But all in all brilliant food and comfortable seats.
    Emirates were fantastic when we had a 14 hour lay over in Bahrain on our way back from Thailand they included a stay at a 5* hotel with a free buffet. The best bit about it was that we weren’t expecting it so it was an absolute bonus treat!

    September 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I have to agree with Brooke about Jetstar, I have a soft spot for the airline as well. When you’re only in the air for a few hours travelling on the east coast of Australia, Jetstar’s no frills approach is all you need. And for a great price! I would even go as far to say I prefer them to Qantas domestic for their younger, upbeat staff and service. Internationally, I have many good things to say about Etihad, despite a run in with food poisoning from an in-flight meal while flying with them. All round great service and prices are very reasonable for a “premier carrier” when you book earlybird flights. Impressed with Etihad, I have booked my next flights from Australia to Europe with Emirates, fellow UAE carrier.

    If you’re in Australia and after a quick and affordable international holiday I’d suggest flying to Singapore with Scoot (Singapore Airlines budget little sister). I flew business class for an unbelievable price and the eight hour flight flew by with ample room and great entertainment.

    September 15, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Perhaps you are just not commenting on United Airline because they didn’t even make your list, but in the US aircarrier line up, they are #3, having lost their #1 position to American after their merge with US Airways. United is among the few legacy carriers in the States.

  • The lowdown on airlines | Awake My Soul
    September 15, 2014 at 12:39 am

    […] World of Wanderlust – Naming and Shaming Airlines […]

    Sarah Elizabeth
    September 14, 2014 at 4:17 am

    Great post Brooke! Currently deciding which airline to fly with from the UK to USA and it was between British Airways and Virgin Atlantic- I think your opinion has definitely swayed me towards Virgin now. Totally agree with the comments on RyanAir (billboard seats!) except I would still avoid them and choose EasyJet when in Europe, especially when flying solo! Sarah @ Girls In Polka Dots xx

    September 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Oh no! I’m so sorry you had that experience with Air Canada! I travel internationally for business quite frequently (and I’m Canadian), and honestly I find Air Canada to be one of my go to airlines. The experience you had is definitely not reflective of the airline and their service…seems to be a situation of a few bad apples. When Canadians say “never fly Air Canada”…these are people who never travel. Any frequent Canadian traveller will say Air Canada is one of the better airlines out there. Hopefully you’ll be able to try them again and have a better experience!

    September 13, 2014 at 6:48 am

    If you manage to get one of the solo “throne” seats in business class on Finnair’s long haul flights, I’m sure you’ll like it! The privacy is excellent and there’s enough space for your stuff for once.

    September 12, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I would have taken a photo of that flight attendant and sent it into their management team! Absolutely disgusting behaviour, they clearly shouldn’t be in a customer service role as they have no concept of what the term means!!

    Next time you’re in the UK you should Virgin Little Red, they’ve started doing domestic flights (YAY!). BA are ok too I’d never fly with easy jet or Ryanair though – too many hidden fees which really bugs me!

    Love this post though xoxo

    September 12, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I’ve flown most of these ( not Air Canada thankfully!) and I think my fav are Air Asia ( for good quality budget) and Qatar ( clean, good food, nice seats, although the staff were not very friendly when I was on). Flown Air France hundreds of times and never had a problem with them but I think my all time fav is Singapore Air.

    September 12, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Having felt a bit sceptical about it first, I was positively surprised about my first flight with Korean Air! I experienced Korean people as really polite and attentive and so was the service. Also the stopover at Incheon Airport in Seoul was a relaxing and exceptional experience (for a stopover 😉 )
    To be recommended!

    September 11, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I too had a similar experience with Air Canada…that was 13 years ago! I actually work in travel and we are not fond of Air Canada for their horrible service. West Jet is much better and Porter Airlines if you are flying between certain big cities in the States. I personally love KLM, have travelled with them countless times and their service has been wonderful.

    The Dame International
    September 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Being from South Africa, now living in the UK for the past 15 years and spending nearly 3 of those years in Australia, I too have flown Emirates a lot and I really like them. Virgin Atlantic are also great and I am totally with you on the “meh” response to South African airways. I actually paid extra to fly SAA (instead of Emirates) in November to go home and was disappointed. I had seen all the movies already and the food was boring. I did however get three seats to myself (a personal challenge I always take on when I fly long haul!). Emirates is a clear winner in my experience given that they are affordable but if I had more funds, I would fly Virgin as much as possible.

    Christina M
    September 11, 2014 at 8:16 am

    In the U.S. I usually stick with Virgin America and Jet Blue. I try to avoid the others though.

    I have flown Lufthansa a couple of times and didn’t really enjoy the experience. The flights themselves were fine, but dealing with their layovers and the re-booking of flights once I missed the connections was more of a pain than it had to be.

    I flew Smartwings on a one way flight and can’t complain. The planes weren’t new, but I had plenty of room and it was a good price.

    I have had both good and bad experiences with EasyJet. I ended up fracturing my foot hours before a flight from Amsterdam to Prague and I couldn’t have asked for the crew to be more helpful (both on the ground and in the air). They got me on the plane, made sure I was comfortable during the flight (by asking other passengers if they wouldn’t mind moving to give me a three seater so I could elevate my leg) and called for a wheel chair to meet me at the Prague airport. The bad was more of the ground crew experience with Luton airport in London. Once I finally got on the flight it was fine, but I will be avoiding that airport in the future.

    I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic a few times in economy and premium economy and have had good experiences.

    September 11, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Royal Air Brunei are just lovely. It does mean a stop in Brunei which is a small shabby airport (they are renovating it) but they do a great job.
    I wasn’t that keen on Cathay – the shell seats on long haul (14 hrs) were brutal. I get it for short haul flights having no recline but to slump for 14 hours or more did my back in.
    Qantas is always good, but too expensive.
    I liked Air Asia, cheap and cheerful, you get what you pay for and that’s fine.
    Jetstar lately have taken to cancelling flights that aren’t full which to me is just wrong.
    United are old. Very old. Food is almost inedible. Yuk.
    Air Canada is in the UA league, to be avoided if possible.
    Westjet were okay till my last flight when the flight became an FA party with no passengers invited …they took up nearly all lockers and were shouting with fun at each other all flight long.
    Really liked Qatar, Emirates not quite so much and Ethiad, well…hmmm…so so.

    September 11, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I scrolled immediately to your review on Finnair. I have a ticket with them currently. Glad you gave them a good review!

    – Christina

    September 11, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Hi Brooke,
    great post and as a Vegetarian for over 10yrs now, I can relate to you. But unfortunately I had the same issues, not getting my ordered VGTM, with various airlines e.g. Lufthansa, Etihad, etc. And the only reply was that I can eat around the meat.

    I really like Singapore Airlines and totally agree with you on Emirates. I avoid too all the American airlines because I mostly experienced bad service and no comfort at all.

    But I cannot say anything against Air Canada – flew several times with them from Germany to Canada and their attendants were always nice and they had very good service.

    When you are living in Berlin (I just can say for me the best city in the world 🙂 ), try Germanwings, belongs to Lufthansa. They offer cheap flights within Europe and the service is okay. Another airline which I can recommend as well is Air Berlin for European destinations too.

    Enjoy your time in South America!

    September 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Very honest post – Thanks for writing your true opinions about each airline! Oh my God, sorry to hear how you were treated in Air Canada, that must have been awful! How can someone say that?
    My favourite airline is Emirates as well. We have flown with Etihad quite a few times, and it was quite good.

    September 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I loveeee how honest you are!! (PS I hope that attendant from AirCanada gets fired!)
    As an American I totally agree about how mediocre the airlines are. But you should try SouthWest Airlines one day! They will definitely show you the good old southern hospitality during flights 🙂 they have been the sweetest attendants I have come across and their policies are excellent! (Way better than the others)
    Safe travels Brooke! 🙂

    Petra @ We've Got The Bug
    September 10, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Great post! Sucks to hear about your Air Canada experience, I’m flying with them soon so hopefully it goes better!

    I have to say hands down my favorite airline is Air New Zealand (not being biased as I’m a kiwi, they really are amazing!).

    Air Asia gets top points in the budget airline spectrum for me!


    Erin Klema of Where Erin Goes
    September 10, 2014 at 7:01 am

    When flying within the United States, my go-to airline is Southwest. It’s often about the same price of a Delta flight, but you save money on checked baggage — two bags fly free, as they say. Plus, you can still bring a carry-on bag and a personal item aboard the plane. The staff is always friendly and often funny, too. Now that AirTran has merged with Southwest there are even more destinations where Southwest flies, but still book through Southwest so you aren’t charged a baggage fee. Also, I’ve found Southwest has more direct-flight options that fit my schedule better than Delta. Another alternative for U.S. air travel is Frontier, especially if you plan to visit the western states. I haven’t flown with that airline yet, but I have heard good things.

    In Europe, I’ve flown both RyanAir and EasyJet in cases when I couldn’t travel by train, my transportation of choice in Europe, about eight years ago. Flying EasyJet from Berlin to Athens was fine. I don’t recall anything particularly good or bad about my experience. The perk of flying a budget airline is the low cost. The major downside to flying RyanAir was that the airports were located further away from the destination city in some cases and was therefore not very convenient. For example, when flying from Germany to London, we flew into Stansted — rather than Heathrow or Gatwick — and had to take a bus into the city, which took additional time and money. Perhaps things have changed since both my EasyJet and RyanAir experiences were in 2006.

    September 10, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Oi I hate Canada Air and US Airways. My family always jokes that it is US Scare-ways since their flights are always so bad. Also, every time I’ve flown Iceland Air for long haul flights (6 times) my tv hasn’t worked.

    Megan Anderson
    September 10, 2014 at 2:37 am

    I second anyone who’s said Air New Zealand. I absolutely loved flying with them, and I was in economy! I did two 12 hour flights with them (LAX to Auckland and back) plus two domestic flights in NZ.

    We were being fairly cheap with our tickets, but even in economy I felt like we were treated very well and the service was great. The seats themselves also had enough room for me, though my husband would have liked more. The SkyCouch option in economy is also a great choice.

    Marie King
    September 10, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Air Canada really likes to boast their high rating within North America, though most people I know actively avoid traveling with them – will pay extra to avoid it.

    Some of my favorite airline experiences have been with Singapore Airlines (for the feeling of luxury, no matter the class) and Air New Zealand (for the quirk and friendliness included with the ticket). Also had a great time on Korean Air.

    September 10, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Great post! I will definitely avoid US Airways in the future.

    Emirates has been my favorite thus far, but I really like Air France and Lufthansa too.

    September 10, 2014 at 1:38 am

    I’ve flown on a few airlines and VA is def my fave x

    September 10, 2014 at 1:34 am

    Thank you for this list! Very handy. For me, the worst airline is Icelandair… they’re the only game in town (for long haul flights from the US at least) and they know it! My favorite has been Korean Air… bibimbap works a lot better in the air than a lot of Western food.

    September 10, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Not sure what to say about the Air Canada thing. I have flown Air Canada 100+ times and have had no issues with them, while I have flown West Jet (another Canadian airline) 5-10 times and have had a whole host of issues on most of the flights. I have had some okay experiences with WestJet, but most of them have not been pleasant.

    I also flew American Airlines last year, and had a terrible experience with one of the flight attendants. She was a b&^$% who didn’t care about the safety of the passengers on board, but I don’t think I can really comment on the airline service as a whole solely based on her!

    I’m sorry you had a bad experience with Air Canada, but unless it happens more than once with a variety of different employees, I don’t know how you can really make such harsh judgments about the company as a whole. Air Canada has a lot to offer and in my experience, the employees have handled flight delays and cancellations very smoothly and much better than other airlines. They have great, widespread service across Canada (and elsewhere), and have better on board facilities than lots of other companies…But obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

    September 10, 2014 at 1:21 am

    I’ve flown many 5-8 hours flights on Qatar Airways on economy class and the flight was pleasurable with good service.

    September 10, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Never, ever, ever, EVER fly with US Airways! We had a nightmare experience traveling from Richmond, VA, to San Antonio, TX, via Charlotte, NC. On the way out from Charlotte, we made it up into the air only to turn around within 20 minutes due to an engine failure/malfunction. We waited around for an hour before another plane was available, loaded up, waited in line to take-off… then got sent back to the airport for an emergency door malfunction. The third plane FINALLY got us to San Antonio, but we were 5+ hours late. Then on the way back from Charlotte to Richmond, we were delayed because they couldn’t get the plane to pressurize. Apparently US Airways does not maintain their planes, and I won’t trust flying with them, even if their prices are sometimes the cheapest option.

    Otherwise I really love KLM and Brussels Airlines. Lufthansa and British Airways are also high in my estimation. Great service! I actually do not like Air France, but not to the point where I’m not willing to give them another chance. I was seated beside a typically rude French woman who spent the entire transatlantic flight jabbing me in the side, kicking my legs, and finally spilling her drink and food all over me. Since she pretended not to understand English (amazing since I heard her speaking with a non-French attendant in English previously) when I asked her to stop, I went to an attendant for mediation. His response was that it was “my problem.”

    September 9, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    I loveeeee Norwegian and British Airways. Delta is okay but I agree that most American airlines are sub-standard.

    September 9, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Oops I meant EasyJet not Jetstar

    September 9, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I think Singapore Airlines is the best for economy and Emirates is the best for business class. I don’t think the service on Qantas is the best, but must give props to them for giving me an upgrade to first class once on a flight from LA to Sydney. Having said that, Qantas first class is roughly equivalent to Emirates business class, lol. I agree with the poster who said that in general the service is better on Asian airlines eg Cathay and MAS. I also liked KLM. I can’t complain about RyanAir given I paid only 99p for my flights with them (plus another £20 or so in taxes) but if you’re willing to fork out a bit more, JetStar IS better than RyanAir. I have NOT enjoyed the service on British Airways or Alitalia.

    September 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    sorry to hear you had a bad experience with air canada.
    i’ve already flown with this company and they gave an excellent service.

    i also love qatar and malaysian airways!

    S. J. Pajonas
    September 9, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    If you can fly JetBlue in the States, do it. Best experience I’ve had flying in the US in a long time. Everything else is, as you say, dismal.

    September 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    KLM and Finnair! These are the ones I use the most and never have they disappointed. For a cheaper airliner, Norwegian is also great.

    Emily Hempel
    September 9, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I think this is great especially as I have travelled most of these. My favourite is qantas and emirates. The least favourite airline I have flown with is Lufthanza which is based in Germany they are extremely unorganised and when I was seven and my brother was four they wouldn’t let us sit together let alone with our parents, also we had booked for business but got demoted because of not being a business man or on their priority list. I do not recommend Lufthanza

    September 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    The Biritsh Airways are always a good choice I’d say. I’ve tried WizzAir a couple times and it’s cheap so you can’t really want something more, although a friendly staff would be nice sometimes. Since they’re more expensive on the Prague-London route, I’m trying Ryanair this time, we’ll see how that goes.

    September 9, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    It’s so rare to see a largely positive review of JetStar! I have a love/hate relationship with then due to their cheap pricing but their service is rubbish. In New Zealand it’s basically them or Air New Zealand (my favourite, their Premium Economy ‘Space Seats’ on certaib flights are the best!).

    Joella in Beijing
    September 9, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I really love Korean Air. I only flew with them for the first time recently (which is weird because I use to work in Korea) and I thought they were excellent. Comfy seats and great entertainment. I’m glad a lot of the airlines are getting those fold out head rest things now- so much more comfy!

    Jake Ryan
    September 9, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Nothing worse than a rude flight attended. I was recently packed in between 2 people I didn’t know after forgetting to book my seat for a flight, they both went to sleep almost immediately and about half way through the flight I asked the attended for a drink, she replied with “well go and get one then” Gee thanks for the help.

    September 9, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Really sorry you had a bad Air Canada experience! I actually love the airline and have been flying with them for years. Do agree with your avoiding the US airlines though — they suck you for every dollar you have.

    September 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    This is so informative and so honest. I have recently discovered Wizzair and so far I feel exactly the same as you.

    Happy travels.
    With love from Spain

    September 9, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Really useful post! I’m trying Cathay Pacific later this year and I’m glad to hear they’re good! I’m from South Africa, and would recommend Kulula. They’re a budget airline, (though sometimes a bit pricey) so don’t expect great comfort and you have to pay for food (not a problem for a 2 hour flight though). However, the service and the energy are AMAZING. Jokes, personal service and the friendliest attendants ever.

    September 9, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    My absolute favourite airline is Norwegian Airlines. They are a low fare airline, but with a surprising amount of amenities! They were even the first European airline to offer (Free!) Wifi on their planes! I’ve been flying them around Europe for years, but they recently opened cross-atlantic flights too! I flew business class from Orlando to Norway and it was one of my favourite air experiences ever 🙂

    The slow pace
    September 9, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I know everyone hates Ryanair but I kind of like it. I’ve travelled with them a lot in the past three years and I can’t complain…

    September 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    It’s quite shocking how rude that flight attendant was! Perhaps if that ever happens again you could speak to another crew member to get her name. Or put in a formal complaint citing your flight number, and hopefully they’d be able to identify her through a physical description.

    Anyway thanks for this list, it’ll certainly come in handy!

    September 9, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    My god, What the hell were those flight attendants from Air Canada thinking? I would be so mad! terrible.. just terrible

    September 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I’m also vegetarian, and I had a similar experience flying with Etihad. Even though I requested a VGML when I booked the ticket, the flight attendant insisted that this wasn’t the case and said that I should “eat around the meat”! That’s a bit difficult when when it’s a stew!! Lucky for me another flight attendant overheard this and offered to swap my meal with hers (which was a VGML). I was extremely humbled by her generosity. She also assured me that she wasn’t vegetarian, but preferred the VGML meals. For this reason, I will always have a soft spot for Etihad.
    PS: Favourite airline is a tie between Cathay or Singapore.
    My favourite US airline is SouthWest, the staff were very cheerful and the plane was nicer then Delta and AA.
    Also if you want a truly terrifying flight experience, try flying from Gloucester to Isle of Man with Citywing! The plane was the size of a Holden Commodore. The luggage was strapped behind our seats. There was no cockpit so we were sitting directly behind the pilots. It was the middle of winter and the cabin had no temperature control, we could even hear chunks of ice hitting the front windows; and the turbulence made me feel like I was on a roller coaster! Aside from this I actually think that Citywing a great and friendly airline- they just have really small planes.

    September 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Having flown Delta the majority of my long-haul flights, I can’t really see what everyone else sees….maybe it is //because// I have flown with them for so long or because I’m a Sky Priority member but I like their food, I like their service, and the business class cabin is spacious and roomy. I will say this however: the flight attendants are definitely not as nice to the Economy fliers as they are to those flying in business class, which I guess is to be expected but still kind of a shocker. I flew business class Qatar to and from Paris and enjoyed nice service and very luxurious accommodations, definitely recommend splurging on the treat of business class. 🙂

  • Madelinefedmont@yahoo.con'
    September 9, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I flew with Air Canada and had a pretty good experience. I also really like Turkish AirLines and Lufthansa

    Jenn Yin
    September 9, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Wow what an awesome recount / review of all the airlines! I really appreciated this blog post! I’m Canadian and I totally agree that I dread taking Air Canada – they tend to oversell their flights as well which gets so ridiculous!

    September 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Such a useful post– I’m selecting the flights currently for my RTW ticket and trying to decide which airlines and this just saved my life!! Thank you!

    Clipping Path Outsource
    September 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    That’s great Broke! Actually honest post.
    I believe Air Canada will invite you.

    September 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I would love to know your experience with Lufthansa (if you’ve had one!). I’m an American Expat in Germany and frequently fly Detroit to Frankfurt and back. I have to say, I’ve always had really good flights with Delta and Lufthansa. I agree with you though, Delta is literally the only American airline (besides Southwest) that I’ll fly. The rest of the suck! Can’t wait to check out some of the other airlines 🙂

    September 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Spirit & Allegiant are the worst airlines ever! Never, ever would I fly with them again even though they are loads cheaper than most other airlines in America. They won’t give you water, they never take off on time, and the planes are scary rickety.


    September 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    i was quite surpriset that u mentioned Finnair – it is the only airline i´ve ever used, maybe cos im from Finland 🙂 Love how u put your opinions out

    Nick Galluzzo
    September 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Have you ever flown China Eastern?

    I took a 13 hour flight from New York to Shanghai – no TVs, no leg room, and people spitting everywhere. Probably one of the worst flights I’ve been in.

    September 9, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Really helpful tips. I agree that Emirates’ service is top notch especially the upper class, however lately the quality of the food (at least economy class) has been consistently going down for the pass one year. Which is a bit of a shame.

    September 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    If you ever fly domestic in the USA, try Southwest! It is the ONLY airline I will fly with domestically. Great prices, 2 free checked bags, and excellent service!

    September 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    This was super helpful!

    Scandanavian Airlines had been my favorite thus far! Granted I haven’t flown on too many airlines outside of the US. The staff was very pleasant and kind and they were very accommodating when we missed our connecting flight. I’m definitely a fan!

    Kate Ramsay
    September 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Great reviews, thanks for sharing! My best flying experiences have all been with Air New Zealand, who I have flown economy and upper class. On my last flight with them returning from Europe, I had a bad stomach ache and one of the flight attendants warmed me up a heat pack she kept in her handbag, talk about going above and beyond!!

    September 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    When traveling inside the US I highly recommend Southwest. BUT, they don’t have assigned seating so maybe that won’t work for you. If it does I like them WAAAAY better than Delta/American/etc etc. I went on a flight to NY via Delta I think and they were just not nice at all.
    I have to admit, Southwest use to be funnier, they use to get real clever with the opening talk they have to give and I found it hilarious. But I think they had to stop that completely. Sometimes one of them will throw in a little joke but for the most part it’s by the book now. Very unfortunate. It was one of my favorite things about them.

    Lauren @sweetdashofsavory
    September 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    I love your tattoo soooo much, it’s the exact same thing that I’ve been wanting for awhile haha

    September 9, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines are awesome. Of the European, I recommend both British Airways and KLM, only in my opinion Asian Airlines are always better on service. As for Air France – Charles the Gaulle airport in Paris is the airport many people love to hate – I personally know lots of people who avoid flying Air France because of that airport (myself included). This is a shame, because I’ve nothing against the airline.

    September 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I live in Australia and have flown with a few airlines over the years as I have family in England and have travelled to the States a few times as well. Singapore Airlines are great, Malaysian Airlines are great, Emirates are by far the best I have ever travelled with. Their business class is AMAZING! and definitely agree about the Business class in the A380’s.

    Etihad were pretty average in my books. We travelled to New York and decided to upgrade our flights from NY to Abu Dhabi on the way home. Business class was lovely, but we were told in NY that we could go to the service desk in Abu Dhabi and upgrade again from there to Melbourne. Things went down hill from there. They had overbooked the flight. We couldn’t get an upgrade and couldn’t even change our tickets that we were given in NY so my boyfriend and I were sitting in complete opposite ends of the plane. I was really disappointed after that. I think because they were a UAE airline I was expecting them to be as good as Emirates, but it was a bit of a let down.

    V Australia were also another pretty good airline.
    Qantas I haven’t had the best experiences with either. We flew to LA with Qantas and had to connect from Sydney. The flight over was ok. The flight home on the other hand was a nightmare! Maybe not solely Qantas’s fault, but we were given 30 minutes to land from an international flight, collect our luggage, check thru customs and take the 20 minute trip from international terminal to domestic… Hmm. See the problem?! A whole plane full of people wanting to get to Melbourne were then made to line up, get another connecting flight home and in turn we had to sit in the airport for a good 5 hours before we could get home. The last thing you want to do after sitting in a plane for 16 hours. We haven’t flown Qantas since.

    Eclectic Clash

    September 9, 2014 at 11:29 am

    My fav would have to be Singapore Airlines (ok, maybe I am bias cos I live in Singapore). I like how it is clean, the airline food, the inflight entertainment and most importantly the service. I’ve heard so much raves about Emirates which I would definitely want to try someday. Least fav for me is British Airways which I experienced really lousy service. Ahh, maybe you should do a post on your fav and least fav airports. I think that will be interesting too.

    September 9, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I agree with you on Delta, they’ve always been my go to for trips home. Thanks for this post, I’m planning a trip to Europe and knowing Virgin Atlantic has reasonable sleeping options makes me feel much better about the long flight!


    September 9, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I’ve flown with Air Canada a couple times because they’ve been the cheapest option or when I’ve wanted to get between Canada and Australia direct without a layover. I can’t say that any of their staff have been as rude to me as they were to you, but I can totally see where you’re coming from. Compared to other airlines, they don’t have the most polite staff I’ve ever encountered. The comfort level of their planes and their meal options aren’t that great either!

    I’ve flown with Qantas once from LA to Sydney and it was an enjoyable experience. The staff were very accommodating and made sure all passengers were comfortable throughout the whole 14 hours of flying, constantly offering drinks and snacks throughout and even gave us ice-cream!

    I recently flew with Virgin Australia domestically for the first time in years and I was extremely impressed! For such a small plane (flying from Albury to Sydney) there was plenty of room and the staff were so friendly. And they offer a free snack, which I know most domestic airlines in Australia don’t do that.

    When flying within America or between America and Canada I usually always try to go with Alaska Airlines. The staff are exceptionally friendly which makes for a great flying experience.

    My favourite airline would have to be Air New Zealand. Great planes offering loads of comfort, friendly staff, good entertainment and the food is decent too. They were the first international airline I flew with and no one has been able to top them yet.

    September 9, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I also rate Emirates- all my long haul flights have been as pleasant as possible in economy on them, and i’ve always found the staff really nice too.

    Lizzy at Nomad Notebook

    September 9, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Wow, this list will really come in handy once I’m booking my own flights, thank you! Currently I’m still in high school, and since I’m (thankfully) not paying for my flights yet, I’m willing to shut up and take whatever I’m given. That said, for the different american airlines a. I never knew they sucked, and I’m excited to get to try something different next time I fly, and b. I would argue that Delta is a bit above the other two in terms of the actual airline (service is, indeed, equal in all three).

    Also, if you’re ever flying within the US for whatever reason, go Southwest Airlines. The service is always lovely (and humorous, which is a nice refresher) and I always actually enjoy their flights rather than just tolerate them.

    Again, thanks for your honesty!

    Betty J. Ogburn
    September 9, 2014 at 10:45 am

    …I’ve loved my experience with United!!…Granted, I’ve only really flown with 4 airlines thus far in my life (all in economy), but the service/amenities are pretty sweet–even in Coach!!…You get your own T.V., with thousands of series, movies, albums, and radio stations to watch/listen to!!…

    Ashley @ Ashley Wanders
    September 9, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I can’t believe that the Air Canada flight attendant said that to you! Sorry you had such a poor experience! Canadians know to avoid Air Canada at all costs. If you’re ever flying within Canada, fly with WestJet!

    September 9, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Air Canada can be pretty brutal (delays, lost luggage, etc.). If you’re in Canada again and you have the option, West Jet is a lot better (and usually cheaper)!

    Danielle @ Chits and Chats and Chocolate
    September 9, 2014 at 9:59 am

    To be honest, I have never been on a commercial airline, (only private) but I have always wanted to try it! When I finally get around to it, I’ll be sure to check back to this post before booking!

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    September 9, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Very honest and I love this post. I have never flown Air Canada, but have also heard negative reviews. I’m so sorry about that first flight attendant – how shocking!

    Singapore Airlines is currently my favourite, along with the Virgin group. Singapore is partnered with Virgin airlines too, which means I can collect FF points on my Virgin Velocity card!

    September 9, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Try British Air. They do a really nice job. I flew first class recently California to London to Istanbul and when I returned my last leg was with American. Quite frankly, I was embarrassed for American Air — terrible seats, food, etc.

    September 9, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I’m from the US, currently living in Perth, and I’ve gone back and forth to Australia for about 3 years now. I will pay the extra money to fly Virgin Australia! And now I always double check that the long-haul flight is Virgin, NOT Virgin operated by Delta. I usually have to fly Delta from Florida to Los Angeles, and this is fine. But I had one flight from LA to Sydney and it was the worst! Thumbs up always to Virgin!