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Top 5 Best Airlines Of All Time  
User currently offlineAMM744 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2003, 211 posts, RR: 1
Posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 17509 times:

This has probably been done many times before but I'm curious to know what everyone's opinions are.

Best In Terms Of,

On Board Service In All Classes, Catering, Seating etc,
Customer Care and Service,
Fleet Diversity and flexibility
Destinations Served,

My Top 5 would be and remember we're talking about all time here.

1. PanAm
2. KLM
3. Singapore Airlines
4. Swissair
5. British Airways

Just My Opinion, over to you guys !!!

84 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlinePaddy From Taiwan, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 17371 times:

I agree with your list for the most part but I gotta give the axe to PanAm. Even though it was mega influential and the greatest carrier of its time during its Juan Trippe helmed heyday, it fell apart after he left and its current incarnation is a complete shame. I wish I could put a US carrier on my list but none really make the grade.

1. Singapore Airlines
2. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
3. Swissair
4. BOAC/British Airways
5. Lufthansa

honorable mention: Emirates is definitely making a run for the top five!

User currently offlineAMM744 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2003, 211 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 17304 times:

Yep, your'e probably right about PA, perhaps I was being a little too nostalgic but they still get the top nod for me despite the new set-up.

Emirates are certainly entering the top spot, just got to get the route structure expansion going, which I believe is underway.

User currently offlinePsa53 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3135 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 17244 times:

PSA-(Short Hops)  Smile #1
Now WN-never disappointed.
Western-US and Mexico(medium)
Mexicana-(medium)-Mexico Travel
Delta-(Line Shots)

Tuesday's Off! Do not disturb.
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 27627 posts, RR: 81
Reply 4, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 17200 times:

Whoa. He did say "of all time."

In it's heyday, Pan Am was right up near the top of the list - but it would be a battle between Pan Am and BOAC for first.

For both airlines the London/New York flights were the Blue Riband of civil aviation. There was a constant battle between them to see who could offer the better service.

At their very best, TWA and Air France weren't far behind - they had a similar battle going on for the New York/Paris route.

There used to be yet another battle between Pan Am and Qantas on the trans-Pacific flights.

As far as service is concerned, all of them eventually were pushed from the top by upstarts like Singapore.

So I'm not sure how you can make a selection of the Top Five - it is/was a constantly changing variable.



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineAA7573E From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 475 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 17152 times:

I am sure I will take some flak for this, but I am going with, in no particular order

  • British Caledonian
  • Old National Airlines - before deregulation
  • American
  • Singapore
  • Midwest Express - when they first started and were a real all business class airline. Great great ride!

All based on great memories of great flights!

See you up front!
User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 19
Reply 6, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 17131 times:

I don't think there should be much argument here:

5. TWA
4. Southwest
3. Pan Am
2. British Airways
1. American Airlines

"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineTommy767 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 17115 times:

Judging from historical data:

1. PanAm (up until they really crumbled)
2. American
3. KLM (1st airline, accomplished a lot!)
4. Continental (Under Gordon)
5. Eastern (despite management problems, a good airline)

User currently offlineCarlos1979 From Canada, joined Dec 2003, 108 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 17070 times:

For my part the top five airlines of all time are:

1. Canadian Airlines International (R.I.P.)
2. Singapore Airlines
3. KLM
4. British Airways
5. Cathay Pacific

My two cents for what its worth.


User currently offlineCapt.Fantastic From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 847 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 17072 times:

America West
People Express
US Air (before name change)
Royal Jordanian

User currently offlineTWA902fly From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 3191 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 17025 times:

1 United Airlines
2 Air France
3 Delta
5 AirTran

this ofcourse is from the minimal selection of airlines i have flown on.


life wasn't worth the balance, or the crumpled paper it was written on
User currently offlineAwschucksflyer From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 16942 times:

I don't have a list, but my favorite airline of all time was WARDAIR.

The service was amazing and the dessert trolly featuring various cakes, fruits and desserts was just as good as any restaurant.


User currently offlineMxCtrlr From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 2485 posts, RR: 32
Reply 12, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 16929 times:

1). The original Pan American World Airways (often copied but never duplicated. Hands down, the innovative force behind the airline industry for years).
2). The original National Airlines (first all-jet airline in the US and some of the best transcontinental service around in the 1960's/70's).
3). Lufthansa (the "on-time machine")
4). BOAC
5). TWA

Honorable mention to the Original Braniff International, Eastern, Western, Delta (before Leo f**ked them up), Alaska (Golden Nugget Jets - aka "Flying Whorehouses"), Southwest (were only supposed to have lasted 6 months, according to most industry pundits at the time - 30+ years later and still going strong!), PSA (The Airline that Won the West With A Smile!)

MxCtrlr  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Freight Dogs Anonymous - O.O.T.S.K.  Smokin cool

DAMN! This SUCKS! I just had to go to the next higher age bracket in my profile! :-(
User currently offlineWestjet_8 From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 451 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 16899 times:

1. Canadi>n Airliners Great fleet (737-200's, A320's 747-400's, 767-300's, DC-10-30's) best service, concentrated on the pacific, home based (Calgary)

2. Ansett (so simular to Canadian)

3. United

4. Pan Am

5. KLM

Canadian. RIP 1999
User currently offlineWorldwide From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 35 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 16801 times:

If we are going to say "of all time" and use your qualifications.....

1. Pan Am (original)
2. BOAC > British Airways
3. TWA
4. Air France
5. JAL

These airlines are the pioneers and set the standards. It's just unfortunate that two of them (due to terrible management) are no longer with us!

User currently offlineKosmonaute From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 91 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 16754 times:

1. Pan Am.
2. BOAC/British Airways.
3. KLM.
4. Lufthansa.
5. Swissair.
"6." TWA, JAL, Singapore, Cathay Pacific, Canadian, Qantas. And dare I say it...Aeroflot.

Burning airlines give you so much more.
User currently offlineKevin752 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 747 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 16733 times:

My five best airlines are:
1. Lufthansa
2. American Airlines
3. Southwest Airlines
4. Croatia Airlines
5. United Airlines

"Keep Climbing"
User currently offlineStevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 16695 times:

In no particular order:

- United Airlines
- Pan Am World Airways
- British Airways/BOAC
- Singapore Airlines

User currently offlineSOUTHAMERICA From Colombia, joined Dec 2003, 2499 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 16693 times:

My list is quite simple and didn't have to think about it:

1. British Airways
2. British Airways
3. British Airways
4. British Airways
5. Singapore Airlines

Don't know about you guys, but I just cannot find a bad thing in BA, though my search continues...


User currently offlineWGW2707 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1197 posts, RR: 31
Reply 19, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 16567 times:

I would have to break this down into three distinct categories, as it is impossible to objectively list what could be the 5 best airlines of all time in all fields-one would almost certainly be inclined to instead pick their 5 favorite airlines. In the 3 categories below, I've included only the airlines that I think deserve to be listed, and refrained from listing any airlines for no other reason than that they are among my own personal favorites (otherwise Braniff, Eastern, Western and Sabena would most likely make an apperance).

From the technical standpoint:

1. Pan Am - pioneered international air travel and the B747
2. United - first with flight attendants, major technical innovator (B247-B777)
3. Swissair - had an impressive record of technical accomplishments
4. Imperial Airways/BOAC - major pioneer in the 1930s; launched jet travel
5. Aeroflot - operated the world's largest fleet under extreme conditions

In terms of service:

1. Pan Am - undeniably the best in the Juan Trippe era
2. TWA - Chateaubriand in First, first with successful IFE & multi-class aircraft
3. Singapore Air - currently the best in the world
4. British Airways - did a fantasic job with Concorde, FIRST, et cetera
5. Midwest Express - the finest US domestic airline in the 1990s, still good

As successful businesses:

1. Southwest - launched the LCC revolution, for better or worse
2. American - pioneered computer reservations and the DC-3
3. Lufthansa - one of the most stable and secure European airlines
4. Continental - made a remarkable turnaround in recent years
5. Delta - until relatively recently, one of the most well-managed airlines


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 16561 times:

Swissair - had an impressive record of technical accomplishments

ya mean like turning an MD11 into a Canadian fireworks display?

User currently offlineDETA737 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 643 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 16482 times:

My list consists of:

1. Pan Am
2. Imperial Airways later BOAC later British Airways
3. TWA
4. KLM
5. Air France

User currently offlineAussie747 From Australia, joined Aug 2003, 1169 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 16460 times:

Swissair - technical accomplishments. May be however it invented an IFE system that was not fully tested for all the right reasons and look what it did - a destruction of an MD-11 with a great loss of life. Lest we Forget

I would have to say there were plenty of other airlines worthy of technical accomplishments before Swissair somes to mind - eg Qantas the greatest Pioneer of long haul travel - the first to invent long haul business class.

User currently offlineNotdownnlocked From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 983 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 16462 times:

Who cares about those in the past. They're all goned now. The bestest ever in the whole whole wide wide world are:
1: Jetblue: because their planes are the neatest in the whole wide world
2: Jetblue: because they have all the TV screens in all the back of the seats
3: Jetblue: because they are the most popular ever since I was born 13 years ago and thats what i heard
4: Jetblue: because everybody else here says they are the bestest in the whole wide world
5: Jetblue because somebody here told me they were really really good

User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (12 years 5 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 16441 times:


 Big thumbs up

I agree 100%! But don't forget that they're a LCC. I mean, look at the other so-called LCC like FL. They want $167.50 from LGA-LAX -- that's expensive, especially when AA wants $163.50 on the same route. And AA flies widebodies!!!

[Edited 2003-12-10 10:03:46]

25 KL911 : 1. Cathay 2. United 3. KLM 4. Emirates 5. Singapore
26 Skip7966 : Give me a break, the bestest top 5 airlines of all time are... any airline other than AMERICAN!!! It's really hard to pick a top 5 of all time, but I'
27 Delta777Jet : Best Airlines of ALL TIME: 1. Trans World Airlines 2. Pan Am (Mark I) 3. Virgin Atlantic Airways 4. Cathay Pacific 5. Canadian Airlines and definitely
28 Alpere1 : Of all times, Emirates Cathay and Singapore - hard to tell which one goes 2nd and 3rd KLM Swissair
29 Post contains images Nethkt : Singapore Airlines British Airways Cathay Pacific Emirates Swiss Air
30 Qantasclub : For service and overall excellence: Singapore Airlines Cathy Pacific Emirates British Airways Qantas Other contenders: Swissair, Ansett (never got big
31 United4ever : I don't feel very qualified to answer this because I've only flown with a smaal percentage of all the airlines that have existed, and only fly economy
32 Kingsford : WOW, a lot of you people voting KLM ! I wonder why because it sucks ! Being the oldest and all, you'd think they would learn something... I flew them
33 Qantasclub : I agree with Kingsford-have flown on KLM a few times and really nothing great or world-class at all. I reckon the airline that stands out the most her
34 Motorhussy : Mine recently, and I base this over the period of the last five years. Criteria (from where I live and work) - service (air & land), frequency, aircra
35 Post contains images UTA_flyinghigh : My Top 5 : 1) UTA 2) Air France 3) Korean Air 4) Thai 5) Singapore Airlines Will
36 Bongo : My top five: 1. British Airways 2. KLM 3. Japan Airlines 4. Lufthansa 5. (Reserved for the best Latinamerican airline): Copa
37 Asianguy767 : My top five are, British Airways, TWA, Swiss, Singapore Airlines & Cathay Pacific.
38 Post contains images Flyguyclt : BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL "If you've got it flaunt it" Plus those Halston uniforms looked awesome. And you always knew when the Orange 747 was around .
39 BigB : Pan Am, it lead the industry into flying jets, launch customer of the 707 and 747. National, First all jet us carrier TWA, famous for a lot of routes,
40 Airbus_A340 : 1. Singapore Airlines 2. Cathay Pacific 3. British Airways 4. Thai Airways 5. Malaysia Airlines
41 Post contains images AA777 : 1- British Airways 2- Emirates 3- Singapore Airlines 4- AA 5- MEA
42 L1011Lover : 1) Delta (definetly for years the best US carrier, with the best service, best management and highest employee morale! Also 16 years in a row the airl
43 AirxLiban : 1. Middle East Airlines: simply the best 2. Swissair of old: their service was great 3. British Airways: They offer a good product but I feel as thou
44 Dtwclipper : My nominated are: Pan Am (must be on everyone's list) Braniff International Just because they made flying too cool! KL, AF, BA, & LH, a four way tie f
45 Britair : 1. British Airways 2. Pan Am 3. Qantas 4. KLM 5. Singapore Airlines
46 QANTAS747-438 : 1. Virgin Atlantic - great service, beautiful plane 2. Air New Zealand - great plane and awesome destinations 3. TWA - always ontime, good food, nice
47 Post contains images EmiratesA345 : 1. British Airways 2. Singapore Airlines 3. Emirates Airline 4. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 5. Cathay Pacific In no order. EmiratesA345
48 WGW2707 : ConcordeBoy and Aussie747, There are two reasons why I listed Swissair. First, they were the first airline to break the sound barrier with a DC-8 on a
49 AMM744 : Time for a quick review. It looks like PanAm takes the honours with SQ close behind, just at a quick glance. PanAm really was the tops especially duri
50 Bobs89irocz : From a 21 year old......that lives in the USA my votes go to. 1. British Airways 2. Lufthansa 3. Quantas 4. Southwest 5. Delta BTW: This is comming fr
51 Post contains images Qantas005 : bob89, QANTAS has no U in it! Qantas is one of the top 3 airline brands in the world, what it does each day is nothing short of amazing. flying people
52 L1011Lover : ok, now for everybody out there: Queenstown And Northern Territories Air Service! = QANTAS I guess that is right, is it Qantas005? Btw.: You could als
53 KAL744 : On my own experiences : 1. Korean Air (very nice and kind crew, excellent service, very safe again, very punctually) 2. Korean Air 3. KLM (good servic
54 Post contains images Qantas005 : i would have thought it was perfectly obvious, how many times does one need to peruse this website need to learn the QANTAS has no U in it!
55 QANTASFOREVER : L1011Lover, Actually I think you'll find it's: Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service QFF
56 Paulc : Emirates Cathay Pacific Virgin Atlantic Air New Zealand Wardair above based on flights on all of the above - had have numerous flights on US carriers
57 Navigator : 1. Virgin Atlantic (Pioneering in low fares & service) 2. Southwest Airlines (Efficient airline & low fares) 3. Singapore Airlines (Super service Airl
58 Lhr001 : 1/ QANTAS 2/ KLM 3/ BRITISH AIRWAYS 4/ AIR NEW ZEALAND 5/ EMIRATES The following airlines must be listed as well! ANA Meridiana Pan Am (1980's Europe
59 Azmi : From the glorious past: BOAC PAN AM SABENA (Great service and the stewardesses were more attentive than these days). Present day: Emirates (Excellent
60 L1011Lover : Oh gosh, I screwed it up!!! Queensland and NOT Queenstown of course! Sorry for that and thanks for the correction QANTASFOREVER! At least I was pretty
61 Matt777 : Nowadays: Singapore Airlines United Airlines Lufthansa Air France Alitalia
62 UA744KSFO : I'll go with these 5 (in no order) United Airlines Alitalia Singapore Airlines Qantas Air New Zealand I'm pretty young, so I don't remember PanAm and
63 CV990 : Hi! For me the best airlines are: 1 - British Airways 2 - Swissair / SWISS 3 - KLM 4 - SAS 5 - Pan Am Regards
64 123 : Guess Latin American carriers are loosers... :-(
65 Sovietjet : 1. Aeroflot 2. UA 3. Pan Am 4. AA 5. Lufthansa
66 JetboyTWA : 1. TWA 2. Virgin Atlantic 3. Singapore Airlines 4. British Airways 5. United Airlines
67 Coronado : Varig between 1965 and maybe 1985 was absolutely outstanding. The employee attitude was outstanding as they really felt they were part of the Rubens B
68 SPL : 1. KLM 2. Aer Lingus 3. Northwest Airlines 4. Austrian Airlines 5. Alitalia Just MY opinion, based on the airlines I flew with.... Groeten SPL
69 Lan_Fanatic : Based on what I 've flown: 1. KLM 2. British Airways 3. LanChile 4. Alitalia 5. American Airlines
70 AMM744 : Well at first it appeared that PanAm were tops but there seems to be a fly in the ointment in the shape of KLM. The Dutch carrier gets mentioned virtu
71 Post contains images SNARN : Now and then : Virgin Atlantic Continental Airlines British Airways Swissair/Crossair SN Brussels Airlines
72 DC3CV3407AC727 : PAN AM for all the obvious historical reasons BOAC/BA, a lineage that stretches from the Argosy to the Concorde can't be denied. American, while I am
73 GlobeTrekker : 1. KLM 2. British Airways 3. Virgin Atlantic 4. American 5. Singapore Airlines
74 USAFHummer : From my own experience and strictly from a service standpoint... 1. Ansett 2. Air New Zealand 3. Frontier 4. jetBlue 5. United Greg
75 Aussie747 : Will after much though and research her is my top 5 (more of the emphasis is on what it has achieved in aviation more so than what it currently stands
76 Boeingfan : 1. Eastern Airline - El Inter Americano Service P/J/Y 33-34'' pitch in main cabin, multilingual everywhere, excellent catering in all classes of servi
77 Chgoflyer : Pan Am Eastern (El Inter Americano) United to Asia. Northwest Asia the best service Ive ever had Air Canada
78 DIJKKIJK : 1. Singapore Airlines 2. Cathay Pacific 3. Virgin Atlantic 4. Lufthansa 5. Malaysia
79 Post contains images Bmacleod : ya mean like turning an MD11 into a Canadian fireworks display? ConcordeBoy, What do you mean a "Canadian fireworks display". The plane exploded as it
80 Bmacleod : 1. Pan-Am 2. Qantas 3. Air Canada (until Milton took over!!!) 4. Britsh Airways 5. Eastern (friendliest flight attendants ever!!!)
81 Post contains images Mr.BA : 1) Singapore Airlines 2) Cathay Pacific 3) Qantas 4) Malaysia Airlines 5) BA Just me
82 Ams : My top 5 1 Lufthansa 2 KLM 3 Thai Airways 4 JAL 5 Royal Jordanian
83 GoAibusGo : 1. Virgin Atlantic 2. Cathay Pacific 3. Southwest Airlines 4. EVA Air 5. Asiana Airlines
84 LH454 : In no order: Lufthansa United Airlines Southwest Continental Pan Am (they offered us business-class seats for coach-class prices)
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