For the 50+ Traveler

Qantas Airlines has earned the title of the world’s safest airline in 2021, according to rankings released this week by, an airline product and safety group which monitors 385 different carriers worldwide.

This is the sixth time in seven years Qantas has topped the list. The only exception was in 2018, when editors could not identify a difference between the top carriers and rated the top 20 equally.

“Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the jet era,” editor Geoffrey Thomas said in announcing the list. “But Qantas is not alone. Long established airlines such as Hawaiian and Finnair have perfect records in the jet era.”

Here is’s full list of the top 20 safest airlines for 2021:

  1. Qantas Airlines
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Air New Zealand
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Emirates
  6. EVA Air
  7. Etihad Airways
  8. Alaska Airlines
  9. Cathay Pacific Airways
  10. British Airways
  11. Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic
  12. Hawaiian Airlines
  13. Southwest Airlines
  14. Delta Air Lines
  15. American Airlines
  16. SAS
  17. Finnair
  18. Lufthansa
  19. KLM
  20. United Airlines, launched in 2013, ranks the safety of airlines using a seven-star rating system. They take crash and incident records, private and governmental audits, safety initiatives, and fleet age into account.

“All airlines have incidents every day, and many are aircraft or engine manufacture issues, not airline operational problems,” Thomas said. “It is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one."

Low-Cost Airlines

With affordable travel becoming a major part of the airline industry, the site also released its list of the 10 safest low-cost airlines for 2021.

That list is ranked alphabetically and includes Air Arabia, Allegiant, easyjet, Frontier, Jetstar Group, Jetblue, Ryanair, Vietjet, Westjet, and Wizz.

COVID-Compliant Carriers

A major difference in this year’s rankings was the inclusion of coronavirus protocols. It included how each carrier addressed the pandemic as part of its overall rankings, and released a separate list of those shining brightest in this area.

Its top 20 COVID-compliant airlines for 2021, listed in alphabetical order: Air Baltic, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, AirAsia, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, Japan Airlines, Jetblue, KLM, Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Westjet.

The ratings site complemented these carriers for going above and beyond in the protection of passengers.

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