By Stefanie Michaels
In all my years, since founding Adventure Girl, I’ve had the pleasure of smelling jet fuel at airports near and far. I have flown almost all airlines, from private aircraft to the small bespoke ones like JSX, and with legacy air carriers on their new A380s.
Planes and flying amongst the clouds is a passion of mine, and pretty specific when boarding a plane and looking at all the details included with each flight I take.
Flying internationally on what the airline business calls long-haul flights— anything over six hours in the air is a different kind of competitiveness than shorter flights, not considered international. Airlines go above and beyond to compete for traveler’s dollars and provide extra comforts and on-board amenities.
Here’s a list of top-tier international options based on safety, comfort, and overall quality of service, also relying on ranking by various flight-industry organizations:
- Singapore Airlines: Known for its excellent service, Singapore Airlines not only ranks highly among industry professionals, but also passengers who fly them. Those in business class get perks such as luxurious amenity care-kits and for those flying 1st class, private suites and gourmet meals via Book the Cook, which pre-ordered Lobster Thermidor is on the menu along with Oscietra caviar.
- Qatar Airways: Whether coach or business, this airline always ranks as one of the best in the world. Most importantly is their quest to provide the most comfortable seats. Add in a solid A+ for in-flight service and a top notch entertainment system, makes flying many hours easier to take.
- ANA (All Nippon Airways): An excellent safety record an punctuality at its finest, All Nippon Airways, also known as ANA, boasts attention to detail including wider seats with more legroom.
- Emirates: This airline claims to have the best seats at 40,000 feet, and I believe it! Economy Class gets multi-course meal options by choice, inclusive of fresh fruits, salad, crackers and cheeses, plus a sweet treat of the day.
- Cathay Pacific: Based in Hong Kong, safety reigns supreme with an incredible flying record. Business class seats boast turn down with 400 thread count sustainably-sourced cotton linens, mattress pad, duvet, and pillows. Like most biz classes, amenity kits are provided, but with Cathay, naturally-sourced skincare products are included.
Did you know?
Airplanes can generate their weather. The high-speed movement of an aircraft through the atmosphere can create vapor trails, also known as contrails, which are visible white streaks that form behind the airplane.
A little history:
The history of the airplane began with attempts at powered flight in the late 19th century. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, are often credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane, which they flew for the first time in 1903.
Not long after, the world’s first airline was the DELAG (Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft), which was founded in 1909 and began operating airships as a commercial passenger service in 1910. The DELAG operated the world’s first regularly scheduled airline service between German cities, carrying more than 34,000 passengers on over 1,500 flights by the end of the First World War. This marked the beginning of air transportation as a means of mass passenger travel and set the stage for the development of modern airlines.
After DELAG, several other airlines were established in various countries worldwide. Some of the earliest and notable ones include:
- KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) was established in 1919 in the Netherlands and is now the oldest airline still operating under its original name.
- Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services) was founded in 1920 in Australia and is now the country’s largest airline.
- Imperial Airways was established in 1924 in the United Kingdom and was the first British airline to operate long-haul flights to colonial destinations in the British Empire.
- Air Union was established in 1923 in France and was one of the first airlines to operate international flights to London.
The first airline in the United States was Varney Air Lines, founded in 1926 and operated as a contract airmail carrier for the United States Post Office Department. However, the airline considered the first actual passenger airline in the United States was Boeing Air Transport, which was established in 1927 and later became part of United Airlines.
During the 1920s and 1930s, several other airlines were established in the United States, including American Airways (which later became American Airlines), TWA (Trans World Airlines), Eastern Air Lines, and Northwest Airways (which later became Northwest Airlines and now part of Delta Air Lines).