I have flown (and ranked) every One World Member Airline

With my recent hop from Casablanca to Doha, with Royal Maroc Airlines, I have now flown every one of the 13 One World airline members.

a group of logos of airline

The One World Alliance was formed in 1999 and includes 13 airlines which carry half a billion passengers a year via 14,000 flights a day. Each airline continues to operate independently but through the Alliance, they “work together to deliver consistently a superior, seamless travel experience“.

One World has two major benefits for me.

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The first is the ability to earn frequent flyers points across the entire alliance. I use my OW flying to earn points toward my Qantas account. Frustratingly, Qantas values each airline differently so the same distance with different airlines earns vastly differing points.

The second is that my Qantas “Platinum Status” translates to “One World Emerald:. This gives extra baggage, express check in, security and boarding across all members airlines. This feature usually works well with the exception of American who favour their over fliers over alliance member fliers.

Each One World airline has its unique features, advantages, and disadvantages. Some are definitely better than the others.

I have also flown four ex-members. These were Air Berlin (a so-so airline) and Malev (a delight) who went bankrupt, Lan Chile which has now become LATAM and Aer Lingus because of strategic changes.

I have also flown Russia’s S7 airlines prior to their 2022 suspension from the alliance. I rate them as a Good airline.

In 2024, I am excited to see that Oman Air is joining One World. They are supposed to be brilliant.

American Airlines is the biggest airline (with almost 1000 aircraft) dewarfing the next biggest with is Qatar with 240. Sri Lankan Airlines is the smallest with a fleet size of around 30 aircraft.

According to AirlineRatings.com, seven of the 20 safest airlines in the world are One World carriers. In order they are: Qantas, Qatar Airways, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, British Airways, and American Airlines. The others all have adequate safety ratings.

Ranking-Six Excellent One World Carriers

These six airlines reliably offer great onboard product and excellent service. I recommend these carriers unreservedly (but take no responsibility if you have a bad flight with any!).

  1. Qatar Airways has been my favourite airline in the world since 2014. Two of my Qatar flights were so good that I rated those flights 100% which is kind of unheard of for me! They have won numerous awards, including the Skytrax award for the world’s best airline multiple times, plus awards for exceptional in-flight service, on board food comfortable seating, and modern amenities. They are considered to be one of the safest airlines in the world. Qatar airlines has the widest range of international destinations of the One World airlines, with flights to over 160 destinations across all six inhabited continents. They have a network of superb lounges! Airline ratings gives them 7 out of 7 and Skytrax ranks them as the best airline in the world. Heartily agree.

2. I fell for Cathay Pacific, the flag carrier of Hong Kong, exactly three decades ago on a 747 flight from Brisbane to Paris via Hong Kong. I continue to love their staff and quality service, their Hong Kong lounges (with noodle bars) and their onboard food, which has been generous and delicious. They are both my second favourite One World carrier and fourth favourite overall, coming behind ANA and Emirates. Cathay Pacific Airways is certified as a Skytrax 5-Star Airline for their quality -a rating I heartily endorse they connect around 90 destinations. Airline Ratings gives them 7/7. They are also ranked as one of the safest airlines in the world.

Cathay has struggled with the political situation in its home port and the repercussions of the pandemic. I wish them well and will continue to enjoy them.

3. Japan Airlines provides excellent customer service, with its in-flight and post-flight services standing out. They have been rated 4.5 stars out of 5 by Skytrax, who places them at sixth place out of all airlines. Airlines Ratings gives them 7/7 for service and safety. Customers praise its exceptional service, comfortable seats, and excellent food. Japan Airlines offers a range of in-flight entertainment options and comfortable seats, and its post-flight services are efficient and effective. Their lounges are a delight, with peaceful environments and superb food.

4. I have flown my fourth favourite One World carrier, Qantas over 400 times. I love their friendly, attentive staff, quality in-flight entertainment, and comfortable seats. Despite some glitches in mid 2022, Qantas has a strong record of on-time departures and arrivals. Their in-flight entertainment and meal options are highlights, as are their network of phenomenal lounges.

Qantas is consistently rated as one of the best airlines in terms of customer service by several agencies. Skytrax places them as the second-best One World airline and fifth-best carrier in the world. They are also rated as the world’s safest carrier by Airline Ratings who give Qantas 7/7 for service.

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5. Stylish, innovative Finnair provide great customer service, super connectivity in Helsinki, comfortable seating and good in-flight services. Its pre-flight services are efficient. I have flown in Finnair’s Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class cabins and testify to enjoying all. Great safety ratings but Airline Ratings only gives them 5.5/7 for their product and service. Skytrax them places them as the sixth best One World carrier and 21st best out of all airlines.

6. I have long loved Alaska Airlines for providing excellent customer service with friendly and helpful staff. They, along with JetBlue, are my favourite US airlines. They have a strong record of on-time performance, another factor contributing to customer satisfaction. Skytrax places them at #59 on their Top 100 list which I think is a little low. Airline Ratings says they are only worth 3.5/7 (the same as American Airlines). Obviously, I think they are much better!

Rating -Two Good One World carriers

I would mostly recommend them. They provide mostly adequate service.

7. I have flown Malaysia Airlines a lot and I like their friendly and professional staff, comfortable planes, and good in-flight entertainment options. Food is generally amazing. However, they have received criticism for delays and cancellations, which frustrates its customers. Nice lounges in Kuala Lumpur. Airline Ratings says 7/7 for service and based on their two horrific air incidents, safety sits at 3/7. Skytrax says they are a Certified 4-Star Airline for the quality of its airport and onboard product and staff service and places them at 44 in their top 100 airline list.

8. British Airways: the flag carrier of the United Kingdom, is one of the world’s largest airlines with flights to around 170 destinations in 80 countries using 233 aircraft.. Like many, I believe BA’s customer service has steadily declined over the last decade. They have rightly received criticism for their on-ground service experience, including long wait times and inefficient check-in processes. The lounges in London are excellent.

Rating -Two Average One World Carriers

These two are so-so. Occasionally, you will strike an exceptional experience, but this will be followed by a decidedly average moment.

9. Iberia provides mixed customer service, with either very friendly and professional staff or grumpy unhappy tired people. I can never predict which version I will encounter until boarding one of their 140 aircraft. They have often received criticism for delays and cancellations. I have two flights with them in April 2023 so I will assess their current standing. Iberia gets 4/7 from airline ratings for service and 7/7 for safety. Interestingly, Skytrax has them at #25 in their top 100 airline ranking.

10. Sri Lankan Airlines primarily serves destinations in Asia and the Middle East. They have received mixed reviews from customers, but I have universally enjoyed all my trips with them. While some praise their friendly and attentive staff, others have criticized their in-flight amenities, including uncomfortable seats and poor-quality food. Their lounge in Colombo is definitely an experience! The airline has struggled with its domestic political situation so I give them some slack. I have two flights with them in July so it will be interesting to see what ensues. Skytrax doesn’t have them in the top 100 airlines in the world. Airline Ratings gives them 7/7 for safety and 5.5/7 for service which seems about right to me.

Three Disappointing Carriers

None of these airlines come close to the standards set by the best One World airlines!

11. Royal Jordanian gets mixed reviews from customers for good reasons. On Board, I’ve experienced odd behaviours, too many times. On one occasion, I was moved out of my exit row seat to accommodate a friend of the purser. And he didn’t do it nicely. I have seen senior crew members get away with doing nothing whilst junior staff members do all the work, resulting in them being very unhappy. I have never felt welcome as a passenger except on one flight (and only one); when every time I woke, a small snack and drink appeared without me asking. Skytrax doesn’t have them in their top 100 airlines, but airline ratings says 7/7!

I love their lounge in Amman, but on one trip, while on a five-hour layover, I was refused entry until exactly three hours before my flight departure. I was welcome to sit at the lounge entrance and use their free wifi, but I could not enter it or have anything from it until the clock ticked around! As it was very early in the morning and almost nothing in the airport was open, it was an annoyance. Slightly unusual behaviour toward a One World Emerald passenger.

12. Compared with the excellent One World carriers I have listed above, American Airlines pales on every measure. Out of my 70 flights with them, two were excellent and almost half of them rank amongst the worst flights I have ever had (out of 1512 flights). I once thanked a ground staff member for a good flight experience, and she was genuinely shocked and not at all gracious in her response. This sums up my one consistent experience with American Customer service: its lacking. Instead, I usually encounter rude, unhappy and unhelpful staff. Their lounge staff are friendlier, but the lounges are pretty lacking. Onboard meals have never been impressive for me in either Coach, Business or First.

I do like American’s Advantage miles program, which is a very useful tool for getting excellent frequent flyer seats for a good, effective price!

Skytrax says they are the 68th “best” airline in the world. Airline Ratings scores them 4.5/7 for their offerrings. I do all I can to avoid flying them, except to accumulate Qantas points and status!

13. I have only flown Royal Air Maroc once and I was disappointed with my experience, Reading other reviews, what I saw was fairly common with variable staff helpfulness, hit-and-miss food and mixed on-ground experiences. Their lounge in Casablanca is very underwhelming. Not in a hurry to fly again. Skytrax says they are the 66th best airline but airline ratings say they are only worth 3.5/7.

What about you? Which One World carriers have you flown? Which ones would you try again? Avoid?

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