These Are the Safest Airlines to Fly During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kelly Corbett
·3-min read
Photo credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

I'm sure none of us imagined that come November 2020, traveling would still be such a major safety concern. However, with the holidays right around the corner, it's inevitable that many folks will be hopping on planes in order to spend time with their families. As COVID-19 cases continue to spike, it's important to choose an airline that prioritizes travelers' safety.

Last month, travel protocol database Safe Travel Barometer looked into which airlines were the safest to fly during COVID-19. Using data collected from over 1,500 companies across 10 industry categories, 50 parameters, and traveler arrival information from more than 80 destinations, it graded airlines on a scale from one to five. This grade was based off scores in three categories: COVID-19 safety protocols, traveler convenience, and service excellence. The number score each airline was given became known as its Safe Travel Score.

Unfortunately, none of the airlines assessed earned a perfect score of five. However, there were still some stand outs when it came to keeping travelers safe. Below we break down which airlines received the highest Safe Travel Scores for both domestic and international flights.

The Safest Airlines to Fly in North America During COVID-19

  1. Delta Airlines

  2. Air Canada

  3. Southwest Airlines

  4. Alaska Airlines

  5. United Airlines

  6. Air North

  7. Allegiant Air

  8. America Airlines

  9. Air Transat

  10. West Jet

Out of the 39 North American airlines assessed, Delta Air Lines was ranked number one in North America with a Safe Travel Score of 4.1 out of 5. Since the pandemic began, Delta has implemented various in-flight cleaning measures through its Delta CareStandard program, and has partnered with medical and sanitization experts. Delta has also blocked adjacent or middle seats through January 2021, to ensure adequate distance between passengers. On top of that, the airline also introduced traveler-friendly flexible cancellation and rebooking policies—which include a two-year credit note. Air Canada and Southwest tied for a close second, each earning a Safe Travel Score of 4.0.

You can learn more about the top North American airlines here.

The Safest Airlines to Fly Internationally During COVID-19

  1. Emirates

  2. Etihad Airways

  3. Qatar Airways

  4. Air China

  5. Air France

  6. China Southern Airlines

  7. Delta Airlines

  8. Iberia

  9. Lufthansa

  10. Oman Air

After over 230 airlines were assessed internationally, Emirates earned the highest Safe Travel Score score of 4.4. It earned this score due to its pro-traveler health and safety initiatives, as well as its generous amendment and cancellation policies. Travelers were also impressed with the airline’s clear communication of safety measures (including mandatory use of face masks in-flight), frequent cleaning of the toilets in-flight, and overall aircraft cleaning before or after every flight. Not to mention, Emirates became the first airline worldwide to offer free COVID-19 insurance cover to all its passengers as of July 2020.

You can learn more about the top airlines to fly globally here.

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