What’s good for a tall frequent flyer may not work for a family traveling with Fido.
We all have our own reasons for choosing airlines—price, seat pitch, loyalty programs, or even food can be dealbreakers (or dealmakers). But some airlines are just better than others when it comes to catering to our business, height, and family needs. Find the airline that fits your needs best with our guides to the best airlines for each of your trips, whether you’re working at 10,000 feet or just trying to keep all the kids calm.
With 33 inches of leg room in coach, JetBlue wins out for best airline for tall travelers. Plus, an upgrade to Even More Space seats offers 38 inches of legroom in a bulkhead or exit row. The upgrade comes in at around $100, depending on the flight, and includes early boarding access, so you can sit down and stretch out before anyone else comes aboard. Warning: skip flying Air Berlin, Austrian Airlines, and Aeroflot if your kneecaps require personal space, since these airlines only offer a measly 30 inches of legroom each. And remember, don’t force your short friend into the middle seat—they need space too.
CEO at 10,000 feet
Emirates’ business class seats are in a service class all their own: flat-bed seats, a side table perfect for perching your laptop on, seat-back entertainment systems (with 1,800 channels), and a personal mini bar are just the beginning. But, for many, it’s the on-the-ground amenities that take Emirates above and beyond for harried business travelers: luxury airport lounges offer showers and quiet rooms in the airport in Dubai and those in major destinations like New York and London.
Flying with fido
Domestically, there’s a tie for pet owners flying with their furry friends. JetBlue is the only domestic airline that actually rewards you for flying with your pet, crediting your TrueBlue loyalty account with 300 points every time your dog or cat accompanies you on a flight. The other winning airline is American, which recently launched “pet cabins” where pet owners may easily secure a carrier, with a pup or cat inside, for a more comfortable transcontinental flight. Now, your pet isn’t stuck by your feet or in the cargo hold, and you have even more legroom. Win, win.
All about those miles
As frequent travelers, we know how great it feels to rack up miles for a free flight (or two, or three) but all too often, reward flights are nearly impossible to book. But, with Southwest, reward members fly on nearly twice as many flights for free as other airlines. The airline is more generous with reward flights than United, Delta, and American. Our advice: don’t hoard your points, as prices can increase for flights year over year, meaning you’ll need more and more miles to get where you want to go.
Air New Zealand wins out on this one, with the best option for getting kids to sleep on long haul flights: sky couches. These seats convert every row into a flat bed, so young ones can curl up while parents can sit and enjoy a little R&R of their own. Bonus: parents traveling with infants less than 8 months old can book bassinets (already made up with sheets, blankets, and pillows, so you don’t have to shlep your own) ahead of time from the airline.
Working for the weekend
You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and sometimes that means working in flight. Unless you’re plugging away on your novel, you’ll likely need Wi-Fi. Internationally, Lufthansa takes the prize as the first airline to have all of its long-distance planes wired for the Internet. Long hauls just got a little easier (though don’t expect to stream Netflix in the sky any time soon). In the U.S., Virgin America, is the first and only domestic airline with Wi-Fi on every single one of its planes.