Conde Nast Traveler gets a lot of mileage out of its annual Readers' Choice Awards, slicing and dicing feedback from 300,000 travelers into a dizzying array of categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories. Not only is there a ranking of the best cities in the world, there's also the best small cities in the U.S. The world's best hotels, sure. But also the top 10 hotels in Europe, and in Northern Asia, and in Eastern Mexico, and in Florence.

But let's go right to the top of the taxonomic pyramid and see what the publication's readers had to say about airlines. And not just regional airlines based east of the Mississippi whose name begins with S. What we're interested in the best of the best, no qualifiers: The World's Best Airlines.

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According to the travel-savvy group that comprises Conde Nast's survey base, the world's 20 best are as follows:

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Emirates
  3. Air New Zealand
  4. Qatar Airways
  5. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  6. Virgin Australia
  7. Virgin Atlantic
  8. Korean Air
  9. Porter Airlines
  10. Qantas
  11. Cathay Pacific
  12. Turkish Airlines
  13. EVA Air
  14. Etihad
  15. Swiss
  16. KLM
  17. Avianca
  18. Thai Airways
  19. Asiana
  20. Lufthansa

And in the Best U.S. Airline category, readers voted thusly:

  1. Virgin America
  2. JetBlue
  3. Hawaiian Airlines
  4. Alaska Airlines
  5. Southwest

There are no great surprises in the results of either ranking. Singapore and Virgin America are perpetual winners of such polls. The dominance of Asian and Middle Eastern carriers is the continuation of two established trends, the former of long standing, the latter more recent. If anything stood out from the results, it was the appearance on the World's Best list of Porter Airlines, the smallish Toronto-based regional carrier that apparently bears watching.

Reader Reality Check

Any surprises, or quibbles with the results?

More from SmarterTravel:

Read the original story: Conde Nast Readers' 20 Favorite Airlines. Are They Yours? by Tim Winship, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

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