And the world’s cleanest airline is…


Japan’s All Nippon Airlines (ANA) has been voted the world’s cleanest airline. The annual airline survey conducted by Skytrax shows how passengers rate airlines’ hygiene levels. As part of the World Airline Awards, it asked its database of 24.45 million customers to rate the standards and quality of cleanliness based on their flying experiences, taking into consideration seat areas, tables, carpets, cabin panels and toilets.

This is one of many accolades bestowed on ANA, which has consistently won overall 5-Star ratings. ANA remains the only 5-Star rated airline in Japan, and one of very few such airlines around the world. Asian carriers dominated the cleanliness league table, with Japan’s All Nippon Airlines (ANA) winning top spot, followed by Taiwan’s Eva Air and South Korea’s Asiana Airlines.

The U.S. and U.K. didn’t fare so well, with none of their airlines making the top 30. Domestic flight companies also failed to reach a top ranking.

If you’re looking for a cleaner break this Summer, here are the top ten most hygienic airlines to consider:

1. ANA All Nippon Airways
2. EVA Air
3. Asiana Airlines
4. Singapore Airlines
5. Japan Airlines
6. Cathay Pacific Airways
7. Qatar Airways
8. Swiss International Air Lines
9. Hainan Airlines
10. Lufthansa


Comments (15)

  1. Ellen says:

    It is so interesting that I misread that title.

    I read it as the airline with the lowest emissions.

    How many other people will read it like that?

    Personally I’d rather have clean skies than clean seats and head-rests.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      If you wanted clean skies, we perhaps wouldn’t have airlines at all. ;) But in all seriousness, there are things airlines can do to reduce their emissions – this can be dependent on things like the efficiency of the aircraft they fly, and how full the flights are. Interestingly, the airline that’s leading the charge on that front at the moment is apparently easyJet. Read more at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47460958

  2. Ben says:

    Is cleanliness a good thing? There’s a controversial piece in this weeks “New Yorker” arguing that our obsession with cleanliness is leaving our immune systems with too little to do. One line of argument is that children are developing allergies because they are not exposed to germs from an early age.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      I’ve heard that argument many times before and I’m sure there is some truth to it. That said, I’d sooner have a clean seat and tray table in front of me when I’m flying, as you can never be sure what’s gone on before you. Your argument aside, there’s little doubt that for the most part sanitation and cleanliness have significantly improved our health in the last 100 years. But yes, maybe it can be taken too far sometimes…

  3. Fred says:

    One of the reasons why Britain hasn’t got any airlines in the Top 30 is that so many of our airlines are budget airlines. You’ve got to feel sorry for aircrew who have about twenty minutes to get the aircraft clean, passengers off and the next lot on. So much of the cleanliness depends on how good the passengers are at putting their own mess in the black bin liner as the hostess walks past.

    On my last flight we had such dramas with fear of a Gatwick runway closing, that everyone forgot about litter-picking.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      I flew Ryanair back from Berlin recently (not my usual choice but it was super cheap!) and there was very, very little time from watching the passengers disembark to us being allowed to board. I didn’t time it, but I was shocked at how soon after we were allowed on. Budget airlines aside, you’d have thought someone like Virgin Atlantic or British Airways might have made the list…?

    • Julie Humphrey says:

      I’ve flown both British Airways and Virgin recently and both airliners were very clean when we boarded.

      Interestingly, I’ve done quite a few transatlantic flights overnight back from the East Coast USA and the Caribbean, mainly Virgin, and have been quite shocked at the debris and carnage when we landed in London. The passengers really weren’t helping the air crew at all.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      …and that’s when most passengers were no doubt asleep! Think what it must have been like if they were awake for the duration of the flight!!

      I agree – it really does make you wonder sometimes. If everyone just took a little more responsibility for their own litter and mess, it wouldn’t be difficult but would make things a lot easier for the airlines.

      Perhaps it’s a cultural thing also. I’m certainly not surprised to ANA top the list, and JAL up there also. The Japanese have a reputation for being clean and tidy.

      Remember how Japanese football (soccer) fans gained the headlines in the last World Cup in Russia, when they cleaned the stadium up after themselves? (even litter that wasn’t theirs)

    • Bob says:

      Anyone who has read “Legacy” about how New Zealand’s All Blacks manage to dominate World Rugby from such a small population (even though they scour the Pacific Islands to import players) will remember that one of their key phrases is “Sweep the sheds.” At the end of every game the All Blacks clear up after themselves, cleaning their own changing room.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Air New Zealand did make it to 20th place on the list of 30…! :)

  4. Emiliano says:

    I’ve flown a few of these airlines before, most on long-haul flights and I agree. They are clean and the toilets have what you need for freshening up or getting ready for “bed”. I’d say, you’ll be able to rate any airlines’ cleanliness on long-haul flights the best simply because you’re there long enough to use the facilities. And, yes, I’m not surprised that ANA is the cleanest as are many Asian airlines included in the list.

  5. Allen D. says:

    I have flown a lot of airlines and they all look clean to me. I haven’t seen an airline with much of a mess and from what I’ve heard, they clean the seats every after flight. Although, I notice some rubbish that weren’t disposed properly and a few crumbs from food eaten by previous passengers but it isn’t much of a big deal for me.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      It’s a bigger deal for me when you consider that some people suffer from air sickness. If you’re seeing bits of food on your seat, that would suggest to me that the plane hasn’t been properly cleaned. What else could be lurking that you can’t see quite so easily?

  6. Steven Ham says:

    It does worry me that a lot of these budget airlines run on such a tight budget and with seemingly very little time to spare. The last flight will get in late at night and the next one will depart early the next morning. That’s a lot passengers grinding those crumbs and coffee into the seats. Do they have time to clean thoroughly over night? How often do these planes get a proper deep clean???

    • Paul Johnson says:

      That’s a good question, Steven, and I have absolutely no idea! And when you see the turnaround times on some of these planes… I’ve many times watched passengers disembark only to be boarding the same plane moments later – makes you wonder if they have enough time to even re-fuel!

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