A traveler stands in front of an arrival and departure board in an ariport and sees hundreds of canceled flights.

Worst Airlines for International Travel

Flying internationally can be exhausting with the long flights and time changes. So traveling on a comfortable and reliable airline is a must. But not all offer the same amenities and services. We reveal the worst airlines for international travel in this article.

Keep reading to learn about your options for international air travel, including the best and worst airlines in the world. And we also look at the most comfortable plane to fly in.

Let’s get into it. Wheels up! 

A traveler stands in front of an arrival and departure board in an ariport and sees hundreds of canceled flights.

What Is the No. 1 Airline in the World?

Qatar Airways takes the number one spot for best airline in the world. They service all six continents with over 150 destinations and has become one of the fastest-growing airlines. Its hub is at the Hamad International Airport in Doha, the State of Qatar.

Qatar Airways offers luxury in the sky. They have first-class suites that feel like a mini hotel room. First class in Qatar is the way to go if you want to sleep well on a flight.

And the economy class seats are comfortable with exceptional service on long international flights. In addition, Qatar Airways is reliable and provides excellent customer service when it experiences delays or cancelations.

What Is the Most Comfortable Plane to Fly In? 

Surprisingly, Jet Blue reviews say it has the most comfortable economy seats. You might not think it given it’s a budget-friendly airline.

However, customers rate it high specifically for its 32-34 inches of legroom. And all of its aircraft have on-demand entertainment at every seat.

A woman lies flat in her first class plane seat and plays a game on her phone.

In terms of aircraft, the Airbus tends to win over Boeing for the most comfortable plane for passengers. However, personal preference comes into play here, and of course, the companies compete with each other.

Worst Airlines for International Travel

Which airlines should you avoid for international travel? We’ve identified three that don’t make the cut for long trips. We base our findings on comfort and reliability. 

Worst Business-Class: Air China

About the Airline: Air China started in 1988. The airline, based in China, services domestic and international routes. It’s also a Star Alliance member. 

What Makes It the Worst for International Travel: SkyTrax gave the airline a three-star rating due to its lack of customer service and uncomfortable seating.

Air China Disappoints – Business Class Review from Heathrow to Beijing

What Are Customers Saying: Customers consistently give the business class on Air China bad ratings. A reviewer from TripAdvisor said, “I paid 14,000 CNY for an upgrade to business class and received almost nothing for it. The seats are pretty much the same size as economy class. You can only recline slightly and can’t lie flat. In addition, the inflight meal was horrible, and I received nothing else besides a pair of slippers and a bottle of water.” 

Customers also report that Air China fails at onboard customer service. For example, John, a reviewer from TripAdvisor said, “Air China didn’t offer entertainment on my nine-hour flight and the service was lacking.”

Worst Economy-Class: TAP Air Portugal

About the Airline: TAP Air Portugal is a budget airline that services Portugal and destinations in 37 other countries. The airline is a member of Star Alliance. 

What Makes It the Worst for International Travel: Many people use TAP Air Portugal for its inexpensive international flights, but they come with the cost of discomfort. It gets a three-star rating for uncomfortable economy seats with little room to move, and for its luggage policy and fees.

Review of TAP Portugal Airlines | Joric McLean Travel Vlog

What Are Customers Saying: Customers rate TAP Air Portugal’s economy class as one of the worst in the world. And their luggage policy and fees are one of the biggest complaints.

Emily, a reviewer from TripAdvisor, said, “I was charged $125 at the gate for my bag, and TAP’s weight limit is 20 percent less than other airlines. No one likes hidden charges for economy class, which has caused me never to use this airline again.”

Yet another customer said this via TripAdvisor: “Our layover with TAP in Lisbon was delayed five hours. A few days later, my son’s flight was canceled. And when we returned yesterday our luggage was missing. We have no confidence in this airline, as two months ago our direct flight from Lisbon to Brussel was also canceled and rebooked to Madrid.”

Here are creative ways to travel even if you’re broke!

Worst U.S.-Based Airline for International Travel: American Airlines

About the Airline: American Airlines is a major U.S.-based carrier that started over 95 years ago. The airline flies domestically and internationally. 

What Makes It the Worst for International Travel: American Airlines also has a three-star rating and receives consistently low marks for its lack of customer service and onboard amenities. It is also known for having delays and cancelations.

American Airlines EMBARRASSING First Class – London to New York

What Are Customers Saying: American Airlines’ customers report delays, cancelations, and luggage issues regularly. One customer, Brian, via TripAdvisor, said, “My daughter and I had a four-hour layover in Miami due to five airline delays for one flight. We still missed our connecting flight, and the staff was rude and unhelpful.”

Another TripAdvisor review said, “American Airlines damaged my luggage, and I was given a value between $199-$299 from the manufacturer. However, the central baggage specialist at the airline valued it at $135 and told me if I didn’t accept this amount, the case would close in 15 days without payment. I asked to speak with a supervisor but was told they would tell me the same thing. It was very unprofessional.”

What Is the Worst Airport in the World for Delays?

LaGuardia airport in New York has ranked the worst airport for delays. According to CNTraveler, the aviation intelligence company FlightAware reported LaGuardia canceled 7.4% of overall flights in the summer of 2022, and 27% were delayed.

So if you’re flying into or through New York City, you may want to consider one of its other two airports.

A frustrated airline traveler puts his head in his hands as he waits for help at the ticket desk.

Should You Avoid the Worst Airlines on Your Next International Trip?

Choosing an airline often falls to budget limits, timetables, or personal preferences based on mile points. We recommend avoiding Air China, TAP Portugal, and American Airlines if you can when flying international.

You’ll have plenty of other airlines to choose from. And when flying internationally, comfort and customer service are priorities. 

Have you flown on one of the airlines on our list? If so, let us know what your experience was.

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