I’ve taken more than 30 flights over the past year as I’ve travelled the world, and one airline has the best entertainment system, the friendliest staff, and the best service

  • Over the last year, I have travelled the world for Business Insider, visiting more than 20 countries by way of more than 30 flights.
  • In that time, I’ve flown economy with dozens of different airlines, including major US airlines like United, flag carriers like Egypt Air and Air Astana, and budget airlines like Vueling, RyanAir, and Scoot.
  • After a year of flying, I’ve found that my favourite airline I’ve flown has been Emirates Airlines, thanks to its roomy planes, excellent service and entertainment options, and good food. It tends to be slightly more expensive than other options, but I’ve found that the comfort is worth it.
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In my year of travelling the world for Business Insider, I’ve visited more than 20 countries and have been on dozens of flights, including major US airlines, budget airlines, and flag carriers.

In just the last year, I’ve flown United Airlines, Emirates Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, AirAsia, Scoot Airlines, Air Astana, Vueling, XL Airlines, Egypt Air, Etihad Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Kenya Airways, Precision Air, Air France, Austrian Airlines, Ural Airlines, Tus Air, Cobalt Air, and WizzAir, among others.

My favourite of the bunch, without a doubt, was Emirates Airlines.

For me, a great flight comes down to a few simple things: helpful and friendly service, timeliness, and new planes. While many airlines I flew over the last year matched up in one or more of those areas, only Emirates delivered across the board.

To start with, Emirates’ fleet is made up exclusively of Airbus A380s – the largest and most expensive commercial airliner in history – and Boeing 777s. The airline’s average plane age is only 6.2 years old, according to AirFleets. That means no matter what route you are on, you are flying on a relatively new and roomy plane.

Both flights I took on Emirates were on A380s, leaving me with tons of legroom for an economy flight. The added benefit: Because the plane is so large – it can hold up to 800 people – the plane was only half full, which meant there was an empty seat next to me.

The staff is friendly and helpful

On both my flights, the flight attendants were always willing to help. In particular, on my second flight (my first time trying out business class), the flight attendants came around to offer things I didn’t even know I wanted. More than that, though, they were personable. They took the time to chat with passengers and get to know them. It made the flight fun in a way I’d never experienced before.

While Emirates is ranked only 19th in the world in punctuality among mainstream airlines, it is currently ranked second in the Middle East – and it’s improving. It ranked fourth last year. I experienced no late arrivals during my flights.

The in-flight entertainment system is top-notch

Meanwhile, the proprietary entertainment system, nicknamed ICE, was excellent. The entertainment options were extensive. There are over 1,800 channels of movies, television, and games, including most “Marvel,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Mission Impossible” films. There were also films from just about every world region, as well as the information channel with the latest headlines and articles from BBC News.

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The entertainment system has over 1,800 channels. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Emirates consistently wins best in-flight entertainment system year after year. It makes sense why when you use it.

Emirates doesn’t skimp on service

The only downside of the airline was the food. It’s certainly not the best I’ve had on an aeroplane. That still goes to Japan Airlines, which provided tasty, fresh Japanese food.

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A meal on an Emirates economy class flight from New York to Dubai. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

That being said, with airline after airline cutting back on meals and other goodies, Emirates goes a long way to show respect to its customers by not skimping on meals and handing out goodies like eye masks, headphones, earplugs, and socks on long-haul flights.

Prior to flying Emirates, I wondered what the big fuss was. Now that I’ve flown it twice, there’s no airline I’d be more stoked to fly again.