Top 5 Airlines For International Flights

Best Airlines For International Travel

Unless you are one of the fortunate few teachers who is having their flights paid for upfront then you are going to have to choose your own flight to the country you are teaching. You are going to have a wide selection of airlines to choose from and, especially if you have never taken an international flight, choosing one that is comfortable and cost-effective can be confusing. Below is a list of the best airlines for international flights including the areas of the world that are best to use that carrier to travel to.

What is meant by the best airlines for international flights?

For our purposes, the best airlines are going to be the most reputable airline that flies to each region of the world. Each of these airlines excels in the categories of price, service, and safety, but does not necessarily have to be the leader in any single one of those. For example, if a particular airline is known for being dirt cheap but the service or safety record of the airline is poor, then it won’t be listed here.

International flights to the countries you will most likely be teaching in can be long. In some cases 16 hours or more just for a single leg of a two or three stop flight. Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense to sacrifice comfort and service and increase your stress levels just to save a few hundred dollars.

However, if you are flying a short distance, in this case, 8 hours or less, then it might make sense to sacrifice some comfort or service for a better price. You are going to have to look at your particular situation and what your tolerance for stress is when booking your flight. If you are just looking for the cheapest flight possible, this may not be the best list for you. As mentioned we are looking for a balance.

Also, keep in mind that each of these carriers may not be available in your region. I am looking at larger carriers that are going to be more consistent and available in most regions. However, that doesn’t mean that every one of these carriers will fly from your local airport. To see what flights are available to you I recommend using Skyscanner.

What are the best airlines for international flights?

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways consistently ranks in the top five airlines in the world and has taken the first position on numerous lists of the best airline in the world. Like other carriers in the Persian Gulf, Qatar Airways is known for superior service and comfort.

Throughout the year, it is possible to find cheap flights from major cities throughout the world. During non-peak travel months, Qatar can many times be the cheapest option, making the carrier superior in comfort as well as price.


Like Qatar Airways, Emirates consistently stands out for exceptional service in at all class levels. What puts Emirates below Qatar on this list is that the price is oftentimes more expensive than Qatar for the same routes. If you are traveling to the United Arab Emirates to teach this will be the carrier you need to fly, though most schools will pay for this flight upfront.

Depending on the time of year, it is quite possible to score relatively cheap one-way tickets to parts of the world common with English teachers including East and South East Asia. If you can find a ticket for a price that works with you, this can be a great option for longer flights because of space and comfort available to economy travelers.

Cathay Pacific

For teachers traveling to Hong Kong and other parts of East Asia, Cathay Pacific ranks close to the top of the list for the best carrier to travel with. The airline consistently shows up on top lists of carriers, usually in the top five, and is known for exceptional service and comfort even in economy.

This airline can many times be more expensive than other options on this list, namely Qatar Airways. However, during certain times of the year, as with other carriers, Cathay can be incredibly cheap. The feasibility of taking Cathay will largely depend on where your departure airport is in relation to the hub airport of Hong Kong. For example, taking Cathay may be a good option for teachers departing from Los Angeles and traveling to Hong Kong versus teachers leaving New York, who may be better served on Qatar.


EVA is the primary carrier to Taiwan. This makes it a great option for teachers traveling to East Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea. The airline is known for high levels of service as well as comfortable seats and spacing in economy and other classes.

EVA Air, like Cathay Pacific, may be a more expensive option and therefore may not always be the best choice for teachers. If, however, you can find a cheap ticket during certain times of the year traveling by EVA Air can be a great option.

Air France

Air France provides is a great option for teachers departing from European locations such as the United Kingdom. The carrier is renowned for top quality service as well as comfortable facilities throughout all classes. They have a wide range of airports which they service making it convenient for teachers in different parts of the world to use.

As with other carriers on this list, cheap tickets can be found during different parts of the year. This oftentimes includes times when teachers will be traveling before the school year begins. Air France can be a comfortable option for long haul flights.

What are some final thoughts?

As mentioned previously, this isn’t a list of the cheapest airlines to fly. Instead, I have attempted to find carriers that are known for quality service and comfort which teachers can find cheap tickets on during different parts of the year. There are times that these carriers can even be cheaper than low-cost carriers depending on the time of year and the destination. If you are having to put up the funds for your initial flight to the country you are teaching in just remember to shop around and don’t sacrifice comfort for long-haul flights just to save a few hundred dollars. You’ll be thankful for the better meals, service, comfort, and seat space after 13 hours or more of sitting in economy.


Adil Vellani

Adil Vellani

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Adil Vellani is the co-founder of ESL Job Exchange. With more than 20 years of international experience in both the education and corporate sectors, Adil is devoted to sharing his knowledge and experience to help individuals and organizations connect and make a massive impact in the lives of ESL learners across the globe. Adil also lectures at the Sino-European Institute of Aviation Engineering, where he teaches aviation engineering students in an international degree program.
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