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The 22 most dependable airlines in the world

Carlos E. Santa Maria/iStockphoto

Airlines can make even the most patient passenger grumpy at times, with their nickel-and-diming ways and lackluster customer service.

Top 10 most dependable airlines 01:05

But when you need to get somewhere relatively quickly, flying is generally the best way to do it.

And when you need a reliable carrier to get you there, certain airlines stand out as the ones to choose.

Travel site WanderBat looked across the globe to find which airlines were the most dependable, ranking each carrier in three areas: On-time performance, low costs to check bags, average age of an airline fleet.

The site came up with a pretty interesting list. You won't find some major U.S. airlines on here, but you will find some surprises -- names you may not be familiar with.

Click ahead to see the 22 most dependable airlines in the world.

22. Air Berlin

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Fleet size: 127

Number of destinations: 171+

On-time percentage: 81.8%

Average age of fleet: 6.7 years

Germany's second-largest airline has stumbled financially -- and has burned through several CEOs in a short time period. The company is trying to restructure itself, trimming both its costs and its employee count.

New boss Stefan Pichler has a plan to make the company operationally profitable by next year and says he'll pull out of cities where the airline is losing money.

21. Philippine Airlines

REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Fleet size: 51

Number of destinations: 40+

On-time percentage: 53%

Average age of fleet: 4.2 years

The airline has been reaping the benefits of a growing wave of tourism, both as more foreign visitors enter the country and as more Filipinos travel abroad.

The carrier recently brought back service between Manila and New York City after an 18-year break and is planning to expand elsewhere in North America, according to Business Travel News.

20. China Airlines

REUTERS/Jacob Thomsen

Fleet size: 82

Number of destinations: 95+

On-time percentage: 60.5%

Average age of fleet: 10.2 years

The airline will wow passengers with its new Boeing 777 planes, which offer lie-flat seats in business class and a "Sky Lounge" with alcoholic beverages and snacks.

The plane also has seats that can turn into what it calls the "family couch" -- three seats that can form one sofa-like arrangement for sleeping or relaxing.

19. Aeroflot

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Fleet size: 149

Number of destinations: 129+

On-time percentage: 85.5%

Average age of fleet: 3.9 years

This airline has a young fleet and a sky-high percentage of on-time arrivals -- both of which tend to make passengers happy.

Aeroflot is known to some as the poster airline of Russia, with a semi-monopolistic position in its home market. In that respect, its fortunes rise and fall along with Russia's, and so it has seen some turbulence as the country's economy has tanked. The airline grounded its low-cost subsidary Dobrolet after Western sanctions suspended its operational contracts with European companies.

18. Qantas

REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

Fleet size: 129

Number of destinations: 41+

On-time percentage: 80.1%

Average age of fleet: 9.4 years

The Australian airline wants customers to dress a little better on its flights, recently saying it will be more strict about enforcing its "smart casual" dress code in its business class lounge. That means no bare feet, flip-flops, shorts or clothing with offensive images or slogans.

But if you didn't pay the outrageously steep fares for business class, you'll get more of a pass clothing-wise.

17. Southwest Airlines

REUTERS/Mike Blake

Fleet size: 665

Number of destinations: 93+

On-time percentage: 74.2%

Average age of fleet: 11.5 years

Southwest, the only U.S. airline to make WanderBat's list, has been trying to improve its dismal on-time arrival performance over the last year, and it's certainly making progress.

But where the airline truly stands out is with its luggage policy. It allows two free checked pieces of baggage per customer -- a benefit no other domestic carrier can match. For that perk alone, the company has its share of loyal fans.

16. Malaysia Airlines

REUTERS/Olivia Harris

Fleet size: 98

Number of destinations: 60+

On-time percentage: 74.1%

Average age of fleet: 4.6 years

The airline is still reeling from two deadly disasters last year in which one plane went missing and another was shot down over eastern Ukraine. At the time, some industry analysts questioned whether the company could survive.

The airline is still limping along, though its home country has agreed to take it private in order to overhaul its operations.

15. Etihad Airways

REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Fleet size: 105

Number of destinations: 120+

On-time percentage: 57.9%

Average age of fleet: 5.4 years

The airline's on-time arrival rate is truly deplorable, but some customers don't seem to mind too much. That's because the national air carrier of the United Arab Emirates has introduced some pricey new fare classes that take luxury to a new level.

Some planes will soon feature a large three-room "residence" that comes with its own butler. They'll also have first-class "apartments" and business-class "studios."

A Miami businessman paid $20,000 last December for a one-way fare to be the first passenger in Etihad's residence suite.

14. EgyptAir

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Fleet size: 62

Number of destinations: 78+

On-time percentage: 71%

Average age of fleet: 10.4 years

EgyptAir's profits have slumped amid the country's political turmoil, with visitor numbers and volume of domestic travelers in decline since 2011, according to the CAPA Centre for Aviation.

Executives are developing a turnaround plan that includes cutting money-losing routes and reducing frequency on other routes.

13. Japan Airlines

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Fleet size: 157

Number of destinations: 92+

On-time percentage: 83.7%

Average age of fleet: 8.7 years

Japan Airlines was crushed by high payroll and pension costs, and by too many investments in overseas hotels, so the government had to bail it out in 2010.

That move is considered a success because it helped the carrier get back to profitability. Japan Airlines had a massive initial public offering in 2012, raising $8.5 billion in the deal.

12. Tam Airlines

REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Fleet size: 162

Number of destinations: 62+

On-time percentage: 80.1%

Average age of fleet: 7.2 years

The domestic aviation market has been slowing in Tam's home country of Brazil, which is dealing with currency volatility and lackluster corporate activity.

Tam has been cautious about expanding its business this year in Brazil, but it's planning to be more aggressive in other parts of South America.

11. Lan

REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Fleet size: 116

Number of destinations: 66+

On-time percentage: 81.5%

Average age of fleet: 5.1 years

The Chilean airline is in the middle of a worker upheaval, with some employees calling for strikes to press for improved working conditions. Lan says it has a contingency plan in place for the strike and will continue operating normally.

Lan and Tam Airlines are owned by Latam Airlines Group, the largest airline company in Latin America.

10. Cathay Pacific

REUTERS/Alex Domanski

Fleet size: 144

Number of destinations: 112+

On-time percentage: 69%

Average age of fleet: 8.6 years

The Hong Kong carrier, regularly lauded as one of the best airlines in the world, is known for serving food that's far better than traditional in-the-clouds fare. Bloomberg's restaurant critic decided to fly business class from London to Melbourne on Cathay Pacific mainly to see what the airline's kitchen was up to.

For lunch, he had smoked salmon with capers, Sichuan chicken with chili sauce, pasta with vegetables, a cheese plate and mango passion fruit cream cake.

9. Saudia

Joe Ravi/iStockphoto

Fleet size: 154

Number of destinations: 126+

On-time percentage: 87.1%

Average age of fleet: 10.1 years

The Saudi Arabian airline has been busy planning the IPOs of several of its units, including its ground, cargo and maintenance operations. The various IPOs are likely to bring billions of dollars to the airline.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia privatized six units of its national airline in 2006. The first of those units to go public, Saudi Airlines Catering, raised $347 million in 2012.

8. British Airways

REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Fleet size: 265

Number of destinations: 183+

On-time percentage: 70.8%

Average age of fleet: 12.5 years

The airline's parent, International Airlines Group, has been in cost-cutting mode lately, buying lighter seats and removing an unused fourth seat in the cockpit of some planes. The company is even standardizing the doors and faucets in lavatories across all three of its airlines.

All the cost-cutting is bringing out some critics. One British journalist deplored the airline's first-class cabin in a short video that went viral earlier this year. Owen Thomas filmed his seating area on a flight from London to Saint Lucia, calling it "filthy" and "disgusting."

7. Air China

REUTERS/David Gray

Fleet size: 320

Number of destinations: 185+

On-time percentage: 69.6%

Average age of fleet: 6 years

The airline is flying high financially, recently reporting a solid earnings performance boosted by international traffic growth, a recovering economy and lower fuel prices.

Air China is also benefiting from what it calls an "increase in the consumption standards" of Chinese citizens. In other words, they're more willing to spend money on travel. Passenger boardings rose nearly 7 percent last year from a year earlier.

6. Ethiopian Airlines

REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Fleet size: 76

Number of destinations: 101+

On-time percentage: 71%

Average age of fleet: 7 years

Africa's largest and most profitable airline has been in rapid expansion mode to capture the hot Africa-Asia market.

Ethiopia is building a massive airport to house the airline's home base. The country is looking to shed its image of famine and poverty, and showcase its booming economy.

5. China Southern Airlines

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Fleet size: 480

Number of destinations: 207+

On-time percentage: 68.6%

Average age of fleet: 6.4 years

The carrier focuses on commercial airline services throughout China and Southeast Asia, and also has maintenance and catering units. Its financial performance suffered last year as market competition grew fierce and yuan depreciation led to currency losses.

Chinese investors are bullish on the stock, however, sending it to a 52-week high this week.

4. Singapore Airlines

REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Fleet size: 107

Number of destinations: 62+

On-time percentage: 82.7%

Average age of fleet: 7.4 years

Singapore Airlines is considered one of the most decadent airline flight experiences in the industry, and it's easy to see why. Check out this man's account of his flight from Singapore to New York.

Derek Low booked a $23,000 suite last year. Before he even boarded the plane, he was eating lobster and a foie gras burger in the airline's lounge. Once on board, he was served caviar, more foie gras and lobster -- and a perfectly cooked steak.

3. China Eastern


Fleet size: 363

Number of destinations: 300+

On-time percentage: 62.4

Average age of fleet: 6.3 years

Airlines are seeing business boom, thanks to lower fuel prices along with strong growth in air traffic, and China Eastern is no exception. The Shanghai carrier said its profit rose a stunning 45 percent in 2014, aided by an increase in demand in its domestic market.

But like China Southern, the carrier is warning that fiercer competition could hurt business in the future.

2. Emirates

REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh

Fleet size: 232

Number of destinations: 142+

On-time percentage: 73.9%

Average age of fleet: 6.3 years

Emirates is "eating all the other airlines' lunch," writes International Business Times. The Dubai-based airline has been profitable every year for more than two decades, partly because its geographical location makes it a perfect transfer point between key markets.

And Dubai has an advantage because it can add more runways and terminals nearly without limit, IBT noted. Finally, its shares are not traded on stock exchanges, so it doesn't have to keep shareholders satisfied.

Emirates offers free Wi-Fi on its planes -- a perk Americans aren't accustomed to. It will also fly to 10 U.S. destinations this year when it begins nonstop service between Dubai and Orlando in September.

1. Qatar Airways

REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Fleet size: 130

Number of destinations: 144+

On-time percentage: 82.8%

Average age of fleet: 5.5 years

Qatar Airways has an on-time percentage that other airlines would kill for. And it has a relatively young fleet, which means its planes are more modern and comfortable.

As if that's not enough, the Doha-based airline now gives business and first-class passengers a Giorgio Armani kit with fragrances, earplugs, eye masks, socks and lotions.

Qatar recently bought a 9.99 percent stake in International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways. The move will likely help the airline expand into Europe.

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