To determine which airlines are the most dangerous, we can look at accidents per year as well as fatalities per year.

In short, Air France and American Airlines have been involved in the most plane crashes worldwide with 11 each, though popular US carriers, including United and Southwest have also had their fair share of accidents.

When it comes to fatalities, American Airlines has one of the worst records with 858 fatalities, along with China Airlines at 760 fatalities, and Malaysia Airlines at 537 fatalities, though this metric doesn’t always tell the full story.

For convenience, we have not only separated airlines by crashes and fatalities, but also by worldwide and USA.

* All data has been sourced from airfleets.net

Most Dangerous Airlines – Worldwide

Accidents By Airline

While you might think that the more popular the airline, the more likely the odds of it crashing, this isn’t necessarily the case.

For example, despite their popularity, British Airways has only ever been involved in one plane crash whereas Qantas has never crashed.

If you live in the USA, you can see that some of the most popular airlines feature on this list, including Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines, while others don’t.

*Only airlines that have had 4 or more plane accidents have been included.

  • Air France: 11 accidents
  • American Airlines: 11 accidents
  • American Eagle: 5 accidents
  • Asiana Airlines: 4 accidents
  • China Airlines: 9 accidents
  • Continental Airlines: 5 accidents
  • Egyptair: 6 accidents
  • Ethiopian Airlines: 6 accidents
  • Garuda: 4 accidents
  • Iran Air: 4 accidents
  • Korean Air: 9 accidents
  • Kuwait Airways: 4 accidents
  • Libyan Arab Airlines: 4 accidents
  • Lufthansa: 5 accidents
  • Pakistan International Airlines: 8 accidents
  • Southwest Airlines: 3 accidents
  • Thai Airways: 6 accidents
  • United Airlines: 7 accidents
  • VASP: 6 accidents

Related: How Often Do Planes Crash?

Fatalities By Airline

There isn’t necessarily a correlation between airline accidents and fatalities.

For example, Southwest Airlines has been involved in 3 plane crashes/accidents, though has only experienced 1 fatality.

*Only airlines that have experienced 150 or more fatalities have been included.

  • Air France: 347 fatalities
  • Air India: 542 fatalities
  • Air India Express: 179 fatalities
  • AirBlue: 152 fatalities
  • American Airlines: 858 fatalities
  • Avianca: 181 fatalities
  • Birgenair: 186 fatalities
  • China Airlines: 760 fatalities
  • China Southern Airlines: 176 fatalities
  • Dana Air: 153 fatalities
  • Egyptair: 362 fatalities
  • Ethiopian Airlines: 407 fatalities
  • Garuda: 259 fatalities
  • Gulf Air: 255 fatalities
  • Indonesia AirAsia: 162 fatalities
  • Iran Air: 293 fatalities
  • Japan Airlines: 520 fatalities
  • Kenya Airways: 283 fatalities
  • KLM: 248 fatalities
  • Korean Air: 586 fatalities
  • Lion Airlines: 189 fatalities
  • Malaysia Airlines: 537 fatalities
  • Pakistan International Airlines: 311 fatalities
  • Saudia: 312 fatalities
  • South African Airways: 159 fatalities
  • Sudan Airways: 146 fatalities
  • Swissair: 229 fatalities
  • Ukraine International Airlines: 176 fatalities
  • United Airlines: 288 fatalities
  • Yemenia: 152 fatalities

Most Dangerous Airlines – USA

There have been no shortage of plane crashes by USA carriers, though some of the most popular airlines, including JetBlue and Spirit Airlines, have never been involved in a crash.

Accidents By Airline

  • Alaska Airlines: 1 accident
  • American Airlines: 11 accidents
  • Delta Airlines: 2 accidents
  • Horizon Air: 1 accident
  • Southwest Airlines: 3 accidents
  • United Airlines: 7 accidents

Fatalities By Airline

  • Alaska Airlines: 88 fatalities
  • American Airlines: 858 fatalities
  • Delta Airlines: 134 fatalities
  • Horizon Air: 1 fatality
  • Southwest Airlines: 1 fatality
  • United Airlines: 288 fatalities

Which Airline Has Had the Most Crashes?

American Airlines and Air France have both had the most plane crashes, with 11 each. China Airlines and Korean Air have both had 9 accidents, while Pakistan International Airlines has had 8, and United Airlines has had 7 accidents.

What Are the Chances of a Plane Crashing?

The chances of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 9,821, though this accounts for both general aviation and commercial aviation.

If strictly taking about commercial aviation, the chances of a plane crashing and involving fatalities is exceptionally low.

According to Arnold Barnett, who is an expert in the field of aviation safety and risk and Professor of Statistics at MIT, “if you take one flight a day, you would on average need to fly every day for 55,000 years before being involved in a fatal crash.”

5 Safest Airlines

There can be several ways to determine which airlines are the safest in the world, including the carriers with the lowest number of total accidents and fatalities.

This, however, wouldn’t necessarily tell the full story, considering some airlines carry many more passengers than others. In fact, while there are thousands of airlines, only approximately 230 airlines carry 99% of the world’s passengers.

Therefore, to determine which airlines are the safest, we have referred to AirlineRatings.com, which “takes into account a number of different factors related to audits from aviation’s governing bodies, lead associations as well as the airlines own safety data” to determine a rating.

More specifically, for 2022’s rating, “crashes over 5 years, serious incidents over two years, audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations; government audits, fleet age, and COVID protocols” were all used in to compile the list.

Worldwide

1. Air New Zealand

2. Etihad Airways

3. Qatar Airways

4. Singapore Airlines

5. TAP Air Portugal

USA

No USA airline made the top 5 list of the safest airlines, though Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines all made the top 20 (in order of placement).