Global Traveler magazine surveyed more than 36,000 frequent luxury and business passengers for its GT Tested Reader Survey and found that the Singapore-based operator is held in the highest esteem overall, while Emirates was recognised for its first class flights.
The UK was represented by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which picked up awards for business class services and seat design respectively.
Other airlines praised by Global Traveler readers include Lufthansa (best transatlantic carrier), TAP Portugal (best in Europe) and Alitalia (best cuisine).
The survey also covered destinations and accommodation, with South Africa voted the top international tourism hotspot and the Address Hotel Downtown Dubai picking up the title of best hotel in the world.
South Korea's Seoul Incheon was named the world's top airport for premium passengers.
Francis X Gallagher, publisher and chief executive of Global Traveler, said: 'Congratulations to all the winners. The companies topping our list this year are the very best of the best.'