The Scariest, Most Dangerous Airlines You Should Avoid if You’re Afraid to Fly

With recent news reports about airline passengers behaving badly on airplanes, the expectation that any flight will be entirely safe is long gone. Fools can and do cause trouble for themselves, flight crews, and fellow passengers on all sorts of planes. Nonetheless, some airlines are more dangerous than others, especially if you’re already afraid of flying. Which air carriers should the flight-phobic avoid?

Planes that are unsafe at any altitude

A British Airways BA CityFlyer Embraer 190LR parked on an airfield tarmac
A British Airways BA CityFlyer Embraer 190LR | Images Group via Getty Images

In 2019, Forbes reported that major airlines were relatively safe despite two recent British Airways mishaps, one of which involved a flaming airplane at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Forbes also noted a Boeing 777 that crash-landed in Dubai in 2016 and two fatal Malaysia Airlines crashes.

Explaining that “many of the world’s most dangerous airlines are banned from flying into both the U.S. and E.U.,” Forbes provides a curated list of the most unsafe air carriers at the time. Ariana Afghan Airlines, Bluewing Airlines out of Suriname, Kazakhstan-based Scat Airlines, and Royal Nepal Airlines were listed.

Today, the dangerous airline list provided by AirlineRatings includes the above and adds Pakistan International Airlines, Air Algeria, Pakistan’s Airblue, and Iran Aseman Airlines. Each of these carriers received a one-star (out of eight) safety rating, and only one, Pakistan International Airlines, was deemed coronavirus (COVID-19) compliant.

In March of this year, TripSavvy offered their own list of the world’s most dangerous air carriers, especially for those who fear flying. Calling it “difficult not to have empathy for pilots who land jets in Nepal,” TripSavvy said it is somewhat odd that Nepal Airlines has such an awful track record when considering that the carrier doesn’t fly into or out of the Himalayan airport of Lukla, which they rate as the most hazardous airport in the world. Nepal Airlines has suffered nearly a dozen fatal accidents in the past 30 years.

Another airline deemed to be dangerous is Kam Air. Based in Afghanistan, the carrier suffered numerous fatal accidents resulting in more than 100 passenger deaths since its inception just one decade ago.

Dangerous airlines that are banned

TripSavvy also released a list of severely restricted airlines or those banned from flying within European airspace. Every airline from Afghanistan is on the list, as is every air carrier from Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, and the Republic of Congo. Due to safety issues, every air carrier from Sudan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mozambique, and Zambia is also banned in Europe.

It’s not just airlines that are dangerous. In fact, several otherwise safe carriers have recently had troubles due to passengers who refuse to follow even the simplest safety rules, such as wearing a mask during the current global health crisis.

Airplane passengers behaving badly


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On August 8 of this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported 2,786 mask violations and more than 3,800 unruly passengers who put themselves, flight crews, and fellow passengers in peril. It’s unclear why so many people disrupt aircrafts. Still, the FAA is now prepared to enforce a zero-tolerance policy and may levy fines of up to $37,000 per violation while noting that a single incident may result in multiple violations, fines, and criminal prosecution.

Mask violations can come with hefty penalties, too, especially when maskless and/or intoxicated passengers interfere with flight crews and fellow passengers. According to The Hill, such fines can range from $7,500 to $21,000 per incident.

If all this talk about badly behaved passengers and notoriously dangerous airlines has you worried, take heart. Basic Planet offered its own list of the best and safest airlines in America. Topping the list is Virgin Airlines, with JetBlue, Allegiant Airways, Delta Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines following close behind.