Influenza A virus has caused huge damage to human health and poultry production worldwide, but its global transmission patterns and influencing factors remains unclear. Here, by using the Nearest Genetic Distance Approach (NGDA) with genetic sequences data, we reconstructed the global transmission patterns of four most common subtypes of influenza A virus (H1N1, H3N2, H5N1 and H7N9) and analyzed associations of transmission velocity of these influenza viruses with environmental factors. We found that the transmission patterns of influenza viruses and their associations with environmental factors were closely related to their host properties. H1N1 and H3N2, which are mainly held by humans, are transmitted between regions at high velocity and over long distances, which may be due to human transportation via airplane; while H5N1 and H7N9, which are mainly carried by animals, are transmitted locally at short distances and at low velocity, which may be facilitated by poultry transportation via railways or high ways. H1N1 and H3N2 spread faster in cold seasons, while H5N1 spread faster in both cold and warm seasons, H7N9 spread faster in wet seasons. H1N1, H3N2 and H5N1 spread faster in places with both high and low human density. Our study provided novel insights into the global transmission patterns, processes and management strategies for influenza under accelerated global change. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.