The 11 Best Airlines for Business Class When a Long Haul Warrants a Splurge
When you regularly travel long distances in a coach seat, it's inevitable that you'll encounter an uncomfortable situation. The space is often cramped, the seats are usually stiff, and the food is routinely expensive. Basically, it's the perfect opportunity for patience to run thin as the hours to drag on with every painful second.
But that doesn't necessarily seem to be the case for business class. As the masses shuffle past this select area, and complimentary drinks are poured for those coming from a luxe lounge, it would appear as though nothing too stressful would occur for the lucky few who sit here. Maybe there just wouldn't be enough time to watch all of the entertainment options queued on a private high-definition screen, and perhaps the flat-lay bed would be so comfortable that it's entirely understandable to fall asleep without applying an included bottle of facial mist first. But those "issues" would probably be it.
Instead of wondering how those in business class experience a long-haul flight, perhaps it's time to join them and see for yourself. According to 2018 Skytrax rankings, these are the top 10 airlines to offer the best amenities in business class, plus one more that just missed the cut. The next time you're setting off on an adventure, consider a splurge on a business class ticket—if anything, it will be a memorable way to get there in style.
Qatar Airways was ranked as the leading business class service by Skytrax this year, and for obvious reasons. Aside from the individual seat that can be fully reclined—and the 100% cotton linens that can be supplied if you'd like to doze off—travelers can also choose from 4000 different in-flight entertainment options while eating from an on-demand menu. Oh, and there's WiFi, too.
Singapore Airlines travelers of the new A380 Business Class can sit back in a seat that's hand-stitched with full-grain leather and watch 1000 entertainment options from a personal 18-inch high-definition monitor. But the best part about the trip may be the Book the Cook amenity, which specialises every meal to order. When the food comes, it's served on world-class porcelain.
All Nippon Airways
As the largest airline in Japan, All Nippon Airways has a renowned business class that was the first in the country to offer flat-bed seating. Travelers receive an amenity kit that includes organic essential oils, like white tea facial mist, as well as detailed menus that intertwine Japanese and international flavors. Currently, the menu from Japan to North America was created by Toru Okuda, who owns the famous restaurant Ginza Okuda.
The A380 business class offerings feature those same comforting details as the aforementioned airlines, like fully reclining chairs and 3500 channels to choose from, but the onboard lounge is what makes booking this flight alluring. Take a seat at a bar that serves up cocktails at 40,000 feet, but don't over-indulge—you also have a personal mini bar back at your pod, too. Try the vintage port, since it was selected by a sommelier.
Etihad Airways calls its individual pods "business studios," with forward- and rear-facing seats that recline into a bed that stretches almost seven feet long. The A380 also has a lobby in its upper deck, which has a space to watch a widescreen TV with other travelers. We suggest scheduling your meal, which you can do with the Dine Anytime feature, before you head to the lobby.
Flights from Australia are notoriously long, but we wouldn't blame you if you wanted to stay in business class after the flight landed. Not only does the Qantas business lounge feature the same seasonal menus and LCD televisions that you'll find when you board, but it also includes showers so you can freshen up before takeoff. And after you're settled in the award-winning Skybed cocoon, be sure to use the Australian head cream and moisturisers in your amenity kit—especially as your seat gives you a massage.
As the main carrier of Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific has often received awards for its relatively young fleet and business class offerings. Before you take off, be sure to stop by the lounge for the popular Noodle Bar, which includes freshly made dan dan noodles. And once you board, prepare for a menu of locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. After you're done eating, you can fall asleep on a fully flat bed, of course.
Long-haul flights to Europe are a cinch when you're holding a Lufthansa business class ticket, which should start at the breakfast buffet in the lounge. Travelers are also welcome to a seasonal menu featuring exclusive wines on board as well as a movie list of nearly 200 films. The seat reclines to a full bed, too, as we're sure you assumed.
The chairs of Turkish Airlines will make it easy to get comfortable before a long flight since they feature a personal remote for a massage and the ability to, you guessed it, recline fully. Skytrax also awarded Turkish Airlines with the best on-board catering services, which can include Turkish cuisine served on porcelain tableware.
This Taiwanese international airline features seats that are configured in a reverse herringbone pattern so that every passenger has maximum privacy and space. And that's great, because you'll need both to binge-watch numerous entertainment options from high-definition touch screens using included noise-cancelling headphones. Aside from five-star menu choices, the airline also offers instant noodles so that you can really feel at home on the reclining bed.
Bonus Mention: Hainan Airlines
If you're traveling to and from China, be sure to be one of the few dozens of people aboard this business class. Aside from the comes-with-the-territory bed, world-class menu, and entertainment, this ticket also awards travelers with an amenity kit featuring the Bvlgari White Tea Moisturizing Series.