Flying business class -- especially internationally -- is going to cost you a pretty penny, often more than five times the price of coach. But some airlines offer an experience that’s worth ponying up for if you can afford the splurge. Travel news site Skift.com has rated the world’s business class sections, and there are five that come out on top worldwide.
Why are we not surprised? Singapore Airlines is practically synonymous with luxury. When you fly long-haul business class on SA, you can spread out in 30-inch seats, snooze on fully flat beds, pre-order a gourmet meal that’s specially prepared for you and watch movies on a 15.4-inch-wide LCD screen.
Japan Airlines is a close second to Singapore, thanks to its super-spacious seats. A staggered 2-3-2 configuration of seats gives everyone access to the aisle. The JAL “Sky Suites” offer complete privacy, where passengers can watch entertainment on 23-inch LCD monitors -- the same ones in first class.
This Abu Dhabi-based carrier has been investing major bucks into its premium cabins, and it shows. Seats convert into fully flat beds that are up to 80.5 inches long. Each seat can be customized to adjust the firmness and lighting -- and even comes with in-seat massage. Oh, and Etihad’s premium-class lounges are legendary. Passengers also get complimentary door-to-door chauffeur service in more than 30 cities around the world.
4. Qatar Airways (tie)
Put your feet up on the ottomans in Qatar’s business class cabins while you stay connected with your colleagues on the ground, thanks to air mobile service, laptop power and a USB plug. The 787s also are outfitted with Wi-Fi. Qatar also provides passengers with “designer sleepwear” and luxury Italian Frette linens.
4. Virgin Atlantic (tie)
Virgin Atlantic’s “Upper Class” is the equivalent of business class on other airlines, and the experience begins at home, where you can be picked up in a limo that takes you to the airport. The 22-inch-wide seats convert into 33-inch-wide, 78-inch-long flat beds at the touch of a button. In-seat power and laptop storage make it easy to get work done. And Virgin’s “clubhouses” are some of the best lounges in the world. Bonus: The “Revivals” lounge at London’s Heathrow offers showers and spa treatments so you can freshen up postflight.