8 Of The Best Business Class Products I’ve Flown

Filed Under: Travel

Yesterday I made a post about seven of the worst business class products I’ve flown, so today I wanted to make a post about eight of the best business class products I’ve flown.

Much like my post yesterday, let me start by cautioning that this is inherently subjective, and my choices are based on the specific positive experiences I’ve had. There’s no guarantee you’ll have a similar experience, as there are so many factors impacting the quality of a flight.

Furthermore, I’m focusing largely on the soft product here. That’s to say that I think the most important factor in business class is the seat, but that’s not the only thing I’ll be judging here. Instead I want to give credit as well to airlines that really exceeded my expectations in terms of the soft product, even if they don’t have the best seats out there.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of my favorite business class products:

Oman Air 787 business class from Frankfurt to Muscat

Oman Air is one of only three airlines in the world to have Apex Suites. I consider the window seats in this configuration to be the best business class seats out there. What I also love about Oman Air is how they actually put effort into making the product feel local. I hate when airlines inject none of their culture into the onboard experience, and that’s an area where Oman Air excels. The service might not always be the most polished, but you truly get Omani hospitality, and I love that. The food is top notch as well, and the fact that they have consistently excellent business class fares doesn’t hurt.

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Japan Airlines 777 business class from Tokyo to San Francisco

I know it’s not entirely about the hard product, but Japan Airlines is one of the other airlines with Apex Suites, so the seats are unbeatable. On top of that, JAL has impeccable service, delicious food, reasonably priced wifi, and top notch amenities. If you can get a window seat in this configuration it’s basically like first class.

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Etihad 787 business class from Washington to Abu Dhabi

Etihad’s Business Studio, which is available on the A380 and 787, is in my opinion one of the three best business class hard products in the world, thanks to how private the seats are. On top of that, Etihad has a dine on demand concept, fast and reasonably priced wifi, and nice amenities, including pajamas. Sometimes I find service on Etihad to be hit or miss, and on top of that they’re cost cutting like crazy lately. On this flight I got all my meal choices, and also had a fabulous Korean flight attendant.

Virgin Australia 777 business class from Melbourne to Los Angeles

My flight on Virgin Australia had to be one of my best business class flights of the year. Virgin Australia has reverse herringbone seats in business class, and their finishes are sleek. The crew on my flight couldn’t have been more professional, the food and drinks were great, the entertainment solid, the bedding among the best I’ve had in business class, and there were even pajamas. I slept almost the entire way, meaning I couldn’t enjoy the onboard bar. Once Virgin Australia has wifi on these planes, it might be my favorite business class product out there.

Qatar Airways A350 business class from Doha to Frankfurt

The way I see it, Qatar Airways has the world’s best business class, and that’s without having even tried their new Qsuites. On their A350s, A380s, and 787s, Qatar Airways offers reverse herringbone seats, great amenities, dine on demand, exceptional food and drinks, and top notch lounges. I will say that in general I don’t find Qatar Airways crews to be that great — they’re typically quite responsive, but often not the most charming.

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EVA Air 777 business class from Los Angeles to Taipei

EVA Air has reverse herringbone seats in business class, which I consider to be one of the best business class hard products out there. Even better than their seats, however, is the soft product. From great Rimowa amenity kits to pajamas to proper iced coffee to Fiji water to reasonably priced wifi to the most expensive champagne in business class to great food, EVA Air easily has one of the world’s best business class products. It gets even better if you can catch one of their Hello Kitty themed flights!

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Aeroflot 777 business class from Los Angeles to Moscow

In absolute terms it might not be the best business class product out there, but this has to be one of the most pleasantly surprising products I’ve flown. For whatever reason, Aeroflot has a bad reputation among many. Those who haven’t flown with them assume their product is outdated, the service is rude, and that the airline isn’t safe. All of those things couldn’t be further from the truth, in my opinion. When I flew with them from Los Angeles to Moscow I was delighted. The flight attendants were charming (and so sharply dressed), the food was great, and the plane was in perfect condition. Even nicer was that my intra-Europe connection was on a 737 with real business class seats, unlike almost every other airline operating within Europe. Aeroflot is not an airline to be avoided, in my opinion.

JetBlue A321 Mint from New York to Los Angeles

US airlines almost never impress me. Service is so inconsistent, and the food is often not great. Suffice to say I was blown away when I flew JetBlue Mint last year for the first time. I already loved JetBlue for their great economy experience, but didn’t expect they’d be so good up front as well. The Mint “suites” feature doors, the service was the best I’ve had on any US airline, and the food concept was refreshing, as you could sample several hot dishes. JetBlue Mint is the best product flying between New York and Los Angeles, in my opinion. The only downside is that JetBlue doesn’t have any lounges.

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Bottom line

The above are some of the business class products that I consider to be the best in the world, along with those those that have most pleasantly surprised me. The business class experience is better than ever before, and it keeps getting better, as fully flat beds with direct aisle access become the new norm.

What are some of the best experiences you guys have had in business class?

Comments
  1. “Even better than their seas”, I didn’t know that EVA Air has seas onboard their planes! Forgot the Emirates showers, on EVA Air you can go swimming in their seas!

  2. Lucky, when are you going to make your revised list of world’s best first class? You’ve been promising us for the past 3 months.

  3. 2-2-2 business class in this day and age is just never going to be good in my opinion unless it is only half full

  4. My best experience was in AA. My mother commented to the FA she couldn’t tolerate the dishes being offered for medical reasons. Without missing a beat a tray from F was brought and adapted to her needs. All with words of encouragement for being a cancer survivor and constant pampering in such a long flight.

  5. Lucky, this just doesn’t make much sense: “Furthermore, I’m focusing largely on the soft product here. That’s to say that I think the most important factor in business class is the seat, but that’s not the only thing I’ll be judging here. ”

    If the most important factor is the seat, how can you not heavily weight that??

  6. Not sure what you have against the SQ business seat. Obviously any lie-flat with aisle access is great. However, I’ve found that the reverse-herringbone seats can have odd protrusions when in lie-flat mode — since essentially you must lie down and sit on the same surface. The innovation of the SQ seats is that you don’t — one side is great for sitting and then it flips down for a perfectly flat, padded bed. Yes, you sleep at an angle from how you sit — but the bed is lie-flat, and the angle is essentially the same as if you were in a reverse-herringbone seat. I also appreciate the little touches, like the retractable seatbelt to wear when sleeping. Further, I’ve never had anything but stellar service on SQ.

  7. Thanks for the list. As this is a miles and points blog, it would have been nice if you threw in some info about the best miles/points to redeem for each product.

  8. Hey
    If you the option and choose a business class seat (or first) to put in your apartment instead of a sofa which airlines seat would you choose?

  9. @ Randyc — While it’s a nice seat, the product doesn’t really impress me. There’s no wifi, the food is just okay, and the service feels like an assembly line. Maybe with their new dine on demand service and wifi on the A350 I’d have a different experience, but compared to their first class, business class leaves me disappointed.

  10. @JoeMart
    If your mother has specific need of food due to medical reason, why not order/communicate it with the airline prior to the date of the trip? Does being a cancer survivor entitle oneself to be pampered, I wonder?

  11. @ Mike — My point was to not just make this post include airlines that have Apex Suites and reverse herringbone seats. I was trying to add a bit of variety to showcase some of the personality that airlines put into their service.

  12. Thanks for posting, Ben! I’m surprised Air Serbia did not make the list. I remember how impressed you and Tiffany were with them, and you said the service was like first class.

  13. Hi Lucky, I almost agree with your 8 best business class. But why you don’t put the Singapore Airline Business Class as one of the best? Is it not up to your standard?

  14. Lucky, you never promised but I would like airlines ranked by hottest air hostesses.

    Anyone else want to take a shot?

  15. AlItalia Business Class a few months ago had the best wine and food I’ve ever had on a plane. I was surprised given their current difficulties.

  16. @european read the post that you linked me to. Go straight to the bottom line. He promised another review based on ranking

    @lucky so when are you gonna publish it? Just a reminder in case you forgot

  17. @lucky what about Air France Best Business ?
    I think they deserve a spot in this list as well as Alitalia impeccable service and hard product.

  18. Singapore airlines didn’t make your list??
    On the whole I would tend to agree with your choice of best business classes but this is also highly dependent on your flight, although you often talk highly of Singapore. ANA business is rated as no. 2 by Skytrax but I would have thought that Singapore and Etihad should be higher from other reviews I have read. Also, Skytrax has Eva Air business as no. 10, but from what you say and other reviews it seems as if they deserve more credit. Anyway, this post is very helpful for those who want a more expert view when deciding which airlines to fly!!

  19. @Lucky, would like to see you differentiate rankings by persona. A business traveler, leisure vacationer, and then maybe most attainable biz flights by miles.

  20. @Lucky – Trust me, it will be top 9 once you’ve tried BA A350 Club World with their refreshed service…

  21. @ lucky Cathay business has impeccable service (yes, beating JAL) if and only if one is Cathay diamond (they are told not to treat oneworld elites the same, as qualification for that is a joke compared to CX’s own program). Also, if you actually paid attention to the frequent flyer talk-sphere, you’ll have known that the dine on demand trial was an epic disaster.

  22. We were bumped from BA to Virgin IAD TO LHR. What a treat their B777 business class, called Upper Class was. Great layout great comfort and service. Delicious meals. Amenities included pajamas. Returning on BA A380 upstairs was comfortable with good service, however something was missing. Food, not so good. BTW, loved the A380.

  23. @ Mike

    +1

    I was also waiting for that tired old gag about BA’s 1st class being the world’s best business class, but I see you’ve already used it in another of today’s posts.

  24. @lucky. I’m flying on the brand new MEL > NRT route on JAL that launches today with a 787-8. Would you put the put J on the JAL 787-8 on par with the JAL 777 you included on your list? Just curious if I’ll be getting the best JAL experience or not! Thx.

  25. Lucky,

    Do you find Jet Blue Mint that much better than AA J? I’ve flown both and found them comparable (though I was in the double seat in Mint) in the air.

    My issue with Mint is that at comparable prices, you get fewer ancillary benefits.

    With paid AA J, you get lounge access, about 5,000 EQM each way and a good chunck of RDM. For every paid AA J Transcon at prices I book ($800 to $900 each way), I get a free shuttle flight from NYC to BOS or DCA (in the form of 7,500 AA miles). I just don’t get the same value out of Jet Blue Mint, so I find it hard to justify picking it over AA J when there isn’t really a price advantage for Mint.

  26. @Paul – tired gag but still true. BA-J hard product is so poor compared to most others that it would be difficult for service enhancements to bring the overall experience up to the levels of the 8 mentioned in this article, let alone others like SQ, LX. Sad to say but BA really are in free fall…

  27. I think of those 4 I have experienced myself (EVA, Qatar, Etihad, JAL), I would agree having them on the list.

    I would add Iberia (in my view the best TATL product), Garuda (I know, their First Class is amazing, but even J is currently the best product in SE Asia) and Air Canada (after IB second best across the Atlantic).

    I’m afraid, although myself of Swiss origin, LX and OS have an extremely poor hard product, if you are more than 170cm and more than shoe size 39 … Yes, their food is nice, in paricular OS, but sleeping is more important to me!

  28. Unfortunately JAL is set to replace all their long-haul business class seats with the Zodiac Aries ‘Skysuite III’ first introduced on the 777-200ER which is a high density version of the Zodiac Cirrus reverse herringbone seat. Starting with the new deliveries of 787-9 then eventually retrofitting the 777-300ER. The B/E Apex Suites consume a lot of floor space and JAL is tempted to maximize revenue on business class. But fortunately they don’t follow other airlines in increasing economy seats.

  29. @ Singularity — I’ve seen this mentioned but haven’t seen any official announcement about this. Do you have a link, by chance?

  30. Am I the only one that doesn’t get what the deal with Rimowa? Most overrated travel brand ever. Hardside suitcases aren’t even good, soft is better for 99.9% of people. They break more easily and you can buy a lifetime of softside suitcases for the price of one overpriced Rimowa. They make Apple look like Aldi with how overpriced they are.

  31. “8 of the best” is not the same at “the 8 best”, though some people posting here seem to think otherwise.

  32. I flew from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Riyadh in business. Service was fine FRA to AUH but the airline hostess on the Abu Dhabi to Riyadh flight was horrendous, rude, attitude, never checked on me, when I asked for anything vegetarian to snack on I was greeted with disdain and eye roll. I travel A LOT and have NEVER in my life encoutered such treatment/behavior! It was extremely disappointing and sadly, I highly doubt I will fly EY again after this experience.

  33. @ Neil

    “BA-J hard product is so poor compared to most others”

    Most? You don’t fly much, do you?

    The reviews I’ve read tell us that Qatar’s Qsuites are now far and away the world’s best business class product. That’s great, and well done to Qatar. But 99% of Qatar’s fleet of 777s has a J class seat that is vastly inferior not just to the Qsuite but to the rest of the “best in class” airlines.

    American, to take a much-praised (new) J class seat, is *still* flying longhaul wide body jets with angled seats. You are seriously claiming that BA’s CW lie-flat seat, with all its faults, is worse than American’s angled seats?

    Lucky changes his rules to suit whatever he wants to push in a particular post. Well, I guess that’s ok – it’s his blog. From a position where business class is “all about the seat”, he now seems to think that it’s got very little to do with the seat and, instead, is whether he had a bad experience with an FA on some random flight or other.

    Avgeeks love shiny and new (and so do I). Those of us who fly for business tend to be more interested in the minimum standards that are guaranteed. While I’m not immune to planning a trip around a new product (I’m flying in Qsuites in a couple of weeks), in general I’m more interested in booking my travel on airlines that offer at least a minimum acceptable standard (on red eye intercontinental flights, for me, that’s a lie-flat bed) – so where I am guaranteed that on BA but not on American (equipment swaps, all that jazz), I will choose BA.

    When I’m working I’m mostly just not interested in gambling that the airline will give me one of their shiny new products rather than one of the pissy old ones that make up the majority (or even any part) of their fleet.

    Like Lucky in his other posts, for me business class is mainly about the seat; the soft product is a nice-to-have extra bonus, not something that drives my purchase decisions.

    So, for me, a list of “best” business class products (sic) which downgrades the importance of the seat, which up-plays the importance of FAs being fabulous (itself often a culturally-determined judgement), and which only looks at the one plane in a fleet with the best product while ignoring the majority of that airline’s fleet, is largely useless.

    Though, as is mostly the case with Lucky’s blog, it is a bit of fun, and for that I’m always grateful.

  34. Singapore Airlines has a beautiful looking product, which I have flown on several occasions. I flew them SFO-HKG-SIN-DME-IAH and found the lie flat bed really really uncomfortable: the cubby for your feet was super small, the fold over chair with the tissue thin padding felt, to me, like camping on an old worn out army cot I felt the bars underneath me and on all those flights could never get comfortable. The food out of DME was bar none the worst food I have ever had on a plane in any class I actually spit it out (and I have gladly eaten greasy pizza etc its not a fussy issue here it was just …inedible). The FA’s went to each person who didn’t eat their food on this flight and asked what was wrong. This was pretty much the entire business class cabin (for context this was about 2 years ago so hopefully they changed their caterer). As for service they certainly on are on it and very efficient. Tho for my taste they range from sweet to obsequious. I woke up in the middle of the night and an FA came by and offered me a snack, what she should of done was offer me the sack menu so I could have seen my options. Or then there was the time I had 2 aspiring sitting by my seat and the FA was like: Are you OK? I was like: “yeah it’s aspirin” – anyway he went on so I thought he was going to call an ambulance. I get the appeal on the surface of it, but I really don’t understand the slavish love of Singapore Airline and until they change their seat I wouldn’t fly with them again as I personally just find it in bed mode to be very uncomfortable.

  35. @lucky re SQ business class isn’t it quite unfair to compare it to first class? That’s like comparing an apple to an orange

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