The 2 Best First Class “Products” I Haven’t Yet Tried

Filed Under: Air France, Etihad

In the past couple of years I’ve written lots of posts ranking various airlines, lounges, etc. Two of the most popular such posts include my list of the world’s six best first class airline products, and my list of the world’s seven best first class lounges.

Quite a bit has changed since I last wrote those posts. Some airlines have opened new lounges and introduced new first class products, while I also had the chance to try some products for the first time. I’ve received several requests from readers asking for an updated ranking, which I’m hoping to do very soon.

The thing is, unlike the airline rankings we see from the fake news mainstream media, which include stock images and are based on airline marketing campaigns, I want to be sure I’ve experienced each of the products I’m ranking firsthand.

So while it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to try every single first class product in the world (as much as I’d like to fly TAAG first class, I doubt they’d make my list) I feel like there’s one lounge and one onboard product I need to experience before I can confidently compile a “best” first class products list.

What are those products?

Air France’s new La Premiere cabin

I’ve reviewed Air France’s A380 first class before, and have used their La Premiere Lounge in Paris a couple of times (which is hands down the best in the world). I suppose I could rank the experience based on the A380. However, the A380 hard product is extremely underwhelming for international first class, and as a result Air France didn’t even make my previous list of the world’s best onboard first class products (despite how great the lounge is)


However, Air France has an incredible new first class product on the 777-300ER, which I really feel like I should try. Unlike the A380 product, something tells me that this product will make the list.


The problem is how difficult it is to get into Air France’s La Premiere cabin, though I’ll have a separate post about that.

Etihad’s new First Class Lounge

I’ve been making an effort to review more business class products, rather than just first class on the same airlines over and over. So while I previously flew Etihad first class all the time, I’ve intentionally been avoiding them lately.

However, they’ve also recently opened a new first class lounge in Abu Dhabi, which I suspect will easily make my “top 10” list.


I’ve reviewed Etihad’s old first class lounge, and I’ve also reviewed their new premium lounge, though not the new first class lounge yet.

Once I’ve reviewed that, I think I can safely say I’ve visited all of the world’s best first class lounges.

Bottom line

Airline products are constantly changing, so it’s tough to always have tried all of the best products. However, I think after reviewing Air France’s new first class product and Etihad’s new first class lounge, I’ll have tried all of the world’s best first class products… well, at least until Emirates and Singapore introduce their new first class products soon.

While I’ll continue to make an effort to try as many new products as possible (be they good or bad), are there any other first class onboard products or lounges that might deserve a place on a “top 10” list, that I haven’t yet reviewed?

  1. @ Aaron Tan — In addition to Travis’ report being published right now, I just finished my most recent trip report a week ago, which I began publishing within a few days of the trip…

  2. Lucky go for the BA 787-9 First Class. I’ve tried it and the hard product is a HUGE step up from the old one. It even makes the sub-par soft product look ok!

  3. EY’s F lounge was underwhelming imo especially considering the hype and delays in its opening. I did however get a great haircut there (paid). Hopefully they do something special with the upcoming midfield terminal, otherwise it’s easily the weakest link (along with subpar champagne) in an otherwise fantastic F product.

  4. I used the new EY F lounge on my AUH-JFK flight last month, I thought it was really good. The restaurant was really good, service was impeccable and I really liked the the cigar room. They did make it so only a few of the cigars were free but it was something like $10 for a Romeo and Juliet. I had the back massage and paid to get a shave, both were good. On the whole it was one of the best F lounges I’ve used.

  5. Ben, please find a way to fly in the Residence Class for Etihad! I just want to read your review on it!

  6. I’ve read a couple of reviews of the Residence Class lounge at Abu Dhabi – it looks gorgeous.

    That Air France 777 looks stunning!

    I don’t have anything to add – I don’t have nearly the breadth of experience you have!

  7. Also tried the First Class lounge at AUH in January on AUH-JFK segment. Had a free massage and the chef tasting menu which was excellent. I didn’t do the wine pairing as I wasn’t feeling 100%. My main complaint as others have mentioned was no real place to lie down. The “quiet room” had little space and wasn’t all that quiet. There was a family seated just outside the room that was noisy. 6 hour layover waiting for a 3:30 am flight with no rest really damped the experience of the lounge.

  8. Air France has a pretty good round-trip price with flight originating from either LIS or MAD to SIN. Tried few times and found the price was reasonable compared to HKG or TYO routes.

  9. Most likely will not make the list, but I’d love to see a review of China Eastern first class, to see how different the experience is vs business class and other first class products. Heard that they also just opened up a new lounge in T1 PVG as well. Same with Air China and Saudia first.

  10. I vote +1 with Evan – a ranking of business lounges (and business flights) would be very interesting to me.

  11. Even if maybe they won’t make it to the list, I hope you will still consider to review SV and KU’s new F product

    Also I echo for MU F and EY The Residence 😉

  12. I tried etihads new F lounge at AUH and wasn’t blown away given all the hype. (they’re pretty stingy about free massage or shave…not both)

  13. Visited Etihad’s new F lounge for the first time 2 weeks ago. Very nice, but I enjoyed the Pier in HKG much, much more. Also visited Emirates first in DXB for the first time (10 days later) and was blown away by the small city that lounge is.

  14. Not sure if it’d make into the top 10 but 9W First was not bad. Bollinger La Grand Annee 2002 champagne and full course Indian menu treat. It’ll be interesting to compare with Air India product. GVK Lounge in Mumbai is pretty decent too with dedicated First Class passengers area, a la carte menu, and 30mins complimentary massage.

  15. You can fly Etihad first class from AUH to BOM for about $1000. You can fly there in the Residence for $2000 and the return trip in First Class for $1000 for a total cost of about $3k. This would allow you to review Residence lounge in AUH, Residence experience, First Class experience and First Class arrivals lounge in AUH.

  16. You should definitly go for Saudia First on the 777!
    The pics look stunning, and you could visit the Alfursan Lounge in Ryiadh. There especially cheap fares out of IST as you may know.

  17. I’ve already ticked off the Etihad First Lounge in Abu Dhabi – it’s quite nice but not earth shatteringly so (and it’s not as generous as it used to be either). You can smoke some complimentary cigars in the lounge (so one up on Emirates) from a selection of three (the rest you pay for, but in the early days they were all complimentary). The spa and salon services are ok, but not great or amazing (but the showers are much better than those in the rest of the terminal). Food and beverage is again decent but nothing earth shattering. It’s nothing hugely luxurious, but certainly in the top tier of airport lounges.

    I was more excited by Etihad’s First on the Dreamliner (which is now my favourite First on Etihad).

    I’m flying Air France’s new La Premiere class (on 777-300ER) next month, and very much looking forward to it – I just hope it lives up to what I believe it to be (which is the best First product, all things considered, currently available).

    Given Air France offers quite competitive First paid fares, if you make use of the various fare rules around, I don’t know why you just don’t buy a ticket. At least you’ll know then (it’s certainly why I coughed for one).

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