The 14 Business & First Class Experiences I’d Like To Review Next

Right now I’m in a bit of a travel planning frenzy. I had a ton of international travel early in the year, and have now been in the US for a couple of weeks. Around that time my international travel bug usually starts to kick in, so in this post I wanted to share some of the upcoming product reviews I’m hoping to complete.

At the end of last year I shared the airline products I’m most excited to review in 2018. I shared eight products, and so far I’ve reviewed six of them (I haven’t yet reviewed Iran Air or RwandAir, but hope to later this year).

I’m in the process of trying to plan some summer travel, and in this post wanted to outline some of the flights I’m hoping to book over the coming weeks and months. I can’t guarantee I’ll review all of them soon, though I like publishing these types of lists both so I have somewhere I can personally reference when planning, and hopefully also to give some of you inspiration for some unique flight concepts, as almost all of these products should be bookable with miles or using great discounted fares.

With that in mind, below are the airline products that are on my immediate radar, roughly in order of importance. Note that this list isn’t comprehensive and doesn’t necessarily include all of the products I want to review, but rather the ones I can see myself reviewing over the summer.

Oman Air’s new 787 first class

I love Oman Air, and find that they have an excellent business class product. The airline will soon be taking delivery of their first Boeing 787-9 featuring first class suites, which seems like a huge upgrade over their current first class product. On top of that, Muscat Airport recently opened a new terminal, which should be a significant improvement in terms of the passenger experience.

Oman Air has recently introduced great first class fares between Cairo and London, as you can fly one-way in the new first class for ~$1,200.

Kuwait Airways’ new 777 first class

Kuwait Airways is refreshing their longhaul fleet with some new 777-300ERs, which is also allowing the airline to expand significantly. I’ve flown Kuwait’s 777-300ER in business class, and I doubt the first class soft product is that different. However, this review will be special to me because I’ve reviewed every other international first class product in the world, so this will be my last airline on that list.

Kuwait Airways used to have great paid first class fares from Dubai to New York, though it looks like those have been recently pulled. While not as good, it looks like the next best fare is from Manila to Cairo, which works out well for me, given that I have to position there anyway. 😉

Air Belgium’s business class

Air Belgium is a startup airline that was supposed to launch operations between Charleroi and Hong Kong as of April 2018, though they’ll now instead be launching in June. I was supposed to fly them a few weeks ago, but due to the delay in their operations I’ll have to fly them sometime in June or July. I already have a flexible ticket on them, so I just need to figure out when I can make it work.

Singapore Airlines’ new 787-10 business class

Singapore Airlines has launched a lot of new products lately. Late last year they introduced their new A380 Suites and new A380 business class, and a few weeks ago they introduced their new 787-10 regional business class. This plane will become the backbone of Singapore Airlines’ regional fleet. I want to review this not just so I can see what the seat is like, but also to experience the 787-10, given that Singapore Airlines is the launch customer for the aircraft type.

The 787-10 is being flown to Tokyo Narita, Osaka, Perth, and more, so to keep things simple I’ll probably fly it between Tokyo and Singapore for 43,000 KrisFlyer miles one-way.

Gulf Air’s new 787 business class

Gulf Air is another airline that’s trying to reinvent themselves, and they’ll shortly begin service with their first 787. Gulf Air chose Apex Suites for their 787s, which is one my favorite business class seats, and only otherwise available on Japan AirlinesKorean Air, and Oman Air.

I should have redeemed American AAdvantage miles for this, as they had a partnership until April 30. I even posted a reminder that people should book before the deadline. Yet clearly I’m completely incompetent, because when I phoned up American the agents couldn’t see the space anymore, and I thought to myself how annoying it was that they couldn’t do their jobs properly… then I realized it was already May 1. Gah!

I guess the next best option is a paid business class ticket out of Colombo (if anyone knows of other good paid fares, please let me know).

Malaysia’s new A350 first class

Malaysia Airlines recently began operating the A350, which they’re using to replace the A380. Their first class doesn’t look that great, which is to say that they’re using a modified business class seat for the cabin. However, I’m curious to test it out, and see how first class is holding up, especially as it has been years since I’ve reviewed their A380 first class.

This is also really easy and cheap to book with miles. Malaysia has tons of first class award availability between Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur (sometimes all four seats in the cabin are available as awards), and this can be booked for just 40,000 AAdvantage miles.

Korean Air’s new 787-9 first class

I’ve reviewed Korean’s 747-8 and A380 first class, and enjoyed both of them. Korean Air recently added the 787-9 to their fleet, which is more interesting than exciting. The plane is in a three cabin configuration, with both first class and business class. The catch is that they use the same seats for both cabins.

They’re using the Apex Suite, which is a great business class seat, but seems out of place in first class.

Still, I’m curious to check it out, and Korean Air SkyPass is one of my favorite Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, so I could book this for just 80,000 SkyPass miles between Asia and the US.

Condor’s business class to Whitehorse

Condor business class has been on my radar for a while, especially now that it’s an Alaska Mileage Plan partner airline. They have angled seats in business class so it’s not that exciting of a product.

I don’t want to fly Condor business class on just any route, but rather on the route I find most interesting, which I’ve called the most random transatlantic route there is. Specifically, I’m talking about their seasonal once weekly flight between Frankfurt and Whitehorse. Paid fares are good, and you can earn 300% Alaska miles for paid business class tickets (even more if you have status).

FRA-YXY

Air Niugini’s business class

Air Niugini is a random airline that I’ve been really excited to review. Initially I wanted to also wanted to visit Papua New Guinea, but to my surprise after doing some research Port Moresby is apparently not safe at all, so I don’t think I’ll be visiting this time. However, I can’t turn down the opportunity to connect in Port Moresby while flying between Asia and Australia.

Air Niugini has 767s (in a 2-1-2 configuration, similar to MIAT Mongolian), though they also have 737s with angled flat beds, which are equally interesting to me. So I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to try both products on one trip, and it looks like the best option is to fly from Singapore to Port Moresby on a 767, and then connect to Cairns on a 737.

This can be booked for just 53,00 Qantas points in business class, and Qantas is a Citi ThankYou transfer partner.

FlyDubai’s new flat bed business class

FlyDubai recently began taking delivery of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which feature flat beds in business class. Their configuration is very similar to JetBlue Mint, as they have a row of seats in a 1-1 configuration. I’d like to see just how good their service is. The issue is that there aren’t any great ways to redeem miles on them, and I also can’t find any great paid fares.

The best I’m seeing is a ticket from Kiev to Dubai that’s in business in one direction and economy on the return for ~$1,300, but I feel like there must be some better fares out there. If anyone knows of any, please let me know!

S7 business class to anywhere

I wrote about my interest in S7 just a few days ago. They’re the only oneworld airline I haven’t yet flown, and they largely use Novosibirsk as a connecting point between East and West. They have cheap paid business class fares, or you can easily redeem miles on them. My Russian visa is valid until next summer, so I figure I should try them with a brief stopover in Russia while I have that visa.

S7 has business class seats that look similar to first class within the US, so this isn’t anything to get too excited about (unless you just like random airlines, like me).

ANA’s 777 business class

I’ve reviewed Japan Airlines’ 777 business class, though haven’t reviewed ANA’s latest 777 business class, so I feel it’s time I do that. This is easy enough to book book on miles, and ideally I’d book it out of San Francisco, so I can also check out United’s new Polaris Lounge.

Air Italy’s A330 business class

Last summer I flew Meridiana from Naples to New York, which was a surprisingly pleasant experience given how outdated the cabin was. Qatar Airways recently invested in the airline, and they’re refreshing their fleet and changing their route network. Soon the airline will start flying from Milan to New York and Miami with former Qatar Airways A330s. I’d like to see how the service has changed since Qatar’s takeover.

Air Italy has attractive business class fares, especially if originating in Europe. If you want to limit your out of pocket, you could book one direction in business and one in economy.

British Airways’ 747 business class with new service

I’ve reviewed British Airways’ A380 and 777 business class, and haven’t been impressed. However, I’d be curious to test the upper deck on their 747s, since it seems like a more comfortable experience. Specifically, I’d like to review this between London and New York, where British Airways offers their new business class soft product, so I can see how much better it is.

Bottom line

Obviously there are a lot more products I want to review, but the above are the ones that I think will be the most practical over the coming months. That’s because I’m planning a few round the world trips, and these all nicely fit into that. Furthermore, all of these airlines either have ample award availability, or good paid fares. For example, I’d also love to review Qantas’ 787 on their new Perth to London flight, but I see no award availability, and can’t even find a reasonable paid business class fare, so that’s not practical.

Perhaps in the fall I’ll finally get around to some sort of a RwandAir African adventure…

Any other airlines you’d like to see near the top of my list?

Comments

  1. It’d be interesting if you also flew Korean Air’s 787 business class, see how the soft product differentiates the classes despite the seats being the same.

  2. Can you please review United’s new 777-200 true Polaris Business class (SO that way we can know where to sit on plane).

  3. While I know you are more into planes, I am curious what kind of aspirational hotels that has you and Ford intrigued?

    The Luxury Travel Expert has stayed at some truly incredible properties.

  4. Condor doesn’t go to Yellowknife, they go to Whitehorse. And as others have pointed out before, there’s nothing random about the route at all, Yukon is a very popular destination for german tourists and has been for a long time.

  5. @Lucky I’m shocked to see Rossiyas 747 isn’t in there would be a perfect complement to s7.

  6. You could also review Cobalt air from Larnaca, Cyprus, they have recliner seats in business on their (inter-european) A320s could be an interesting review!

  7. @lucky Have u looked at Nordwind Airlines, they have old Eva Air 777-300ERs with reverse herringbone seats

  8. Hi Lucky, great list, I look forward to these reviews.

    Just a friendly correction, Condor’s flight is to Whitehorse, not Yellowknife. They’re not the same place, Yellowknife is a town in the Northwest Territories, whereas Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon Territory.

  9. What about Azul Brazilian Airlines? You can book it through MileagePlus and availability has been quite good between FLL and LIS, connecting in VCP.

  10. How do you even book Malaysian First with AA, the AA agent can’t even find any award space of all dates I gave even though seats are available on ExpertFlyer and BA.

  11. Tibet Airlines A330 business class (They have lie flat seats)
    Hainan Airlines business class 787-9 reverse herringbone seats (They now have onboard chefs)
    Virgin Atlantic ex Air Berlin A330-200/Virgin Atlantic new reconfigured a330-300 upper class
    Phillippine Airlines A330 staggered business class
    Qantas 787-9 business class
    Middle East Airlines a330 business class
    Air Madagascar A340 business class
    Air Mauritius a350 business class.

  12. Lucky,

    How do you go about researching all the paid fares? Seems like a lot of legwork to find good fares on each of these airlines for the random city pairs they apply to (or maybe not that random given CAI and CMB prominence) and then finding which dates they are valid on. Is it hunting and pecking or do you have some crafty shortcuts?

  13. Love that you put in the Condor flight to Whitehorse! Also am surprised that you haven’t rated ANA business class. Would love to see your take on it.

  14. “that’s in business in one direction and economy on the return for ~$1,300”

    Do you fly the economy route or ditch it just for the cheap fair?

  15. @ turgutbey — I’m really low tech, this is all just trial and error. Maybe I should write a separate post about how I generally go about researching these types of fares. Yes, this is how I spend my Friday and Saturday nights…

  16. @ Ryan — I’ve had no issues with having American agents see the space. I’d recommend hanging up and calling again.

  17. @ John Martinson — Interesting, I’ve never seen any business class award availability on Azul with MileagePlus miles. Can you give an example of when you see availability?

  18. Definitely try and get a high-J BA 747 and snag 62/64 A/K… only problem is that these often are booked early by status pax and it seems you book (fairly) last minute. That said, 64A/K (IMO) make a world of difference.

  19. Ditto on reviewing MEA. LHR/FRA/CDG-BEY when they operate the A330.

    You should also look into flying AKL-DOH, solely for the novelty of it on a decent paid fare or as an award ticket.

    SIN-NYC would also be cool when it relaunches

  20. I’m sorry if this is a dumb question, but is there an easy way to look at prices one-way business, one-way economy? Is it on the ITA Matrix?

  21. About 10 years ago on an award trip to Australia my wife and I decided to add a three day visit to Papua New Guinea. We checked into a hotel in Port Morseby. The next morning we awoke to gun fire and watched armed police running down the street firing shotguns at the people they were pursuing. We checked out and headed straight to the airport to get back to Australia. It was a shame, we were looking forward to visiting the tribal people.

  22. Hi Lucky.
    Flydubai has an intriguing route to Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka, the only international route into this weird deserted airport. They don’t fly the 737 max there, but you could connect in Dubai for, say, Belgrade. What could be randommer than buying a one-way ticket from Hambantota to Belgrade!
    Hanmantota is close to Amanwella which is really gorgeous.

  23. Keep in mind that the BA, SQ, and NH (ANA) choices on your list are the most useful reports for most people. The Oman Air one will be interesting, though.

  24. If you can get all of these into one trip it would 1000% be the greatest trip report of all time.

  25. i second flyer0101. I don’t think I’ve a read a review from you of Virgin Atlantic 787 upper class (Nick may have reviewed it but I prefer your perspective as I can compare it with your other reviews on your blog.) Also, I believe VS is flying Air Berlin’s A330s on select routes nowadays or sometime later this year?

  26. Lucky,

    That Whitehorse flight on Condor doesn’t look at all fun. I don’t envy you for that one.

    Keep up the great content.

  27. Sitting right now in MUC LH First Lounge..retracing Lucky’s experience.. the Service Staffs are just excellent. Food and Beverages in all variaties and qualities. Just love it! Already meeting frequent travellers in good mood! Just perfect with a great view of the apron..

  28. You should check Air Austral from Paris to St Denis de la Reunion. They have a great product and beautiful livery.
    Azul in A330. Heard a lot of good from it.
    Air Europa B787

  29. The oman first class seat is starting to look more and more like the chambers of darth vader.

  30. Just had a JAL flight in F and I wasn’t all that impressed. Wasn’t bad per se but just the little things like needing to ask for the pajamas or the food not being that good on the plane. Still the sushi in the lounge was outstanding. Don’t think I have ever had a better roiled egg. Wasn’t a fan of the way they have the caviar service, much prefer CX for that. Overall I think SQ has spoiled me too much over the years.

  31. Just hsd a shower in MUC LH First, the lady manning the showers is hard to understand..Asian lady..I think she said no ducks until July 2018..there was no Etro products..some kind of no name brand which smells like cherries with chocolate or something..did not like it!..Boarding time see you folks!!

  32. SQ’s old A380 was the most comfortable product (having flown the new A380 too just recently). When it turns into bed, the space is just so massive.

  33. I just realized that you have tried Singapore airlines refreshed business Class seats on the 777, but you haven’t tried the refreshed first Class seats

    I think it would be nice to see a comparison between the 777 first Class seats.

  34. I was going to mention the lack of Qantas 787 business class, but that’s already been mentioned in the comments. What i’m more looking forward to is reviews of the Virgin Atlantic 787, Air Mauritius, and the Air New Zealand 787 (it’s a slightly upgraded product compared to the 777)

  35. Air Calin please! Air Mauritius and Air Madagascar. Also Iran air would be cool but be safe.

  36. So lucky looks like we wont see you flying air algiers first class anytime soon?
    What a pity.
    Also libyan airlines business class
    Iraqi airlines business
    Air iran business
    Syrian airlines business in and out of damascus.
    Afghan airlines business
    Please consider these!

  37. BIMAN BANGLADESH!!
    Air Tanzania
    Jet Airways
    Garuda Indonesia
    Air Transat
    That would be cool

  38. The Qantas 787 or A330 would seem like a good review and and previously stated there isn’t many reviews out there on the product, diffentely something well reading in my opinion.

  39. @Lucky
    Don’t forget to fly out of Whitehorse on Air North. It is a great experience with a super soft product although (and I am a bit of a fanboy) their hard product could use an update. But 3 words should sell it Warm Cookie Service.

  40. I love that you’re thinking Air Niugini

    But yes, Port Moseby is extremely unsafe

    Normally I don’t ascribe to the “land and go to luxury hotel and stay there vacation”

    But I do for Port Moresby

    I’d also love it if you continue to review all the Chinese carriers

    Their fares are so cheap it’s a shame not to think about them

  41. “Qantas’ 787 on their new Perth to London flight, but I see no award availability”

    Oddly enough a few weeks ago I saw availability in economy via AA.com. Couldn’t score it from Melbourne to Perth to London but could see it Perth to London. Anyhow didn’t book it as I wanted to try the QF 747 service SYD-JNB before they retire the plane.

    Glad you won’t be stopping over in Port Moresby… it’s a rough place… though eagerly awaiting the Air Niugini review 🙂

  42. If you start seeing award availability for QF on Perth to London then I suggest you consider this routing:
    Paris-Reunion on Air Austral 787
    Reunion-Mauritius-Perth on Air Mauritius A350/A330neo
    then finally Perth-London on QF 787
    Now THAT would be cool

  43. It might be done but how about the new EK 777-300 Business class from Delhi, connecting on to FlyDubai 737-MAX Business Class to Bucharest?

    Both these products are not reviewed on this site, however the flipside is that there is no way to guarantee the new 777-300 EK J from DEL beforehand (unlike GVA/BRU). I have flown that route recently and it seemed like all flights for a month had that config on that specific flight.

  44. Bangkok Airways, Rwandair, Air Greenland, Gulf Air, Singapore Airlines’ 787-10 regional business class or (in a few months from now) the new Westjet 787 business class would be fun to see on this fascinating blog. Air Nuigini would be fun too. If you fly the south Pacific, Tuvalu would be an interesting destination.

    Your recent review of Porter Airlines (out of Toronto) and TAAG were fun to read (in different ways) . I enjoy following your adventures and this website – happy + safe flying

  45. “I have a tendency to oversleep for those return flights.”

    Good thing you always seem to already have an alternate premium ticket already booked at the same time as those return flights 😉

  46. Philippine Airlines, very rarely reviewed ( and never on this site) notwithstanding decent fares, good service and convenient schedule.

  47. if you intend to fly POM-CNS on PX ensure you pick the right day as PX90 several days a week is an F100 not the 737.

  48. What, you mean you’re not planning on reviewing Yakutia Airlines from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky?! After all, who wouldn’t want to cross the Pacific on a 737? 😉

  49. When I was at ORY a few weeks ago, I was very surprised to see a Royal Air Maroc 747. After doing some research, they only have a single one in their fleet, but that could make for a fun and unique product to review 🙂 .

  50. I am very curious to reading a review of the new Eurowings Biz Class. There is no review out there so far.

  51. I flew Korean Air’s first class apex suite on its Airbus A330-300 which I believe is the same configuration as its Boeing 787. I’ve also flown on the apex suite on their 747–8 business class and I can tell you the hard product is exactly the same. Only main difference is the entertainment screen is larger in first class along with upgraded food and drinks. And I definitely don’t think the cost difference in $ or miles is worth it for these seats in first.
    I know Lucky loves the apex seat but I think they’re overrated and just average. The seats are very narrow and even though I sat on the window side I don’t think it is that private at all because the seat right next to it is so close and with the partition down you can see the other person’s foot and screen and feels like you’re almost touching each other. I much prefer Emirates’ business class seats on their A380. Seats are more comfortable and if you get the window seats, much much more private than the Apex suites. But dunno as I’m just going by Korean Air’s seats. Maybe the Apex suites on JAL and Oman Air might be different.

  52. Air Niugini left me pleasantly surprised with descent service and a somewhat comfortable seat. I wish the same could be said for the Port Moresby airport!

  53. Please review LOT Polish!!!
    You can fly flyDubai DXB-KRK and later do KRK-ORD. KRK – Krakow is a city that does not have any real rival when it comes to beauty in the region, beating both Prague and Budapest by a very long shot.

  54. lucky – nice response to Julia:

    @ Julia — I have a tendency to oversleep for those return flights.

    just incase the airline is reading this and you don’t want to be seen breaching the T&C of the ticket — FYI airline as now stepping up this and have launced alot of legal action in Europe and Asia against the traveler and the travel agent if the ticket is purchased via a TA.

  55. I’d love to have a review of Air Greenland. Looking at going there next year, but there aren’t many reviews of the airline at all.

  56. @Lucky you’re right to aim for upper deck, I flew recently BA’s CW cabin LHR-SFO and back on their 747. Out was upper deck, return lower deck, it’s a fully different experience. The upper deck was enjoyable, friendly, 16 seats, you’re addressed by your name, looked after like royalty. The lower deck was… exactly what people diss BA for. Under-staffed, not friendly, slow, 4hrs (!!!) before the dinner service was over on a flight where you might want to maximise sleep. The food and drinks have improved though, if it’s any help.

  57. Gulf Air has some good J fares for LHR out of BOM ~900-950$ one way!! You should check it out!

  58. SQ starts B787-10 service to Manila from July.

    You can fly:
    LAX – NRT on ANA B777 J
    NRT – KUL on MH A350 F
    KUL – SIN – MNL SQ B787 J
    MNL – KWI – CAI Kuwait B777 F
    CAI – MCT – LHR Oman B787-9 F
    LHR – JFK to try BA’s New J Service

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *