The World’s 10 Best First Class Products

Filed Under: Advice

Before I Rank The World’s Best First Class Airlines & Lounges…
The World’s 10 Best First Class Products
The World’s 10 Best First Class Airline Lounges
How To Use Miles For The World’s 10 Best First Class Products

Okay, here we go. In this post I’ll be sharing what I consider to be the top 10 international first class inflight products. I’ll have a separate follow-up post with what I consider to be the world’s best international first class airline lounges.

Before reading this post, make sure you check-out my previous post sharing my overall approach to ranking these airlines. This is entirely subjective, given how airline experiences can vary from flight-to-flight. So if there’s something you take away from this post, make it what I consider to be the top 10, rather than the specific order in which I’ve ranked them. You could just as easily argue that I got the order wrong.

For those who find this post through Google and aren’t regular readers, let me emphasize that I’ve actually flown every single first class product I rank (and paid for the ticket, either in cash or miles), and have flown almost every first class product in the world. So I’m not going off any marketing bullets with these rankings, but rather my firsthand experiences. If you’d like to see more of my trip reports, check out the trip report index.

With that out of the way, here are what I consider to be the 10 best first class products, starting with the best:

1. Air France First Class 777-300ER

There are great first class products, and then there’s the perfection which is Air France first class. Air France’s 777-300ER first class cabin consists of a single row of seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration. The cabin is so elegant, and rather than offering enclosed suites with doors, they instead have curtains you can pull around your suite.

But what really sets apart Air France is the first class soft product. The food is the best I’ve had on any airline, the service is impeccable and oh-so-French, and every part of the experience is thought out.

When it’s time to sleep, Air France has some of the most comfortable bedding in the sky, and I love being able to draw a curtain around my seat for full privacy, which is more privacy than any other “enclosed” suite provides.

The way I see it, Air France first class is the world’s most well rounded first class product. While I’m not reviewing ground experiences here, the degree to which they tailor the experience from the moment you arrive at the airport until you leave is unrivaled. A flight in Air France first class feels like a perfectly executed performance.

The only area where Air France first class could improve is with the addition of wifi, but that’s coming soon.

2. Garuda Indonesia First Class 777-300ER

Garuda Indonesia is another airline that’s both consistent and tailors the experience from the time you arrive at the airport to when you leave. Garuda Indonesia first class has eight suites with doors. The hard product is good, though not remarkable compared to some of the other products out there.

But everything about the soft product is perfection. I find Garuda Indonesia to have the best flight attendants of any airline, and they even have an onboard chef in first class. The food is divine, they have great wine pairings, the presentation is exceptional, they offer first class passengers free wifi, etc. If you have any special requests for your flight, you can even make those before departure.

But really it’s the crews that make the experience. Many surveys rank Garuda Indonesia as having the best cabin crew, and I have to agree. The warmth of the Garuda Indonesia flight attendants I had on both of my flights with them was unrivaled.

The only area where Garuda Indonesia can improve is with their bedding. While it’s good, it’s not nearly as plush as what some other airlines offer.

While SkyTeam is generally thought of as the alliance of “leftover” airlines, it’s interesting that they have the world’s two best first class products.

3. Emirates First Class A380

There’s no product in which I have more fun than Emirates A380 first class. Funny enough the biggest downside to Emirates first class is the actual suites. While they’re comfortable, they’re not all that spacious, and there are 14 of them, which is among the largest first class cabins offered by any airline.

Everything else about the Emirates first class experience is so well done, from their free flowing Dom Perignon, to their dine on demand menu with all kinds of great options (including caviar), to their excellent bedding.

But what really makes the Emirates A380 so fun is the onboard shower suite. Being able to shower in a huge private suite with heated floors and more toiletries than a Bed, Bath & Beyond, never gets old. On top of that, Emirates has on onboard bar at the back of business class.

So what’s not to love about starting your flight at the bar for a few drinks, having an amazing meal with caviar and Dom, taking a nap, waking up and taking a shower, heading back to the bar, and then having another meal?

4. Etihad First Class A380

Etihad is the only airline to have a single-aisle configuration in first class on their A380s.

Their First Class “Apartments,” as they’re called, will take your breath away. I remember being speechless the first time I walked on an Etihad A380.

Etihad has a dine on demand menu with an onboard chef who can help you customize your meal, an onboard shower, and has the most square footage dedicated to each first class passenger of any airline.

However, there are some areas where Etihad is style over substance, in my opinion. While the suite is huge, it isn’t actually that practically designed, as the seat doesn’t recline that far back, and the bed isn’t that large. The food selection also isn’t quite as high end as Emirates’, and I’ve had some issues with them running out of food in first class. I also find that service can be a bit hit or miss.

These are all minor things, but explains why I rank Emirates’ A380 first class ahead of Etihad’s A380 first class, despite the gorgeous cabins on Etihad.

5. Singapore Suites Class A380

I should note that Singapore Airlines will be revealing their new Suites Class in just under a week, and it has the potential to be the world’s best first class product. However, over the past few years I think Singapore’s product has slipped a bit as a relative matter.

Singapore’s A380 Suites Class has an impressive layout. You can choose a single Suite by the window…

…or if you’re traveling with someone you can snag two seats in the center section, and have a double bed (if you’re traveling with someone and like this feature, it might just make it the world’s best first class).

On a good day, Singapore’s Suites Class might be the best first class product in the world. On a lunch or dinner flight departing Singapore their catering is typically excellent, and they sometimes have caviar, satay, etc. You can even “book the cook” in advance, and order from a huge menu that’s not available onboard.

Singapore is also the only airline to offer both Dom Perignon and Krug onboard. Tough decision. 😉

Service on Singapore Airlines is typically impeccable, thanks to the famous “Singapore Girls” (and boys, I suppose).

There are a few reasons I’m not ranking this product higher, though. I find the actual bed to be a bit too hard, and not nearly as comfortable as some of the products out there. Wifi is slow and outrageously expensive. Lastly, the product isn’t terribly consistent — while the food is typically great on a lunch or dinner flight, late night departures typically get a “supper” service, which is a much lighter (and less extravagant) meal.

6. Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER

Cathay Pacific’s product has more or less remained unchanged for the past decade, and it’s still one of my favorites out there. Cathay Pacific first class has just six seats, in a 1-1-1 configuration. While the seats aren’t fully enclosed, they’re angled away from the aisle and sufficiently spacious so that there’s no need for them to be. It makes the product feel less claustrophobic, which I appreciate.

Cathay Pacific has one of the three most comfortable beds in the sky. The bed is wide, and the bedding plush.

I also love the ability to dine face-to-face with a companion. Caviar and Krug at 37,000 feet is a heck of a date night. I also appreciate that Cathay Pacific offers a full meal service even on departures in the middle of the night.

Cathay Pacific crews are also consistent and attentive. They’re always there during the meals, and when you need something during the flight, they appear in just a couple of seconds after pushing the call button.

So, why isn’t Cathay Pacific ranked higher? They don’t have wifi (though that’s changing soon), but mainly because other than the caviar, I don’t find their meal services to be that great. The food has been identical for about a decade, and their main courses are typically pretty bland. I wish they’d switch things up a bit more.

7. Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER

There’s no country where there’s more pride in the service industry than Japan, and that’s incredibly evident when flying Japan Airlines first class. It’s like getting a taste of Japan before you even get there. Japan Airlines has fully flat beds in first class with direct aisle access, though the seats as such don’t stand out that much.

What does stand out is the excellent food (caviar, sushi, wagyu beef, etc.), Salon champagne (the most expensive champagne served in the sky), the free and fast wifi, the ability to choose the firmness of your mattress pad, and the perfect service.

8. Lufthansa First Class A380 Or 747-8

Maybe I’m biased due to my German background, but I love Lufthansa first class for how consistent and elegant it is. No, they don’t have the most private first class seats out there, but the cabins are elegant (in a German way), the service is among the best of any western airline, and they’re remarkably consistent in terms of their offerings.

There’s just something about the pre-flight champagne, nuts, and roses that makes me feel like I’m at home in Lufthansa first class.

Lufthansa has great bedding in first class, and also has fast and cheap inflight internet, and they offer it more consistently than just about any airline.

9. Swiss First Class 777-300ER

It’s a toss-up between Lufthansa first class and Swiss first class, so I could have just as easily ranked Swiss ahead of Lufthansa. Swiss’ 777-300ER first class cabins have eight seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration.

The food presentation and quality are definitely higher-end feeling than on Lufthansa, even though they don’t have caviar.

I’ve had great service in Swiss first class, though I’ve also had pretty bad service, so I find that part of the product to be a bit inconsistent.

Swiss’ first class bedding is plush and comfortable, so a great night of sleep on Swiss is a given.

10. All Nippon Airways First Class 777-300ER

Some might be surprised to see me ranking ANA first class a few places below JAL first class. Like I said, there’s no science to my rankings, but there are two reasons I don’t like ANA first class quite as much as JAL:

  • I find ANA’s seats to be poorly designed; they’re like cubicles, and have wood panels by your side so that you can’t easily look outside when you’re in a window seat, and can’t comfortably talk with your seatmate if you’re traveling with someone in the center seats; this is such a silly design
  • Much more minor, but ANA’s wifi is significantly more expensive

Other than that, ANA first class is great. Caviar, Krug, fantastic Japanese food, etc.

Honorable Mention: Etihad A380 The Residence

This can’t be included on the list since it’s not technically a first class product, but rather is the most incredible experience you can have in commercial aviation. Unfortunately it’s also priced accordingly. Having your own three room suite, including a private bedroom and shower, with butler service, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and then some.

Man, how fondly I think back on my flight in the Residence…

Bottom line

There you have it. I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and these are what I consider to be the world’s 10 best first class products. I’d like to once again emphasize that I think anyone would be reasonable to think that the above products should be in a different order, but hopefully this is at least a useful list in terms of the 10 all around best first class products.

For anyone curious, in the 11-15 spots I’d put Asiana, Korean, Qantas, Qatar, and Thai (not necessarily in that order).

I’m curious to hear what you guys make of my rankings!

  1. Thanks so much for doing this, Ben! I largely agree with your rankings, and can’t fault your reasoning. I’m very excited to see what Singapore and Emirates will unveil in the next few weeks and how that will shake up these rankings.

    I am curious about putting Asiana ahead of Qantas, Qatar, and Thai. I would recommend you try OZ F another time. They have done lots of cost-cutting lately–for instance, the Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2006 has been replaced by one bottle of Baron de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs NV and Laurent Perrier NV, the latter of which is a business class Champagne by any stretch of the imagination. Not only that, but they are only loading one bottle of most of their wines. On FlyerTalk there are many reports of flights turning dry midway through or the FAs serving business class wines and pretending to be none the wiser.

  2. Being British it pains me to not see British airways on the list they could easy be one of the best if they pulled their act together, still as my mother is French I am glad to see air France top the list!!

  3. Agree with the first 6 and #8, the other 3 I have no experience with.
    For me 1 and 2 are extremely close.

  4. Thanks for the review! It’s great to see Garuda placed so high it really makes me want to try out the product. As for ANA, their Ginza amenity would costs USD 100+ in retail which I think is the most luxurious kit conent in sky. While the seat is not fun when travelling as a couple, their mattress pad and light duvet are quite comfortable to sleep in.

  5. Fun list. Thanks for the thought you’ve clearly put into it.

    The importance you seem to attach to “cheap” wifi suggests you’re not the target market for these airline products. Anyone blowing wads of cash on tickets for these products won’t much care (or even notice) what the wifi charge is – their accountant will be dealing with that as a tax-deductible expense. Though I accept that much of your target market will be travelling on points and watching their pennies.

    I rarely travel in 1st. I don’t value the “luxury” stuff enough for the differential in price over business, and air travel is so fundamentally compromised and miserable that, for me, no amount of luxurious frills will compensate for the sheer exhausting misery of a 14 flight stuck in a tiny space in a (not-very-nicely) air-conditioned metal tube, unnaturally crashing through time zones and screwing up my body clock. And Krug just isn’t as enjoyable in those compromised circumstances.

    But it’s nice to see what I’m missing. It’s not enough to tempt me out of business class.

    My only thought is how consistent the 1st class experience is across the whole airline: so you specifically rank Air France’s 777 service – how does the rest of the fleet compare? Would their 380 make it into the Top 10?

  6. Great list and we’ll set up by your previous post explaining the logic. For those of us lucky to have flown some of these more than once, it’s a great trip down memory lane and motivation to try ones we haven’t flown yet. For those of us who haven’t flown these products this is phenomenal. Pick a destination and see if one of these flies there. We won’t be disappointed.
    It’s evident a lot of thought went in. Great article.

  7. Great list and very reasonable assessment. I agree with the open design first class being better in general, a la JAL, Qatar, and Air France (although I haven’t flown AF myself). It makes for a much more elegant hard product and more spacious feeling. The curtain feature of AF totally makes sense to balance the open concept. Although the closed suites provide great privacy, they also can feel cramped at times with the exception of Etihad apartment which is just *yuge*… Great job, Lucky!

  8. I prefer to see a full list from top to bottom for all of the first class flights you took, anyone in the same country with me?

  9. Haven’t flown that many long hauls in first (Singapore, AA, UA…) and like some of the others commenting, the meals, drinks, etc. don’t matter that much to me, but am really drawn to the softer appearance of the Air France … just looks comfy. The cold isolation of the suites on so many of the others just isn’t appealing at all.

    Interesting too how the video screens are such a huge presence on some, almost to the point of absurdity.

  10. @Lucky Also, your blog content quality is top of the heap by far. I read a lot of them and some of the “popular” ones have drifted light years away from what they pretend to be (aka turning into fluff central). Please keep up the stellar work and don’t change what you do.

  11. I think it’s a great list lucky, you have 9 of the 10 that I posted in your comments section on your earlier post (I included the residence, and you have Emirates in your list, but I haven’t flown them in years and didn’t rank them). I put JAL and Lufthansa ahead of Etihad and Singapore (in my experience the service is more consistency), but extremely fine margins. Keep up the good work

  12. Interestin list, Ben, thanks. I too would be interesred in seeing the list of FC products you’ve flown. Carrier + aircraft.

  13. Really enjoyed reading your latest rankings. In the coming year, I will be flying your number 3, 4, and 6 products (plus Qatar regional first, which is really business class, for Doha lounge access). Your past reviews and advice have inspired me to get out and explore these products and the parts of Asia and the Middle East they will take me to. Keep up the top-notch work.

    Hope you will do a revised rankings of business class products like this list after you fly the Qsuites and Delta One. I imagine you will have flown most of the world’s finest business class products within a year or so, though there are so many more offerings in J than F.

    Meanwhile, looking forward to your first class lounge rankings, plus the Singapore Airlines and Emirates announcements for new F products, coming up in the next few weeks.

  14. I would like a follow up post with the easiest/cheapest miles to fly these airlines. I know there’s a million post out there but it would be nice if it was in one central location.

  15. I haven’t flown most of them, so I’ll have to defer to your experience.

    I agree that the ANA suite’s design is extremely poor. You have to wonder what they were thinking blocking all of the windows. But I am looking forward to my flight on Friday.

    One issue with all of these is that there are different products on different aircraft types so you really have to pay a lot of attention when booking. And it really does come down to what you value. Personally wifi is of little value to me on these long hauls. I just want to get some rest. And having a good entertainment system is also nice. For me the food is also less important since I am not really into “fancy” food.

  16. Just a quick correction- the Japan airlines wifi is described above as “reasonably priced.” However, I flew NRT to ORD first class earlier this month and it seems that now wifi was complementary. This wasn’t any kind of promotion or campaign, so I’m guessing it will always be free.

  17. I’ve had the pleasure of flying 7 of the 10 a few times. Never flown AF but I hear its good. SQ who I have flown the most in F the past 3 years, I would rank near the bottom. SQ just doens’t WOW me anymore. They need to stop living in the past and refresh everything. Hopefully the new F and J announcement will do that. I agree on Garuda amazing but they have so few routes. I finally flew LH this year and was super impressed. JAL and ANA I would say they are both tied. I really don’t care for either airline.

  18. That’s harsh on SQ for its catering of supper flights vs., say, EK. If you take an EK F flight leaving at 2am (which is, like, most flights from Asia, and many to Europe), the menu might say “dine on demand”, but you couldn’t scrape together a decent dinner, and there’s no sign of caviar. Doesn’t matter that your body clock says 7pm (which it would because you’re likely to have connected from somewhere), but you have a choice of eggs or Arabic breakfast. Pretty disappointing when you’ve paid $$$s for your ticket…

  19. Just scanned the list for a second time. Don’t see the US Big3…

    Someone notify the Great Pumpkin, so we can MAGA…

  20. Etihad 787-9 First class is also great. I actually prefer it to the Apartments as you mentioned the A380 seat doesn’t recline all that much and the bed isn’t wide enough. The 787 is layed out better and much more comfy.

  21. Hello Ben, Yet another fabulous addition to the “Encyclopedia Luckytannica”!! Having enjoyed many of the products in J or F, I’m always “afraid” that if I fly in F too often, J could begin to look shabby. Oh what a fate! But after reading so carefully into your review, I would ask you to consider one additional stratification of the F hard products: Based on anything from the ability to dine with someone else… to the sometimes horrible dividers between center-pair seats, would you possibly consider sharing a supplemental ranking “pair of lists” that could (maybe even with a per-product / per-airline basis) denote a “List-A” for traveling alone (yet sometimes placed in a center row)… versus a “List-B” for traveling happily as a couple? I know that as your loyal readers we enjoy asking for a bit of good guidance… but then (after a second bottle of Krug!) you could even answer @Jeniffer’s request about general rule F mileage redemptions per airline. Yet as to my question, as it would seem horrible to fly in F with a lovely companion, and be almost unable to visually communicate with them, the “good or bad” for couple flying list could be a great addition. Anyone else agree? Thanks so much in advance!

  22. I have flown all of your top 10 in First (and 11-15 too) for > 5 flights each with the exception of Garuda that I only did once.

    I almost agree with your ranking… probably popping Qantas and Thai up to the top 10. To me Emirates and Etihad are probably the lowest in the top 10 without the “fun” factor … (with food and service alone… even compare to SQ late night departure), but with the fun factors (shower/bar) their ranking gets higher of course.

    My ranking (for both on board and ground experience) would be AF > GA > NH > LH > QF > SQ > LX > TG > CX > JL > EY > EK > KE > OZ > others

    Some of my ranks get higher due to “style” over substance…. I like the look/ color design of AF, LH, EY, BA.. so the looks could bias to get higher rank, however AF comes number 1 by a long shot… without a doubt.

  23. the lack of wifi is wonderful. Keeps a quiet, mindful space devoid of phone diddling and electronic “heroine”. Nice report!

  24. I am absolutely shocked no U.S. based airlines made this list. Pick any one of them and surely the hard product, soft product, service can compete against any of these airlines! Just look at that Polaris marketing campaign – surely that translates to luxury and quality?!?! Oh well, maybe next year . . .

  25. @ BrooklynBoy — Thanks! To clarify, 11-15 weren’t meant to be in any sort of order, so I wrote them alphabetically, which is why Asiana was first. You’re right, I’d probably rank Asiana towards the end of the 11-15 list.

  26. @ Alvin Tse — Hmmm, that’s a toughie. Now that I think about it, they might just be in the 11-15 category. Otherwise they’d be at the very top of the next one.

  27. @ The nice Paul — It’s not about “cheap” wifi, but rather that the wifi offered by some airlines is so outrageously priced that many people blowing cash for first class wouldn’t pay it. For example, on Singapore’s OnAir system you could easily rack up over $1,000 in wifi charges. The fact that Garuda Indonesia comps wifi isn’t a huge deal, for example (they’d otherwise charge ~$20), but it’s a nice gesture, and I think that’s what counts here.

    As far as different products on different planes go, you’re right. Air France’s A380 first class hard product is uncompetitive, so I wouldn’t rank it as high. Then again, almost all of these airlines only have the product on certain planes (Etihad’s 777 first class isn’t as good, Swiss’ A340 first class isn’t as good, Singapore’s old 777 first class isn’t as good, etc.).

  28. @ kt1974 — Totally agree, and I’ve often criticized Emirates’ catering on late night departures. It’s abysmal.

  29. @ Geo — Probably towards the top of the 16-20 list, with Air China, American, United, etc. The seat just isn’t terribly spacious.

  30. I’ve flown the residence and agree with your assessment, it’s simply the best product available commercially. Otherwise, I’m happy to see AF as #1, and not one of the ME3. I’ve flown AF First a few times with the new configuration, the experience is just unmatched in my opinion. Can’t wait to fly with them again.

  31. Ben- What is the longest flt that Air France has first cl? Also, what is the cheapest long haul first cl Air France offers?

  32. @ John — I think some points in Asia would be their longest flight, though someone correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve seen some fares of just over $4,000 roundtrip from London/Madrid to points in Asia. We see fare sales fairly often. Earlier in the year we saw some ~$3,500 roundtrip first class fares from the US to Europe as well.

  33. @ John, how come you are some expert in an earlier post who has flown virtually every first class product multiple times, and then you’re asking about AF cheapest first class?!

  34. My comment above was obviously sarcastic – accidentally hit “submit” before I could finish typing “snorts with ironic laughter”

  35. If you want to rank best business class products, then please do consider BA first class in that list. Lol

  36. @ Lucky

    “As far as different products on different planes go, you’re right. Air France’s A380 first class hard product is uncompetitive, so I wouldn’t rank it as high. Then again, almost all of these airlines only have the product on certain planes”

    Fascinating that all these airlines – who are supposed to be so good at marketing – pay so little attention to the fundamental principle that the single most important characteristic of *any* brand is consistency.

    AA has taken decades before finally managing to convert its long haul business class to all lay-flat beds. Decades of inconsistency.

    United has launched Polaris to massive fanfare, but has already said it will take more than half a decade before its core long haul fleet has the Polaris product. While the rest of its fleet has no date for conversion.

    Air France has the world’s best 1st class product – but only on some of its planes, the rest being below par.


    Why do these airlines expect to face satisfied customers when the product they could end up flying might be far below the high standards promised for their best.

    Oh and $1,000 for a few hours wifi is a pittance for the core target market (most of whom would expense it). We reveal our middle class values when we imagine that it’s a significant sum for these people.

  37. @ The nice Paul — I agree consistency in the airline industry is a real problem. At the same time, there might not be an easy solution. If airlines are being practical, it can often take many years to retrofit an entire fleet with a new product. So unless you take the British Airways approach and barely update your business class product for almost two decades, I’m not sure there’s a great solution. 😉

    I have to strongly disagree with you about the cost of wifi issue, though. I think you’re oversimplifying the first class market. People flying first class aren’t simply hundred millionaires who don’t care about money. And even those who are on corporate accounts would likely have some eyebrows raised if they submitted a wifi bill of over $1,000 for a flight.

    Airlines are doing a better job than in the past of actually making first class go out nearly full with people paying for those seats. That includes in many cases offering reasonably priced upgrades to business class passengers and pricing first class reasonable. So personally I strongly disagree that most first class passengers wouldn’t mind paying $1,000 for inflight wifi.

  38. Just started this but already completely agree with you!!! Air France La Premiere is my favourite too!!!

  39. Great list lucky. I’ve been lucky enough to fly most of these products except for ME3 + ANA, and this is pretty much my list too.

    While the AF 77W is far superior to the A380, I will note that Row 1 on the A380 is just one seat with nothing in the rest of the row, and that feels pretty private. I recently flew it and it was pretty great. Still a worse hard product than many of the alternatives on this list, but not bad at all. That being said, AF P 77W is just lightyears ahead when you look at the full experience.

  40. I had assumed the Saudia’s 777-300ER F would be on here tbh. What invalidates it from the top 10 or even 11-15?

  41. Fun list Lucky! It’s something for me to aspire to!

    I want to second Jessica’s comment above – can you do a follow-up post with the easiest/best way to use points or miles to fly these airlines? (or if you have to have elite status so it’s an impossible dream)

  42. I never understand the good reviews on Emirates First Class what am I missing? The last couple of flights were so poor I’m not flying them anymore.

  43. While not ready for international prime time but crushing the domestic carriers is JetBlue. Ok, technically it’s business class but it’s really the best domestic first/business out there. Once they begin international flights in 2-3 years, they just might be a contender.

  44. Ben, I acknowledge I have fewer flights on these F products than you. My smaller sample size puts Qantas A380F ahead of both Emirates and Cathay. While the shower is a nice novelty it is a very small part of the flight time. The QF beds are far superior to EY and IMHO the catering is just as good. CX has the service highly refined but not too far ahead of QF. Again I prefer the QF seat/bed to CX. I must also acknowledge that I’d have zero experience on these products without you and the community you created. Thanks to all!

  45. I’m so excited to have flown your #3 choice! It’s still my #1, because I’ve not yet had the opportunity to fly some of your other choices. That shower, though!

  46. Just flew SQ308 in suites yesterday. Had a great conversation with one of the FAs who was really excited about the upcoming new product (although he told me it’s been kept very secret). I think this list may need to be revised after you fly SQ again! The FA was also genuinely curious about how I thought SQ first compared to other airlines. He took such pride in his service and their product. Regardless, such a fun topic to debate, great post!

  47. I would put QF F above all the others however in saying that I have never flown AF F. QF food, wines, premium champagnes; Taittinger Comte Blanc de Blanc on my last flight, and the bedding are far superior to most other carriers F class and certainly better than the ME carriers.

  48. Lucky, your output is truly prolific. I keep meaning to mention that, but there hasn’t been a good “overall” post to do so lately.
    You put out more content than all the other useful sites combined. And no, TPG is no longer useful with the posts about the most instagrammable places in Austin, TX.

    Thanks for your hard work and love of this activity so many of us have benefited from!

  49. I’ve traveled on almost every one of the mentioned flights and my number one choice is Cathay Pacific. Love the privacy, beds, flight crews, schedules, airport experience and food and wines.

  50. Great article and I agree with everything except for Emirates. It is over the top bling and garish to me. The shower and bar is just a novelty to me that I would probably never use.

    “… the cabins are elegant (in a German way),” lol… that’s funny. In a German way…

    I’ve flown SQ F 5 times and CX F 3 times (All flights US-Asia). I have found the inflight service of CX to be inconsistent and basically just average. The inflight service by SQ is consistently much better as compared to CX. What disappoints me the most about SQ is that their great service ends when you step off the plane. No one to escort you like what Garuda does. You are on your own in Singapore to find your own way to their Private Room.

  51. Personally , consistency and the all around experience matter to me the most. If flying F , the whole experience should be outstanding and most of all consistent. Of course AF can be absolutely stunning, however flying on another aircraft the experience is very different.
    I can’t really put any airline as being the best all the time, however SQ and NH/JL are ( in my personal experience) very good at all times. The very best – maybe not , but highly reliable and the staff is always eager to do their utmost to ensure your comfort.
    I am happy to see Garuda as # 2, however their routes are quite limited as of now. I wish they could grow and still keep their amazing service.

  52. Great write-up Lucky!

    Two Questions:

    1. Have you heard of any plans to refresh AF A380 F? Seems weird the disparity between the two
    2. What are your complaints for Saudia’s new suite that dont put it in the top 15? Your review seemed very positive at the time.

  53. @ Chris — Air France has said that they’ll refresh the A380 in 2020. It sure is taking them a while!

    As far as Saudia goes, it probably should be in the top 15. I think what it comes down to is that the airlines that have chosen to maintain first class are almost all exceptionally good. Saudia was a very good experience, and I’d recommend them in a heartbeat. But we also have airlines like Qantas and Qatar in the top 15, and some people would argue those products are top five. So I think there are just a lot of great products nowadays, and it can be tough to decide on relative order. Now that I think about it, I might take Asiana out of the top 15 and put Saudia in instead.

  54. Great post, the ranking is well explained, and those F that I have flew on, i agreed with the observations.

    The only thing is F ticket is more than just the flight itself, so we have to factor in the ground services for departure/transit/arrival, the F lounge experience, etc.

    If an airline has excellent flight experience, but non-existence ground experience, and sub-par F lounge, it may not be such a great overall F experience too. (or vice-versa with great ground experience, and F lounge, but sub-par F flight experiences)

    I hope Lucky can do additional list of his top 10 overall F rankings list, giving a “on-balance” ranking of the overall F experience, weighing the pros-and cons of flight experience, ground experience, F lounge experience, plus more, to come up with the overall top 10 ranking list. I think anyone shelling out good money on F product would find the “on-balance” list a good consideration.

  55. I just had a flight where I connected from an Asiana 777 in F, to a SQ A380 in J, and enjoyed the SQ flight more. Personally, I don’t place that much value in the walls in F cabins that have become so popular.

    I am mostly a CX flyer these days (being based in NY and having 4 flights a day and such easy connections can’t be beat by any inflight amenity)(at least until the SQ nonstop starts), but starting to really feel put upon by having to forego communication with the world for a 16 hour stretch (because it makes landing and collecting the emails so stressful) and the food has become simply bad.

  56. Thanks for the interesting article.

    I would like to know: what is the standard? What do we truly base these ratings/opinions on?

    What accurately describes first class, or business class, across the airlines?

    I believe it’s mostly subjective.

    Thanks for the great insight, Ben!

  57. Now that you’ve flown the new Singapore Airlines A380 and Emirates 777 first class products, will you redo the rankings? Or are you waiting to get a few more first class products under your belt (new Oman 787?) before doing this?

  58. After you fly Kuwait F, I guess you’ll redo the rankings (maybe go up to 15?).

    Likely the new EK F on the 777 will be up top, unless you have a change of heart/mind. But I have no clue where the new SQ F will fall on your list! And what about Oman Air’s new F, which you just flew? Man, the finishes on that looked brilliant.

    Anyways, really looking forward to the new rankings after you’ve literally flown first class on every airline in the world (though I realize you will not have tried every F product of each airline, but probably its best/top version of F).

  59. Lucky, I have two options on SQ F. Suites but it’s a supper service and I’m not a huge fan of red eyes. Or 777 4 seat first during the day. Is their a big difference between the two? Never flown SQ before. Will be departing from Singapore. Thanks.

  60. Having flown both several times I think ANA is really superior to JAL mainly because of the food service though the lounges are marginally better as well. What I don’t get though is the dislike of the ANA cubical design (which in and of itself is a fair criticism) by the guy who loves APEX suites. Those suites (as used on some JAL planes) have all the downsides of the cubicals but are much more claustrophobic. Point being that it seems at odds to like one but complain about the other. I guess because one is first and the other business you view them differently?

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