Tag Archives: first class

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Class Isn’t Everything. Today, Enjoy Amazing Flights in First, Business, and Coach

Last week, AirlineRatings.com released its third annual “Best of the Best” ratings—a ranking of airlines by their first class, business class, premium economy class, and long haul economy class offerings.  

The editors at AirlineRatings.com examined (and, in many cases, personally experienced) the in-flight service and amenities of over 450 airlines in order to determine the top airlines in each category, reports Travel Pulse.

The rankings speak not only to the relative quality of the different airlines but also to the ways in which airlines have expanded their offerings over the decades in order to accommodate the shifting needs of travelers. Where once there were only two options for passengers—first class or coach—airlines today offer as many as four classes of travel on the same plane. Read on to learn more about these classes and the airlines that are taking each type of cabin to a whole new level.

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First Class

Where first class used to mean something akin to “free alcohol and bigger seats,” the category of flight has since launched into a whole new world of luxury. First class amenities now range from lie-flat massage chairs with sheepskin mattresses to $40,000 on-flight suites (yes, you read that right) complete with a private bedroom, living room, and en suite shower.

It’s a brave new luxurious world up there in the sky, and according to AirlineRatings.com these 10 airlines (in alphabetical order) have the best first-class cabins on offer:

  • All Nippon Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss International Airlines
  • Thai Airways

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Business Class

As with first class travel, “business class” can refer to a whole gamut of amenities. In general, business-class travelers can expect ample legroom, fully reclinable seats, airport lounge access, priority boarding, and in-flight services such as multi-course meals, hot towels, and champagne. Here are AirlineRatings.com’s top 10 business class cabins (in alphabetical order):

  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Australia / Atlantic

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Premium Economy Class

Situated between the economy and business class cabins, premium economy seating is most commonly found on international flights. The range of amenities included in the premium economy class includes extra legroom, wider seats, extra-reclinable seats, adjustable headrests and leg rests, and premium food service. Below are the top 10 airlines (in alphabetical order) that are doing premium economy class right.

  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • EVA Air
  • Japan Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic / Virgin Australia

Long Haul Economy Class

While “flying coach” may be jokingly equated to “abject misery for the duration of the flight”—just look at headlines denouncing shrinking seat sizes and scaled-back amenities—many airlines have made great strides to comfortably accommodate economy passengers. In fact, some airlines have started to build in more legroom, more reclinable seating, and improvements to in-flight entertainment and even cabin air quality for their economy customers.

At a minimum, economy class flyers can expect a small seat recline, complimentary beverages (and meals on longer flights), in-flight entertainment options, and blankets and pillows. AirlineRatings.com ranks the best long haul economy class cabins as follows:

  • Air New Zealand
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways

So there you have it: Whether you’re flying to Vienna or braving the long flight to Tokyo, the class and airline you choose can make a very big difference in the overall quality of the flight. But at the end of the day? Sometimes it’s best to just grin, bear it, and remember that flights are temporary, but travel memories last forever.