One trip in Business Class, and you’ll never go back to Economy. One trip in these Business Class seats and you might sell your car because it’s not luxurious enough.
A few years ago it was all about the 1-2-1 configuration and lie-flat beds. Now it’s all about privacy and lavish add ons, as those previously mentioned features become industry-standard.
New generation aircraft are making airlines bring out the big guns when it comes to design and comfort, making travellers actually look forward to flying.
These are our nominees for the Best Business Class seats of the year.
Delta One Suites
Delta One Suites are to Economy passengers what the bubonic plague was to medieval citizens: an exquisite kind of torture. But if you’re one of the lucky souls sitting in them, you’re in for a treat. Delta was the first airline to introduce an all-suite business class back in 2016 and remains a frontrunner in the space. This means doors that slide shut for privacy, lie-flat beds, bigger entertainment systems and signature Delta amenities like Westin Heavenly bedding and designer Alessi service-wear.
Other key facts include staggered 1-2-1 configuration, suites 21-24 inches wide and a fully flat bed that is 79-81 inches long. So far Delta has taken delivery of 11A350-900s from Airbus, so if you’re flying on one of these, the Delta One Suites are a given. It has also retrofitted some of its Boeing 777-200s with the suites (check this out before you book) and plans to put some on its Boeing 767-400s too.
Qatar Airways’ Qsuite
With one of the best PR teams and thus one of the best-known business class seats in the sky, you could be forgiven for worrying Qatar Airways’ Qsuite is all just hot air. But then you sit down, bottom cupped in ergonomic ecstasy and champagne fizzing on your tongue, and all is right with the world. Yep: it’s no accident Qatar Airways’ Qsuite was voted the World’s Best Business Class, as recognised by 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards and 2019 Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards. What earns them all this?
They offer both aft and forward-facing seats, as well as ‘quads’ – a private space perfectly adaptable for those travelling in groups. Qatar Qsuites have also partnered with two Italian luxury brands BRIC’s and Castello Monte Vibiano to design an amenity kit with a range of skincare products and in-flight necessities that are designed exclusively to ensure that you arrive fresh at your destination, and single travellers will enjoy their private suites.
Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380 Business Class
Singapore is no slouch when it comes to air travel. Not only is Singapore Changi Airport one of the plushest in the world, Singapore Airlines’ new A380 business-class has to be seen to be believed – a mean feat considering its predecessor was the biggest bed in the sky. While this new version is 25 inches narrower, this purple beauty is actually more comfortable (you can use more than one armrest at a time), more private, has more storage space (and it’s all within reach, too), and has more cutting edge materials.
Not to mention: the lack of overhead bins makes your space feel enormous (and the middle seat removable divider is perfect for couples who want to create a temporary love nest). Oh, and the 1-2-1 layout means equal aisle access for all. Likewise, everyone gets an 18-inch video screen and a 198cm long bed.
Virgin Australia’s ‘The Business’
Virgin Australia doesn’t do things by halves. In keeping with Branson’s “Go big or go home” approach, ‘The Business’ is quite a cocoon-like suite to behold. Years of research and expert design went into creating one of the longest beds (80 inches, to be precise) in business class, with a new comfort system and an extra padded sleep sheet (and for those that like to be pampered, a turndown service). And yes, you can recline from the moment you board and never need to put your seatback upright.
It wouldn’t be Virgin without some flash, so travellers can also expect a mood lighting system, the latest technology with a touchscreen monitor and handset, a futuristic onboard bar, and Swarovski crystal accents. You also get Julie Grbac designed pyjamas while you refresh with a Mandarina Duck amenity kit and REN Skincare products. Like Singapore Airlines, couples in middle seats have a retractable privacy screen for a shared experience.
Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business Class
If you think there is no such thing as privacy on an aeroplane, think again. Cathy Pacific’s new Business Class allows you to control the degree of privacy and openness you prefer, by moving your seat back or forward and using a precision toggle to adjust the seat position. When not enjoying the additional hip support and knee space of the fully flat bed, passengers can indulge in a rotating library of 100 movies, 500 TV shows, 888 music CDS, 22 radio channels, and 70 games. Cathay Pacific’s new Business Class is being progressively introduced on the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330-300 aircraft, however, at the time of writing the A350-900 and A350-1000 are where you’ll find Cathay Pacific’s top offering.
Emirates’ Airbus A380 Business Class
Next time you’re headed from Sydney to Dubai, hop aboard the Emirates Airbus A380 Business Class. There’s a personal minibar and foot-level stowage, as well as some of the tastiest mid-air food you’ll ever lay teeth on. For entertainment, the Ice system includes more than 1300 films, television shows, and documentaries. Need a drink? Or need anything, for that matter? The attendants speak 15 languages! And did we mention there are complimentary top-shelf champagne and a chauffeur drive service to the airport? Plus: the Onboard Lounge is a great place to attempt to break David Boone’s record for Martini’s sunk over the pacific if you’re so inclined.
The Etihad Experience Business Class
Etihad is known around the world for offering one of the most impressive services in the sky. Business Class is no exception. Found on the airline’s A380’s and 787’s, Etihad’s Business seats are constructed in the 1-2-1 configuration to offer direct aisle access for all. Complimentary ACQUA DI PARMA amenity kits are also available, containing an eye mask, earplugs, luxurious socks and a signature fresh fragrance, so you can pamper yourself during your flight. Speaking of pampering, passengers are also given hot towels before drink orders are taken and served food with silver cutlery. If you’re on the A380, you can also venture to a swish lounge called The Lobby, or while away the hours with the onboard wifi (or vast entertainment system).
Air France’s A350-900 Business Class
Air France received the first of its A350 aircraft in September last year. It is set to receive a total of six before the end of 2020 and 28 by 2025. As you’re about to discover, this is great news for business class flyers. The usual suspects all appear fully flat beds, direct aisle access, 1-2-1 seat configuration, high-definition seatback screens, noise-cancelling headphones, AC and USB ports, and a divider screen for extra privacy. Oh and – considering the size of most hotels in the city of surly servers, this cocoon of the sky is probably going to be more spacious than your Paris accommodation.
Qantas’ Business Suite A380
After the A380’s million-dollar facelift last October, the Qantas Business Suite is now available across the 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A330s and – now – the A380s. But if you’re feeling nostalgic for the old Skybeds – don’t. The Qantas Business Suite is a new level of luxury.
Designed in collaboration with Marc Newson with a focus on comfort, privacy and style, Qantas’ Business Suites are intuitive and luxe. The Vantage XL seats recline to fully-flat beds and have been customised extensively after inflight monitoring with a panel of experts (plus customer feedback). In other words: as tantalising amount you will ever place your bottom on. Trust us: we’ve tried.
The reclining seat can be fitted with a comfy mattress whenever you want (bar take-off and landing) and the new space means you can eat, work, enjoy the inflight entertainment options and store your luggage with unprecedented comfort. And the 1:2:1 configuration means equal (immediate) aisle access for all.
ANA’s ‘The Room’
ANA was the first Japanese airline to adopt the staggered seat arrangement travellers now relish. This ground-breaking setup lets you enjoy direct aisle access no matter where you are seated, and the spacious (the clue’s in the name) room means you can sleep, eat, enjoy yourself, or get some work done without worrying about your surroundings. Fittingly, this seat boasts a spacious pitch and a footrest that can be adjusted to four different heights.
The Room is also equipped with an array of functions, including a large 12.1-inch touch-panel LCD monitor, a large table, a personal reading light, a universal power port, and USB port. Some travel bloggers call it the best business class seat in the world – even better than Qatar’s QSuites, with the main differential being the sheer amount of space you get. Is it really all that? Try it for yourself and find out.
British Airways’ New Club Suite
The final step in British Airways’ luxe Club World investment, British Airways’ Club Suite is now available on their new ‘hushliner’ A350s aircraft and select Boeing 777 Aircraft services. If you luck (or research) your way onto one of these bad boys, you’ll find yourself sitting in cutting edge luxury – the Club Suite is a bespoke version of the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat in a forward-facing (no awkward eye contact) herringbone layout, featuring a sliding privacy door.
If this doesn’t whet your appetite, perhaps the 18.5 flat screen entertainment system, noise-cancelling headphones, generous storage, plush pillow, amenity kit or world-class menu (inspired by visionary chefs) will. Either that or the classic combination of a good English breakfast tea and a scone. And the 1-2-1 layout is another bonus. All in all British Airways’ Club Suite is a hotel like capsule which gives you your own private space at 35,000 feet.
China Airlines’ Premium Business Class
Designed by Taiwanese designer Ray Chen, China Airlines’ Premium Business Class is available on the carrier’s A350s and 777’s. A melting pot of modern design and oriental aesthetics, China Airlines’ Premium Business Class has everything from seats which convert into fully flat beds to table lamps. Entertainment is sorted with a massive 18-inch video screen whilst LED mood lighting keeps things elegantly lit. When passengers have had enough of business class, they can venture to the Sky Lounge which offers a host of self-serve drinks and snacks. All passengers on China Airlines’ A350 and 777 will also be able to use the inflight satellite internet service.
Oman Air’s 787 Business Class
Oman Air’s award-winning 787 business class is 77.5-inches of lilliputian rapture. To cap it off the seat pitch is 82 inches, and its width is 22.8 inches, outshining some other airlines’ first-class offerings. Unlike the other seats in this list, it comes in a 2-2-2 configuration, but this is ok because the seats are staggered, ensuring an easy out for everyone. It earns a place on this list through sheer beauty and epic privacy of non-aisle seats. The only downsides are: it is not the most spacious suite on this list, and aisle seats are not all that private. But there’s still ample legroom and all the modern accessories we’ve come to expect at the pointy end in 2020.