Of all the classes of seating that one can choose on an airline, business class is the best if you want comfort, choice amenities, and a decent value. The main difference often comes down to seat design -- food and beverage options don't differ enough to justify higher prices between classes, but many people are willing to pay for comfort. It's not just the types of seats that make business class worth it, but the way that the seating on the planes are arranged. This one detail can mean the difference between airlines that barely make the grade and ones with the best business class cabins in the industry.
Here are 10 airlines that offer the world's finest business classes.
1. Singapore Airlines
Few dispute that Singapore Airlines has business class seating that's the best on the planet. It offers the same seating configuration for business class that it has in its first class section, which means you get a good value, spacious seats, and a decent amount of privacy. Singapore Airlines really thought about the details when designing their business classes and they incorporated nice touches, such as plentiful storage and in seat mirrors. As far as food goes, this airline also ranks among the best. They even have an option where you can choose meal selections before boarding your flight. This is another amenity that's typically seen in first class, yet Singapore Airlines includes it for business class passengers. The plane lavatories on Singapore Airlines have high quality amenities and toiletries as well.
2. Qatar Airways
You may opt to fly Qatar Airways for business or pleasure, but the flights themselves feel like a short retreat, which is why it's one of the best offerings in the world. Comfy seats, a well designed layout, friendly service, and in-flight pajamas help made Qatar Airways' business flights even better.
3. Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways was only recently established in 2003, but it already has one of the world's best business class offerings. It's been winning awards since its debut, and there's plenty of reasons why Etihad Airways treats their business class customers like they've chartered a private flight. Seriously, can you think of any other airlines that offer limo pick ups and drop offs to business class passengers within a 50 mile radius of the airport? In flight the food is great, the service is even better, and you won't find yourself wanting leg room. There's also multiple USB ports at each seat, in-flight WiFi, and an impressive entertainment system with a collection of over 100 movies.
It doesn't even stop there. On the business class seats aboard Etihad Airways, there are massage options and vibration modes to relax and soothe passengers. Artwork on the cabin walls is a lovely touch, and there are other similar details that lend the airline's business class section a luxurious look and feel.
One of the most noted perks of Emirates' business class section is their fabulous bar -- some passengers think it's worth the upcharge all on its own. Aside from that, Emirates' Airbus A380 has comfortable business class cabins and flat seats that make for a plush ride. There's debate about the seating on the other Emirates planes, and those largely have angled seating, but their business class seats are an all-around good value.
5. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
Some of Virgin Atlantic's other flights may not be too impressive, but their Upper Class cabins are quite different. The herringbone layout provides a good amount of space and privacy, and the aesthetic of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is seriously on point. Mood lighting, sleek details, and quality entertainment are all part of the package. The complimentary pajamas available on business class Virgin Atlantic flights are also a nice bonus.
6. Cathay Pacific
Reverse herringbone seats with all aisle access make Cathay Pacific's business cabin a top pick. The Hong Kong based airline also provides good service, food that's several notches above average, and for the price it's a great value. While there's nothing wildly remarkable about Cathay Pacific, they're consistent and you can count on your experience being high quality from one flight to the next.
7. EVA Air
EVA Air's business class has all aisle access seats and a level of comfort that makes it one of the best business cabins in the sky. The best part of EVA Air's offerings are the number of first class perks that you get at business class prices, such as the option to pre-order in-flight meals, complimentary onboard internet access, and free Champagne.
8. Virgin Australia
When Virgin Australia recently unveiled its brand new business class cabin the masses immediately took notice, as did the airline's competitors. The revamped Virgin Australia business class is all about space, comfort, and convenience and it employs the ever-popular reverse herringbone seating configuration. The new seats can extend up to 80 inches long, which is about the size of a queen bed. 18 inch HD media screens, a better gourmet menu, turn down service, and a lounge area that serves cocktails and tasty bites are just a few things that set Virgin Australia's business class apart. And, just like Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia offers complimentary pajamas for business class passengers.
9. American Airlines
American Airlines is at the top of the US airline industry in terms of quality business class offerings. Most of their international flights have all aisle access seats, and the airline is phasing out its less comfortable angled seats. Even the food aboard American Airlines' business flights has been significantly improved.
10. British Airways Club World
British Airways' business class offering, Club World, is a pleasant surprise. What makes it deserving of a place on this list is that British Airways put tons of thought into making flying Club World a great experience all around -- it doesn't just start when you get onto the plane, but well before. The lounge is a nice treat, and the great buffet and Champagne don't hurt, either. In flight, Club World reflects luxury and the service is top notch. The amenities, toiletries, and accessories, including noise cancelling headphones, all add to the experience and make you feel satisfied that you're getting your money's worth.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker