Top 10 best airlines for transatlantic Business Class

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (November 12, 2018): Top 10 airlines with the best Business Class on transatlantic routes.

On May 21st 1927, Charles Lindbergh completed the firsts solo, nonstop transatlantic flight in history, flying his Spirit of St. Louis from Long Island in New York to Paris in France. While this historic event is widely known across the globe, it was not the first transatlantic flight as that honour goes British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown, who crossed the pond in June 1919 in 16 hours in a modified First World War Vickers Vimy Bomber. Less than 100 years later, transatlantic flights in modern jets are routine, following very clearly defined routes which rank among the busiest air routes in the world. Every day between two and three thousand aircraft fly across the North Atlantic between Europe and North America. Dozens of airlines compete on these routes, offering a wide range of onboard products and cabin layouts. Here’s my top 10 list of the best Business Class products on transatlantic flights (although the experience will largely depend on the aircraft type that you fly).

There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite transatlantic airline in the comments section, or take my poll below!

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10. ALITALIA 

Onboard Alitalia’s newly delivered A330 aircraft, you’ll be treated to all the pleasures of Italian hospitality, with an exclusive cabin design, delicious regional cuisine, a carefully selected wine list and impeccable service. The leather Business Class seats can recline up to 180°, have a fully horizontal bed position, and come with a massage function. Alitalia’s in-flight service comes with meticulous attention to detail and products offered together with some of the biggest names in Italy: a night kit with Frette duvet and pillowcases; chinaware, silverware and glassware from a collaboration with Richard Ginori; elegant Magnifica amenity kits; and a gift box in separate versions for men and women by Salvatore Ferragamo.

ALITALIA


9. VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Whether you’re flying for business or pleasure, traveling in Virgin Atlantic’s Business Class (called ‘Upper Class’) makes your journey something to look forward to. To starting with, Virgin Atlantic is the only transatlantic carrier to offer chauffeur driven car service which will take you to and from the airport in style. The carrier’s stylish airport lounges are among the best in the industry. And the airline’s Business Class cabins offer roomy leather seats that double as the longest flat beds in any Business Class, ensuring you arrive refreshed and ready for anything. Virgin Atlantic is taking delivery of its Airbus A350 planes next year, and to celebrate the occasion, the carrier is expected to introduce a new, enhanced Business Class seat and product.

VIRGIN ATLANTIC


8. FINNAIR

When Finnair was the European launch customer of the Airbus A350 aircraft three years ago, it put a lot of effort in the cabin design of its new flagship longhaul Business Class product. The plane’s bright and spacious Business Class cabin features 46 seats in a 1-2-1 layout, ensuring direct aisle access to all passengers. The Zodiac Cirrus III seats convert to fully flat beds, while a large touch-screen inflight entertainment system comes programmed with films, TV shows, music and other digital content on demand in numerous languages. Finair’s menus offer Nordic delicacies and carefully selected wines. A very nice touch is that Finnair offers free WiFi to all Business Class passengers on its A350 planes.

  • Official websiteFinnair
  • Review: read here my review of Finnair’s Business Class in an Airbus A350.
  • Review: read here and here my reviews of  Finnair’s Business Class in an Airbus A330.


7. UNITED AIRLINES

It is pretty fashionable to complain about American carriers, especially about the service they deliver onboard. However, that does not count anymore for United Airlines. Named after the North Star, United’s Polaris Business Class offers a reimagined, sleep-enhancing, departure-to-landing experience. Crafted as individual, forward-facing, suite-like pods, each passenger’s personal suite on its Boeing 777-300ER flagship planes features a ‘do not disturb” sign, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, several storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, a high-definition entertainment screen, direct access to the aisle, 180-degree flat-bed recline and, for seats in the center of the cabin, electronic privacy dividers.

  • Official websiteUnited Airlines
  • Review: read here my review of United’s Polaris Business Class in a Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner.
  • Review: read here my review of United’s domestic Business Class in a Boeing 777-200.

UNITED AIRLINES


6. SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIR LINES

Swiss is the pride of the Lufthansa group, which also manages Lufthansa itself, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, and Austrian Airlines. Swiss recently added the Boeing 777 to its fleet, which features a re-designed cabin interior with top comfort and visual appeal in all three classes. The Swiss Business Class seat has a built-in power outlet, cubbyholes for shoes, and a small countertop to put things on when the tray is not extended. The seat itself turns into a 78-inch/2-meter flatbed that lowers into a space carved out for it in the seat in front (foot space is not generous though). Food on Swiss is very good, and clearly a step up compared to most other airlines, as is the genuinely warm service provided by Swiss’ wonderful cabin crew.

  • Official websiteSwiss International Air Lines
  • Review: read here my review of Swiss’ Business Class in an Airbus A340.
  • Review: read here and here my reviews of Swiss’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.


5. KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES

KLM has installed the excellent Business Class Zodiac seat on its Boeing 787 aircraft. With 30 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, there is plenty of space to stretch out and passengers can enjoy both the most up-to-date entertainment system and WiFi connectivity. KLM’s B787 Dreamliners feature a cabin interior of Dutch understated elegance which characterizes the carrier’s brand design, first introduced to its 747 and 777 aircraft and created by top Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. KLM’s attention to design elements, such as Marcel Wanders tableware, the Jan Taminiau amenty kit, and the Delft Blue miniature Dutch houses (filled with gin) all make for a memorable flying experience.

KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES


4. AUSTRIAN AIRLINES

Austrian Airlines’ small fleet of Boeing 777 and 767 airplanes underwent a revamp of their Business Class product a couple of years ago. The red-blue color scheme makes for a nice cabin; there are comfy blankets and a brilliant Viennese coffee menu on board; and the seats can be adjusted for softness and of course go fully lie-flat, which is great for sleeping. But what really sets Austrian Airlines apart is its onboard food, which is prepared by the award-winning company DO&CO using only fresh raw ingredients and exclusively homemade menus. On board Austrian’s long-haul Business Class, a qualified chef from Austrian’s catering partner DO & CO accompanies the crew, who takes the passengers’ orders and also serves freshly prepared meals.

  • Official websiteAustrian Airlines
  • Review: read here and here my reviews of Austrian Airlines’ Business Class in a Boeing 777.


3. BRITISH AIRWAYS

While British Airways’ Business Class (dubbed Club World) raised the bar for Business Class worldwide two decades ago with the introduction of the first fully lie-flat seat and an innovative “Ying/Yang” seat plan, the seat itself is now outclassed by some of its competitors (although it is introducing a new seat next year on its A350 aircraft). So you would not expect British Airways to end up in a top 10 list like this one, but it remains one of my preferred airlines for transatlantic Business Class, in part beacuse the product is constistent across its fleet. And as I recently experienced myself, British Airways dramatically increased its onboard experience over the past year, with improved catering (also from DO&CO), excellent bedding, and stylish amenity kits.

  • Official websiteBritish Airways.
  • Review: read here and here my reviews of British Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A380.
  • Review: read here my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 747-400.
  • Review: read here my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.
  • Review: read here my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 787-9  Dreamliner.


2. SINGAPORE AIRLINES

You may be surprised to find this Asian carrier on this list, but Singapore Airline does operate daily transatlantic routes from Frankfurt to New York (operated by an A380) and from Manchester to Houston (operated by an A350). Singapore Airlines has always been synonymous with lavish luxury in the skies and never fails to impress. Singapore Airlines’ Business Class seats on the A350 and A380 are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout and rank among the most spacious in the industry. The carrier also offer a stellar fine restaurant-style setting and culinary service at 30,000 feet. Each menu – specially created by an international panel of celebrated chefs – is sure to appeal to the discerning epicure within you. Singapore Airlines makes Business Class look First Class.

  • Official websiteSingapore Airlines
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A350.
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A330.
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES


1. DELTA AIR LINES

Delta Air Lines redefines transatlantic Business Class travel with the introduction of a Business Class cabin that features a sliding door at each suite. The Delta One suite offers each customer a private space accessed by a sliding door with thoughtfully designed personal stowage areas, an advanced in-flight entertainment system and premium trim and finishes to create a comfortable, residential feel. Delta One service includes chef-curated meals, wine pairings by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, Westin in-flight bedding, TUMI amenity kits featuring Kiehl premium skincare, and in-flight loungewear on select flights. The Delta One suite is currently only available on Delta’s Airbus A350, which flies on selected routes such as Detroit to Amsterdam. The bad news is that when you don’t get the A350, the experience will be less than stellar.

  • Official website: Delta Air Lines
  • Review: read here my review of Delta’s Business Class in a Boeing 767.


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11 Comments

  1. Virgin Atlantic – appreciate your post but I never fly this product for one reason. Usually, as a solo traveller, when I book a window seat I have an inherent expectation of being able to look out it w/o breaking my neck. This design, and also on Air Canada is beyond me how it passed either frequent flyer focus groups.

  2. Any list with BA near the top is totally absurd. Yes it has awful seats. That alone is enough to keep it off the list. Almost no at seat storage except if you are upstairs on a 747. No free assigned seats unless elite. Uneven service. If you made it number 10, at least one might understand. You also did not mention Emirates, which may just fly to two cities, but it has some of the best service. La Compagnie is also good. Seat may not be great, but (as you say about BA), it will get lie-flat next year on its whole, but very small fleet. BA will take years to improve. Polaris is cutting back on service. Please do a better job. This top ten list does not make the best of top ten lists.

    • I totally agree who ever did this comparison has never recently flown in BA bis class cabin it is constantly bad and rude staff who cannot be bothered any more. Go back fly with BA and re ishew the report. The same goes to united 4 bis class seats in the middle so if u get the centre seat its so bad for obviuse reasons

      • I actually flew British Airways’ Business Class last week in a B787 (Seychelles to London). While I was very critical for the airline in the past few years (I agree that their service declined below acceptable levels), I was pleasantly surprised by the massive service improvement they implemented onboard in the past few months. IMHO, it’s clear that British Airways upped its game.

  3. I am surprised that air Canada did not make your top ten. They win numerous awards ever year and are voted best airline it North America. There old business class seats are very close to what virgin is currently using. Thier new business class seat is miles ahead of the virgin product, more comfortable and more storage. If you purchase a business class ticket you cab use the new signature lounge at yyz which is fantastic and includes enhanced food and drinks with menu serrvice and enhanced bar menu. Virgin is not the only airline to offer car service if you fly Emirates out of yyz it also includes car service.

  4. Nope.

    BA has improved service but their seats are still awful. United has good seats in 17 (that’s SEVENTEEN) aircraft. They don’t belong on any list without the word “shame” in the title.

    Air Canada’s new business beats half if this list .while American’s service is hit or miss, they consistently have the best long haul business seats.

    Finnair only fly the A350 to New York, so not sure why that’s in the list.

  5. Delta only flies their A350s to Asia and from Detroit to Amsterdam, and ill say that Deltas Business class is definetly acceptable on their 767s, 777s and A330s, im suprised American or Air Canada didn’t make that list.

    • There are several trip reports about Qatar Airways on my blog/vlog, and I am soon going to post some more (including a trip onboard the QSuites).

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