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!
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.
- Official website: Alitalia
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.
- Official website: Virgin Atlantic
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 website: Finnair
- 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.
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 website: United 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.
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 website: Swiss 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.
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.
- Official website: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Review: read here my review of KLM’s Business Class in a Boeing 777-200ER.
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 website: Austrian Airlines
- Review: read here and here my reviews of Austrian Airlines’ Business Class in a Boeing 777.
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 website: British 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.
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 website: Singapore 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.
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.