Top 10 best airlines for longhaul Business Class

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 6, 2020): Top 10 world’s best airlines for longhaul Business Class.

Each year, I give a round-up of my favorite 10 Business Class products in the world. Flying Business Class is purely aspirational for most, a lifetime experience for some, and a must for a select few. With Business Class, the journey itself becomes a fun experience: you don’t have to wait in line at the airport; you get access to airport lounges; you interact with attentive personnel; you are treated to gourmet food and quality wines; and you can sleep in a comfortable flat-bed for total relaxation. But which airline has the best Business Class cabin product anno 2020? I hereby present you my selection of the top 10 best Business Class cabins of 2020 (reflecting my own personal taste).

There is more information (with trip reports & Youtube clips) below my slideshow. Think I missed one? Leave a comment or take my poll below!

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10. BRITISH AIRWAYS

While British Airways’ Business Class (dubbed Club World) raised the bar worldwide two decades ago with the introduction of the first fully lie-flat seat and an innovative “Ying/Yang” seat plan, the seat concept itself is now dated and outclassed by some of its competitors. 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 longhaul travel, because the product is consistent across its wide-body fleet and the seat is extremely private (as long as you don’t end up along the aisle). And as I recently experienced myself, British Airways dramatically increased its onboard experience over the past year, with improved catering (from DO&CO), excellent bedding, and stylish amenity kits, which rivals the best in the skies. Last year, the airline also introduced a new suite concept onboard its A350 planes, with direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy, luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, enviable 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens, and 40 % more storage space per seat (including a vanity unit and mirror).

  • Official websiteBritish Airways.
  • Review: read my review of British Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A380 here.
  • Review: read my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 747 here.
  • Review: read my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777 here.
  • Review: read my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 787 here.


9. EMIRATES

The success of Emirates’ Business Class product is very much based on the comfort and space of its Airbus A380 fleet, and that’s why the mega plane is rolled out on all major international routes of the Dubai based carrier. With a staggered 1–2–1 configuration in Business Class, each passenger is assured of direct aisle access and a significant amount of privacy. The window Business Class seats are perfect for solo travelers, while the dual and more intimate seats in the center of the cabin are perfect for partners traveling together. Mammoth amenity kits, a huge inflight entertainment selection, and a roomy and well-appointed bar on the upper deck makes flying Emirates’ A380 quite an event, and in addition, the ground service matches the flying experience (e.g. chauffeur service, a gigantic Dubai lounge). Unfortunately, the Business Class cabins in most of Emirates’ Boeing 777s are laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration (with no direct aisle access for all passengers), which is significantly inferior to the one offered on the airline’s Airbus A380 fleet.

  • Official websiteEmirates
  • Review: read my review of Emirates’ Business Class in an Airbus A380 here.
  • Review: read my review of Emirates’ Business Class in a Boeing 777 here.


8. CATHAY PACIFIC

Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific offers a consistent and solid Business Class product, featuring a flat-bed that is just over 82 inches or 2 meters long. A bed extension increases its width by 6.5 inches or 16.5 cm to provide additional hip support, while the side storage compartment offers extra knee space for sleeping on your side. For sleeping, you may choose to leave your armrest up for more privacy, or down for more space. In fact, Cathay’s Business Class seat is identical to the one installed on American Airlines, Finnair, and Air France, but Cathay deserves to take the top spot for their difference in customer service, impressive lounges, cabin crew training, and award-winning cuisine, whilst ensuring their price point still remains competitive. The carrier’s newest Business Class seat is found on its A350 planes, although it is basically a refreshed design of Cathay’s ‘old’ Business Class product onboard its B777 and A330 planes. Keep in mind that Cathay’s top-notch Business Class product is not available on some B777 planes with a regional configuration, so plan your travels accordingly.

  • Official websiteCathay Pacific
  • Review: read my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in an Airbus A350 here.
  • Review: read my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in an Airbus A330 here.
  • Review: read my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in a Boeing 777 here.


7. 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. The carrier recently acquired several Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which feature an entirely new Upper Class product. Laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, every suite faces towards the window and offers deployable privacy screens. All suites transition seamlessly from an upright seat, straight to a bed. The suite also boasts Virgin Atlantic’s largest ever in-flight entertainment screen, at 18.5”and features intuitive new system, controllable by passengers’ own personal device. The Virgin Atlantic A350 also features a new bar area known as The Loft. As the largest social space in the airline’s fleet, it’s designed for customers to gather, chat, enjoy a drink or dine with friends. Virgin Atlantic has ordered a total of 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, all scheduled to join the carrier’s fleet by the end of 2021.

  • Official website: Virgin Atlantic
  • Review: coming soon


6. ETIHAD AIRWAYS

Business Class with the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates is not business as usual. The Business Studios on Etihad’s A380s and 787 Dreamliners can be customized to suit every stage of the journey and are the embodiment of style, simplicity and functionality. The cabin has a unique dovetail design with forward and rear facing seats that creates a sense of space and freedom, with direct aisle access and convenient storage spaces. Upholstered by Poltrona Frau, the 22-inch (56 cm) wide seat converts into a comfortable fully flat bed of up to 6 feet and 8 inches (203 cm). The Business Studio offers a space for everything, including a concealed storage, a meal table and a separate large side table that can be used for laptops and other personal belongings when you are dining. Located between First and Business Class, there’s also a lounge on the A380 that seats up to six guests and is fitted with seatbelts, power supply and connectivity ports. Unfortunately, Etihad Airways’ A330, A320 and B777 planes feature a less glamorous (albeit still excellent) Business Class product.

  • Official websiteEtihad Airways
  • Review: read my review of Etihad Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777 here.
  • Review: read my review of Etihad Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner here.
  • Review: read my review of Etihad Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A330 here.


5. DELTA AIR LINES

In 2017, Delta Air Lines redefined transatlantic and transpacific Business Class travel with the introduction of a Business Class cabin that features a sliding door at each suite. The suites offer passenger 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. Service in Delta One (which is how Delta calls its international Business Class cabin) includes chef-curated meals, wine pairings by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, terrific 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 A350s and some retrofitted B777s, which flies on selected routes such as Los Angeles to Sydney or Tokyo. Delta will refurbish all eight of its 777-200ER and all ten of its 777-200LR aircraft and expects to have taken delivery of 13 A350s by the end of 2019. The bad news is that when you don’t get to fly the A350 or B777, the experience will be less than stellar.

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

DELTA AIR LINES


4. SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Singapore Airlines has always been synonymous with lavishing luxury in the skies. And they do not fail to impress. With their width of 30 inches or 75 cm, the carrier’s Business Class seats on its A350 and B777 aircraft are the widest in the world (too wide for comfort, according to some). The unrivalled space between each seat is a hallmark of the four-abreast (1-2-1) configuration that offers all passengers direct access to the aisle. Designed by JPA and introduced in 2017 on their A380 aircraft, the carrier’s new Business Class seat – albeit more narrow – is even better than the previous incarnation of the seat. A large back shell on every seat creates a cocoon-like feel for more privacy while the center divider can be fully lowered to form double beds, making the two center seats an ideal choice for customers such as families travelling together. Singapore Airlines also offers a fine restaurant-style setting and culinary service at 30,000 feet. Each menu, specially created by a panel of celebrated chefs from around the globe, is sure to appeal to the discerning epicure within you.

  • Official websiteSingapore Airlines
  • Review: read my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A350 here.
  • Review: read my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A380 here.
  • Review: read my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A330 here.
  • Review: read my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in a Boeing 787 here.
  • Review: read my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in a Boeing 777 here.


3. ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA)

All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline, has collaborated with famed architect Kengo Kuma and leading British designers Acumen to roll out a total of twelve completely redesigned Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which are mainly deployed on the carrier’s longhaul route. At the heart of ANA’s new product investment is a brand new seat design for Business Class called “THE Room”. Inspired by modern, multifunctional Japanese living spaces, THE Room offers flexible doors for personal privacy that can also be adjusted to share the space with fellow travel companions – from dining together with the family to conducting meetings with colleagues. With its bold forward and rearward seat layout, THE Room represents one of the largest Business Class seating environments in the world – with a wide sofa which is double the width to previous Business Class seating. With a design focus on minimization and de-cluttering, the Business Class seat offers a ‘place for everything’ including discreet areas for all personal belongings, with deep blue accent hues precisely placed inside each compartment.


2. EVA AIR

Taiwan based EVA Air calls its international Business class ‘Royal Laurel Class’, providing passengers with comfortable sleeping space for a sufficient rest that is free from disturbances. The seats in Royal Laurel Class onboard EVA’s B777s and B787s are configured in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout that maximizes space. Privacy is assured through fixed panels that help create your own personal area. At the push of a button, each seat converts into an approximately 82 inches (2 meter) long bed, enabling passengers to lie down, get comfortable and sleep on long-haul flights. Thoughtful touches include a space to hang your jacket, a shoe cabinet, a retractable armrest, and a cocktail table. This excellent Business Class product is complemented by exclusive amenity kits, noise-canceling headphones, Fiji water, mouth-watering cuisine from all over the world (ranging from luscious beef steak to delicious lobster), and the warm, friendly service EVA Air is known for. To top it all, EVA Air is one of the few airlines to offer pajamas in Business Class; loose and comfortable, these garments are perfect for slumbering on long-haul flights.

  • Official website: Eva Air
  • read my review of Eva Air’s Business Class in a Boeing 777 here.


1. QATAR AIRWAYS

In 2017, Qatar Airways – which is still facing challenges following a severe diplomatic crisis in the Middle East – took its Business Class product to a new, unprecedented level of luxury and style, raising the bar for all of its competitors. The so-called ‘QSuite’ features not only Business Class suites with sliding doors for total privacy but also double beds, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the center four seats also allow colleagues, friends or families traveling together to transform their space into a four person suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialize together. Each seat is crafted with thoughtful and luxurious details such as hand-stitched Italian leather and satin rose gold finishing. To further complement the customisable on-board seating experience that passengers will now enjoy, Qatar Airways is also launching a new food and beverage concept, introducing a menu that offers a host of new dining choices. The QSuite, which makes Business Class look First Class, is only available on selected routes and aircraft (A350-1000s and some retrofitted B777s and A350-900s).

  • Official websiteQatar Airways
  • Review: read my review of Qatar Airways’ Qsuite Business Class in an Airbus A350 here.
  • Review: read my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A330 here.
  • Review: read my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner here.
  • Review: read my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777 here.


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47 Comments

  1. If you are very tall (6’4″+) take it from me- Cathay is the only way to go (probably American as well). BA, Emirates (777 and A380) and Singapore are disastrous and you will deeply resent having paid good money to feel like Gulliver!

  2. I would just like to mention LAN Airlines; as I am a frequent traveler to many countries in South America. Their service is second to none in the region; especially their Primera Classe. American Airlines, their main competitor doesn’t even come close with their old 757 fleet that doesn’t even have sleeper seats, terrible food and worse cabin service by an apathetic & tenured crew.

    LAN offers fully flat sleeper seats, privacy, endless entertainment choices and good food; serviced by a well-trained cabin crew. They also offer many direct flights from U.S. Gateway cities. To top it off, you can always use your Aadvantage Miles to book a Business Class seat on LAN. It’s also worth mentioning that their Business Class fare sales are beyond reasonable, considering that many direct flights range from 9-15 hours.

  3. Actually I don’t consider a good business class all those with the tilted seats with odd views from the window. Iberia is as good as many of the ones on the list and I wouldn’t include others as American Airlines

  4. srsly ba should not be on this list, how is cathay, af new business, and eva not on this list?

  5. Where is Turkish Airlines? Best food in the skies, the best business class lounge and the Flight Attendants who are professional, attentive, friendly and not cold as the Germans/Austrians and the Swiss & not robotic and plastic like the Asians!

  6. I flew Business on Etihad back from BKK to LHR via Abu Dhabi and it was fantastic. The 777 out of Bangkok was very good but the A380 from AUH was something else again. The in-flight service was superb. I loved the business lounge at Abu Dhabi too. My only issue is that the airport itself, especially the security checks, was like stepping back into the third world.

  7. Since the introduction of the new CEO, Alex Cruz, who came from budget airline Vueling, BA is cost cutting left right and centre. It now has a feel of a low cost airline, especially in the european/ domestic routes, even more so for coach passengers who now even have to pay for bottled water.
    Club europe seating pitch reduced from 34″ to 30″, a reduction that tallys with the same present pitch in economy. Why would you chose to fly BA club in Europe? Reduced pay for cabin crew, reduced menus, Buy on Board for those at the back. If you’re a 1st passenger, you’d even have to pay for a cup of tea on a domestic connection!
    Despite my Avios points from work, the next social flight I book, won’t be with BA.
    Willy Walsh has again, a lot to answer for.

  8. Hardly a comprehensive sample. There are too many other competitors to offer up such a glib survey which hardly addresses the heading, the best airlines for long haul business class. We all have our favourites but this is smacks of sponsorship.

  9. What is BA even doing on this list? It’s appalling. So cramped in Business ( 7 across versus 4 on say QR. Th service is crap, the flight attendants are old and overweight or prancers and the food is diabolical. Remove them now, stop misleading people that their Business Class is any good. It’s rubbish.

  10. How BA got into this list amazes me. Your own comment that BA food is “hit and miss” is an understatement. I tolerated BA business from SYD to SIN and it was disgraceful. The seat was so narrow I could not roll over without getting up. FAs reached accross me to serve those poor souls facing rearwards … they could have went behind me. After that debacle I paid more to fly SIN-SYD first class. I had a good sleep but when I was woken to have “breakfast” I opted for the “hot” meal which was a dried old finger bun stuffed with some cheesey unmentionable that was inedible. When I emailed my concerns to BA I was sent a “we pride ourselves on the freshness of our food etc etc” you can imagine the drivel. AB … NEVER again … and I am one world emerald so I know good service when I see it …. where is Cathay in this list … they are a truely 5 start airline

  11. Yeah, I’m never flying BA Business class again. Period. I’m sick of it now. I may fly 1st class but I’ll need to find a replacement now. I seriously think Cathay Pacific should be #10 or even higher. I just flew Business class on a Cathay Pacific A350-900 and it was AMAZING!!! Maybe you should do a reissue, Lux.

  12. It is almost as interesting who isn’t on the list as who is. Qantas, Lufthansa, Air France all do a nice job maybe top 20 not top 10. BA, American, Delta, Air Canada perhaps need to rethink their offering.

  13. Recently returned from Kiev flying r/t on Austrian 767 biz. It was very nice but service felt a little rushed.

  14. How about All Nippon Airways? Their Business Class is also very good — seat configuration, inflight service and meals 👍👍👍

  15. Do you mean Etihad’s A330, A340, and B777 Feature a less glamorous product? Also, United’s new Polaris Business Class is only available on their new 777-300ER fleet which idk if they’re using yet.

  16. I can’t believe BA is on the list. Have you ever tried BA on the London to BLR or London to MAA routes? Its more like band aid on economy class. Cathay Pacific isn’t on the list and BA made it? Seriously?

  17. Agree re Austrian, flew Vienna to Miami, and the lunch service was very rushed, why the rush on an 11 hour flight!
    Guess it gives the flight attendants more time to gossip in the Galley!
    Qatar were great, true on demand dining, Singapore also know how to pace the service!

  18. I am surprised that AA and ANA weren’t in there. Delta and Air Canda are definitely in the top 20 too.

  19. I like how Qatar does the a la carte dining option. Not all travelers are on the same schedule. Being able to get a breakfast instead of a dinner is a nice touch.

  20. i’ve flown business class Cathay Pacific & Air Canada: both very good!!…comfortable seat converts to flat comfortable bed, cozy duvet; nice amenities, adequate space & storage; good food & service. Neither on your list of best 10? But BA is your #10??? despite the videos of the narrow seats with separate levered foot-leg rest that aligns to be flat narrow bed, poor storage; & middle seat faces backwards????
    I appreciate business class luxury on CP & AC after years of economy-travel.
    We’re considering BA for long haul flight to India for its price compared to AC but I have serious concerns considering it’s a 1-connection flight with plane change in London compared to AC’s direct flight & seeing BA’s business class seat & seating arrangements are scary. Oh My!! I hope that I can convince my hubbie that the extra$ for AC will be worth it.

  21. Hallo, Thanks for your great info.
    Sometimes not every airplane has the new version. Where can we find this information?
    Thanks and enjoy your next trips

  22. Sorry but BA business top 10, absolutely no way, not even top 50. It’s rubbish. However I cannot wait to experience the new A350 that will bring BA back into the top 10 by the looks of it.

  23. I agree with the comment about BA being in the top 10. Ranking the seats is important, but I look for service. Maybe another poll?

  24. BA is not worthy to be in the top ten terrible service. And Delta while it’s a suite, it’s an illusion as the space is very small. You are right that Singapore and Qatar are the best, however the service on Singapore airlines is better.

  25. BA?????????????????? The worst business experience ever. You must receive payment from them to include here. It should be at the top of the WORST products.

  26. My wife and I fly BNE to LAX On VA twice a year. She and our daughter recently flew SQ. Both thought that VA was better. Both hard and soft product.
    We sometimes fly premium economy and VA is better than SQ there as well.
    J class on VA to LAX is worthy of top 10.

  27. I would be interested in your rating of business class for couples traveling together who actually want to talk with each other. Many airlines have seats/layouts that are not conducive to this. Thanks. Appreciate your informative blogb

  28. Delta in the top ten..now that is ridiculous! Horrorful meals, rude F/A, no luxury at all.
    Also VA is a joke. Meals Overall very simple and not a touch of brilliance

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