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Business & Premium Classes

The Best Airlines for Long-Haul Business Class Travel

Sucheta Rawal

Sucheta Rawal

July 21, 2023

5 min read

If you’ve walked down the aisle of an airplane envying all those “lucky” passengers who travel up front in spacious seats and sip on glasses of champagne and mimosas through the journey, it may be time for you to book yourself a business class ticket. 

Splurging on flying business class may be a special treat or a necessity on a long-haul flight. You don’t only get to arrive at your destination well rested, but enjoy the journey with gourmet food, comfortable bedding, and attentive service as well. But which is the best airline for business class seating and service? 

Here are our best business class picks for 2021…

Cathay Pacific Airways: Best for business class flights to China and Southeast Asia

Cathay Pacific’s business class passengers receive a personalized welcome note, along with a hot towel and a glass of refreshing sparkling jasmine silver needle JING tea, as soon as they enter the cabin. 

Bamford (luxury UK lifestyle brand renowned for its ethical and sustainable principles) travel amenities include hydrating and scented skincare, premium 400-thread-count pillowcase, and a two-piece duvet, both made using 100 percent sustainably sourced cotton, designed to offer a restful sleep on long-haul flights. Book a seat on the newest business class seats installed on A350 planes that have extra-wide cabins with intelligent lighting and reduced noise. The custom designed Cirrus seats, featuring a flat-bed that is just over 82 inches or 2 meters long, offer more legroom and storage space than other traditional herringbone styles.

Qatar Airways: Best for business class flights to Muscat, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Maldives, and Doha

Business class passengers on Qatar Airways are welcomed by Arabic coffee, saffron chai, fresh dates and 100% cotton pajamas to change into (and yours to keep). Qatar’s Qsuites also offer the utmost comfort and privacy on board. These customizable suites can be closed off by a door for personal use, joined with a partner by lowering partitions and made into a double bed (perfect for honeymooners), or you can combine four suites to create a single large room that is perfect for families and friends to socialize. And when you’re ready to nap, flight attendants turn down the flat beds with White Company bedding, and even leave a box of chocolates for you to have sweet dreams in the skies.  

Qatar has an extensive footprint in the US and flies from New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, DC, and Chicago to its hub in Doha, where you can connect onto hundreds of destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. 

>> Read more about Qatar Airways business class

Singapore Airlines: Best for business class flights to Hong Kong Singapore, India, Bali, and Australia

Singapore Airlines is best known for its culinary reputation, offering Michelin star dining at 30,000 feet. Order a personalized dinner up to 24 hours prior to departure through the airlines’ Book The Cook service. The gourmet meals are created by some of the world's leading chefs, paired with finest champagnes and wines, and served on fine porcelain. 

With a width of 30 inches, Singapore Airlines Business Class seats on its A350 and B777 aircraft are the widest in the world. Business Class seats on the new A380 can also be configured to two fully-flat joined beds for one or two people, so you can spread out. If you are traveling on business, you will find the multiple charging stations, spacious desk, and storage pockets for laptop, paperwork and travel accessories to be very useful.

Singapore’s all business/premium economy flights from NYC make the experience feel even more exclusive (and when you’re flying the longest flight in the world, that’s a definite perk). The airline also operates nonstop flights to Tokyo, Frankfurt and Manchester from the United States, and often has very competitive prices on these routes. 

Etihad Airways: Best for business class flights to India, Maldives, and the Seychelles, with a stop in Abu Dhabi

Etihad’s business class, known as Etihad Studio, is available on their 787-9 fleet and is arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration that faces the front and back of the plane (select an even numbered seat if you prefer front facing). The 22-inch wide seat transforms into a spacious 6 foot 8 inch flatbed with the touch of a button. You can also adjust the firmness, position, and massage functions with touch screen seat controls. 

First and Business class passengers on Etihad get access to dedicated Business Check-In, chauffeur driven Mercedes Benz (when traveling from the UAE), and free COVID-19 insurance (for tickets booked until September 30, 2021). Fun fact: If you’re looking to make Dubai your final destination, you can actually book a ticket to Dubai on Etihad and they'll transfer you from AUH airport to Dubai on a luxury bus.

JetBlue: Best for business class flights to London

The US-based low-cost airline JetBlue is launching a new Airbus A321LR aircraft for a boutique business class flying experience on transatlantic flights starting this summer. These narrow body planes (capacity 160) with large single-aisle cabins will connect JFK and Boston (launching 2022) to London Heathrow. The new planes have custom LED mood lighting, ergonomic sidewalls, and the largest overhead bins on a single-aisle aircraft. 

JetBlue’s Transatlantic Mint Experience features 24 fully lie-flat private suites with sliding doors, custom-designed seat cushions by Tuft & Needle, and multiple-screen entertainment monitors. JetBlue also promises free, high-speed wifi across the Atlantic for the entire plane—a feat that will truly set them apart if they can pull it off. 

All Nippon Airways: Best for business class flights to Japan

All Nippon Airways (ANA) "The Room" Business Class on the carrier's long-haul B777-300ER flights (currently only from JFK but eventually expanding to other routes) will take you from the bedroom to the board room without the weariness. At 25 inches wide, 53 inches in pitch, and 72 inches length, the wide seats were designed in collaboration with famed architect Kengo Kuma and the British design team Acumen. 

With 64 business class seats on each flight, The Room represents one of the largest business class seating configurations in the world. The multifunctional Japanese living spaces figure prominently in the design, with flexible doors for privacy that can also be adjusted to create a shared space with other travel companions.

Turkish Airlines: Best for business class flights to Europe, Mongolia, Central Asia, and North Africa with a stop in Istanbul

Turkish Airlines offers some of the widest connectivity (they fly to 120 countries) and is one of the few airlines that has true business class seats (as opposed to a blocked middle seat in economy) on shorter intra-Europe flights. 

You can also pre order your meals (picture menus are posted a week in advance) and enjoy them while lounging in your fully lie-flat seats onboard, or just pick from the appetizer and dessert carts brought out by friendly chefs during your long haul flight. 

Bonus: If Istanbul isn’t your final destination but you want to make an extended pitstop in the city, certain layovers qualify for free layover tours or hotel stays. Plus, the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul is revered. With its multiple buffet stations and live cooking stations serving delicious food and drinks, a virtual golf simulator, and modern relaxing areas, it is considered to be one of the best business lounges in the world. 

>> Read more about Turkish Airlines business class

Delta Air Lines: Best for business class flights to Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris, and Amsterdam 

Delta Air Lines prides itself for service and claimed the number one spot in the J.D. Power 2021 North America Airline Satisfaction Study. There are attentively dedicated in-cabin flight attendant on long-haul flights to serve business class customers. Delta One® features Thompson Vantage XL seats with full-height sliding doors that give you utmost privacy and room to spread out, making it one of the best business class airlines. These are available on all Delta A350-900s and A330-900neos. 

Each seat includes an oversized duvet from Westin Heavenly bedding and a down-alternative pillow. Delta One passengers also get Sky Priority accelerated check-in, expedited security lines, special baggage treatment, and access to Delta Sky Club lounges. 

>> Read more about Delta One business class

Air New Zealand: Best for business class flights to New Zealand and the South Pacific 

Air New Zealand Business Premier™ offers a private “nest in the sky” on its Boeing 777-200, 777-300 and 787-9 long haul flights. Luxurious leather seats are fitted with indulgent memory foam mattresses, duvets, and pillows. Some business class passengers enjoy the cozier herringbone 1-2-1 configuration and the soft pink mood lighting, characteristic to Air New Zealand. The 787 has the same business class seat, but the 1-1-1 configuration is much more private. 

There’s also an ottoman at each seat that allows a companion to dine with you face-to-face. Good quality New Zealand wines are offered on board to drink and for purchase for at home delivery. 

EVA Air: Best for business class flights to Taipei and Southeast Asia

EVA’s redesigned Royal Laurel Class seats on Boeing 787 are ideal for those who like to catch up with movies and favorite TV shows during long flights. 

Once you change into Apujan sleepwear (London-based designer label) and refresh with Rimowa/Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits, grab a glass of EVA’s vintage champagne, and get ready to enjoy your personal movie theater in the sky. Business class passengers on EVA get the latest noise-canceling headphones and have a broad entertainment selection on the 18-inch HD touchscreen monitor. When you’re ready to sleep, seats in Royal Laurel Class on the Boeing 777-300ER convert into a 6.5-foot long flat bed with the touch of a button.  

Qantas: Best for business class flights to Australia 

On Qantas Dreamliner 787-9, you can take a red eye flight to the south Pacific in utmost comfort. The 42 business class seats arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration are 23″- 24″ wide and 80″ in bed length. Aircraft windows are 65% larger than comparable aircrafts’, providing an increased sense of space and reduced chance of claustrophobia on ultra-long haul flights. 

Qantas also has a strong focus on health and wellbeing. They partnered with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre to create programs on reducing jet lag, serving nutritionally rich meals, Australian native aromatics infused waters, and a healthy snack bar to passengers. 

Qantas Dreamliner connects New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago to major cities in Australia.  

Going now send cheap flights in business class! Here are some of the incredible international business class deals we’ve found for our Elite members: 

  • Lima, Peru for $837 
  • NYC to Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland as low as $1,043 
  • Philadelphia and DC to the Seychelles for $2,500
  • $2,900 from LAX to Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, and other spots in Asia

Read more about traveling in business and first class

Sucheta Rawal

Sucheta Rawal

Freelance Writer

Sucheta Rawal is an Asian-American food and travel writer who has traveled to 100 countries across 7 continents. She is the founder of the nonprofit, Go Eat Give that promotes cross cultural awareness, and author of ‘Beato Goes To’ series of children’s books on travel. Follow her at www.suchetarawal.com

Published July 21, 2023

Last updated December 19, 2023

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