Editors favourites: Who we love to fly with and why

October 07, 2015

Despite the often bad press, we live in a world that’s full of exceptional airlines offering innovative and comfortable in flight products at the lowest prices we have seen.  The team at Airlineratings.com have put together their top ten airlines for first, business, premium economy and economy class travel but here’s a look at some of our favourites to fly with and why. 

First Class:
Emirates’ first class is modelled on the Orient Express. The railway carriage style cabins drip opulence with service to match. And the airline was the first to offer showers to its first class passengers on the flagship A380. First class passengers can stay cocooned in their private world or seek some company at the lounge bar at the rear of the upper deck. Read our onboard review here.

The airline has been a trendsetter right across the passenger cabin since its launch in 1972. In 2007 it introduced a new standard of first class with its A380 offering a double bed, although it had to quickly stress that passengers were not allowed to get too intimate. But the surroundings are very intimate not to mention opulent.

Last year Etihad reinvented its premium cabins initially for its long haul A380s and 787s and will upgrade its 777s. Its first class on its flagship A380 is quite simply in a class of its own with space, space and more space. The airline also added a lobby lounge for both first and business class. First class passengers can also use a dedicated shower. See more of Etihad’s first class here.

Air New Zealand:
The airline’s Business Premier is the equivalent of many airlines’ first class. The airline has gone to a great deal of trouble with its mattress which is super comfortable ensuring a good night’s rest. The beverage and food service is just superb. Read our onboard review here.

The Australian airline invented business class in 1979 and has constantly updated its product since, both in the air and on the ground, where it boasts the world’s best Business Lounges. The airline is currently rolling out a new business suite on its medium to long range A330s.  Read our on board review here.

Its new business product for the A380 and 787 raises the bar for the rest of the industry. Business class passengers can avail themselves of a lobby lounge on the top deck of the A380. Service levels are excellent and the menu outstanding.

Premium Economy:
Air New Zealand:
Put simply, Air New Zealand’s premium economy is like business, just without the bed. From hot towels, a warm duvet, noise cancelling headphones, full amenity kit, complete bar offering and business class quality meals and snacks served on a linen tablecloth, it is value and comfort at its best.  Read our onboard review here.

British Airways:
The airline was one of the first adopters of premium economy and has continued to refine and update its offering. With plenty of personal space and storage options for passengers the product is very similar to what business class used to be.

Available on the longest flights in the world and offering exceptional seat comfort and space, Qantas’s premium economy is something to be tried. In addition to the seat comfort, passengers are provided with thick blankets, business class style catering, noise cancelling headphones and a great selection of inflight entertainment.

Air New Zealand:
This is one airline that hasn’t forgotten where most of its passengers fly. Who else serves their passengers fruit salad and scones with jam and cream for an afternoon tea snack? They are also the innovators of the popular and unique Skycouch – a section of the cabin in economy where seat groupings of three transform in to a couch giving passengers traveling together more options to lie flat or recline. Read our onboard review here.

Offering three main course choices and hot desserts, the airline takes economy to the next level. With wi-fi rolled out across almost the entire fleet, the interactive E-box inflight entrainment system, a generous seat pitch of 32- 34 inch and in-flight nannies on select flights to keep children entertained, the airline does all it can to make the flight enjoyable. 

Since the days of economy class travel, Singapore Airlines has always set the benchmark high. From generous sized meals, comprehensive inflight entertainment, self-serve snack bars, generously padded seats with optional lumbar support, footrests and large warm blankets, this airline continues to be one of our favourites. Read our onboard review here.

With a beautiful cabin, generous meals, efficient service, great in flight entertainment and competitive prices this is one airline you can always rely on for a relaxing and comfortable flight. Read our onboard review here.

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