Which airlines offer the best in first, business, premium economy and economy class travel?

by AirlineRatings.com
838
October 08, 2015

As the needs of the passenger have changed over the decades so too have the offerings on board. Whereas once there was just first class, today we have airlines operating up to four classes of travel on one aircraft.
AirlineRatings.com editors, amongst the most experienced in the industry, travel the world looking for the best of the best and have agreed on their top ten in first, business, premium economy and long haul economy class travel.

First Class
First class is the ultimate in luxury and space. In order to separate first class from business class, airlines are now including such things as multi room apartments, double beds and on board showers for their first class passengers. First class is essentially the same philosophy as business class but with more space, privacy, meal courses, the finest of champagnes, wine and liquors and you rarely have to see another passenger.

The top ten first class cabins in alphabetical order are:

• All Nippon Airways (ANA)
• Emirates
• Etihad
• Japan Airlines (JAL)
• Korean Air
• Lufthansa
• Qantas
• Singapore Airlines
• Swiss
• Thai

See images for all of our top 10 cabins here

Business Class

Business class has evolved since 1979 from standard seats to suites with fully flat beds. Many airlines are doing away with first class because their business class product is so good and meets the needs of both business and first class passengers. Our top 10 business class cabins all feature large comfortable seats with many seat position options and in seat power. Seat pitch is anywhere from 65-80 inch and all seats transform in to completely flat beds. Hot towels and champagne are just the beginning of an exquisite multi course food and beverage service all which is served on china with silverware and crisp linen table clothes. The inflight entertainment, whilst the same as the other classes of travel, is viewed on larger seat back screens and listened to with noise cancelling headphones. These airlines offer a turn down service where they will make your bed up for you, often putting down a mattress over the now flat seat for extra comfort. Many airlines also offer pyjamas or sleeping sets. The duvets are large and luxurious and the pillows can be full sized. Amenity kits have all you need for the flight. Wi-fi is typically available.

The top 10 business class cabins are in alphabetical order:

• Air France
• Air New Zealand
• All Nippon Airways
• Cathay Pacific
• Etihad
• Japan Airlines (JAL)
• Qatar
• Qantas
• Singapore Airlines
• Virgin Australia / Atlantic

Premium Economy
Premium economy, the cabin between economy and business, offers the passenger more space with a seat pitch of 36-38 inch, double the recline of economy class at 10-12 inch, slightly more seat width and in-seat power. The airlines below offer the passenger a superior meal and beverage service more aligned to business than economy class. Premium economy passengers on these airlines will also receive a business class blanket and business class amenity kit. Wi-fi and an on board snack bar may also be available.

The top 10 premium economy class cabins are in alphabetical order:

• Air France
• Air New Zealand
• All Nippon Airways (ANA)
• British Airways
• Cathay Pacific
• EVA Air
• Japan Airlines (JAL)
• Qantas
• Singapore Airlines
• Virgin Atlantic / Virgin Australia


Long Haul Economy Class

Generally offer passengers a seat pitch of 31-34 inch, 6 inch recline, multiple complimentary meals and beverages including a full bar service, in flight entertainment through seat back screens, blankets and pillows. Other extras may include amenity kits and wi-fi as well as on board snack bars.

The top 10 long haul economy class cabins are in alphabetical order:

• Air New Zealand
• Cathay Pacific
• Etihad
• EVA Air
• Japan Airlines
• Korean Air
• Qantas
• Qatar
• Singapore Airlines
• Thai Airways

READ: Our editor’s favourite airlines in each category and why

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