Not all Business Class seats are alike. Here Mike Archer, of First and Business Kensington shares his expertise and recommendations for the best Business Class seats.
A common misconception is that Business Class is the same on all airlines, when really it can vary greatly. What one airline may call their Business Class, another may offer the same service in First Class, or Premium Economy.
In terms of the new generation of aircraft, 170 degree lie-flat beds don’t really cut it anymore. The world’s top airlines are now offering 180 degree fully-flat beds, and while a 10 degree difference might not sound like much, it is actually a huge difference in terms of comfort. And if you can pay a little extra or even the same amount for a fully flat bed, it’s worth it.
For the best money can buy: Singapore Airlines
In 2014 Skytrax awarded Singapore Airlines for having the best Business Class seats onboard their A380. What sets Singapore Airlines apart is that while most Business Class cabin seats are positioned on an angle, all of their seats onboard their A380 aircraft are completely forward facing. It also has one of the largest seats, measuring 28 inches wide and 78 inches in length. More than just length though, the seats were made in partnership with James Park Design and so have been really well thought out in terms of design. The features that I think make it the best offering is the two pre-set reclining positions, and that the bed flips forward to transform into a comfortable sleeping mattress.
For the best seat with service: Etihad Airways
Where most airlines typically upgrade their Business Class cabins, Etihad recently launched a completely new Business Class for their new A380 and 787 Dreamliner called Business Class Studios. The new cabins feature one of the longest beds out there (81 inches in length) complete with a luxurious massage function. What I think makes the Business Class Studios well worth it though is the signature turndown service with special mattresses for long flights.
For a spacious experience: Qatar
While Qatar’s old aircraft offer angle flat seats in Business Class, their new A380 and 787 Dreamliner feature 80 inch long fully flat beds that were voted the fourth best Business Class seat by Skytrax in 2014. Some airlines offer seats with a privacy shell around them which some people like. For me personally, I much prefer to have an open area which is why I like Qatar’s new Business Class seats. Their seats feel much more spacious and allow you to fully take in the ambience of the cabin.
Great value from the UK: Cathay Pacific
Similar to Qatar, I also recommend Cathay Pacific’s new Business Class seats because not only do they offer beds that are 82 inches in length, but they also feel less confined. Their new Business Class cabins are available on their new 777 aircraft departing the UK. In terms of where they rate, Skytrax listed them as the fifth best Business Class seat in 2014.
For flights to America: Virgin Atlantic
While the above airlines are a fantastic option if you’re flying east, for transatlantic flights I recommend Virgin Atlantic. The airline recently upgraded its Business Class offering to include seats that are 33 inches in width and 73 inches in length. The seats also flip forward to transform into a fully flat bed. What’s good for Virgin passengers is that all of their Business Class seats are angled away from one other with direct aisle access, allowing for more space.
What to remember
In terms of Business Class airfares, I think the Middle Eastern airlines (Etihad, Emirates and Qatar) offer the best in terms of value. Due to their fleet size and operating so many departures from the UK, their new A380 aircrafts allow them to offer a top end product at a mid-range price.
We’re here to help
It’s important to remember that the actual range of what you can pay and what you can get for you money, is so broad, which is why it’s so important to talk to one of our experts to ensure you know exactly what you are getting in terms of Business Class Product and the best value for money. Prices that appear to be the best may only be offering a mediocre service and comfort level. Our team are experts at giving advice when prices are great value or too expensive, and we will actually tell you to hold off, look at other options or snap up a great price depending on what’s available.
For more advice on Business Class seats, talk to our First and Business premium airfare experts today.