The World’s 6 Best First Class Airline Products

I’m often asked what I think the world’s best first class product is. As much as I try to put thought into it, I can never come up with a good answer. Heck, I have a hard time narrowing it down to just a few best products.

The truth is that which airline offers the world’s best first class product really does vary flight-by-flight, because there are so many moving parts. Just to give a few examples:

With the above in mind, what do I consider to be the all around best first class products, in no particular order?

Emirates First Class A380

Some would argue that Emirates first class is largely style over substance. I’d agree. But it’s so much style that it almost makes up for the lack of substance, at times. Yes, it’s very blingy, and I don’t think the person who designed the suites has the word “understated” in his/her vocabulary.

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The funny thing is that Emirates’ A380 first class cabin is actually sort of tight, as far as first class products go. There are 14 first class suites at the front of the upper deck, and they’re not that spacious.

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That being said, every other aspect of the experience more than makes up for it, from the top notch dine on demand menu (Emirates food is consistently excellent, in my experience)…

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…to the onboard bar at the back of business class…

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…to the onboard shower. Yeah, showering on a plane is sort of the coolest thing ever. Like, really. Even though I’ve done it about a dozen times now, I still giggle every time I shower miles above the earth’s surface.

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One other thing worth noting is that service on Emirates can be hit or miss, and ranges from incredible to underwhelming. Emirates crews are very diverse and come from all over the world, so sometimes they work great together, while other times they seem really uncoordinated.

I guess what it comes down to is that Emirates A380 first class is simply the most fun way to fly. Between the incredible entertainment system, blingy suite, onboard bar, and shower, even a 16 hour flight will feel way too short.

Reviews of Emirates First Class:

Etihad First Class Apartment A380

I had the good fortune to be on the inaugural Etihad A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and London late last year. While I’ve long been a fan of Etihad, they’ve truly revolutionized first class with the introduction of their A380 First Class Apartment. They’re the first airline to have a single aisle configuration on an A380, meaning there’s just one seat on each side of the aisle in first class.

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The Apartments are massive — you can actually close your door and walk around in each Apartment. Heck, I’m pretty sure you could host the whole first class cabin in your Apartment if you wanted to.

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Etihad also has fantastic catering (at least when they load enough food), with an onboard chef. The onboard chef even has a “pantry” of sorts, so if you get a great chef they’ll prepare you just about anything you could want. It doesn’t get much better than that in the air!

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Etihad is also the only other airline to have a shower onboard for first class passengers. While I slightly prefer the Emirates shower suite, Etihad’s isn’t half bad either. 😉

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Lastly, Etihad has a lounge area between first & business class, which is a nice place to go and stretch your legs.

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For me, Etihad’s A380 has the single best first class hard product of any airline out there. Their First Class Apartments are revolutionary.

Reviews of Etihad First Class:

Cathay Pacific First Class 777

Cathay Pacific first class is one of the two first class products I’ve flown most over the years (I’ll let you guess the other one). And it’s fantastically consistent, overall.

Their 777-300ERs feature just six first class seats per cabin, so it’s an extremely personalized experience.

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While Cathay Pacific doesn’t have cutting edge, fully enclosed suites, they still have what I think is one of the most comfortable beds in the sky. The bedding is fantastic and the sleeping surface is so spacious.

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I try not to overeat as much as I used to on planes, so I love Cathay Pacific first class catering if for nothing than the Krug and caviar that they serve.

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Service in Cathay Pacific first class is generally top notch, though more reactive than proactive, compared to airlines like Singapore, for example.

Reviews of Cathay Pacific First Class:

Japan Airlines First Class 777

Here’s an airline which really grew on me this year. I love almost everything about Japan, and in particular the over the top service. And JAL first class perfectly embodies the Japanese spirit, in my opinion. The seats themselves aren’t cutting edge, though are very comfortable.

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JAL has fantastic mattress pads, and you can even choose whether you prefer a soft or firm one.

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The catering is excellent, regardless of whether you prefer the Japanese or western selection.

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And maybe I’m the only one excited by this, but JAL also has a Japanese toilet. That’s my second favorite way of being sprayed in the sky, after the Emirates/Etihad A380 showers!

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Reviews of JAL First Class:

Singapore Airlines Suites Class A380

At least in terms of naming, Singapore Airlines really took things to a whole new level with their introduction of Suites Class, available exclusively on the A380. The product is visually stunning, if not a bit train-compartment-esque.

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It was the first ever airline to offer a double bed in the sky (now China Eastern also offers one double bed on their 777s).

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As a matter of fact, the toughest decision you might have to make on a Singapore flight is whether you’d prefer Dom, Krug, or both.

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The food is also excellent, in particular if catered out of Singapore. Between their caviar and lobster thermidor, there’s not room for much else!

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Service on Singapore ranges from the best in the sky to above average. So if you have a top Singapore crew then you might just be in for the flight of your life.

Reviews of Singapore Airlines Suites Class/First Class:

Lufthansa First Class 747-400

It’s no secret that I’m a Lufthansa fanboy. As you can see above, all my top airlines above are Asian/Middle Eastern.

So to mix things up, I think we need to include a western airline as well, and I do think that honor should go to Lufthansa. I’m not a huge fan of the airline’s business class, but I do love their first class.

And while I also love their A380 first class, I think their 747-400 first class deserves a special mention, given that it offers a separate seat and bed for each passenger.

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Furthermore, there’s something that feels so private about having the entire upper deck for just eight seats, which really almost makes it feel like a private jet.

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As far as service on Lufthansa goes, I find it to generally be the perfect balance between personable and reserved. The first part can be a struggle for Germans, so I do think Lufthansa finds good middle ground there.

Catering on Lufthansa can be hit or miss, though I find their caviar and appetizers to be consistently excellent, which is more than enough to fill me up.

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Reviews of Lufthansa First Class:

Bottom line

Are the above the world’s six best first class products? Not necessarily. I’d say Garuda Indonesia, Asiana, Korean AirQatar Airways, All Nippon Airways, and Swiss are top notch as well.

But I haven’t flown Garuda Indonesia, I don’t think Qatar Airways A380 is quite to the level of their Middle Eastern counterparts, Asiana and Korean Air have great service and food but less-than-awesome cabins and entertainment, I slightly prefer JAL to ANA, and I don’t love Swiss’ ground services.

Which products are “best” is highly subjective, though without hesitation I’d recommend the above airlines, keeping in mind that quality can still vary on a flight-by-flight basis.

What do you consider to be the world’s top first class products?

Comments

  1. Lucky,

    I don’t sleep well on planes, to the point where the FA’s give me a raised eyebrow at the end of the flight, because I’m the only idiot on the plane who didn’t sleep more than a wink for the 15+ hour flight.

    Because of that, I’m not the biggest fan of beds that have to be “made up”. I don’t like bothering the FAs to make and unmake my bed. My preference is for a “perma recline” of sorts. Many note that F products which are designed to be made into a full bed generally have poor recline modes. I can live with it if I can extend the tray table in bed mode, and that’s where SQ suites falls flat.

    IMHO, J is almost preferable. Although, I have a CX F ticket booked to Malaysia at the end of the year, primarily because I want to check out the OZ F lounge at LAX during dinner service, and I have an 8 hour layover in HKG. I want to try out the cabanas.

    If AA starts charging a significant premium for F, I won’t be booking it, and I won’t be missing it.

  2. Thanks for this post Lucky! I’ve been waiting on it for forever, as so many of us love lists. Wasn’t fully expecting your LH 747>380, but I get your reasoning.

    Posts like this, and “five best use of xxxx miles/points” are absolutely awesome and will always be appreciated.

    Your reader base trusts your judgment, so we love to hear your “bests.” Thanks Lucky!

  3. @Lucky

    If you had to rank them in order, what would they be? Also, do you think once EY has their 1st Class Lounge up and running they will be undisputed best as they will have then a fantastic ground, soft/hard product as well?

  4. No honorable mention for Air France La Premiere? 🙁 lol… the more flights I take with Air France (and it’s a lot), the more I prefer them to KLM and Delta. The service is very French, but I like it. It reminds me I’m not in the US anymore. The food is good across all the cabins, the entertainment is good, the cabins range from old-but-okay (777-300), to fine (380), to new and spectacular (777-200). With SkyPriority, life at CDG becomes INFINITELY more manageable (as long as you make sure to point to where it says SKY PRIORITY). They have become my go-to airline for crossing the Atlantic.

  5. I second Robert’s question …. I believe LH refitted their 744s to eliminate First Class and add premium economy?

    Great list btw!

  6. I know you love your Lufthansa, but I would take the old Etihad first suite over LH every time. So, I’d actually put EY on the list twice.

  7. Hi Ben,

    I go along with most of your choices, but I respectfully disagree with JAL being better than Asiana.

    The food on both is comparable. The JAL authentic Japanese meal is on par with the South Korean Royal meal on Asiana and both are fantastic.

    However, the seats are better on Asiana and have doors for greater privacy. Also, I found the service to much, much better on Asiana. On JAL is was somewhat reserved.

    Finally, at their hub airport, Asiana offers escort service whereas JAL does not.

  8. the rest I agree, but claiming JAL F is ahead of ANA F is quite far fetched. I’ve flown both, and it’s clear that NH is at least 1 notch ahead.

    I personally rate ANA F as “A” and JAL F as “A-”

    The only one I’ll rate A+ would be EY A380 F (I’ve only flown their older A346 F)

  9. For me it would be Air France among the top. Cuz other than the few exception, you have to pay to fly AF. I have paid for some F products that otherwise can’t easily be experienced using miles: Swiss, Korean, Etihad Apartment when it came out, Qatar A380 when it came out, etc. AF F is the only one that i paid repeatedly many times. Not that the service on board is good 100% of the time.. it is random like Ben said. But I think if eating is number one on the list, then AF also come number one, especially on their Paris first class lounge!

    I think my top list would be: Air France, ANA, Japan Airlines, and Qantas … due to food. Then it is Lufthansa, Emirates, Korean Air, Asiana, Thai, Swiss, BA, CX respectively. Funny i never had good experience with Qatar or Etihad so far.

  10. I also think service and food is better on ANA than JAL. Much more confident yet also very warm and friendly, none of which I find JAL to be. Perhaps JAL has a slightly better hard product. And, I totally agree with how you feel about LH’s 747 first class. It is my sentimental favorite and it will be dearly missed!

  11. @Robert, from checking a few of the usual 747 routes, I found LH 747 First Class is still available on the FRA-SEA route until August 5th!
    There may be a few other routes but I believe that may be the last one to the usa.

  12. @Matt S. — Any escort who takes me to the very front of the security line and cuts in front of pilots and FA’s is my kind of escort!

  13. Generally reasonable except I just don’t see LH F in the top 6.

    I’d put ANA in there, even though ground services are lacking.

    And while not in my top 6, I’d rank Asiana, Thai [aircraft dependent but remember you’re ranking specific products here so not every aircraft needs to meet the standard], and Korean above Lufthansa. Sorry!

  14. @Gary Leff

    Gary, when did you last take Lufthansa F? I feel like they get better every time I fly… if it’s been over 2 years for you, give them another try. especially the ground product is definitely the best, even without a massage.

  15. Lucky, if you were to do a list of “Best Airline Branding,” I would think LH would win followed by Etihad… Right?

  16. I tried to guess which 6 you would include… I was right on SQ, CX, EY, EK, and LH, but I expected you to note for LH either the 748 or the A380. Wasn’t expecting JAL but I can understand the choice. I would think it’s a toss-up between JAL and ANA First Square.

    Do you think you could do something similar for Business Class? I would guess the list would look very different, so it would make for an interesting comparison. Many assume that if in airline has an awesome first class, then their Business Class will be great too, but of course that isn’t always the case. My thoughts in Business Class would be Qatar, EVA, Cathay, Austrian, Japan Airlines, and Singapore. But I’m curious what you think!

  17. Ben,

    Having done a bunch of F class over the past two years, I’d agree with one of the other posters that AF La Premiere (on newly renovated planes) is now at the top of my list. To truly be on the top of my list, I think you need the total ground-handling package. So that might include AF, LH, Garuda (haven’t flown them) or Thai.

    While I too have sentimental attachment to the LH 74-400 product, that is now history. AF food/wine has been improved, service is up, the new suite is more stylish than LH’s and offers more privacy w/ curtains, and the food in the lounge is insanely good and better than LH’s. And empty thanks to lack of status passengers such as Oneworld Emerald. I think you just don’t read about AF much online because it’s so hard to obtain with points, and bloggers aren’t usually wealthy enough to buy it.

    The biggest knock on AF and LH are that you have to often connect in Eurobusiness, which just kills the whole first class experience. In Asia, you may not be able to connect to F but you will at least get real J seats.

    So having been on all of these carriers in F multiple times in the past two years, I’d rank my list (only ones I’ve flown) as follows:

    European: 1) AF 2) LH 3) BA (distant third)
    Asian: 1) Cathay 2) JAL (close second) 3) Thai (massage and ground handling great, the rest substandard)

    Haven’t been on Singapore F in a few years and I’ll be a first-timer on Etihad A380 F and Emirates F over the next few months. But other than the revolutionary hard product on Etihad, I’m pretty sure I’ll keep AF at the top of my rankings due to service, ground handling, and the Paris lounge.

  18. Great post. Thanks! Recently after years of Continental/United dedication we are kind of over them and at the same time have reached a point where we can basically purchase business/first class tickets on whatever is the best airline flying any route. My question is if you don’t have elite status (we have 1K on United/StarAlliance Gold until the end of the year) but you paid full price for a First/Business class seat and you need to call the airline because of a change or cancellation does it mean you have to phone the same number as someone who bought the cheapest economy ticket? Is there any priority for people who pay full price when it comes to customer service? I know SA has a separate line but of the US Legacy carriers?

    Thanks again for all you do!

  19. JAL is the only surprise here, but I agree, they are among the very best.

    CX and JAL can do a lot more to improve their ground service.

    FWIW, my friend strongly prefers MH F over CX F.

  20. Hi Ben,
    Great post! I’d be interested in the same post for Best Business Class offerings. Apologies if you’ve done so and I missed it.

  21. @Lucky

    I commend you for giving JL the credit they deserve. I think in terms of onboard experience, they are absolutely one of the best, This is one airline where senior crews are absolutely fantastic! And the food, even if a supper flight, is incredible. It definitely is not the blingiest product or the most over the top, but the sincerity of the service was amazing the two times I have flown them. Also, bedding and mattress are great. Plus Salon champagne and Royal Blue Tea don’t dissapoint. I have not done NH, but am eager to compare.

    As far as EK, yes there is a lot of inconsistency in the products/service, but for a 3-4 hour regional flight on any other airline, they would not serve Dom, let alone even have a 3 class widebody aircraft, as EK does on their A330s (their most basic aircraft). I also have never had a 14+ hour flight (on the A380) go so quickly as I have on Emirates, there is just so much to do, and still have time to sleep a full 8 hrs as well.

    It’s funny with SQ, I thought their R class on the A380 did not look all that great, but was super comfortable. One of the best beds in the sky. Their new 77W F class was absolutely stunning, but at 6’1″ tall, I could not get comfortable laying down on that product. Service varied from fantastic to above average.

    In summary, my top five products (that I have experienced),

    1. JL (just my personal preference) 2. SQ or CX (tie) 4. EK 5. LH (the F terminal and lounges in FRA are superb).

    Also BA and QF should get mentioned for their service, even if the BA hard product is not the greatest. I have limited experience with EY, but the hard product on the A346 was impressive and crews seemed to try hard. OZ and MH were nice, it still was F class afterall, but not very memorable.

  22. @ alex — They’re definitely solid, but I’d consider them to be one class below the ones I mentioned.

  23. Here is how I feel about food: if I actually had to pay for the meal it would be like
    – AF First Lounge food: $450 per 4-5 course meal
    – AF First meal on board (out of CDG): $250 per 4-5 course meal
    – AF First meal on board (out station): $100 per 4-5 course meal
    – LH First Lounge/terminal food: $50 per 3-4 course meal
    – LH First meal on board minus caviar: $40 per meal, can I just eat caviar alone?
    – UA First meal on board or lounge: -$100, I need to get paid to eat it

    I am not the easiest person when it comes to eating (grew up with great food culture though cheap), but I am low maintenance somewhere else.

    Like I said earlier I enjoy AF > NH > JL > QF > SQ base on food but JL/NH has such a bad lounge especially NH that i even prefer to walk around NRT/HND and paid for airport food court (good in Japan) than going to NH F lounge.

    If overall experience (not only food, though food is a large weight for me), my rank would be

    AF > QF > SQ > JL> LH > NH > EK > KE > TG > OZ > LX > CX > BA > QR > EY > AA > UA

    I know people may say BA should be second worst but I get lucky with them for more than 10 times so…. I never get a chance to try GA, MH, and mainland China stuffs

  24. @ Rob — I guess we’ll have to wait for their first class lounge to open to know for sure. 😀

  25. @ michael albert cote — I think it’s a solid product, but ultimately I think the onboard experience leaves a bit to be desired, which is why I don’t consider it to be one of the top products out there.

  26. Kind of embarrassed to ask because it seems dumb… Do the Asian and Australian airlines fly USA to Europe – if I don’t plan to go to Asia for example? Nice write up in RS!!

  27. @Concorde2

    How can you have EY 3rd to last when its the only airline really with a trained flying chef on board? You are really underrating Etihad. When the F Lounge is up, I expect it to be firmly a consensus top 3 global product.

  28. @Dan, I have a feeling that perhaps EY ran out of food in first class when Concorde2 was a passenger. 😉 When I flew EY F, the food was ok. I thought it was a notch below EK and even though there was an onboard chef, my first choices were not available (luckily they didn’t run out of food though.) I do love caviar and am surprised EY doesn’t serve caviar in F.

  29. @dan,
    Yeah I should comment on why I put EY low, it was just personal experiences…. bad luck. I flew EY F and QR F the least among all of the list. I only Flew EY F twice (once on Apartment) but will fly 2 more later in Sept. Both times quality of the food maybe decent but taste was not like AF. They had limit items (if you read Ben’s post, they ran out of food in F often) and the service was very slow. On Apartment I was one of the 2 apartment pax who ate and they manage to do very slow and not fill the water etc. simply bad luck… that’s why I can’t score them high.

    My experiences with QR was only slightly better, better food but FAs weren’t seem to be genuinely nice and engaged … again maybe simply bad luck cuz i did not have large enough sample size on both QR and EY.

    Also CX does not seem to do much for me (I flew them the most), maybe it is too predictable (good) and the food is just average. No excitement factor lol.

    But I tend to agree with Ben that the service and attentiveness on ME3 aren’t all the great.

  30. @ EthaninSF – I’m a couple of inches taller and had no problem on SQ’s 773 in First. Although, A380 Suite is definitely cool.

    @ Kathy – Singapore flies JFK-FRA and IAH-DME (both then continue onto SIN but you can get a ticket for just one part of the flight). Emirates flies JFK-MXP (which then continues onto DXB).

  31. @Dan: EY dining can be awful. IMHO, first class dining should not be like the neighborhood Mongolian Grill — picking the potentially random ingredients that you want the chef to heat up in the airborne version of a wok. I want an interesting menu to choose from, and not to be stuck with the chore of assembling my own menu. I am not one of those “I only eat grilled chicken breast with a glass of chardonnay” picky diners. EY’s “professionally-trained chef” claim is also nonsense. I once had such a “chef” whose training consisted of working in a pub kitchen in Dublin. Wretched. The only good true chef in the sky is the DO&CO chef serving OS business class passengers. OS business class fare is consistently better than food in F on many airlines discussed in this post and the comments.

    More generally, I still think the best food in the sky can be found on LX F out of Zurich, AF F out of Paris and Papeete, and NH out of Narita and JFK. Most consistently disappointing dining in F? CX. Most consistently poor (but expectedly poor) food in F? BA. Sausage rolls, anyone?

    And don’t get me started about SQ’s “book the cook.” Half of the items arrive frozen, waiting for the FAs to thaw them. Coupled with robotic, insincere service, I am not a fan.

  32. Awesome list! I’ve flown EY and SQ and will be flying CX and JL next Spring. I have to say, I wouldn’t have been to able to do this without your tips Ben, so many, many thanks to you!

  33. Think EK and EY is indeed the benchmark in their own ways. (Shower / Huge Apartment respectively) QR is still a bit behind, at least for F.

    JL is a surprise to many, but for me, JL is the best in terms of food (out of Tokyo that is), and best wine collection (no one beats JL, I am surprised that OMAAT wine reviews did not include JL. It is a different league over and above other Airlines in F), and definitely the best tea served in the air (no one else serves Royal Blue Tea).

    SQ for the best double bed in the air, and CX F for just being consistently above average in all areas are fair as well.

    LH, luckily you mentioned you are a fanboy. lol.

    BUT, Lucky, can you do us a big favour? Fly GA F for long distance for review.
    I think GA F is definitely up there, but we need to crack the code on the best way to fly it, and also how to enjoy the experience. (Nick has done an excellent preview of what it could have been, if it is a long flight)

    As for MH, I heard about MH’s F being surprisingly very good. But pity they have shown their intention to axe their F (Paris is taken out, only LHR remains, and not sure for how long more). So we can take MH off the equation (and I am not sure if they will ever put F back again. Or they will just do a very strong J).

  34. Have to agree with others about ANA over JAL. I flew ANA first class in March NRT-JFK and JAL first class in May NRT-JFK. The JAL flight I thought was great, but the ANA flight was just fantabulous. I have a hard time sleeping on a flight. I hardly slept on the JAL flight but I was able to sleep for 5 hours on the ANA flight. 5 hours is long for me. Even on CX first from JFK-HKG, I only managed 3 hours of sleep.

  35. No honourable mention of Swiss LX F?
    Although they have old (a340) and new F(a330), the seat / bed is comfy.
    Catering is pleasent too and well when the new F-lounge opens in dockE and A gets a refurb that should be on par too.

    But the most redeeming feature is the language skills of the crew. I speak 3 out of their 4 official languages and all crew can switich effortless between english, swiss(low)german, highgerman, french, italian. And there are some that speak even romansq. How handy and cool is that!

  36. just flew both JAL and ANA first class, and ANA was better in just about every way — seat, decor, service, friendliness, much better food, better mattress padding, better amenity kit… I found ANA superior to Cathay and Lufthansa as well, it was the nicest flying experience I’ve ever had.
    Yes, it’s cool to have a separate bed and seat on a LH 747-400, but you can’t watch the screen while you’re on the bed, which is a major drawback — plus the bed isn’t actually all that comfortable. I tried it once and would rather save my UA miles for ANA or Asiana first class!
    (I can’t comment on Singapore or Etihad apartments as I haven’t flown them yet – they look incredibly amazing though!)

  37. Thanks to the link posted here by one of your readers, I got to read that profile about Lucky, and I’ve got to say I’m scratching my head about people liking it. The journalist did a terrible write-up in my view (even the photo used was unflattering), making Lucky sound for the majority of it like some shallow geeky narcissist and opportunist (there are touches of humanity shown there, but not much). They turned Ben into a caricature (much like JLR), which I’m sure is not the reality.

    All that rubbish about “flying for free”, inferring intense dislike from those who earned their seats the hard way, 24/7 playboy party lifestyle, etc – terrible frothy stuff. Noting that magazine has a bit of history profilng people who then have gone on to suffer a drop or misfortune shortly thereafter, I hope you avoid that fate. Some say all publicity is good publicity, having read this write-up I think it breaks this assumption. Ben should have gotten better than this piece.

  38. I have only managed to fly one of the products on this list (Cathay) and the experience was so over the top. Thanks to this list I am even more excited for my upcoming JAL F flight. Thanks so much Lucky for writing all your trip reports, they are a real help when planing my flights.

  39. Having just flown the British Airways first class London to Singapore.I would have to say from appearances it beats the above, with the exception of the simply crazy Etihad apartments. Particularly impressive was the Concord lounge at Terminal 5 in Heathrow. Wine selection was incredible, and great food. All done in a modern and sophisticated manner. Not a big fan of the gaudy Emirates cabins in the photographs.

    This was my first time in first, and I flew on points so I think that may also have something to do with the excitement. But was impressed how much a step up it was from Business. Sadly they have changed the way the points schemes work for Business and First. But it was a nice loophole while it lasted.

    Cheers,
    Phil

  40. I began flying Air France back in the 60’s, when most of their fleet was comprised of Caravelles and 707’s. They have remained my favorite carrier for over four decades.

    Intercontinental first class on the 747 used to feature an entire feathered pheasant – wings outstretched – that perched atop a service cart in the middle of ‘A’ zone! The inflight menu covers were such stunning works of art that over the years I saved scores of them. Champagne and caviar? Please. Air France was serving up their national delicacies long before anyone else.

    The very best trips to Europe used to include a first class Air France flight aboard ‘The Parisian’ in one direction and passage on a French Line transatlantic liner, such as ‘Liberte’, ‘France’ or ‘Flandre’ in the other. Sadly, many of you were born too late to enjoy all that.

    Today, Air France’s first class cabins still out-class the competition; they’re about style and elegance, in addition to comfort. There’s never any nouveau riche, Middle-Eastern bling. And I consistently find Air France’s cabin crewmembers to be the most well-groomed, naturally gracious flight attendants in the sky. Air France, “A Votre Service”.

  41. EY is the only airline really with a trained flying chef on board? What about Austrian Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Gulf Air, and Turkish Airlines?

  42. Nothing to do with this article, but more to do with the article about you in the Sydney Morning Herald – go have a look. Regards. Catherine

  43. @Catherine: nice catch, but:
    the more sources quote that one article, the weirder it gets: “… covers about 65,000 kilometres, the equivalent of six times around the globe”. Almost correct, if you refer to the Australian continent as “the globe”…

  44. “they’ve truly revolutionized first class”

    Actually, they haven’t. They may have out shined every one else, they may have taken things to a new level, etc. “Revolutionized” means you effected some sort of change, and until we start seeing other airlines do the same as Etihad, I’m not sure the word applies.

    Yeah, I know that is a nitpick, but still. Hey, Emirates promised they have something similar in the works, so who knows?

    Not try out Garuda’s first class in a long haul flight, and let us see who would get bumped off of your top 6 list (my guess would be JAL).

  45. @Ari Those “Chefs” on the flights you mentioned are nothing more than staff donning chef outfits to give the illusion to uninformed passengers that they are cooking the food on board when they are merely just plating it for the passengers. With the EY chef they do some of the prep and actually let you customize your meal. I don’t know why some folks think its extra work to customize it vs. only having a few choices. The great thing about EY if you want the entrees on the menu already you can order but if those don’t strike your fancy you can design your own dish. Also, it is definitely true on the ultra long hauls they have limited quantities. Usually the mains get exhausted first and if you order another one you can then customize that 2nd entree should you wish so the best of both worlds. If you are concerned about a particular item not being available just order it within a few hours of the flight departing.

  46. I’d be worried about headlines like the one in the Daily Mail, Ben. It is incredibly misleading and is likely raising the eyebrows of the airlines you travel on.

  47. @ BrooklynBoy — I wasn’t at all consulted on the stories, and also have no clue where the “free” headline came from, as I spend a ton of travel. So the headlines are causing me to raise my eyebrows just as much as anyone else.

  48. @Ben (lucky)
    I read the article and like it… did not feel any negative about it… however I can see some people may feel that as someone pointed out.. and the word “free” and everything. I link the article on my facebook and quote “so this is how I do it! :)”… and a friend comments “has anybody asked WHY you do it??”, what’s their problem? jeez

  49. 1. Please add me to those requesting a comparable piece on Biz class!
    2. One of the great things about having just started this hobby a year ago is that EVERYTHING is new and exciting. Thanks to Alex at PointPros, I’ll be knocking off CX and Singapore from this list in Sept. I’m already looking for the next trip and will absolutely use this list to plan it.
    3. Is it true that if we want to fly AF, we’d better use cash? I’ve seen several stories of bad things happening to those who try to use points. What about booking with DL miles–is that an option?
    4. What is the best way to try to find a remaining Lufthansa 747-400 flight (anywhere)? i.e., how do I search for that plane?
    5. Thanks to all the commenters for your input, too. I’ve made tons of notes from your points as well.

  50. Have you ever seen reviews of Iberia First and Business? I’ll be using them in the future.

  51. Nice piece. But I think the caveats you call out at the beginning of the piece are dead-on… Not only do the enhanced check-in and lounges at hubs make a big difference, catering is usually best there compared to outstations. (You might even guess that FA service is likelier to be better too as they are fresh and just starting a trip, rather than exhausted and ready to be home)

    I think it almost begs its own list or sub-list, specifically listing the departure city. Let’s face it, LH F ex FRA is in a whole different league than, say, LH F ex ORD.

    Adding that consideration might allow you to take the six above and rank them in order…

  52. The better half and I always fly the JL product on long hauls and we love it. She works for ANA as a 3 cabin Chief Purser and actually loves the JL product better. She is very critical of how service flows, presentations, menu are and we are both blown away at the product knowledge of the crew and the attention they provide. Do we ever fly NH? Not at all. We can fly those free but seriously..why? We dont even fly them domestic since we hop on the bullet train more. Her twin is also a long haul Chief Purser and said it best. Japan Airlines is a Japanese airlines proud to be Japanese. ANA is a Japanese airline trying to be western. I think that comment was spot on. Oh, and i work for a US carrier. do we ever fly them? uhm.. two words. HELL NO.

  53. Great list. I have been on a bunch of Biz class seats, but only the Lufthansa F. I had a great time in the Bed AND Seat. Have pictures of it and show my friends all the time.

  54. I truly don’t understand why Korean Air was left out of this report. I have been in all of the mentioned airlines here minus Ethiad ( which the colors really makes me feel like I am in a disco room and after a while must be to heavy to relax), also I don’t like the fact that the bed is facing the window or the door, I prefer the other design that the bed is just facing the front.

  55. Etihad’s first class product is my absolute FAVOURITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is elegant in design, is private and the lounge in terminal 3 in abu dhabi is one of the best in the world! Their experience is just unparalleled and they’ve taken flying to the next level!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. I’m looking for a first class flight to Europe that has a table where 4 people can have dinner together on the flights. Like from NY to Paris, London, etc. You know of anything like that?

  57. I totally agree with you about the 3 airlines. I just was on Emirates from Bangkok to Hong Kong and the A380 first class was wonderful as it also was the lounge in Bangkok.
    Instead Cathay Pacific, LE Pier lounge in Hong Kong was great, their 777 from Hong Kong to Frankfurt was not. Why CX is not having a A380 specially in turbulent routes?
    I am Dennis from http://www.orlandofloridavacationhomes.net

  58. I see you like Lufthansa a lot, but I’d say the SWISS first class (especially on their new B77W) beats the LH first class in terms of service and comfort. Yes they are similar and that may have to do with Swiss being a LH subsidary, but LX has just that little more charming thing, that makes it better in my opinion. Now especially with the new lounge in the Zurich Dock E (gotta try out that whiskey bar!)

  59. I have flown all of them first class except Japan, personally I think etihad (auh -syd) (Aa 80k) is the most luxurious, then comes, emirates lax Dxb pvg(Alaska 100k) not any more can use Japan to book transfer spg to Japan) Singapore( nrt lax 75k Kris flyer transferred from citi thank you). cathay( aa 67.5k) worst I think is Lufthansa Ana mileage 180k round trip lax Frankfurt transfer from amex) , just regular. No enclosed suites cathay is big tho not to have enclosed suites
    No caviar on etihad wtf. Yes on board chef

  60. Hi Lucky, Thank you so much to share such a wonderful information with us,I just want to say my experience with Air france was very good.and you can also add this name in your informatic list.you can review it from https://goo.gl/hfBWft.

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