All The International First Class Products I Haven’t Flown

In the past I did everything in my power to fly international first class as much as possible. That’s because historically the number of miles needed for first class was only marginally more than the number of miles needed for business class, so it represented a good deal.

However, over time we’ve seen airlines devalue award charts, and in many cases the sweet spots are shifting towards business class redemptions. So lately I’ve been making an effort to review as many new business class products as possible. It goes beyond business class being a better value, though. I’ve really found it enjoyable to try new airlines and products, because flying the same first class products over and over can only be so fun.

ukraine-business-class-767-1
Trying new business class products can be fun, even if it’s a sub-par products like Ukraine’s

However, as I was working on a couple of posts ranking first class products, I started to think about which international first class products I haven’t yet flown.

While there are dozens and dozens of business class products I haven’t yet flown (since a majority of global airlines seem to have business class, even if it’s just economy with a blocked middle seat), international first class isn’t quite as common.

In thinking about it, I could only come up with eight international first class products I haven’t yet flown:

  • Air China
  • China Eastern
  • EL AL
  • Jet Airways
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Oman Air
  • Saudia
  • TAAG Angola

Now, I’m sure there are some other random ones that I’m missing. I’d love to know what they are, because a random airline I can’t think of that has a first class cabin sounds right up my alley, and would likely be at the very top of my list.

Can anyone think of any other airlines that have an international first class product that I haven’t yet reviewed?

I’m going to try and review some of the above first class products soon. My general strategy is as follows:

Air China first class is easy enough to redeem Star Alliance miles for. I’m curious to see how it compares to China Southern first class and Xiamen Air first class.

Air-China-First-Class

China Eastern first class can be booked through Korean Air SkyPass, which can be transferred over from Chase Ultimate Rewards, so maybe I should give their first class a try in spite of my China Eastern business class experience.

China-Eastern-Business-Class-777 - 106

EL AL first class fares aren’t too bad in some cases, especially between London and Tel Aviv, so that’s how I’ll try to book that. Of all the first class products, this is the one I have the lowest hopes for, based on the hard product.

El-Al-First-Class-101

Jet Airways operates a 777 with first class between Toronto and Amsterdam, which can be booked using American miles.

Jet-Airways-First-Class

Kuwait Airways finally has a decent first class product on their new 777s, so I’ll need to find a good paid fare on them. If anyone knows of any good paid first class fares on them, I’d love to hear it.

Oman Air first class looks underwhelming, as much as I like their business class product. It seems like there’s very little differentiation between business and first class.

oman-air-first-005

Saudia greatly improved their first class product recently, and now has fully enclosed suites on some 777s. Award availability is wide open using Korean Air SkyPass miles, which can be transferred over from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Saudia-New-First-Class-1

I’ve been intrigued by TAAG Angola since May of last year, and they’re probably the randomest airline on the list to have a first class product. However, I haven’t been able to find any good first class fares on them. If I did, I’d probably jump on on of their flights in a heartbeat.

TAAG-First-Class

So, what say you guys? Which remaining first class product is most interesting to review, and am I missing any airlines that offer an international first class cabin?

Comments

  1. Air Algérie has first class. They fly to Montreal. I believe it’s 2-2-2 on the A330. Business is 2-3-2.

  2. Not sure if this site is reliable or not, but according to it Egyptair has F on their B777-200

  3. @Ben Holz — True, although they don’t sell it and the 777-200 is mainly used for equipment changes.

  4. I can’t wait until you fly with TAAG, I currently live in Luanda. I see them land at Quatro de Fevereiro international often, plus their livery is gorgeous.

  5. Don’t waste your time with China eastern. I just flew them and I can confirm your review

    Food = swill VERY disgusting
    Coffee = powder
    Crew = Rude
    Smoke = the entire time on 3/4 flights. One flight PVG-BKK I could breathe 🙂

  6. Air France 777-300ER la premiere, British Airways 787-9 First, Singapore 777-300ER New First Class, Singapore New A380 First (After introduced) and Etihad Residence (If possible)

  7. According to Seatguru there are First Class cabins on: Dragonair, LATAM (probably its the same as TAM First Class, which you have already reviewed) and Skylanes.

  8. Lucky, don’t waste your Star Alliance miles on Air China! Do it using Virgin Atlantic miles – you can only do it on the LHR-PEK route only and return only, for the princely sum of 75000 miles, in First. Watch out for the hefty YQ though (not unusual for ex UK award flights)

  9. My pick’ll always be for Saudia. Anytime you pass through Saudi you’re going to get some funny stories.

  10. Keep watching Kuwait. The other day I saw an F fare from CMB-JFK going for $1100 one way. I tried to book but couldn’t get past the initial booking screen. It would allow me to book to LHR in F for a $100 less and to JFK in J but not JFK in F. Maybe they’ll open it up again.

  11. +1 for Cathay Dragon. I was shocked when I was seated in J my last flight and walked past their F cabin, which is basically a reverse herringbone J mini-cabin similar to CX. I think on some intra-Asia routes, the KA F has full F service.

  12. @El Plauzo — to judge from the Seatguru seat map, it looks like Skylanes operates an old Cathay 777. A lot of charter carriers take used aircraft and don’t update the interiors at all, so you can find former Virgin Atlantic and Emirates planes flying in their original configurations for charter operators. That Cathay configuration is particularly surprising though since it’s a very low-density cabin configuration, which is the opposite of what charter carriers are usually looking for.

  13. Dragon air f is CX long haul j.

    If you’ve been on CX j on the a330 then you’ve done it already.

    Soft product differs, given that it’s on a short flight.

    Can mix with air China f connecting in Beijing, I guess

  14. @El Plauzo @ keitherson KA F is a reverse herringbone seat and their longest route is a 5 hour flight between HK to Bangalore. Not the most compelling of options and I’d probably equate it to CX J

  15. When I flew China Eastern business over he holidays, I was very tempted to upgrade to first class until I learned the cash upgrade price was around $4,000. It would’ve been awesome to experience the double bed.

  16. I’d be curious to read your take on the new Air France First class (granted you already reviewed the old one) 🙂 .

  17. Keep in mind that you cannot redeem Aeroplan miles for Air China because Aeroplan blocks it in all classes, all routes.

  18. The ~4 hour flight from LHR to TLV is far too short for any kind of meaningful review of LY F.

    A 5K+ MR transfer to LY earns Executive status (within 24 hours of the transfer) which gives discounted award pricing.

    Splurge for LAX/JFK/EWR-TLV in F for the full experience.

  19. I’d actually prefer more hotel reviews, and preferably, those luxury / upper-upscale ones that aren’t really part of any US-centric hotel chain / loyalty programs.

    It’d be a lot more fun reading reviews of Mandarin Oriental, Peninsular, Loews, Banyan Tree, Raffles, Shangri-La, etc.

  20. Dragonair/Cathay Dragon do have a F class on some of their A330s, and as others have noted, it features the same product as CX long-haul J, but judging from some Chinese-language reports on KA F, I think they do have an improved F&B selection, better service & can get you into either of the First Class lounges at HKG. I think KA primarily fly their A330 w/ F class to Beijing and Shanghai, not sure if they fly that plane to destinations other than mainland China.

    Also, Lifemiles cannot be used on all CA flights either.

    Jet Airways sometimes have promotion on buying miles from their program, and the rates are worth looking into IMHO.

  21. I’ll also say Air France new F on the 77W. Many have called it the best F in the world, so I think it’s important to review!

  22. Don’t get too excited about decent fares on TAAG; they’ve been astronomical for the front of the plane for as long as I’ve been flying to/from/within Africa (~15 years).

    And don’t get too excited about decent service, either.

  23. “because flying the same first class products over and over can only be so fun”

    When it comes to being out of touch, Marie Antoinette ain’t got nothin’ on you buddy.

    A touch of perspective and humility would do you and your reviews a bit of good.

  24. LATAM First Class, Azul First Class? Aerolineas Argentinas? Do you ever go to South America?

  25. U will not get a very easy way to get Air China F…I had a hard time to get an award ticket on Air China C b/w PEK and JFK cuz, A. Aeroplan and Lifemiles blocks all CA seats. B. I’ve had no Mileage Plus. I’ve finally got to try it out using Air China miles from my friend and got him a ticket in Asiana using my Lifemiles…

  26. Given that the new 4 seat F that Air France has installed on their 77W is one of the best offerings out there, that’s no small omission… Must do!

  27. Given That, Out There, ….ARGHHHH!!! Now even the fanboys are picking the annoying lingo.

    @ GaryLeff – why do you bother posting here when you get no response from the “host”? Take the high road pal!

  28. You should try the new AF la premiere on the 77W which your friend sam chui swears is the best first class!

  29. Lucky,

    I was under the impression, you can only book business class using Koreanair miles for partner flight. Did it recently changed?

  30. @ Giny — You can redeem Korean Air miles for international first class on China Eastern and Saudia. However, you can’t for travel on other airlines, like Air France, Garuda Indonesia, etc. This has been the policy for a while.

  31. Ahh, I got one that you haven’t flown. Air China First Class. So so to be honest with you comparing to other asian carriers such as Thai and EVA. Yes, you are correct, it was way too easy to redeem Star Alliance miles to get on Air China First Class.

  32. For a “reasonable” First Class fare on TAAG, try JNB/LAD/JNB. There is a published fare (PRTZA) of US$1,245 including all taxes for two 3.5 hour flights … accommodation in Luanda is a killer, but your points will help …

    0MAY DEPARTURE DATE—–LAST DAY TO PURCHASE 13MAR/0449

    1- ZAR15250.00 USD1171.00 74.31XT USD1245.31ADT
    ADT-01 PRTZA
    JNB DT LAD556.63DT JNB556.63NUC1113.26END ROE13.69568

    1 DT 578P 20MAY 6 JNBLAD SS1 1745 2015 /DCDT /E
    2 DT 577P 21MAY 2 LADJNB SS1 0915 1345 /DCDT /E

  33. Why does everybody forget about CEIBA First Class? They have a 777 with wifi in a 2-2-2 configuration, flat beds I think. They fly from Madrid to Malabo in Equatorial Guinea.

  34. As a Top Platinum ELAL flyer (flying F about twice a month tlv/nyc) here is what I have to say.

    1) Don’t do the mistake of paying $ for a 4 hour flight where you will definitely not get a sense of the product, just go longhaul to get a real sense of the product. TLV-JFK would be 3250 Matmid points and would be the best way to go. Another reason you should definitely not to the LHR flight is because LY operates F on their 777 and 744, you wanna make sure you are on the 744 and LHR is being operated by their 777. F on the 777 is not impressive, its very not roomy and right behind the galley. For that matter even when you book longhaul make sure you fly to JFK which is generally operated by the 744 and not to EWR or LAX which are usually operated by the 777. However its not always this way so when you are ready to book just make sure the flight you are booking has the 744. Watch out from the ex SQ plane which is a 747 where the first class is not as nice as well. Bottom line stick with the 744. Oh one more note. Rather do TLV-JFK than vv you will gain around 2 more hours on the plane AND you will get the ground service in TLV. Lastly I think you will be pleasantly surprised with LY F, ineed the hard product is not the best however they are not the worst either, where I think you will be surprised is the excellent soft product. Feel free to reach out, I may even arrange you special permission to take pictures 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *