Flying is often not the most comfortable or satisfying experience – at least not in economy. Among the top complaints passengers have are uncomfortable seats and delays.
However, some airlines have taken it upon themselves to ensure that their business-class seats are designed with your wellbeing in mind. In some cases, every detail has been informed by years of research from passengers.
From lavish lounges to cosy cabins, these airlines know how to spoil their guests and create a memorable experience that goes beyond comfort and privacy.
Etihad’s business-class seats are found on the airline’s Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 and are famous for its ‘dine anytime’ concept, Acqua Di Parma amenity kits and state-of-the-art entertainment system.
From an a la carte menu, you can choose a variety of dishes, including traditional Emirati meals, at any time alongside impressive entertainment options that range from interactive games and podcasts to on-demand movies and TV shows.
When it comes to luxury, even the smallest of details are taken care of, as business-class passengers can enjoy hot towels and the airline’s refreshing signature fragrance featured in its amenity kit. Tickets additionally include access to Etihad’s exclusive lounge, where you can socialise at the bar, rest in the relaxation room or take a refreshing shower.
Among the best business-class seats in the world would have to be Etihad’s Business Studio seats. They are like small yet spacious cabins that are available in front- and rear-facing seating configurations. Key features include seats with a massage function, a touch-screen control option and ample storage room.
United Polaris was developed from more than 12,000 hours of research to include only the best features with a focus on delivering premium comfort and a great night’s sleep for its business-class passengers. It was designed to elevate the airline’s international premium cabin travel experience from lounge to landing.
The exclusive United Polaris lounges in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Newark, Chicago and Houston offer luxurious shower suites complete with Sunday Riley products, which are also featured in its in-flight amenity kit.
In its quest to provide comfort, the airline partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue to develop luxury bedding with cosy slippers and two different blankets to choose from as well as pyjamas available on select flights. For privacy, every cabin has a ‘do not disturb’ sign and electronic dividers.
The chef-designed multi-course meals centre around fresh, seasonal ingredients that change each month and provide a nice addition to the a la carte snack offerings.
The Delta One experience begins long before boarding its A350 and A339 flights, as passengers have exclusive access to the airport club and Sky Priority accelerated check-in, security and baggage handling.
Available on long-haul international flights and select long-haul domestic flights, Delta One passengers enjoy 180-degree flatbed seats with direct aisle access and full-height doors or dividers between center suites for maximum privacy.
The seats are designed to accommodate resting, dining and work, and are equipped with oversized comforters and down-alternative pillows that add another layer of comfort to the Westin Heavenly bedding. Of course, a business-class trip is hardly complete without special amenities and Delta One’s go beyond meeting just your basic travel needs, as its TUMI amenity kit features Le Labo products.
Collaborating with culinary experts, business-class dining is defined by local, fresh and seasonal ingredients alongside complimentary beverages brought to you by one of the dedicated in-cabin flight attendants.
Available on the new Airbus A380 aircraft, A380 business class boasts hand-stitched full-grain leather seats by Poltrona Frau that recline into a 78-inch-long bed with sculpted wings for privacy. The 1-2-1 configuration allows for equal aisle access and for couples, the center seats are equipped with full-length personal dividers that can be lowered to become a double bed, a unique business-class feature.
With multiple storage compartments and an impressive lighting design, the suites function as a corner office with a cutting-edge entertainment system that can be enjoyed on an 18-inch touch-screen monitor.
World-class meals are served on Narumi porcelain paired with a selection of high-quality wines to choose from. While long-haul flights include your own pair of slippers and eyeshades, in every lavatory you’ll find your essential toiletries from Penhaligon’s, which will especially appeal to eco-aware passengers.
Qatar Airways offers the Qsuite on the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 aircraft. Arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, there are various options available when it comes to seating.
These include rear- and front-facing seats and, for couples or families travelling together, seats that can be joined to become double beds. For a group of four, the quad blocs in the center section are ideal as a co-working space or for socialising, which can then be transformed back into your own private room.
Partnering with two Italian luxury brands – Bric’s and Castello Monte Vibiano – the amenity kit contains both the essentials and a range of skincare products to pamper yourself.
Some of the unique features of the Qsuite are the doors on each suite, ambient lighting and generous storage space. For additional comfort, the fully lie-flat beds have a quilted mattress, pillows and a soft comforter, with sleepwear and slippers available for passengers travelling on long-haul flights.
Renowned for its onboard amenities and impressive lounges, Emirates’ A380 business-class gourmet dining experience allows its passengers to discover the flavours of its destinations, with dishes such as Arabic mezze and Mauritian chicken curry on the cards before you’ve even landed.
What’s more, the A380 onboard lounge offers the perfect way to meet new people while enjoying your favourite pastry or specialty cocktail.
A highlight of the Emirates business-class experience is the chauffeur service before and after landing in either a Mercedes-Benz or BMW.
In late 2020, the airline started elevating its business-class cabin design on all A380 aircraft to achieve an executive jet look through wood finishings and leather covers.
When fully reclined, the seats measure up to 79 inches long and are designed to offer comfort with a soft mattress and a cosy blanket to ensure you arrive at your destination well-rested.
Unique to this business-class experience is the in-seat minibar, which is stocked with various beverages. Plus, guests can take advantage of the complimentary Champagne before takeoff.
Not every airline provides an amenity kit, let alone one quite as lavish as Emirates’, which comes with items for women and men from hand mirrors, facial cream and lip balm to shaving foam.