One trip in Business Class, and you’ll never go back to Economy. One trip in these Business Class seats and you might even consider giving up your car because it’s not luxurious enough. In 2016, it’s all about the 1-2-1 configuration and lie-flat beds. New generation aircraft are making airlines bring out the big guns when it comes to design and comfort, making travellers actually look forward to flying. These are our nominees for the best Business Class seats of the year.
Singapore Airlines Business Class
Singapore is no slouch when it comes to air travel. Not only is Singapore Changi Airport one of the plushest in the world, the Next Gen Business Class on Singapore Airlines is something that has to be seen to be believed. In 2013, the new Business Class seat was carefully redesigned to ensure that each part is functionally and aesthetically excellent. The perks include increased privacy, a better ergonomic design, more storage space, and a 132 degree recline that makes it the industry’s widest full-flat bed. You can find the Next Gen Business Class seats aboard the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER service between Singapore and London.
Virgin Australia Business Class
Virgin Australia don’t do things by halves. In keeping with Branson’s “Go big or go home” approach, the new Upper Class Suite is quite a sight to behold. Four years of research and expert design went into creating one of the longest beds in business class, with a new comfort system and an extra padded sleep sheet. And yes, you can recline from the moment you board and never need to put your seatback upright. It wouldn’t be Virgin without some flash, so travellers can also expect a mood lighting system, the latest technology with a touchscreen monitor and handset, a futuristic onboard bar, and Swarovski crystal accents.
Qatar Airways A350 Business Class
Qatar Airways’ new Boeing A350 business class will have you forgetting you’re on an airplane. The seats are laid out in the angled “reverse herringbone” 1-2-1 arrangement that offers direct aisle access to all passengers, meaning no more awkward moments of stepping over your snoring neighbours in order to hit the head. Aboard the A350, passengers are treated to larger electronically dimmable windows, lower cabin pressure, improved air quality and optimal humidity. Qatar also opted to remove the overhead bins from the middle of the business class cabin to give it an even more spacious feel.
Air New Zealand 777-300ER Business Premier
Air New Zealand say its 777-300 Business Premier cabin offers “proper beds, not seats with excuses.” The 22 inch wide leather armchair converts to one of the longest fully lie-flat beds in the sky, a perfect vantage point from which to enjoy the impressive in-flight culinary experience and extensive selection of premium New Zealand wines available to complement the meal. Business Premier travellers also enjoy designated premium check-in, access to lounges, and non-EU passport holders received fast-track invitations to speed up their way through immigration. Currently, only 777-300 services between Auckland – Los Angeles – London offer Business Premier service.
Cathay Pacific Business Class
If you think there is no such thing as privacy on an airplane, think again. Cathy Pacific’s new Business Class allows you to control the degree of privacy and openness you prefer, by moving your seat back or forward and using a precision toggle to adjust the seat position. When not enjoying the additional hip support and knee space of the fully flat bed, passengers can indulge in a rotating library of 100 movies, 500 TV shows, 888 music CDS, 22 radio channels, and 70 games. Cathay Pacific’s new Business Class is being progressively introduced on the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
Designed by Taiwanese designer Ray Chen, the new A350s follow suit with Chen’s previous design of the Taiwanese carrier’s flagship lounge at Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport. Creature comforts on the new China Airlines includes seats which convert into a 78 inch full flat bed. Entertainment is sorted with a massive 18 inch video screen whilst LED mood lighting keeps things elegantly lit. When passengers have had enough of business class, they can venture to the Sky Bistro bar which offers a host of self-serve drinks and snacks. All passengers on the new China Airlines A350 will also be able to use the inflight satellite internet service.
Emirates Airbus A380 Business Class
Next time you’re headed from Sydney to Dubai (by way of Vienna), hop aboard the Emirates Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300 Business Class. There’s a personal minibar and foot-level stowage, as well as some of the tastiest mid-air food you’ll ever lay teeth on. For entertainment, the Ice system includes more than 1300 films, television shows, and documentaries. Need a drink? There is an illuminated horseshoe bar where passengers can socialise with each other or the attendants (who speak 15 languages!). And did we mention there’s complimentary top shelf champagne?
Etihad Pearl Business Class
Etihad is known around the world for offering some of the most impressive service in the sky, so of course their Pearl Business Class is no exception. Found on the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER planes from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, the seats are constructed in the 1-2-1 configuration to offer direct aisle access for all. A zip-up amenities bag includes a dental kit, earplugs, cotton buds, and Korres brand products (lip balm and a hand/body lotion) so you can pamper yourself during your flight. Speaking of pampering, passengers are also given hot towels before drink orders are taken and served food with silver cutlery.
Air France Boeing 777 Business Class
Meet the newest addition to the line-up of top-notch business class travel: Air France’s new international Boeing 777. Air France just announced its revamped business class cabin, ahead of its first flight in June 2014 between Paris and New York. The usual suspects all appear: fully flat beds, direct aisle access, 1-2-1 seat configuration, high-definition seatback screens, noise-cancelling headphones, AC and USB ports, and a divider screen for extra privacy. Air France plans to roll out its “cocoon in the sky” to all 44 of its Boeing 777 long-range fleet over the next two years.
Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class
Thai Airways is making international travel smooth as silk with the Royal Silk Business class. Before leaving the ground at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Royal Silk Class passengers enjoy fast immigration channels and an exclusive check-in lounge. Once in the air, travellers are treated to a luxury experience that includes segregated cabins with shell seats, telephone and laptop power points, an interactive Audio Visual On Demand entertainment system, and travel kits with a selection of toiletries and cosmetic products, an eye shade, comfort socks, and a toothbrush set. It’s available on A340-600, A340-500, B747-400 (selected aircraft), B777-300 (selected aircraft), B777-200, and B777-200ER aircraft.
Qantas 787 Business Suite
Qantas began trials of its new 787 Business Suite at the end of 2013, though the airline doesn’t plan to debut the seats on domestic and international flights until later this year. The Business Suite will be a new feature on the entire 30-strong fleet of Qantas Airbus A330s, which fly transcontinentally between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, as well as international flights to Qantas’ key Asian ports. Amongst the upgrades to look forward to are a fully lie-flat bed with a Qantas sleep service mattress, a fold-out stowage compartment, and a 16 inch screen running Panasonic’s latest eX3 system powered by Google’s Android software.