Business Class long haul has been elevated over the years to a product that’s almost on par with First Class. In fact the lay flat Business seats these days are far better than the First seats of only a few years ago. On most carriers the angled seat that made you feel like you were slipping to the floor is now only a distant memory.
So why spend the extra to fly First Class? Well some airlines still make it absolutely worthwhile flying in First- so lets dive in and see what some of the best airlines in the world are doing to warrant a US$15,000 ticket for a long haul flight.
Emirates is one of the leaders in providing a memorable First Class experiences as nothing is spared. Caviar service, Dom Perignon and food that is gourmet quality all add to the allure. On the A380 they have a bar for both First and Business class passengers but First has its own haven. The ceiling lights up with little stars and each suite actually closes so you have the most privacy possible on any aircraft, making it feel like you own a private jet. Plus there are two showers onboard for the First Class Passengers. The crew is young and seem to love doing what they do. And why wouldn’t they? The entire experience is well choreographed and exciting.
Korean Air has a fantastic First Class. Theirs is set up in a single configuration with a full comfortable flat bed and a premium food service. Korean Air has organic food for Business and First and they offer fantastic Korean delights. Service is impeccable and plentiful as they have many Flight Attendants on board to cater to your every whim. One really neat perk is that upon arrival at ICN (Seoul) you are met and escorted to their plush First Class Lounge where you can have silver personalized baggage tags made while you kick back and have a drink. That’s cool.
Singapore Airlines is known as innovators. It seems like they’re always tweaking and always refurbishing their cabins. Their suites on the A380 are similar to Emirates except that they’re wider. The Givenchy dinnerware is a beautiful touch as are Ferragamo Amenity kits and Givenchy sleep suits. Caviar service with Krug champagne and their famous lobster thermidor makes for an elegant dinning experience in the skies. Singapore Airlines was one of the 1st airlines to have the crew plate up the food on white china to make it look brilliant.
Cathay Pacific is up there at the top too. The suites are sleek and modern and possibly the most comfortable . Caviar is served on board and their famous noodle soup when you wake in the night is a great tradition. Turn down service offers a cozy pillow and duvet that lulls you into a restful sleep. The Wing lounge in HK airport has just been renovated to a modern flair with a full restaurant and cabanas that you can refresh in.
Thai Airways is wonderful on board their new A380. Their new beige leather seat is comfortable and private. Plus it’s designed so that you have a little place to go and sit for dinner like a carriage on the Orient Express. Ground service in Bangkok will be there to meet you and buggy you to the lounge or immigration. Arrival at Bangkok is fantastic and the best check in you will ever have. You will never touch your case as you are met at curbside by a porter, taken to the 1st class check in where you are seated in a chair and given a chilled class of lemon grass water. You are then personally escorted though immigration and security and then taken in a golf cart to the First Class Lounge where there is a restaurant and private rooms that feel like a hotel suite
Lufthansa is the most polished out of all the European airlines with the latest modern first class seats and a brilliant ground service that makes you feel like you are in a James Bond movie. You are picked up by a Porsche or Mercedes at the gate and taken to a separate First Class Terminal. The food here is the best I have ever seen in any lounge. When your flight is ready you are whisked off again in a car service that puts you on board just as they close the door. A red rose will await you in your seat and the precise service is second to none.
British Airways has a good First Class but one that’s more about the prestige than it is for comfort and food. I have never been impressed with the food on BA compared to the other First offers. Flights can be good when you have a crew that want to make it good. Often enough you can get a very stiff British upper lip with the lack of attending to your every whim like the others. I’m not complaining, it’s just a different approach to welcoming you on board.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.