Massage seats, lie-flat beds, and Armani amenities — these are the world’s 10 best business-class airlines

Qatar Airways Q Suite business class.

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Qatar Airways Q Suite business class.
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REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

  • Every year Skytrax names the airlines with the best business-class offerings.
  • Airlines are moving away from costly first-class cabins and replacing them with plusher business-class offerings.
  • As a result, business class is becoming more and more luxurious.
  • The top 10 are dominated by airlines from Asia.

Every year, leading aviation consumer website Skytrax compiles a list of the highest-rated business-class offerings. The Skytrax rankings are based on the impressions of 19.87 million travelers from 105 countries. The survey, which covered more than 320 airlines, measured 49 parameters, from boarding procedures to seat comfort to the quality of service.

In recent years business class has changed dramatically. The standards for service, comfort, and accommodations have increased to a level unseen since the golden age of commercial aviation in the 1960s. These days, lie-flat seats, personal entertainment systems, and menus created by gourmet chefs are becoming the industry norm. That’s because, even though business class comprises a small number seats per plane, its pricier fares and premium clientele are important profit drivers.

In addition, as airlines move away from expensive-to-operate first-class cabins, business class has taken over as the premium cabin of choice for many major carriers.

The 10 airlines that made the final list all offer exemplary service, state-of-the-art aircraft, and generous accommodations. Eight of the top 10 spots went to airlines from Asia, while the other two spots are occupied by European carriers.

No airline from North America cracked the top 20. But with the arrival of Delta One and United Polaris, expect US carriers to make a move up the rankings.


10. EVA Air

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EVA Air

Why it’s here: Called Royal Laurel Class, EVA Air’s international long-haul business product is one the finest in the world. Amenities include a lie-flat seat, noise-canceling headphones, and a Rimowa overnight kit.


9. Emirates

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Emirates

Why it’s here: Emirates has one of the best business-class products. Business-class passengers are treated to a lie-flat seat, the best in-flight entertainment, a full cocktail bar, and complimentary chauffeur service. In November, Emirates unveiled its new business-class cabin inspired by the Mercedes-Benz S Class sedan.


8. Cathay Pacific

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Cathay Pacific

Why it’s here: Cathay Pacific offers both regional and long-haul business-class products. The long-haul business offering includes lie-flat seats, a luxury amenity kit, and state-of-the-art entertainment system.


7. Garuda Indonesia

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Screenshot via YouTube/Garuda Indonesia

Why it’s here: Garuda Indonesia one of the few airlines to carry a Skytrax Five Star rating. Its new business-class cabin is featured on its Boeing 777-300ERs. All business-class passengers are treated to flatbed seats, direct aisle access, gourmet dining, and a L’Occitane amenity kit.


6. Turkish Airlines

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Airbus/Turkish Airlines

Why it’s here: Turkish Airlines is widely regarded as one of the best airlines in Europe, and its business class is the highest rated of the European carriers. Amenities include lie-flat seating with massage function and gourmet dining.


5. Lufthansa

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Lufthansa

Why it’s here: The German national airline delivers a truly impressive business-class product. Lufthansa offers lie-flat seats, a variety of fine-dining options, and a selection of more than 100 films and 200 TV shows in eight languages.


4. Etihad

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Hollis Johnson

Why it’s here: Etihad offers a variety of business-class products. The newest and plushest offering is the airline’s Business Studio, which is found on its fleet of Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 superjumbos. The Studio features a massaging lie-flat bed, 18.5-inch touchscreen, and even a Lobby lounge to socialize with passengers for flights on the A380.


3. Singapore Airways

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Singapore Airlines

Why it’s here: Singapore’s business-class product is almost legendary in the airline business. And it’s for good reason. Passengers on Singapore’s business class are treated to 78-inch bed, 18-inch HD entertainment display, luxury dining, and impeccable service. In November, Singapore unveiled a new business-class seat for its fleet of Airbus A380s, complete with a stylish carbon composite shell and Poltrona Frau upholstery.


2. ANA All Nippon Airways

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ANA

Why it’s here: All Nippon Airways is one of the finest airlines in the Pacific Rim. The Japanese carrier’s business-class offering features flat-bed seats at convert into 78-inch-long beds, private in-flight entertainment, and gourmet dining,


1. Qatar Airways

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Qatar Airways

Why it’s here: Qatar Airways’ business-class accommodations feature a fully lie-flat bed, on-demand dining, a Giorgio Armani amenity kit, and a personal entertainment system with more than 3,000 movies, TV shows, and songs. The airline’s new Q Suite business-class cabin features retractable dividers that allow as many four passengers to link their suites.