Every year, leading aviation consumer website Skytrax compiles a list of the highest rated business class offerings in the world. The Skytrax rankings are based on the impressions of 19.2 million travelers from 104 different countries. The survey, which covered more than 280 airlines, measured 41 parameters ranging from boarding procedures to seat comfort to the quality of service.
Business class has, in recent years, 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 crafted by gourmet chefs are becoming the industry norm.
That’s because, even though business class comprises a small number seats per plane, it’s pricier fares and premium clientele are important profit drivers for the airlines.
The 10 airlines that made the final list all offer exemplary service, state-of-the-art aircraft, and generous accommodations. Amazingly, the top seven spots went to Asian airlines, while the other three spots are occupied by airlines from Europe.
Why it’s here: Lufthansa opens the top-ten list with an impressive business class product. The German airline offers lie-flat seats, a variety of fine-dining options, and a selection of more than 100 films and 200 TV shows in eight different languages.
9. Air France
- Air France
Why it’s here: Air France recently revamped its business class product with stunning results. It features a private pod with lie-flat bed, 500 hours worth of in-flight entertainment on a 16-inch HD screen, and menus designed by a group of Michelin-starred chefs.
8. Turkish Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
Why it’s here: Turkish Airlines is widely regarded as the best airline 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.
7. EVA Air
- 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 cancelling head phones, and a Rimowa overnight kit.
6. ANA All Nippon Airways
Why it’s here: All Nippon Airways is one of the finest airlines on the Pacific Rim. The Japanese carrier’s business class offering features lie-flat seating, private in-flight entertainment, and gourmet dining.
5. 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.
Why it’s here: Emirates, the current holder of the award for Best Airline in the World, also has one of the best business class products in the industry. Business class passengers are treated to a lie-flat seat, the best in-flight entertainment in the world, a full cocktail bar, and complimentary chauffeur service.
3. Etihad Airways
Why it’s here: Etihad offers a variety of business class products. The newest and most plush offering is the airline’s Business Studio which are 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 other passengers for flights on the A380.
2. Singapore Airlines
- 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.
1. Qatar Airways
- Flickr/Qatar Airways
Why it’s here: Qatar Airways’ business class accommodations feature a full 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.