The 5 best first class airlines

If you’re looking to travel in complete luxury, then you want to fly in first class. For some of us it’s something we can only dream of, for others it’s a regular occurrence. Airlines throughout the world compete to capture this high-value, luxury market by providing exceptional quality, services and features. When flying first class you can be treated to an experience like no other, including fine dining restaurants, LCD TV screens, flat beds, Dom Perignon Champagne and exclusive terminal lounges. We all enjoy cheap flights but enjoying true luxury in the sky comes at a price. If this sounds like an experience you would like to indulge in, then I’ve taken the hard work out of trying each airline and put together my list of top 5 first class airlines.

1. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines provide an experience that can be crafted the way you like it. An option of Dom Perignon or Krug champagne is a great start and combined with food how and when I want it makes this the food-lovers perfect flight! All at once or in courses, you can treat yourself to the way you wish to be served. Combine this with a huge seat that flattens into a bed, oversized pillows and a Givenchy sleep suit and you’ve got yourself one pleasurable plane ride.

2. Qatar Airways

The seats on Qatar Airways aren’t quite as long as Singapore Airlines, but nevertheless match them in quality and comfort. What makes the first class experience so enjoyable with this airline is the separate terminal that includes a Jacuzzi and sauna, as well as fine dining restaurants and a medical centre. You’ll want to arrive ahead of schedule to enjoy what you’ve paid for.

3. Malaysia Airlines

This airline comes in third due to the quality of service. If you’re looking for the royal treatment, you will get it with Malaysia Airlines. Like the other airlines, seats become flat beds and you get a personal TV screen. Enjoy the luxury of some exceptional Malaysian cuisine that’s served with a smile.

4. Cathay Pacific

There’s two things that make this a luxurious experience – outstanding food and massage chairs! Each seat sits behind panels that create a suite-like feel. The super long chairs not only feature built-in massagers, but also lay down as flat beds. The food on Cathay Pacific is exceptional and probably the best of the bunch. If you’re looking for a good in-flight meal, add these guys to your consideration list.

5. Thai Airways

While not as comfortable as some of the other airlines, Thai Airways gives you the complete experience, from personal concierges that checks you in and fast tracks you through customs and immigration to a choice of 22 entrees that can be pre-ordered for your flight. Once again they provide 180-degree flat beds and a spa in their exclusive first-class lounge.

The experience of flying first-class changes your opinion of flying altogether. No longer are you sitting in cramped, economy-class seats but enjoying the luxury of a bed, exceptional service, exclusive lounges and exquisite meals. Once you go first-class, it’s hard to fly any other way.

Richard Greenwood is the Marketing Director at Flight Centre Australia.

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Comments (18)

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  1. hamptin inn says:

    Singapore Airlines is the best! I’ve tried boarding that plane a year ago and I really enjoyed my travel so peaceful.

  2. I am planning a trip to Europe and was considering flying first class on Lufthansa airlines. What is your opinion about this airline?

  3. Martin says:

    I disagree… nothing more luxurious that a shower at 43000 ft or a private suite with your own minibar….
    Only on Emirates Airline
    http://www.emirates.com/us/english/flying/our_fleet/emirates_a380/first_class/shower_spa.aspx
    http://www.emirates.com/us/english/flying/cabin_features/first_class/new_private_suites.aspx

  4. Nancy M says:

    hello laurie – lufthansa is great especially in first class – you probably won’t do better from mexico to europe (assuming that’s where you’re starting from) – they have a little vase inside your armrest for a fresh red rose

  5. David Mancer says:

    Surprised that your article didn’t mention Lufthansa, Swiss and Qantas which all have consistently excellent first class products. I agree that Singapore Airlines is the best of all of them, but this does come at a significant cost premium to all the others.

  6. How about Emirates Airlines. Wondering why you are not mentioning them. It tops them all.

  7. Jamie says:

    I am planning a trip to Miami and wondered if BA business or Virgin upper would be better. Feedback much appreciated.

  8. Layangi says:

    Totally agreed. Singapore Airlines clearly top the airline industry with its modern fleet, service and safety. Each and every journey that i took with SIA was plesent and hope to fly SIA sooner :)

  9. alaralp says:

    These videos were all great to watch. I personally have not been able to experience first class, but am now hoping to do so soon! Singapore definitely seems to be favored and it was interesting to see the comments agree. I’m going to go do research on these airlines now :)

  10. tizzy says:

    An added plus for Singapore airline: a king and queen treated services for senior passenger. I flew with my disabled 80 y.o mom and we felt like we didn’t want to touch down the ground.

  11. Steve says:

    I think British Airways First should feature here for sheer sophisticated luxury and the amazing onboard service and a beautiful lounge at T5 Heathrow, also Etihad for their private suites which are superb

  12. Hussein says:

    Hmmm, so I take it you’ve never flown Etihad, Emirates, Lufthansa, Swiss? Sorry, but if you’ve flown those you might have realized what real 1st class is instead

  13. Nancy M says:

    re: Hussein’s (quite correct, I’m sure) comment that if we have not flown Etihad, Emirates, Lufthansa, Swiss, then we have not realized what real 1st class is – of those 4, i’ve only been on LH in First and as i posted above, it is very very nice

    i propose that all of us who have submitted comments, obviously articulate, discerning and sophisticated travellers, be given some F tickets so we can make some true comparisons…

  14. Julia says:

    Wow! I would not mind traveling on any of these airlines! I have not traveled on a plane nuncan as luxurious, but I certainly do not die without trying. :)

  15. Barry says:

    Not sure about Thai – on a recent flight was treated to a medieval style floor show with FAs literally having to crawl on the bellies to serve a “VVIP”. The bodyguard blocked off both toilets to other passengers whenever when she used it.

    Not a comfortable or palatable experience at all – but don’t say anything. A French passenger who was told to turn off his personal reading light in Thai first was arrested and jailed on arrival in BKK.

    You can get 15 years in jail for not obeying the whims of these charmers.

  16. Ian says:

    I agree with many of the comments above. Emirates and Swiss first class are exceptional, and on a par with Singapore. You can rest assured, however, Air France’s first is not worthy of a place in the top five!

  17. Moby says:

    Couldnt agree more bout Singapore Airlines but the list is incomplete without Emirates which offers SUPER value adds apart from inflight luxury to its Premium Passengers . It is so hard to bliv that the worlds once favourite and Corporate airline British Airways is not even close .

  18. Nadia says:

    You definitely missed Emirates! It’s unbeatable and their first class experience is just fantastic.

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