The 3 best first class airline beds

With so many airlines promoting their first class cabins in terms of celebrity chef menus, exclusive first class lounges, complimentary chauffeur services and superb flight attendant service, a key criterion seems to be missing: how comfortable and conducive to sleeping is the bed? In part that’s due to the fact that almost all good international business class products have flat bed seats now, creating less of a differentiator, but just because it’s flat doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. Here are my top airline picks for sleeping well in first class. Singapore Airlines Suites Singapore Airlines Suites offers the most comfortable first class bed I’ve slept on. In part this is due to the fact that the bed is separate from the seat; the seat folds down and the bed is unfolded on top of it. The downside to this is that you’ll want to ask a flight attendant for turn-down service and not attempt to make it into a bed yourself, but the upside is a bed that is truly optimized for sleeping, rather than a less comfortable seat-bed combination. Singapore Suites The other key aspect is that the bed includes a memory foam mattress that is far superior to the thin mattress pads that are used on most other carriers in first class. Finally, as the name implies, Singapore Suites do offer closing doors, so they afford greater privacy than other non-suite products. And if you’re traveling with a spouse or partner and would like a double bed, Singapore Suites offers two sets of seats in the middle that can be converted into a double bed. Sure, there are also soft Givenchy linens and pajamas, but what really aids the sleep experience is the greater comfort of the bed. JAL First Class Sky Suites JAL First Class Sky Suites don’t have closing doors as Singapore Suites do, but offer quite a bit of privacy as far as open suite products go, with curved walls around most of the suite and a retractable privacy partition if you’re in one of the middle suites and are traveling solo. JAL’s First Class bed is 33 inches wide, which is one of the wider first class beds, ahead of Lufthansa, Emirates, Etihad, Qantas, British Airways, Asiana and Korean Air, to name a few. While the seat does turn into a bed, unlike Singapore Suites’ separate bed product, there is a thick dual-mode airweave mattress that is firmer on one side, softer on the other, which helps to accommodate passengers with different mattress firmness preferences. An airweave mattress is also used in JAL’s Business Class, and was used by many of the athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Cathay Pacific First Class Cathay Pacific First Class has neither a closed suite nor a special mattress. What it does have, that helps with getting a good night’s sleep, is a very wide seat: 36 inches across, making it the widest in the sky. It’s wide enough that, if traveling with your child, you can both sit together to read him or her a bedtime story. For anyone that frequent shifts positions or tends to feel cramped when trying to sleep in other first class seats, the Cathay Pacific first class seat is the answer. Cathay Pacific first class Another aspect that helps with getting a good night’s sleep is that Cathay’s First Class cabin has just 3 open suites, so even when the cabin is full, it tends to be a quieter and more relaxing space than other airlines’ first class. What are your favorite airline first class cabins for getting a great night’s sleep? Hilary Stockton is the CEO at TravelSort. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. In order
    1 Etihad 2 Emirates 3 Singapore
    The new Etihad apartment has the largest bed. I am 6’6″ and 250lbs and so am an expert on bed size Also has shower availability, as does Emirates
    Emirates is definitely number 2
    Singapore is great because it can be made up as a double bed

  2. In the past, there were no beds on international travel. My resistance to such travel was the inability to sleep on airlines with long travel times. Since airline beds have become more common, traveling has taken on a new comfort. I would be happy with many of the airlines new sleep quarters, but I must admit that Cathay Pacific First Class sounds great to me. With such flights available now, I would now welcome a night time flight and possibly be rested when arriving at my destination.

  3. Though I haven’t had the pleasure of trying Singapore Airlines first class bed I think Cathay Pacific’s first class beds are the best. I am always comfortable and arrive rested. I agree a number of airlines have made improvements in this area but my best experience has been on Cathay.

  4. Lufthansa 747 select flights have FC in the bubble and they have a fully flat bed next to the seat so you get two areas and the bed is smaller than a twin but really comfortable and while you are you can rest and relax on the seat which is similar to most FC reclining seats. No privacy like one of those suites though. Last time I took it there were 2 passengers and 2 crew to help us

  5. Thanks all for the comments. I stand by my ranking, and have personally slept in Emirates, Etihad and Lufthansa First Class beds; they simply aren’t as comfortable as the bed in Singapore Suites, at least for me, my husband (6’5) and the numerous clients of mine who have tried them vs. Singapore Suites. Those first class products certainly have other features, such as the showers on Emirates and Etihad A380 flights, but this article is specifically about first class bed comfort.

  6. I suppose the comfort quotient largely depends on what a particular passenger wants to experience. My individual choice goes with the theatrical but luxurious beds provided by the Virgin Atlantic. But the Etihad’s Residence Suite, the luxurious first class cabin of the flight would simply make you fall in love with it. The three-room airborne apartment with butler around redefines luxury travel.

  7. Interestingly, I’ve had clients travel in Etihad’s The Residence, and they were somewhat disappointed. It’s only a double bed (not queen or king size), there’s no natural light in the bedroom (unlike the First Apartments) and they noted that Singapore Suites beds are actually more comfortable. Again, this article is about bed comfort, not about any other aspect of first class.

  8. One correction: Cathay Pacific has 6 open suites in first on 777s, not 3 (two rows of 1-1-1). I just had the occasion to fly CX’s first for the first time, and preferred it to Singapore Suites, for two reasons. I sleep on my side with my arm under my head, and the Cathay first seat/bed was the first I found where I wasn’t fiddling around for a place for my arm and hand to fit. It’s because of the width of the seat at your shoulder. Second, I like being able to move from upright to recline to bed on my own, without needing a flight attendant to reconfigure. It’s a personal preference, and at this level of flying is really picking at threads, because Singapore Suites is pretty great, and all of these top end products are eons in comfort above what we could have dreamed about a decade ago without flying private. I remember my “virgin” first class int’l flight on BA 25 years ago, with a recliner seat on a 747. Today, that wouldn’t be a second tier business class product. I’m still amazed when I fly 12 or 14 hours that I can catch 7 hours of shut eye laying out flat.

  9. All I have to say, is I’m impressed. I’m X-Air Force and we never had such things! I’ve flown a ton, all over the world! Mostly free too!(Military)Had to pay when I flew with my X-wife to Australia for our Honeymoon, back in 01! with Quantas. But the Pilots were really cool and let me in the cabin and even take the controls for awhile! Can’t beat, being up in the “Cat Bird Seat”! :) They gave us a bottle of some French Wine, they picked up in Paris!Then we pretty much stayed up front, the rest of the trip, with the Pilots and crew!The bar was nice and they did have a nice small sleeping area and shower. It was an older 747,but it was still very nice. :)

  10. I imagine, with everything the way it is today,they can’t do those things like they could 15 to 20 years ago! But I say;747’s have always been nice! They also seemed to always be very luxurious! Maybe even more so in the late 70’s, 80’s & 90’s vs today! The only difference I can see; Then,it was more entertainment based vs. “apartments” in the sky!, as it seems to be today. I guess u would get there more rested. But those of us who still like to fly! Getting there is more than half the fun!!!! It’s all the fun!!!!:)

  11. We tried SQ suites and that was definitely a great experience. The double bed is perfect for couples and on ZRH SIN we were able to sleep like babies and arrive fully rested. It is true that you are dependent on staff to get the bed prepred but that only takes a couple of minutes and crew is available at no notice in SQ suites. Flying sucks in the back but in the front it is still a real pleasure. Next objective is to try EY and EK.

  12. It’s amazing that some of the airlines even have closing doors for added privacy. My brother wants to travel more this year and he will be sleeping on planes. He needs to figure out how to do this comfortably so that he can stay alert and healthy.

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