10 Best Airlines for Business Class Offers Surprises

The number one surprise in CNN’s list of the top 10 airlines for business class is that no U.S. carriers are represented – or is that a surprise? The list is dominated by Middle Eastern airlines with a smattering of Europeans plus Australia. The top spot, however, is held by a famously luxurious Asian airline.

Note: Every airline on the list has a lie-flat bed – in fact, finding the difference between the following business class amenities and first class is the real challenge.

And for the rest of us – where to find free beer in coach

Top 10 Best in Business Class

1. Singapore Airlines

Why it’s good: It has the “world’s widest” seats (34 inches), excellent meals and “delightful flight attendants known for their thoughtful and intuitive service.”

2. Oman Air

Why it’s good: While U.S. travelers may not be familiar with this carrier, global travelers who like to fly in style are raising its profile, thanks in part to perks like a “door-to-door service with complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfers in select destinations such as Paris, London, Muscat, Oman, and Mumbai.”

3. Qatar Airways

Why it’s good: This award winning airline (pronounced “cutter”) is singled out for its wine selections, and “having star chef Nobu Matsuhisa oversee the in-flight menu hasn’t hurt either.”

Why these travelers gave up their first class seats

4. British Airways

Why it’s good: This venerable carrier has been doing it right for decades now but it gets special mention for its Heathrow Club World Lounge and its “Galleries Arrivals lounge, which features an Elemis Travel Spa, 94 shower rooms, cabanas with infinity bathrooms and a garment-pressing service.”

5. Etihad Airways

Why it’s good: Award-winning everything plus the tantalizingly-named Six Senses Spa in the business lounge which also features a “library stocked with papers and magazines and speedy services – ironing and shoe polishing – you can cue up while you shower.”

6. Swiss International Airlines

Why it’s good: Great seating configuration plus “out-of-the-box touches like all-veggie menus from Zurich’s Haus Hiltl, the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant.”

7. Virgin Atlantic

Why it’s good: The onboard galley bar is popular but the airline’s Heathrow Clubhouse gets special mention, a place where you can enjoy a drink in “the buzzy, futuristic-looking glowing bar, have a facial or a close shave at the Cowshed Spa, tuck into a full English breakfast or catch a movie in The Den’s state-of-the-art screening rooms.”

8. Cathay Pacific

Why it’s good: Wide seats, extra knee space, great food and drinks plus “legendary service.”

9. Qantas

Why it’s good: Pick your meal before you fly, then relax in the “Sky Beds with massage options.”

10. Emirates

Why it’s good: The Dubai-based carrier offers “restaurant-quality meals that start with Arabian mezze platters and end with gourmet cheeses,” served on Royal Doulton china.

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Published: February 25, 2014