Which airline has the best business class?


While Covid crippled international air travel and threw many airlines into financial death spirals, the industry’s robust return has sparked an overhaul and reimagination of modern luxury air travel.

Now we’re beginning to see the results, with Air New Zealand, Qantas and Singapore Airlines unveiling luxe refurbs of their business class offerings.

Qantas has given its Airbus A380s business class cabin a refresh, upgrading its on-board lounge and giving seats new, larger screens and a decor update.

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A removable centre partition is a key feature of Singapore Airlines’ revamped A380 business class seating, with the centre seats reclining into a double bed for those travelling as a couple.

We may have to patiently wait to experience some of these new business class options, however. Air New Zealand’s new Dreamliners which were announced this year will be rolled out in 2024 and include Business Premier Luxe suites complete with closing door and dining room for two.

Not all business class seats are created equal. We’ve rounded up some of the best new, and existing offerings from airlines flying out of Australia.

QANTAS

Business Class on Qantas Airbus A380.

Qantas’ refreshed Business Class offering on its Airbus A380s

Pre-flight experience: The airline’s Business Class lounge reopened this year after closing due to Covid, however its much anticipated renovation – which was initially slated to begin in 2019 – is still yet to have a new start date. The busy lounge could do with a refresh, but with delicious food options from Neil Perry, complimentary Wi-Fi and ample seating and is still a very pleasant way to kick off an international flight.

Baggage allowance: Two pieces checked luggage with maximum weight of 32kg each, with more allowed depending on Frequent Flyer status.

Seat: The aircrafts’ recent refurb now allows for direct aisle access for all business class suites, with seats reclining to a 203cm fully flat bed, with a 116cm pitch. If you’re in the mood for a chat, the revamped 10-seater on-board lounge is also available to business class passengers.

Entertainment and amenities: Each suite’s 30cm screen has been upgraded with a larger 41cm HD screen, with AC and USB ports for other electronics. Qantas’ new amenity kits celebrate its centenary, with six amenity kits inspired by different decades. Sustainability is a focus, with contents free of first-use plastic. And we can’t forget the complimentary pyjamas, which are a popular perk.

Menu: Last year a plant-based menu was added to the business class dining selection, along with its standard menu designed by Neil Perry. Currently on offer is Zucchini and basil soup with parmesan croute, Jiangxi-style Humpty Doo barramundi with seasonal greens and rice, and mid-flight snacks such as dip with crudités and Croque monsieur, washed down with Australian wines or a Qantas sky spritz.

Price: $10,581 return from Sydney to Los Angeles.

AIR NEW ZEALAND

Business class on Air New Zealand’s 777-300ER. The airline will be offering revamped Business Premiere Luxe Seats on its Dreamliners from 2024.

A look at Air New Zealand's revamped Business class offering taking off in 2024.
A look at Air New Zealand’s revamped Business class offering taking off in 2024.

Pre-flight experience: Passengers have access to the Air New Zealand lounge and priority check in.

Baggage allowance: Three pieces of checked luggage, up to 23kg each.

Seat: Arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, seats are 55.9cm wide and convert into a 2m long bed – one of the longest business class beds of any airline.

Entertainment and amenities: Each seat features a 28cm personal TV screen and noise-cancelling headsets, in-seat power and USB ports plus an amenity kit containing Ashley & Co beauty products, socks, sleep mask and dental kit.

Menu: The on-board dinner menu features mains including chermoula rubbed salmon with spiced cauliflower and cardamom couscous and spicy Korean chicken with pickled white radish, steamed rice, sesame and chilli vegetables, and for breakfast choose from a zucchini and pimiento omelette with pork sausage, ginseng and chicken congee and banana blueberry pancakes.

Price: From $10991 Sydney to Los Angeles return.

EMIRATES

Emirates Airbus A380 Business Class.

Emirates A380 lie-flat seats.
Emirates A380 lie-flat seats.
The Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge.
The Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge.

Pre-flight experience: It’s hard to beat the exceptional pre-boarding experience with Emirates, with a chauffeur service to and from selected airports, as well as fast track immigration and priority boarding. Lounges in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne reopened in July, with Brisbane yet to reopen.

Baggage allowance: Two pieces up to 32kg each.

Seat: Seats are pitched at 111cm and extend to form flat beds in a 1-2-1 configuration and controlled by a touch screen seat controller. Centre seats also have a privacy panel.

Entertainment and amenities: A personal mini bar filled with refreshments and impressive 58cm HD touch screen makes the Emirates business class in-flight experience pretty exceptional, not to mention its luxe Bulgari amenity kits. Its entertainment system includes access to more than 4000 channels and has been dubbed ‘best in the world’ by Skytrax fourteen years in a row. USB ports and complimentary Wi-Fi are also available.

Menu: Meals are served on Royal Doulton bone china and you’ll find a selection of authentic Arabic dishes and contemporary international cuisine to choose from, including Bzar chicken with rice, fried onions and pistachios, tofu poke bowls and Pan-fried beef tenderloin. Canapes and drinks are also available in the on-board business class lounge.

Price: Sydney to Dubai return from $8749.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Business Class on Singapore Airline’s flagship Airbus A380.

Business Class on A380 Singapore Airlines.
Business Class on A380 Singapore Airlines.

Pre-Flight experience: The Airbus A380 operates one daily service from Sydney to Singapore. Business class guests can relax in the airline’s SilverKris Business lounge in Sydney, but the airline’s recently renovated flagship at Changi is not to be missed if you have the chance.

Baggage allowance: Two pieces checked luggage with maximum weight of 32kg each, with extra allowance for PPS Club and KrisFlyer members.

Seat: Seats are 63.5cm wide with a seat pitch of 127cm and are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, but if you’ve decided to take a trip with significant other, then make sure to secure seats in the centre row; they not only recline but transform into a comfy double bed. In-flight work is also made easy, with reading lights, ample USB ports, laptop charging points, plenty of storage and a large, backed shell for privacy.

Entertainment and amenities: Each seat features a 45cm HD screen and a personal vanity mirror for pre-arrival touch ups. Unlike many other airlines, vanity kits are provided upon request so as to prevent waste, but with the recent introduction of products by British luxury fragrance brand Penhaligon’s including facial mist, hand cream and lip balm, it’s definitely worth asking for.

Menu: Not one, but seven chefs from around the world consulted on this business class menu, including Australia’s Matt Moran. Fliers can pre-order from the airline’s ‘Book The Cook’ menu up to 24 hours prior to boarding, with lobster thermidor, salmon in wild lime butter and beef in green peppercorn sauce among the dishes available. If you’re after a wine, on board sommeliers can advise the best complementary drop.

Price: Return flights from Sydney to Singapore start at $4219, with limited seats available, while early bird return fare to Singapore (on sale now until 30 September 2022) for travel from 22 January to 05 September 2023 starts at $3238.

Business class reviews

Digital Editor – Luxury & Lifestyle

Sydney

Elle Halliwell is a fashion, beauty and entertainment journalist. She began her career covering style and celebrity for The Sunday Telegraph and is currently Digital Editor – Luxury & Lifestyle at The Australia… Read more

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