Transport : Airlines

Not all airlines in the world offer longhaul First Class cabins. In fact, many of the best airlines are replacing their First Class airline cabins with an improved and more competitive Business Class product. As an example, the American Airline Delta, has just launched a new Polaris Cabin which I have reviewed, which is far better than their original Business Class, but with slightly less room than their the original First Class seat.

First Class is still offered on “high-yield” routes with heavy business traffic that are willing to pay the increased cost (e.g. New York or Los Angeles to London).

First Class is known for excellent ground service (with limo transfers and dedicated lounges, such as the iconic British Airways Concorde room), lie-flat seats (with superb bedding), personalised onboard service, as well as an improved meal service (with high-quality champagne, lobster and caviar) and my favourite, First Class “free” pyjamas.

This is my list of the 5 most luxurious First Class cabins in the sky, accompanied by some of my trip reports.

1. Etihad Airways First Apartments

Etihad Airways offers the ultimate First Class experience in the sky with its Etihad First Apartments and The Residence on board its (small fleet of) Airbus A380 superjumbos. More than just a seat, the First Apartment has a large leather armchair and separate bed . There is even space to walk around after closing the privacy doors. Six of the First Apartments are interconnecting, perfect for when you’re travelling with a companion. Alternatively you might want to invite a travelling partner from First Class to join you in your apartment for a meal or a meeting.

You can read my review of Etihad First Apartments.

2. Emirates First Class Suites

Privacy, personalised service and glamour tipify Emirates’ First Class product (pictured above). Gold-clad suites come with a sliding door, a personal mini-bar and adjustable ambient lighting. At night, the crew will convert your seat to a super comfy fully flat-bed with a mattress, so you can arrive at your destination totally refreshed. If you don’t feel refreshed, take a shower in the sky. First Class private suites are available on all Emirates Airbus A380 and A340-500 aircraft, and most Boeing 777 aircraft. First Class cabins on other aircraft offer flat-bed seats or deeply-reclining comfort seats.

You can read my trip report of the Emirates First Class Suite on their A380.

3. Singapore Airlines First Class Suites

The Singapore Airlines First Class suites are exclusively on board their Airbus A380 aircraft. Here, passengers can luxuriate in their very own private space in the largest ever armchair in the sky, hand-stitched by master Italian craftsmen Poltrona Frau. Each individual cabin features sliding doors and window blinds, offering passengers the freedom to decide on the level of privacy they prefer. While the leather and wood finishes, created in soothing natural hues, enhance the sense of serenity. Singapore Airlines’ signature turndown service, with fine linen and plush, full-sized pillows, ensures a restful slumber.

You can read my review of Singapore Airlines First Class Suite

4. Cathay Pacific First Class Suite

Following the spectacular refurbishment of their First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, Cathay Pacific extended their sophisticated, contemporary style into its First Class. The outer surface of the First Class Suite is a dark, high-gloss material, while inside, the side console and the interior of the seat are wrapped in natural leather with subtle linings and stitching for a clean, refined, sophisticated look. The seat smoothly transforms into a fully flat-bed, and the bedding comes with high-quality fabrics for the duvets, pillows, cushions and the mattress to ensure a comfortable sleep.

You can read my review of Cathay Pacific First Class on the 777 and Cathay Pacific First Class on the 747

5. British Airways First Class Seat

When travelling on British Airways in First Class out of Heathrow you get access to the Concorde Room airline lounge, which is also present at other lesser BA hubs such as Singapore. The British are experts at the class system and their excellent pilots and staff make BA First Class a joy to experience. The seats in First are much better than those in Club World, but their First Class is let down by mediocre food and of course, you just get a seat, not an apartment. British Airways is one of my favourite ways to travel transatlantic.

you can read my review of British Airways in First Class.

This article was inspired by The Luxury Travel Expert.