Which is the best airline to fly to Europe in Business Class? I have picked United Airlines, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Delta as the best airlines to travel transatlantic in Business Class.
United is my first choice with the new and amazing Polaris seat, American Airlines comes in second with their new Super Diamond seat. Virgin tends to be better than British Airways which comes in at number 4, and the inconsistent Delta Business Class product comes in 5th because of its terrible 767 Business seat.
American Airlines Vs United Vs Delta
American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta are the three main North American airlines that fly from the major American airports over to Europe. All three have all recently launched a new, upgraded business class soft and hard product, with improved seats, food and service on flights to Europe. I have discussed in more detail which of these new Business Class suites is best. In my opinion, the United Polaris Business Class Pod cabins are probably the best looking of the three seats and the fact that these cabins are complemented by matching ground facilities means that this entire product is more of a complete experience than the American Airlines or Delta offerings.
On American Airlines, whether passengers will be able to enjoy the new business class seats depends on when it gets its aircraft deliveries. Last year, American delayed the delivery of five of its 787 aircraft, opting to receive four of its units in 2017 over 2016. From this year through 2018, the airline should receive an additional 27 aircraft. Additionally, American expects to receive 22 Airbus A350s in 2017. 777-200 retrofits will also be ongoing although it is not clear when only the new seats will be fitted.
Delta’s new seats are only planned to be installed on around a fifth of its new fleet which means that when you book a Delta Business Class ticket, the chances are you may never experience their Delta One product. In fact Delta currently offers a very poor 767 Business Class seat with very little leg space and that looks like a 90’s nightmare so great care must be taken to avoid the 767 product if you book a Delta Business Class seat.
British Airways Vs Virgin Atlantic
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the two main British airlines that fly from North America to Europe, between New York and London along with a number of other American cities. Both airlines feature in my top 10 best airlines for longhaul Business Class and I have also compared them directly in my best transatlantic airline for Business: British Airways Vs Virgin Atlantic. In a nutshell, when comparing Virgin’s Upper Class to British Airways Club Class, Upper Class wins in almost every respect. The Clubhouse lounge is fun and has better food than BA’s Galleries lounges. If you want privacy and direct aisle access, Virgin also wins. Although it is worth re-highlighting that if you are travelling in a couple or as a family, you will probably prefer the layout in British Airways, assuming you want to see your family or other half! Virgin’s onboard food offering is more generous, the seat is more comfortable for sleeping and it has an onboard bar.
Below you will find my reviews of recent experiences I have had on each airline – you may want to draw your own conclusions.
I have flown with United Airlines a number of times and have reviewed their long haul Business Class and First Class flights. My trip reports can be found below. Read More.
I have flown with American Airlines a number of times and have reviewed their long haul Business Class and First Class flights. My trip reports can be found below. Read More.
I have flown with Virgin Atlantic a number of times and have reviewed their long haul Business Class or Upper Class along with their Premium economy. My trip reports can be found below. Read More.
I have flown with British Airways many times and have reviewed their long haul Business Class flights in First and Club World as well as Premium Economy. My trip reports can be found below. Read More.
I have reviewed Delta One which is Delta’s new long haul Business Class product which can be found below. Read More.
Consider The Specific Plane As Well As The Airline When Making Your Choice
It is worth noting that for all the airlines mentioned above, it is not just the airline that should skew your choice, but also the plane you will be travelling on. Virgin for example offer an updated and an older Upper Class seat, depending on the plane – the latter older seat being rather shabby. United have launched their new Polaris seats which will soon be routed onto the flights to Europe but for now, these are not yet available. American Airlines have also launched Super Diamond Business Class but again it is not widely available and neither is the new Delta One seat. The three American carriers therefore offer excellent new products if you can book into a flight which features their new seats. The new seats, in my opinion, beat the older British Airways Club Class (with no direct aisle access) and older Virgin Atlantic products (which are tatty) hands down. BUT if you fly on an older plane from these American carriers you will not get this upgraded experience.
Book wisely and you are in for a treat, particularly if you get the whole United Polaris or American Super Diamond experience. These two are the winners and are the best airlines to fly to Europe In Business Class.
It is worth reading my tips on how to find cheap First or Business Class flight tickets to and from North America for a way to save money on your next First or Business Class flight booking. If you can’t stretch to Business Class, I have also outlined the best airlines to fly to Europe in Premium Economy.
It is also worth mentioning that there will be a game changer launching around 2020 with the introduction of Concorde like transatlantic Supersonic travel. The major players in this market are Boom, backed by Richard Branson, Spike Aerospace, Airbus and Aerion Corp. With prices expected to be around $5,000 a ticket, these will offer an exciting and faster alternative to First and Business when travelling transatlantic.