Which is the best airline to fly to Europe in First Class? I have picked Swiss Airlines, British Airways, and American Airlines. Virgin offers Upper Class to Europe, but this is fundamentally a Business Class product, and if you are expecting a First Class experience, you will be sorely disappointed. Delta offers its long-haul “One” seating which again is Business Class as is the new and very good United Polaris.
For First, your best options, and the ones that I can comment on as we have personally reviewed flights in First, are Swiss, British Airways, and American Airlines. My preference in terms of the quality would be in the same order with Swiss offering the best experience largely because I particularly rate their food, and as such, I have placed them in position one of my top 10 airlines in the world for food.
Swiss is part of the Lufthansa Group and has the reputation of being one of Europe’s best airlines, offering a great onboard product. The cabin design on Swiss is muted but sophisticated in grey and white, high-quality fabrics, and spotlessly clean. Swiss recently updated its First Class product on its Boeing 777-300ER; the seats, the cabin, the food, and the service. It now offers one of the best First Class products in the sky on its B777.
I have flown with British Airways many times and find their First Class offering to be excellent. I have also compared British Airways First vs. Business Class and unsurprisingly, First comes out on top, with seats you can truly sleep on (I find the Business Class seats to narrow and uncomfortable to sleep on for long).
I have flown First Class On American Airlines’ largest wide-body plane, the Boeing 777-300ER or B77W, which is their Flagship First Class cabin. AA owns 27 of these planes. While AA’s B77W has one of the best long-haul Business Class products in the world (and is your best airline and business choice for a transatlantic trip), I was less impressed by their First Class product. The difference between First Class and AA’s excellent Business Class is only very marginal. Yes, the suite has more space, the seat can be turned into an office desk, there is turndown service (with a duvet and an extra pillow), and you get an extra course (soup) with your meal. But I really could not find any other differences. This is not the case with all airlines. As an example, I can’t sleep on British Airways’ thin and uncomfortable Business Class seats but sleep like a baby in their First Class cabin.
Air France and Lufthansa also fly transatlantic to Europe with a First Class product, but I have not flown either in first, so can not comment on how these products compare.
Below you will find my reviews of recent experiences I have had on each airline. You may want to draw your own conclusions.
Bottom line, the experience in First will be very good whichever airline you fly. If you are privileged enough to experience life in Frist, I doubt you will be disappointed.
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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 and if you want to pick up a travel bargain, you should read our 7 sensational secrets that all travelers should know (but probably don’t).
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