We review the best airlines that fly to North America. The best way to fly, is of course, in First Class, with lie-flat seats, high-end food, and amenities. We have outlined the best international airlines below. They include Air France, American Airlines, British Airways First Class, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic Swiss, and surprisingly, Singapore Airlines.
All these airlines fly to North American and offer First Class cabins or excellent Business Class cabins. Wherever you decide to fly to, book your flight and hotel via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free benefits at hotels including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, InterContinental, and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
1. Air France
Air France “La Première Class” is its long-haul First Class on both their A380 and 777-300ER. The First Class offered on their 777 is the best. Air France hubs in Paris (CDG), so if this airport is convenient for your European travels, this airline is a particularly great choice as you get escorted to and from the plane, and their First Class lounge is one of the best in the world. Sometimes you are driven between the plane and the lounge in a BMW with your own personal chauffeur.
Once you arrive in Paris, one of the best luxury hotels in Paris is the Four Seasons hotel. Wherever you are in the world, Four Seasons hotels are consistently one of the best hotels or resort in the area. They don’t have a Four Seasons loyalty program, so you will never be able to book a free stay by racking up and redeeming points, or by collecting points on your credit card and spending them at a Four Seasons hotel. It can’t be done. But you can get discounts at Four Seasons hotels and benefit from special rewards at Four Seasons hotels for no extra cost by booking your next stay via our luxury travel concierge.
Back to Paris-Charles De Gaulle airport, the First Class airport lounge is empty, stylish, with lots of cream decor (much like the First Class cabin on the flight). The look is very stylish with red, grey, and white seats and lots of flower arrangements, plus some of the walls have plus red fabric on them. It offers great food and free-flowing champagne. There are sleeping areas, a spa, and stylish showers.
Staff will offer you drinks with nibbles as soon as you arrive in the lounge. There’s also a restaurant area with restaurant tables with a small buffet, though the buffet offering is light snacks rather than a full-on meal.
- Green Pea & Haddock Veloute
- Shrimp Caesar Salad
- Coddled Egg With Mushrooms & Spinach
- Cookpot of Seasonal Vegetables and Fruit
- Elbow Pasta With Ham and Black Truffle
- Preserved Duck Fois Gras With Warm Brioche
- Chicken Cheese and Black Truffle Sandwich
- Seared Pollack & Green Peas
- Chicken Breast & Veggies
- Fillet Of Beef With Peppers
- Grilled Thick Slice Of Pig Black Pudding
This is followed by cheeses and desserts, including souffle and ice creams. All the food is beautifully presented and is delicious. Proper restaurant quality.
There’s also a separate smaller room with windows looking out towards the plane and more seating. The bar area is particularly noteworthy, with blood-red lighting and just about every alcoholic drink you could wish for.
At one end of the lounge is a sleeping area with reed-style fronds separating each sleeping area, so when you lay down, you can’t see the other passengers in the lounge.
There’s a free spa where you can receive complimentary treatments, but be warned, the hours you can use this spa is extremely limited, from 7:30 am – 1:00 pm and from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. If you are in the lounge at any other time, you cannot use this facility.
Once you board the plane, you will notice that each First Class seat has curtains, which will give you complete privacy in flight. It makes the cabin unique when compared to other First Class cabins.
The seats are arranged 1-2-1, and each offers 79 inches of pitch, about 6 feet, 7 inches in the lie-flat position. There is only one row of four seats in the La Première cabin on the 777 with a large and crisp 24-inch in-flight entertainment screen. There are more than 250 movies, including new releases and another 250 TV shows plus music.
Food and drinks are delivered on silver trays with porcelain crockery. The wine, the food, and the service are as good as you would expect from a fine dining restaurant in Paris.
You also get pajamas and an amenity kit including an eyeshade, hairbrush, earplugs, pen, and Carita skin products; an eye cream, moisturizing mask, hand lotion, and face moisturizer.
The toilets are compact but immaculate with lots of complimentary Carita products like a face cleanser and a hydration mist, as well as toothbrushes.
“La Première Class” is as good as it gets on a commercial plane. If you get the chance, fly Air France!
2. Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines flies around the world, mainly out of its hub in Singapore Airport, where you will find some of the best airport lounges in the world. But it also operates daily transatlantic routes from Frankfurt to New York (operated by an A380) and from Manchester to Houston (operated by an A350), so it is one of the best First Class airlines to fly to Europe too.
I reviewed Singapore Airlines with photos on its A380 plane in a First Class Suite from London to Singapore. This trip was flown in their brand new suite, and the flight was a brilliant experience.
Singapore’s First Class cabin in the A380 is located in the front cabin of the upper deck. It features beautiful, warm, and stylish decor with light shades of grey and beige, creating a relaxing feel. There are 6 suites, with 3 suites on each side of the aisle. This corridor has sliding doors that slide open to get to the suites. There are two First Class lavatories in the front. One of which features palatial dimensions has a sit-down vanity counter and is stocked with Lalique toiletries (Citrus-scented facial mist, body lotion, and fragrance).
Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines are the only airlines to operate single-aisle First Class cabins on the upper deck of their A380s. I think that Singapore Airlines beats its Middle East competitor because Singapore Airlines’s First Class cabin feels even more exclusive (6 larger suites on SQ compared to 9 smaller suites on Etihad) and all of SQ suites face forward, which is not the case with Etihad Airways which has 5 rear-facing seats on a total of 9 suites.
Each suite comes with a large leather seat, a separate folding bed, so you can lounge comfortably in the chair or rest in the bed without the need to convert the bed from a sitting position. The 53 cm (21 inch) wide armchair is the centerpiece of the suite. It’s upholstered in fine leather from Poltrona Frau, which also produces Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati seats. The super-comfy chair is fully adjustable, swiveled, and reclined up to 45 degrees.
A folding dining table is located next to the seat. The small table is decorated with white flowers and features a holder for the menu, which was beautifully lit by a reading light. A large 32 inch touchscreen monitor in high-definition is attached to the suite’s aisle-side wall was located in front of the seat. Sadly, Singapore airlines haven’t installed tail, nose, and/or belly cameras on its A380 aircraft. There are also loads of cupboards and compartments for storage.
In front of the seat is the bed, folded up when you board the plane and is made up when you requested turn-down service during the flight. The bed is 80.5 inches (205 cm) long and quite small and firm.
For couples, the beds in the first two suites of each aisle can be converted to form a double bed by lowering the partition between these suites. The bed can be stowed completely when not in use, creating even more personal space within each suite.
Male and female amenity kits from the renowned French brand Lalique are given out when traveling out of Singapore, and there’s a male-female combined amenity kit on Singapore-bound flights. I received the latter; a black pouch containing a scented candle, lip balm, body lotion, and soap. You also get a Lalique branded sleeper suit, a pair of Lalique branded slippers, and Bose noise-canceling headphones (which you can’t keep). It is worth noting that Singapore Airlines does not provide amenity kits to its Business Class passengers.
The meals on Singapore Airlines are some of the best that I have experienced in the skies. I have reviewed this First Class food separately.
Wi-Fi was available on SQ’s A380 and was of reasonable speed. SQ offers 100 MB and 30 MB of complimentary data to First and Business Class passengers, respectively. Once your data had been used, you have to pay, and unfortunately, the rates were expensive.
Female flight attendants wear signature sarong kebaya, and both male and female crew are some of the best in the industry. They addressed every customer by name and did all they could to make your flight as enjoyable as possible.
Singapore Airlines does not feature a bar on its flagship plane, but you can order snacks from the menu at any time during the flight.
The First Class cabin on Lufthansa offers a spacious cabin, timeless design, and muted colors. It has a unique sense of spaciousness largely because they have removed the overhead bins within the cabin.
First Class on the A380 features eight large seats on the upper deck. The seats are arranged in a pleasantly open design. An individually operable and adjustable screen lets passengers decide how much privacy they want at any time. There is also a convenient wardrobe with plenty of room for storing luggage or clothes.
For a long flight, a lie-flat bed is an absolute must. The seats in Lufthansa First and Business Class both lie flat, although the First seats and cabin and more spacious.
You get a rather meager amenity kit plus grey pajamas, a soft throw blanket (that you can’t keep), and the La Prairie creams, which are generous and smell nice.
First Class on the A380 is set out in rows of 4 seats, 2 windows, and 2 aisles. There are also 2 toilets at the front of the cabin. When you want to sleep, the staff makes up your bed with excellent bedding, and the bed is super comfy and ideal for a great sleep.
Once on board, you are offered champagne and nuts. When you’re in the air, the main meal is served. On my last flight, this meal started with a wild salmon tartare with mango carpaccio pre-starter to go with your drink.
- Prawn Cocktail
- Pomegranate Couscous
- Veal with Turnip Salad
- Mixed Leaf Salad
- Asparagus with Hollandaise with your choice of BlackForest Ham or Escalope of Veal plus potatoes
- Sole with a Tomato Spinach Cheese Mash
- Veal with Potato Cucumber Salad
- Corn Fed Polard With Wok Fried Veg & Mash
- A Selection Of Cheese With Chutney
- Melon Strawberry Gazpacho with Ice Cream
- Rhubarb, Elderflower, Strawberry
The nice thing about traveling in First is that the tables are beautifully set. There is also a large selection of wines and beers and other drinks available. When you are ordering your food, you are allowed to select all the appetizers at once! Before landing, there is a snack meal to choose from, with various options, from salads to mini burgers.
Lufthansa has a very consistent First Class with a nice cabin, excellent service and staff, good food, nice ambiance. It is definitely one of the best.
4. Swiss International Airlines
I reviewed my flight on Swiss Airlines Boeing 777-300ER in First Class from Zurich (ZRH) to Los Angeles (LAX), and it was really rather good, we think that Swiss offers the fourth-best First Class to America.
Swiss uses a 1-2-1 layout in First on their B777, and the seats are stylish, roomy, and have an ottoman at the foot. The use of natural woods gives the cabin a natural feel. When you want to sleep the staff will prepare the bed.
The amenity kit is not impressive for First Class but has decent socks, an eye mask, a toothbrush & toothpaste, a wooden comb, earplugs, and moisturizers by La Prairie. Slippers were provided, as was a rug and a nice pair of Zimmerli pajamas.
My flight dining started with an appetizer of a cheese poof thing and Champers. My table was set for dinner around an hour after takeoff and started with a choice of salmon, lobster, or Swiss charcuterie with cream cheese. Next came a soup with smoked duck and a seasonal salad (very good).
Mains were a choice between beef tenderloin with ox cheek confit and sweet potatoes, or rabbit with chanterelles and potato gratin, or a herb-crusted fillet of fish. This was followed by a cheese course and Swiss chocolates. About an hour before landing, you could pick a meal, although there was no official menu. Something like a salad or whatever takes your fancy.
The screen in First is very large at 32-inches with high resolution. It is like having your own movie theatre in your seat compartment. There are more than enough movies and shows to keep you entertained. The Swiss Boeing 777s offer Wi-Fi and First Class passengers get a voucher for 50MB worth of data, which would cost about $20 USD.
Overall, the cabin is stunning, the seat, superbly comfortable, and the staff really helps make the flight special. Even though Swiss may not have over-the-top things like year-round caviar, showers on planes, terminal-sized lounges, and direct boarding from the lounge, what it lacks there, it definitely gains from having more personable and genuine personable staff and superb Swiss food.
5. British Airways First Class
The look of the British Airways First Class cabin is very sleek and beautiful, but the experience is not the best for flying to Europe and beyond when compared to that offered by other airlines on their A380 planes, such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Qantas.
The First Class cabin is located at the front of the main deck, behind the cockpit. The cabin is modern, with 14 semi-open suites in a 1-2-1 configuration, all of them having direct aisle access and facing forward. There are 8 window seats (4 on each side) and 6 paired seats in 3 rows in the cabin’s center.
Although they are not fully enclosed, all suites have high seat walls and enjoy total privacy. The window suites are angled towards the windows, while the middle seats are angled towards the centerline. In addition, dividers can be raised for extra privacy. The British Airways A380 First Class seat features a semi-open design, although it’s located within its own cocoon and feels totally private.
The seat is spacious, with a generous pitch of 78 inches (198 cm) and a width of 22 inches (56 cm). It features a dark, leather-stitched upholstery. There’s an adjustable ottoman in front of the seat that can be used as part of the flatbed or as an extra seat to dine with someone else. The entertainment screen is located above the ottoman and swings out from the suite’s sidewall. There is a reading lamp and a small cabinet for storing smaller items. This space also contains the power ports, a USB port, and the inflight entertainment remote.
The seat can be transformed into a fully lie-flat bed of 78 inches (198cm) long. The crew provides a soft mattress topper, a thick pillow, and a very comfortable blanket.
Although I do not consider the BA First Class Amenity kit one of the best airline amenity kits in the world; it is very nice nonetheless. There is different content for men and women. The stylish, grey-colored bag features a BA leather logo on the front and the word “First” imprinted on the leather zipper pull. The men’s bag contains shave gel, revitalizer moisturizer, lip balm, deodorant stick, and eye gel from London-based grooming emporium for men, The Refinery, in addition to essentials such as a pen, eyeshades, socks, earplugs, hairbrush, and razor.
BA’s First Class passengers also receive pajamas with slippers. The lightweight, dark green pajamas feature the BA First Class logo on the chest.
Shortly after takeoff on my last First Class flight, the crew handed out hot towels to the First Class passengers. The meal service followed. The food is good but not great. About 90 minutes prior to landing, the cabin lights were switched on for a delicious breakfast.
- Duo of citrus-flavoured rock lobster medallion and beetroot and dill back salmon with orange confit and fennel purée
- Cream of lemon and carrot soup with toasted almond sumac
- Grilled beef fillet with ginger, honey and sour cream sauce, potato au gratin and roasted vegetables
- Lemon cake with fresh strawberry compote and crème fraîche
- Chilled fruit juice
- An energising fruit smoothie of pineapple and ginger
- A selection of yoghurts
- Bircher muesli with strawberry, apricot and prune
- Fresh seasonal fruit
- French toast with apple and rhubarb, strawberry coulis and mascarpone cheese
6. American Airlines
American Airlines Flagship First Class is not the best way to fly in First Class to Europe, but it may be the most convenient as American Airlines has a large route network out of North America.
On this plane, the layout is 2 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. For this flight, I was seated at 1G, which is a bulkhead seat. The seat was 30 inches wide and had a pitch of 64 inches. The seat also reclined into a fully flat bed measuring 78 inches.
After being seated and waiting for the flight to fill up, I was offered a glass of pre-departure champagne and a bowl of warm almonds. I got myself comfortable in the seat and began looking around. To the left of my seat, lining the length of the inner wall, was the side table that had a wooden top. The reading light was next to the seat, next to a rectangular compartment that opened up to power plugs and a mirror. The remote control for the TV was located under this compartment.
In the middle of the side table was another seat controller to adjust the seat. The tray table was folded in the middle of the side table. Towards the front, there were 3 buttons on the side of the wooden table that were used to pop out the tray table and turn on/off the TV and lights. There was also a small sunken storage area with a USB port on the front part of the side table. This area was ideal for phones or other small items. In the front of the seat was the 15.4″ TV, which could be swiveled outwards.
On the side table waiting for me were the headphones, in-flight menu, and the amenity kit. I was impressed that American Airlines offered a pair of noise-canceling Bose headphones. The amenity kit was a Cole Haan branded pouch. The items inside include an eyeshade, a dental kit and mouthwash, compression socks, earbuds, and some hand cream, moisturizer, and lip balm from a brand called 3LAB. Shortly after takeoff, I requested a pair of pajamas. While unbranded, the American Airlines pajamas are quite comfortable. They also provided a pair of slippers.
Soon, the in-flight dining commenced. This was from the Flagship First food menu on American Airlines. I started off with the caviar and gazpacho. There was also a side of olives and beetroot chips. The caviar serving was quite small but tasty. The gazpacho had a bit too much of a ginger aftertaste for my liking. I ordered some salad with the Miso-Marinated Portobello for my starter. The mushroom was done quite well and was delicious. I was also impressed that they provided me with two mini-sized salt and pepper grinders.
For my main course, I had the Braised Pork Belly with a side of Brussel sprouts and choy sum. The pork belly was tender and succulent, and the honey soy glaze was adequately flavourful. The side vegetables were nice and crunchy as well. After the satisfying meal, I had a mixed fruit tart as a dessert.
Following the meal, I continued watching some movies before having my bed set up to sleep. The stewardesses made up my bed with a comforter and a blanket. I slept quite well for the remainder of the flight.
While there is always the perception that US carriers are completely outclassed by the Big 3 Middle Eastern carriers, Etihad, Emirates & Qatar of top Asian ones, I would say that AA First makes a decent effort in competing with this product. The hard product, seat, etc., is very comfortable, the food is very good although not great. This First Class experience is solid and reliable but not inspiring.
7. Virgin Atlantic: Upper Class
While we love flying with Virgin Atlantic, their Upper Class is closer to most airline’s Business Class offerings. The Upper-Class Suite is relatively consistent across the fleet. You can see how Virgin Upper Class compares to British Airways Club World and in the majority of areas, Virgin wins. But remember, I am comparing Virgin’s Upper Class to BA in Business Class. Virgin Upper Class does not come close to the other five First Class products outlined above.
Virgin Atlantic goes with the herringbone layout for their Upper-Class cabin, where seats are angled, which feels odd, with window seats facing the cabin’s center. Across from the seat is the ottoman, which has a seatbelt of its own for guests.
The Virgin layout’s advantages are privacy, as you face a wall rather than another passenger. If you fly on British Airways Club World (which is their Business Class), you run the risk of being in the middle pair of seats. Every Virgin seat also has direct aisle access (unlike BA), so no one is going to jump over your feet in the middle of the night. The downside of this is that the booths are so private that you will have difficulty sharing the flight with your partner or children as you can’t see anyone else! Storage is mainly in overhead bins down the center of the cabin as well as over the windows.
The Virgin seat itself flips to a bed like Singapore Airlines. This means that you do not sleep on the seat surface, making it a more comfortable and restful sleep experience than Club World. The turn-down service also creates a nice opportunity for the crew to interact with the passengers. There are likely to be subtle changes to optimize the wide cabin’s use and create extra space and comfort.
The Upper-Class bar is a key part of the Virgin Atlantic brand experience. In fact, the airline’s research has found that the door 2 bar area creates a positive feeling among many economy passengers when they pass it during boarding, even though they can’t use it.
The food is good, from prawns and caviar starters to chicken, beef, and salmon mains. Examples of puddings include lemon curd sponge, which is very good, and strawberry pannacotta. To finish, Virgin, push a traditional cheese and port trolley around the cabin, which is a classy touch. Later in the flight, you can eat a choice of sandwiches, cakes, jam, and clotted cream scones, or a burger.
Virgin Atlantic’s Upper-Class Relax Packs have been developed by Canadian lifestyle brand Herschel and come in two innovative designs. On outbound flights from the UK, it’s a hangable wash bag. On inbound flights to the UK, they offer a bag inspired by the famous Herschel Network Pouch. This is a constant across Virgin’s fleet, and both packs include A Rituals hand cream, lip balm, and face cream. A toothbrush, a new larger, branded tube of toothpaste, earplugs, eyeshade, socks, and a Virgin Atlantic pen.
Wilbur and Orville, the Virgin salt and pepper characters, returned in 2013. Possibly the coolest salt and pepper pots in the world, you can ‘borrow’ them and take them home with you – it is almost worth flying Upper Class to take home these lovelies.
While Upper Class is great, it is not First Class.
8. Delta Air lines
American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta are the three main North American airlines, and all three have a great range of routes between North America and the rest of the world. All three airlines recently launched a new, upgraded Business Class soft and hard product, with improved seats, food, and service. These are good Business Class, offerings but they are not First Class.
Only American Airlines has First Class. But Business Class is worth considering as the flight route in Business Class might be more convenient than the routes if you restrict yourself to flying in First Class. Therefore, Delta and United are worth considering, hence my inclusion of non-First Class flights in this listing.
If you fly on Delta One, you immediately get airport club lounge access where you can eat or drink, work or relax. Travelling Delta One gives you complimentary access to Delta Sky Club® and SkyTeam® partner lounges around the globe.
What is it like to fly on Delta in their Delta One Business Class Suite? You get:
- 180-degree flatbed seat
- 76″-82″ flatbed
- Tumi Amenity Kit
- Westion Heavenly bedding
- Chef curated meals
- Top Shelf Liquor
- Sommelier-Select Wine
- Up to 15.4″ TV screen
- Noise cancelling headphones
- Delta Sky Club access
Delta Air Lines is the first airline to offer an all-suite Business Class product. The suite is a smaller and less luxury (but more affordable) version of the popular Etihad A380 First apartments.
Delta One Suites are brilliant Business Class seats, are far better than United’s Polaris seats, and are marginally better than American Airline’s variety of Business Class seats. You can currently book the Delta One Suite seats on their A350 planes, and Delta is retrofitting their B777 fleet with the new Delta One suites too. The A350 planes are a great choice as they are quite new and are better at combatting jetlag because of the air pressure, humidity, and lighting.
Each Delta One (Business Class) suite features a sliding door that delivers total privacy and transforms the space into a fully enclosed suite. The suite also includes storage compartments for shoes, headphones, laptops, a universal power outlet and USB port, and an 18-inch in-flight entertainment monitor. The seat becomes a flatbed covered in a memory foam mattress and the airline’s signature Westin Heavenly bedding for sleeping.
Passengers traveling on Delta One can expect meals with wine pairings by American sommelier Andrea Robinson; noise-canceling headphones; TUMI amenity kits featuring Kiehl’s Since 1851 skincare products; and pajamas on select flights.
9. United Airlines
The United Polaris, Business Class Pod cabins, are probably the best looking of the three seats (American vs. Delta vs. United) and the fact that these cabins are complemented by matching ground facilities means that this entire product is, in some cases, more of a complete experience than American Airlines or Delta offerings.
I have reviewed my transatlantic flight on United Airlines B787-9 Dreamliner Polaris Business Class from Paris to San Francisco if you would like to read a more detailed review with photos.
I experienced United’s new Business Class concept ‘Polaris’. I also reviewed the brand new Polaris concept including the new seats on my recent Business Class flight on United’s Boeing 777-300E. Even without the new seating, I enjoyed a great flight and overall liked the new Polaris concept.
United launched its new Polaris Business Class in December 2016, replacing its BusinessFirst, and Polaris First replacing Global First cabins. The brand new United Polaris Pod concept is comparable to American Airlines Super Diamond Business Class.
United’s B787-9 planes seat 252 passengers: 48 in Business Class, set out in a 2-2-2 arrangement and slightly angled towards the windows. There is a small partition between seats that helps with privacy. All seats face forward and have aisle access, except for the window seats, where you will have to climb over the legs of your neighbor to get to the aisle.
United’s current B787 2-2-2 Business Class layout is inferior to the excellent new 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout currently offered on all of its brand new B777-300ER planes and is retrofitting all of its existing wide-body planes with the new seats too.
When you arrive, you will be greeted by a large pile of bedding. A Saks Fifth Avenue pillow along with the same brand of light and a heavy blanket. You will also have some united branded headphones and plenty of trays and storage units. Of course, Bose headphones would be preferable, but you can’t win them all!
The United B787 Business Class seat is similar to the one that Qatar Airways installed on its A330 planes. The soft cushioned seat has a generous pitch of 78 inches (195 cm), with a width of 22 inches (56 cm). The seat is quite comfortable, even for a 10+ hour flight.
Each seat features a 15.4 inch HD touch screen. Below the TV monitor, you find a large enough drawer to store your laptop and an ottoman that becomes part of the flatbed once the seat is fully reclined.
The size of the ottoman differs dramatically depending upon the row: the bulkhead seats in rows 1 & 6 offer a much larger ottoman as compared to the cramp footrests of all the other Business Class seats.
The armrest that is shared with the adjoining seat features a small shared table. It also houses a fold-out tray table that needs to be pulled out for any use (after which you are blocked in your seat).
The seat does go fully flat, but your sleep comfort will depend on the seat you choose: except for the bulkhead seats in rows 1 & 6 (which come with large ottomans), the footrests are very narrow, so not very comfortable for a good night’s rest.
Do not forget to request pajamas and a mattress cushion, which are both available upon request, to improve your sleep on these seats.
Window seats are worth avoiding as they don’t offer direct aisle access. Equally, seats next to the window seat are also worth avoiding as your neighbor may climb over you in the night to go to the bathroom, which would wake you up.
Included in the Polaris amenity kit are Cowshed toiletries (a relaxing pillow mist, lip balm, and hand cream), toothbrush and paste, socks, earplugs, free pajamas (dark grey with navy trim), and a stylish wash bag with a nice zipper that I will continue to use beyond my flight.
United offers a new signature pre-meal beverage service, where you could choose a sweet and bubbly Mimosa or create your own savory and spicy Tito’s Vodka Bloody Mary. I chose sparkling water and some hot nuts for apéritif.
I ordered the following from the menu:
- Smoked salmon, capers, onion, and hard-boiled egg served with mixed greens, blueberry, papaya, strawberry, dressing, and assorted bread
- Breakfast entrée
- Steak and eggs (e.g. grilled tenderloin, scrambled eggs, potatoes, asparagus, tomato)
- Vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce (which was one of the items offered on a trolley rolled by the crew through the cabin)
A small walk-up bar was set up in the galley near the exit door during the flight, which offered some fresh fruits, salty and sweet snacks. You can also order a mid-flight hot bite (e.g., beef stew with rice, which tastes excellent).
Ninety minutes before arrival, a warm lunch is served. I chose the grilled chicken, served with tomato-basil sauce, vegetable couscous, green beans, and a side salad. All in all, the meal service on this flight was excellent and far exceeded all the other meal services onboard most other USA carriers.
During the flight, fresh fruit and snacks are set out in the galley- it’s not really a bar as such, but you can fill up here if you are still hungry. They have a very good grilled cheese sandwich. There are 3 lavatories on board the B787-9 for Business Class passengers, and United offers Wi-Fi onboard its B787 aircraft. Rates on this flight ranged from $11.99 USD for one hour to $32,99 USD for the entire flight.
United’s Dreamliner offers a good night’s sleep if you request a mattress cushion and get a seat in Row 1 or 6. However, the seats are rather too close together if you are traveling on your own. You are forced upon your neighbor to some extent. I prefer the brand new 777-300ER Polaris seats and would go out of my way to search for United planes with these new seats.
10. Air Canada
Air Canada has a new Business Class Executive Pod and does not offer international First Class. The Executive Pod is available onboard the newest Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and selected Boeing 777 aircraft. On other international flights, you will probably experience the Classic Pod, which is inferior to the Executive Pod.
The best seats are in the front cabin. I like a window, so I would choose rows 1-6 as row 7 is too close to the toilets and may suffer from passing traffic. In the back cabin, you are closer to the small Premium Economy cabin and the Premium Economy bassinet seats, which sit directly behind row 11. These are probably the worst seats in this Business Class cabin.
These seats are set up with a pillow and blanket. The seat is comfortable with a 203.2 cm lie-flat bed, which is 53cm wide, and it is pretty comfortable for sleeping on. The seat also has a head and neck massage button if you like that kind of thing. There is also plenty of storage and enough power sockets to keep your tech alive.
Straight after boarding, passengers are offered the usual welcome drink, which includes Drappier champagne with nuts.
Air Canada’s International Business Class menus include dishes sourced from other traditions such as chicken biryani, Thai green curry, and a Moroccan tagine. On Asian flights, dishes are Asian-inspired and when traveling to Tokyo, expect Japanese-inspired meals like noodle soups, dim sum, and traditional Chinese and Korean dishes.
On my last Air Canada flight, the starter was a salad followed by smoked salmon and couscous with creme fraiche. My main choice was a tasty Alberta beef tenderloin (you can rarely go wrong with the Air Canada beef option), then you can have a cheese plate followed by a dessert.
If you would like wine to go with your meal, Air Canada currently offer Champagne Drappier, Carte d’Or Brut (Reims, France); Vineland Estates Select, Niagara Peninsula (Canada); Jurtschitsch Grüner Veltliner Terrassen, Kamptal (Austria); Vini Be Good Les Athlètes du Vin Pinot Noir, Touraine (France); Volpaia Citto Toscana (Italy); Masroig Rojalet Selecció, Montsant (Spain); Dow’s Port (Portugal).
The Air Canada amenity kit is not noteworthy and currently offers Escents lip balm and hand lotion, plus the usual dental kit, earplugs, eye mask, and socks.
We reviewed the First Class Suite on Singapore Airlines on their A380 plane from London Heathrow to Singapore. This trip was flown in their brand new suite, and the flight was a brilliant experience in almost all aspects. Read More.
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