World’s Best First Class Airlines for Luxury Travelers + What Makes Them Special

by Jacqueline Le

Nothing elevates your travel experience like flying first class. 

Why wait for the fun to begin when you land in your destination, when the journey can be both indulgent and memorable in itself?

For those travelers looking for an elevated flying experience, there are certain airlines that definitely do luxury travel better than the rest. In this article, we’ll go over the best first class airlines in the world for luxury travel, and their unique offerings for their first class passengers.

Booking your next first class ticket on any of these airlines is sure to create an amazing lifetime memory, of maximum comfort and style. 

Check Out: What to Expect When Flying During COVID-19

Article Guide

#1. Best First Class Airline: Etihad Airways

Best First Class Airlines

Etihad Airways is an Abu Dhabi based international airline. They take luxury standards to new heights with their recent innovations in comfort and style in their luxury cabin.

Etihad’s latest concept, the “First Apartments”, are more than just a first class seat, but more like a private hotel in the sky. 

Guests can enjoy a completely private compartment equipped with a bed, a roomy leather armchair, full entertainment system, private bathroom and shower. For those traveling together, the privacy doors can be lowered to join apartments.

Every detail is attended to, from the artwork, right down to the cozy cabin slippers offered. The food served is top notch middle eastern cuisine or western food on request. The fun starts even before you board, as the first class airport lounges are known to be among the glitziest on offer.

#2. Singapore Airlines

Best First Class Airlines

Singapore Airlines continues to be an industry leader in luxury travel, especially with their recently upgraded first class cabins. Each first class passenger can enjoy both a full lie-flat bed and large leather armchair. Each cabin has a 32 inch HD tv monitor and personal closet included.

If you are traveling as a couple, you have the option to convert your adjacent cabins into a double bed room. Plus, it features special mood lighting in the walls and carpet to set a romantic atmosphere.

Singapore Airlines is often reported as having some of the best in-flight service as well, so you can truly relax and feel taken care of as you fly. First class passengers can enjoy thoughtful touches such as floral decor to provided sleepwear.

#3. Emirates 

Best First Class Airlines

Emirates has a unique approach to their first class cabins. The interiors of their luxury seats are actually inspired by the interiors of a Mercedes-Benz S class. From plush, ergonomic leather armchairs that recline into a full lie-flat bed, to the chic floor to ceiling sliding doors; comfort and style are at the forefront of it’s design. 

Every first class passenger has a view even from the middle seat, thanks to the virtual windows powered by technology from NASA. For passengers who want privacy, each suite has a service window where you can be served food and drinks, while remaining undisturbed.

Most first class passengers comment on the quality of the service, both in flight and pre-flight. First class passengers can request private transfers to and from the airport, in a Mercedes or BMW no less. The first class airport lounges are modern and sleek in decor, and are known to serve up an incredibly huge selection of food, drinks, and alcohol.

#4. Qantas Airlines

Best First Class Airlines

Qantas Airlines is Australia’s leading airline, which consistently boasts some of the best safety records and reputation in quality in the airline industry. Their first class experience is also considered among the top.

Featuring unique swivelling seats that convert into super comfy beds, plus fantastic in-flight service, the airline makes sure it’s first class passengers are taken care of. Their beds are reportedly the most comfortable in the industry, ensuring that you are well rested before landing in your destination.

Some hubs offer chauffeur services for first class passengers. All first class airport lounges offer amenities usually including dining, a cocktail bar, and fully equipped meeting rooms.

#5. Qatar Airways

Best First Class Airlines

Qatar Airways’ first class seats feature super wide seats and compartments, designed to maximize comfort and relaxation. Each leather seat is plush and roomy, and can be converted into a full lie-flat bed. You have your own HD tv screen and table. Tables can be extended for passengers who want to dine together, and you can enjoy a full cocktail bar in-flight.

The details are what truly makes the first class experience on Qatar Airways. From the partition you can raise at the push of a button for privacy, to the in-flight grooming and hygiene kit featuring name brand products. They’ve thought of every way to create the most indulgent in-flight experience. 

The first class airport lounges are contemporary and chic in design, featuring a wide range of foods, drinks and amenities. In many of their lounges, first class passengers can enjoy pre-flight naps in the private rooms and chef-prepared meals.

#6. Korean Airlines

Best First Class Airlines

Korean Airlines offers their best in luxury travel with their Kosmo Suites, available on most of their aircrafts. First class seats feature a large chair that converts to a lie-flat bed, personal HD tv screen, and partitions on all sides for complete privacy. 

The on-board experience is truly of elevated luxury. First class passengers can expect anything from Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Champagne as welcome drinks, high-end caviar as hors d'oeuvres, comfy pyjamas, a luxury brand hygiene kit, and more.

Passengers often comment on the quality of the food selection in Korean Airlines first class cabin, as well as the in-flight service. They even provide noise cancelling earphones for you to enjoy your in-flight entertainment system fully.

#7. Cathay Pacific

Best First Class Airlines

Cathay Pacific is known for consistently delivering a memorable first class flying experience. They’ve recently upgraded both their first class airport lounges and first class cabins to reflect a modern and contemporary design of utmost style. 

The first class seats feature soft leather and glossy hard surfaces to create a sophisticated atmosphere. At 36 inches, their seats are currently among the widest in first class, for maximum comfort. These convert into lie-flat beds, equipped with high quality duvets and cushions for good sleep.

In-flight service is sure to impress, and staff are ready to serve up anything from champagne welcome drinks, to caviar to name a few. Their business lounges feature a chic minimalist style, and are generally equipped with huge leather seats, cocktail bars, and an onsite fine dining restaurant.

#8. Lufthansa 

Best First Class Airlines

Lufthansa Group dominates the European airline industry as far as luxury goes. Their flagship airline, Lufthansa Airlines, is a Germany based airline. The experience begins with check in, where you are greeted by a personal assistant. 

In-flight, first class passengers can enjoy ergonomic seats, which convert into a 2 meter (over 6 feet) bed, with temperature-regulating duvets for optimal comfort. The bathroom is huge, and each passenger receives a luxury brand hygiene kit. Meals are served on fine china, and you can indulge in fine wine and caviar, on top of the amazing cuisine.

Their airport lounges are stylish and comfortable, with surprising touches such as a cigar lounge and jacuzzi in their hub location, Munich. All lounges include onsite dining and cocktail or wine bars.

#9. Air France

Best First Class Airlines

Air France’s first class cabins on long haul flights are known as “La Premiere”, and are available on all their Boeing 777-300 aircrafts. 

These cabins are beautifully designed in a style synonymous with French elegance. The seats are made of soft leather, while hard surfaces feature wooden and metal finishes. The seats convert into a lie-flat bed featuring memory foam, for quality rest. 

In-flight service is personalized to cater to each passenger's needs, so you can expect attentive and friendly staff. As far as first class service on the ground goes, Air France provides what is likely the best service. From tarmac transfer services in luxury cars, to beautiful first class lounges in hubs like Paris, and more. The luxury experience truly begins long before you step foot onto the aircraft.

#10. Garuda Airlines

Best First Class Airlines

Garuda is the flag airline of Indonesia, so they’ve made sure to deck out their luxury class seats to impress. On their Boeing 777 aircrafts, first class passengers can expect wide ergonomic seats that convert into plush, lie-flat beds. Privacy is at the forefront in design here, with partitions on all sides, and sliding doors for easy access. 

Onboard chefs are hired from all over the world to deliver a unique dining experience of many types of cuisine. All first class passengers can request chauffeur service, and expect all around exceptional service both preflight and in-flight.

Garuda Airlines first class seats are becoming harder to book since they keep reducing the number of routes available. This just makes it more of a special experience, and a truly exclusive luxury.

#11. Japan Airlines

Best First Class Airlines

Japan Airlines recently updated their first class seats to better cater to the comfort and pleasure of their passengers. 

First class seats now feature a modern meets retro look, with brown leather chairs that convert into a full lie-flat bed, plus an HD tv screen. Simple, but spacious and comfortable.

The true value of flying with Japan Airlines however, is the level of service. 

On par with traditional Japanese culture, the level of attentiveness and politeness of the staff is what many passengers report to be among the best in-flight service. 

Whatever your inflight or pre-flight needs are, you can expect several staff members to be there to ensure you have the most enjoyable travel experience.

The food served is quality Japanese food, served in a traditional Japanese style of many small dishes. Welcome drinks include high-end Japanese whiskeys and sake, and the personal in-flight hygiene kits offered are of the Japanese Shiseido brand.

#12. Swiss Airlines

Best First Class Airlines

Swiss Airlines is also owned by Lufthansa Group, and closely follows Lufthansa Airlines in levels of luxury for their first class passengers. They offer fabulous first class cabins on most of their aircrafts, with the best being on their 777-330ER aircrafts. 

The first class seats feature stylish leather armchairs that convert to a lie-flat bed. Each seat has partition doors for ample privacy. You can expect very generous amenities from caviar, to designer pyjamas and full hygiene kit. The onboard cuisine is known to be excellent, as well as the service.

On the ground, Swiss Airlines offers private transfer services in luxury cars, a private passport control entrance, and fine dining in their lounges from their hub in Zurich.

Jacqueline Le
Jacqueline Le

Jacqueline is a digital nomad and full-time traveler, slowly making her way around the world. When she's not writing about travel or planning her next adventure, she can be found at the beach, or hiking somewhere in the mountains — and always with a camera in-hand!

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