Written by DLX contributor Katie McRoberts
With planes from around 5,000 airlines circling the globe at any given minute, it’s hard to find the right carrier that will meet your standards of luxury and make a long-haul (or even short-haul) flight go by comfortably. Below, we detail three award-winning airlines that have recently upgraded their business class offerings. See how flying can still be an indulgence in this age of mass travel.
It may seem like an outlier to many, but Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines has hustled its way to be considered one of the best airlines in the world, no small part in thanks to their luxurious business class offerings. Serving 118 countries, the airline’s emphasis on high-quality onboard service, adjustable seats, and gourmet meals all factor into a better air travel experience.
At the Istanbul Ataturk Airport, the airline operates the two-story Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge for elite Star Alliance members and premium cabin passengers. The lounge is an experience unto itself and enough to make you wish for a layover of several hours. Beyond the usual amenities, the lounge offers a small movie theater, a putting green, pool table, slot car racing, children’s zone, complimentary massage, and nap pods.
Business class seats on Turkish Airlines range from 17-inch standard seats to 22-inch flatbeds, with recliner and angle-lie flat appearing as options as well, depending on the jet type and which plane you are in. Seats are equipped with the airline’s Planet digital entertainment system with more than 350 movies, documentaries, and TV shows to choose from, plus games and music. News-junkies can even watch live TV. A nice touch is the ability to customize the audio and captions to your preferred language for movies.
Once you’re onboard, expect to receive a gorgeous and well-appointed amenity kit. Depending on where your flight originates from, you can expect different branded-kits, including Jaguar, Chopard, Cerruti, Crabtree & Evelyn, and Porsche Design. Additional perks include a complimentary pair of slippers, memory-foam pillow, noise-canceling headphones, and, perhaps most importantly, free satellite Wi-Fi.
While airline dining has improved in recent years, it is often still disappointing. Not so on Turkish Airlines, who have taken the experience to another level by having an onboard chef. Personalize your dining experience from the extensive menu and prepare for a multi-course meal by (electronic) candlelight. Hors-d’oeuvres and welcome drinks served in Riedel glassware kick off the feast, followed shortly by soup, salad, and appetizers, your entrée, and finally dessert.
Step on board an Air France flight for service à la française (French style) that will not disappoint. A member of the SkyTeam Alliance, Air France has been garnering positive impressions for over 80 years, but may not be at the top of your list. However, recent upgrades to their business class seats have been rolling out in 2017 and will continue through 2018, making the airline a solid choice for well-appointed travel.
Before takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Aiport, choose one of seven Air France lounges. Receive a complimentary Clarins spa treatment specially developed for Air France and enjoy a well-stocked bar and comprehensive meal at any time of day. As part of the SkyTeam Alliance, receive access with your business class ticket to more than 600 lounges worldwide.
With slightly roomier seats than Turkish Airlines, Air France’s business class seats range from 18-inch standard seats to 24-inch angle lie flat. And if that’s still not enough room for you, bump yourself up to first class, where you will find a 35-inch open suite on certain flights. You’ll receive an amenity kit, noise-canceling headphones, feather-down pillow, a secure storage area, and a 16-inch entertainment system loaded with films, television shows, games, and music.
Like Turkish Airlines, Air France has poured a lot of effort into making in-flight dining a delightful experience. The country’s reputation for fine dining has finally made its way airborne with a menu designed by Michelin Starred chefs Régis Marcon, Michel Roth, and Guy Martin and the airline’s sommelier, Paolo Basso, curates a selection of French wine and champagne to accompany your meal. The dinner service is extensive; it can take over two hours from amuse-bouche to dessert, so if the meal is a low priority, opt for their express meal consisting of a gourmet appetizer, cheese, and desserts.
Also part of the Star Alliance, Lufthansa’s business class offerings include lounge access, priority boarding, increased baggage allowance, and exclusive in-flight meals. After struggling for years to gain a following for their business class offering, a new fleet-wide upgrade to lie-flat seats makes Lufthansa’s new and improved business class is worth checking out.
Lufthansa offers a series of branded lounges under the First Class, Senator, and Business Lounges names; with a business class ticket, you can access the Business Lounge. Or you can access the Star Alliance group of lounges — there are over 1,000 — with the same ticket. In Frankfurt’s airport, choose to wait for your flight among various sectors within the lounge like relaxation, entertainment, business, or dining. For business class or first class tickets arriving in Frankfurt, take advantage of the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge where you can freshen up with a shower and iron service.
Depending on the class of plane you are riding in, seat width varies from 17.5-inch for regional jets to 20.5-inch on wide-body jets, with narrow-body jets falling somewhere in between. Having just undergone a major upgrade, the seats are a highlight of the Lufthansa experience. Along with nice screens and loaded-up entertainment systems which includes audio books, the overall product is very pleasant for long-haul flyers. Perks include Bose QC headphones and a flight attendant dedicated to you and a maximum of nine other passengers.
Hallmarks Lufthansa’s business class in-flight dining are delicate dishes, fine wines, elegantly designed tableware, and attentive service. The airline has recently switched from cart-service to restaurant style, bringing a level of class previously unseen on Lufthansa flights. Based on your flight departure location, you may receive local culinary delights from the country on your flight and your palate will be satisfied with menus designed by chefs from prestigious regional hotels like Gaetano Palumbo, Kunal Kapur, and more.
For more information on the best business class airlines in 2017, click here.