Breaking Travel News investigates: Ten best first-class airline seats
With travel very much back on the agenda around the world, luxury holidaymakers are packing their bags and heading for exotic climbs.
Here Breaking Travel News explores the airlines that offer them the very best – taking a look at the top first-class offerings.
Whether it comes to space, privacy, fine-dining or outstanding amenities, these are the carriers that welcome the elite.
Leading the way when it comes to the first-class experience onboard is Singapore Airlines. The industry-leading seat features a headrest sculpted for comfort, together with plush cushions that cradle your body, while extended curved partitions provide more privacy.
Hand-stitched, luxurious leather to the footrest, they are diamond-stitched so you can sit comfortably in any position.
For longer trips, KrisWorld inflight entertainment provides everything you might need. Contents are thoughtfully curated with the traveller in mind, with an impressive selection of 1,800 entertainment options, a video touchscreen handset and a 24-inch HD-enabled personal LCD monitor with Bang & Olufsen noise-cancelling headphones.
In addition, stay in touch with loved ones with complimentary connectivity.
At the same time, intense to cool lights can be set to your preferred intensity for reading, working or enjoying KrisWorld. When the cabin is dimmed, ambient lights will come on at the touch of a button to illuminate your seat and serve as a night light.
In terms of dining, passengers can reserve a main course up to 24 hours before they fly, including creations by notable chefs from the international culinary panel. Dine in restaurant setting onboard with full table service, and wines to match the food and altitude.
All this explains why Singapore Airlines was recognised as Asia’s Leading Airline – First Class by voters at the World Travel Awards earlier this year.
A byword for luxury in the aviation sector, Emirates does not disappoint when it comes to the first-class offering. Passengers can slide the door closed, turn down the ambient lighting and retreat into a private world.
From gourmet bites and rich caviar, to a fine multicourse meal or a movie snack, dining in first-class is always a unique experience. Emirates’ chefs take you around the world with authentic dishes made using local seasonal ingredients. For example, you can expect Australian Angus beef and Yarra Valley cheese, Italian olive oil and produce from local farms in Japan. Order any dish to your suite at any time and dine from exclusive Royal Doulton fine chinaware with Robert Welch cutlery.
After dinner, convert your seat into a fully flat bed and ask the crew to make up the sheets for a restful sleep.
In the morning, relax a little more with every product in the luxury Byredo set, featuring a skincare collection made exclusively for a flight. This allergy-free collection hydrates and soothes your skin with vitamins, amino acids and chamomile extracts.
Take a 3D tour of the Emirates’ first-class offering here.
Emirates is currently recognised as the World’s Leading Airline by voters at the World Travel Awards.
From the moment you board the aircraft, you know La Première feels right.
Every feature in the cabin emanates sophistication and style: soft leather, suede, textile fabrics with a tweed trim, subtle wood and metallic finishes. In your private space, each detail is designed for your pleasure, so you can enjoy your flight in pure comfort and tranquillity.
You are free to orchestrate your trip in whichever way you see fit. Move around in the cabin or enjoy some privacy, as you please. Make yourself at home in the sky, with a range of services available to you, including an individual cloakroom, storage space and a bedside lamp.
In your private suite, you can sleep soundly. Your comfortable upright seat transforms into a bed measuring two metres in length and 77cm across. It has a memory foam mattress, a pillow and a large fluffy duvet. This way, you are sure to enjoy a full night of sleep in hotel-standard comfort.
Air France is currently considered the World’s Leading Airline to Europe by voters at the World Travel Awards.
Swiss International Air Lines
As a first-class passenger with Swiss, guests will enjoy the highest possible level of comfort. Take off relaxed, travel in comfort and land feeling refreshed.
Enjoy a refined ambiance, personalised service and top-line products during your time on board. The first-class compartments can be customised according to your wishes and offer you the largest possible freedom.
Eight first-class armchairs are available on long-haul flights. The armchairs turn into generous flat beds in moments. Enjoy your private sphere and the individual service.
You decide when crew serve you your gourmet menu. On long-haul flights from Zurich, you will enjoy the Swiss Taste of Switzerland: culinary highlights accompanied by fine wines.
Let the airline entertain you on board with the latest films, games and a selection of excellent magazines, including the Swiss Universe magazine, just for passengers in business- and first-class.
Swiss is considered a four-star carrier by Skytrax.
Etihad Airway’s first-class offers passengers a time and place to call your own. Step into your own private suite, unwind with a drink or let them prepare your bed for you ready to sleep. Sink into your seat, help yourself to a drink from your chilled refreshments cabinet.
Dine any time you like on board. From a fine dining, à la carte menu, to eggs or steak prepared to perfection, this is a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
The crew will recline your chair into a fully-flat bed and make sure you have everything you need for a good sleep. When you wake, you’ll be well rested for the day - or night - ahead.
Take a 3D tour of the Etihad Airways first-class experience here.
Etihad was voted the World’s Leading Airline – Business Class by the World Travel Awards last year.
All Nippon Airways
All Nippon Airways offers first-class passengers access to the Suite.
The self-contained shell seat features high-panel walls and makes the best possible use of space on the inside to maximize comfort.
Enjoy a journey in the utmost luxury in a space that offers privacy similar to that of your own home.
Included are a 23-inch touch-panel LCD wide-screen monitor with digital noise-cancelling headphones and two LED personal lights, as well as jacket and shoe storage compartments
With the feel of a private suite in a five-star hotel, simply close your door, relax and forget you are even flying.
All Nippon Airways took the title of Asia’s Leading Cultural Airline at the World Travel Awards earlier this year.
Step in and make yourself at home in the Japan Airlines specially designed first-class seat. The offering is a peaceful sanctuary that makes you forget you are sailing high above the clouds.
Woodgrain furnishings create the feel of an at-home library with smartly placed furniture of subdued tones. Everything is inside, including a storage compartment, controller for inflight entertainment and a laptop power brick.
Fully reclined, the bed has a maximum length of 199cm, while the seat is 58cm between the arm rests.
The Magic in-flight entertainment system gives you access to the most talked-about movies as well as games great for taking a mental break, in addition to a wide variety of audio content ranging from the latest pop music to rakugo (comic storytelling) performances.
Your own personal screen lets you start watching a variety of programs from any point you wish.
What more could you need?
Japan Airlines is considered as offering the Asia’s Leading Airlines Lounge – First Class by voters at the World Travel Awards.
Saudi Arabian Airlines
As Saudi Arabia continues to grow its tourism sector, national carrier Saudia has recently introduced a new first-class product to wow guests. It offers collaborations to make your journey enjoyable, with a unique selection of travel essentials.
With the Saudia First Suite, guests can enjoy an exceptional experience. Unwind by enjoying 1,500 hours of non-stop entertainment on HD screens while relaxing on an 208cm-long seat designed to spoil you.
For the non-stop achievers up there, work from a specious table and stay connected to the Wi-Fi service.
When you want to turn in, with a touch of a button your cabin crew will be at your service to prepare your bed complete with a mattress and pillow while you slip into your pyjamas designed exclusively by Porsche Design.
The First Suite experience offers you non-stop comfort, non-stop entertainment and non-stop luxury so you arrive relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated.
Finally, pamper yourself with amenities designed exclusively by Furla for ladies and Porsche Design for gentlemen.
Saudia is rated a four-star airline by Skytrax.
With Oman Air, the cabin embraces Omani design heritage for a distinctive interior.
The unique arch shape on the feature wall and on each private suite door is inspired by the architectural form of the Omani archway — as seen from centuries old forts to the iconic modern Royal Opera House in the capital city of Muscat.
The new suite is designed with extra tall, soft closing sliding doors and canopy behind each headrest to ensure absolute exclusivity. Centre seats also enjoy adjustable dividers at the touch of a button.
Adjust your leg rest, seat cushion, backrest, lumbar or pan your seat forward and back just the way you like — to feel completely at home. You can also save them into the memory function for use at a later stage of your flight.
Both are intricately finished with modern materials and lighting accents that adorn the cabin surround, akin to a private boutique hotel.
Savour a fully on-demand à la carte menu from a wide choice of Omani, Arabic and international cuisine, at any time, and in any order, to please the most discerning palate.
The caviar service is an integral part of the first-class dining experience. Offering an award-winning wine selection, exclusive menus, a personalised service intended to enhance your inflight experience.
Oman Air was honoured with the title of World’s Leading Airline – Customer Experience by voters at the World Travel Awards.
Finally, Korean Air offers discerning travellers the Cosmos Suite.
Your dream flight begins with the A380 - enjoy the special experience of the aircraft with a seat that offers complete privacy and quality service.
The seat pitch of 21cm, length of 201cm and a width of 6cm provides a spacious setting for relaxing comfort and discretion in-flight.
The wide, comfortable and seamless seat mat ensures maximum comfort and reduces fatigue on long flights.
Skytrax considers Korean Air a five-star airline.