At Upgraded Points, we get a lot of questions about which are the “best” first class airlines. While there’s no objective answer that will please all travelers, we believe it’s worthwhile to create a list of our favorites.
This list of the best international first class airlines will serve as a guide for you to start dreaming about your next first class flight purchase with points and miles.
Keep in mind that we listed first class products that we personally think are the best based on our own experiences, industry research, and opinions of fellow travelers.
Table of contents
- What Makes an International First Class Airline Great?
- The 21 Best International First Class Airlines and Cabins
- Etihad Residence on the A380
- Air France La Premiere on the 777-300ER
- Emirates New First Class Suites on the 777-300ER
- Singapore Airlines’ New First Class Suites on the A380
- Lufthansa First Class
- Cathay Pacific First Class
- Japan Airlines First Class
- ANA First Class
- Emirates First Class Suites on the A380
- Etihad First Class Apartments
- THAI Airways First Class
- Garuda Indonesia First Class on the 777-300ER
- Singapore Airlines A380 “Old” First Class Suites
- Qantas First Class
- SWISS Air First Class on the 777-300ER
- Singapore Airlines First Class on the 777-300ER
- Korean Air Kosmo Suites 2.0
- Asiana Airlines First Class on the A380
- Oman Air First Class
- Qatar Airways First Class on the A380
- China Eastern Airlines First Class
- Final Thoughts
Table of Contents
- What Makes an International First Class Airline Great?
- The 21 Best International First Class Airlines and Cabins
- 1. Etihad Residence on the A380
- 2. Air France La Premiere on the 777-300ER
- 3. Emirates New First Class Suites on the 777-300ER
- 4. Singapore Airlines’ New First Class Suites on the A380
- 5. Lufthansa First Class
- 6. Cathay Pacific First Class
- 7. Japan Airlines First Class
- 8. ANA First Class
- 9. Emirates First Class Suites on the A380
- 10. Etihad First Class Apartments
- 11. THAI Airways First Class
- 12. Garuda Indonesia First Class on the 777-300ER
- 13. Singapore Airlines A380 “Old” First Class Suites
- 14. Qantas First Class
- 15. SWISS Air First Class on the 777-300ER
- 16. Singapore Airlines First Class on the 777-300ER
- 17. Korean Air Kosmo Suites 2.0
- 18. Asiana Airlines First Class on the A380
- 19. Oman Air First Class
- 20. Qatar Airways First Class on the A380
- 21. China Eastern Airlines First Class
- Final Thoughts
What Makes an International First Class Airline Great?
There are many different aspects that make first class flights special.
For many of these airlines, the first class experience starts on the ground before you even get to the airport! Some airlines provide first class passengers with chauffeur service to the airport and access to magnificent first class lounges.
That being said, this guide is not limited only to first class flights that are bookable with points. As you will find out, we include flights like the SWISS Air first class, which cannot ordinarily be booked with points.
We considered the following aspects of a first class flight when determining each ranking:
- Ground experience (ground transportation, lounge experience, and immigration or customs escort)
- Hard product (seat size, comfort level, amenities, inflight monitor, cabin configuration, privacy, and more)
- Soft product (food and beverage, amenity kit, and attentiveness of service staff)
- Award pricing and availability
The 21 Best International First Class Airlines and Cabins
Without further ado, let’s get into our list of the best international first class airlines and cabins. Remember that while we attempted to make this ranking as objective as possible, this list is still our opinion.
We’ll provide an overview of the flagship product mentioned in each ranking, explain the best ways (if applicable) to book with points, and describe why we believe it deserves its ranking.
1. Etihad Residence on the A380
The Etihad Residence is without a doubt the most phenomenal commercial flight experience you can have. When you reserve the Etihad Residence, you get 3 separate rooms aboard the A380: a living room, bedroom, and shower room.
Your double bed is 6′ 10″ long, your living room (actual seat) has a leather double seat sofa plus a 32″ inflight monitor, and your bathroom is your own private oasis with a full-height shower and vanity.
You’ll also have a private butler — to call this pampering is a complete understatement.
You’ll be able to request customized food ahead of time, utilize a luxurious chauffeur, and pretty much request anything (legal) you want!
This product is absolutely nuts. Unfortunately, you can only find it on the A380, of which Etihad flies 1 to the U.S. on the New York City (JFK) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) route.
Here are the other routes you can take that are serviced by the Residence-equipped A380:
- Abu Dhabi (AUH) – London (LHR)
- Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Paris (CDG)
- Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Sydney (SYD)
Contrary to popular belief, you can actually fly on the Etihad Residence with points — you’d just need around 1-3 million Etihad Guest miles each way.
Psst…award availability is very good! I guess it has something to do with the fact that 1-3 million miles present a high barrier to entry, so most people don’t have enough points to be able to afford this luxurious experience.
2. Air France La Premiere on the 777-300ER
Air France calls its long-haul first class “La Première.” It’s operated on the A380 and 777-300ER, but you should never fly on Air France in the A380, as its premium cabin products are not near as nice.
On the other hand, Air France’s 777-300ER business and first class products are quite sensational.
La Première includes one of the best ground experiences, including tarmac transfers in luxury cars and access to a beautiful lounge in Paris. It’s also one of the only flights that separates seats with curtains, and your area comes with a desk lamp for reading after the lights are dimmed.
You’ll enjoy exquisite and phenomenal French dining along with ridiculous exclusivity and privacy.
To even book La Première, you have to hold elite status with Air France/KLM Flying Blue. Keep in mind that holding the lowest-tier, Flying Blue Silver, will also enable passengers to book La Première (albeit at an exorbitant price).
If you’ve got your heart dead-set on booking La Première with points and also have secured Flying Blue Silver, at minimum you can expect to pay 200,000 Flying Blue miles one-way on flights between the U.S. and Europe.
Here are the routes to/from the U.S. where you can fly La Première on the 777-300ER:
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Paris (CDG)
- Houston (IAH) – Paris (CDG)
- Miami (MIA) – Paris (CDG)
- San Francisco (SFO) – Paris (CDG)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Paris (CDG)
- New York City (JFK) – Paris (CDG)
There are also some very intriguing routes that operate La Première on the 777-300ER, such as to/from São Paulo (GRU) and Luanda (LAD).
All in all, it’s extremely difficult to book La Première with points, but there are periodically promotional prices that discount this product to a more manageable price.
3. Emirates New First Class Suites on the 777-300ER
Emirates Airlines is known for having more glitzy and over-the-top first class products. With stiff competition from Singapore Airlines and Etihad, they’ve been tasked with continuously innovating more luxurious experiences.
They have therefore rolled out the new 777-300ER First Class Suites. With 6 suites per aircraft in 2 rows configured in a 1-1-1 arrangement, these suites have caught the frequent flyer world by storm.
These First Class Suites are the first seats that feature a fully-enclosed seat with floor-to-ceiling walls, which means 1 thing: total privacy.
On top of this, you’ll enjoy classic Emirates luxury including Bvlgari amenities, Emirati fine-dining, virtual windows (on middle seats), personal climate controls, on-demand dining via your personal tablet, and beautiful cabin finishes thanks to Mercedes-Benz.
Find Emirates’ new First Class Suites on 777-300ER’s flying these routes:
- Dubai (DXB) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Dubai (DXB) – Hamburg (HAM)
- Dubai (DXB) – Geneva (GVA)
- Dubai (DXB) – Brussels (BRU)
- Dubai (DXB) – London-Stansted (STN)
- Dubai (DXB) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND)
- Dubai (DXB) – Vienna (VIE)
Unfortunately, there are no planes with the new first class suites on flights to or from the U.S. — the 777s flying to the U.S. don’t have these products yet.
To be sure that the flight you’re booking is actually equipped with the new First Class Suites, here’s what the seat map will look like on ExpertFlyer:
The best way to book these suites is to find a cheap flight, typically through a routing like Colombo (CMB) – Geneva (GVA). Check out this itinerary, which is ridiculously cheap at $3,400 round-trip for 22 hours in Emirates’ new First Class Suites.
Hot Tip: Need help booking? See our guide on the best ways to book Emirates First Class using points.
4. Singapore Airlines’ New First Class Suites on the A380
Flying on Singapore Airlines is something that the Upgraded Points team is very familiar with — we’ve flown both the new and old A380 suites.
Needless to say, we love flying on Singapore Airlines. Though the ground experience isn’t as refined as Air France’s La Première, you do get access to The Private Room at Changi Airport (SIN), which features a-la-carte dining.
Singapore’s new A380 First Class Suites features your own private seat, along with a separate bed that which you can turn into a double bed with 2 seats. You can utilize a personal tablet to control lighting, request service, and more.
Arranged in 3 rows of 2 seats for 6 suites total, these A380 First Class Suites are very exclusive. You can swivel and recline your chair and slide a door closed to make your suite super private (though not fully enclosed with floor-to-ceiling doors like Emirates’ 777 new First Class Suites).
The luxurious Lalique amenities along with the 32″ television monitors make this a must-experience for everyone. Don’t forget to sip on unlimited Dom Perignon champagne!
Singapore Airlines is pretty consistent about releasing award seats, but unfortunately the new A380 is only flown to select destinations from Singapore.
Currently, these new A380 suites are flown on 5 routes with the following prices in Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles at the Saver level, which has the cheapest mileage cost:
- Singapore (SIN) – Hong Kong (HKG) for 37,500 miles one-way
- Singapore (SIN) – London-Heathrow (LHR) for 115,000 miles one-way
- Singapore (SIN) – Zurich (ZRH) 115,000 miles one-way
- Singapore (SIN) – Sydney (SYD) for 80,000 miles one-way
- Singapore (SIN) – Shanghai (PVG) for 50,000 miles one-way
If you’re willing and you find award availability, you can fly on the old A380 suites (which we’ll get to later) and the new A380 suites in a single itinerary. Here’s an example route that Alex flew:
- New York City (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Frankfurt (FRA) – Singapore (SIN)
- Singapore (SIN) – Sydney (SYD)
5. Lufthansa First Class
Lufthansa has decided to retire half of its Airbus A380 fleet, and the remaining 7 A380’s will not return to service until 2022. When brought back, the A380’s will only serve the Munich hub and not the Frankfurt hub.
Rightfully, Lufthansa is an airline that turns heads with its first class. Though its business class (which doesn’t feature direct-aisle access for all seats) leaves much to be desired, the first class is certainly top-notch.
Lufthansa’s hard product isn’t anything terribly special; it’s the soft product that makes all the difference here.
You can expect some fantastic food, a polished First Class Lounge featuring a cigar bar, and an unforgettable ground experience featuring Porsche tarmac transfers.
Award availability isn’t released to partners until around 15 days before departure date.
Hot Tip: Need help booking? See our guide on the best ways to book Lufthansa First Class using points.
6. Cathay Pacific First Class
Cathay Pacific is an airline that holds a special place in my heart as a Hong Konger, and the luxury afforded by Cathay Pacific in first class is fantastic.
They’ve got industry-leading seat width at 36” wide, and a 2-row cabin on the 777 with a 1-1-1 configuration. These seats are massive and can fit up to 3 people comfortably.
You’ll enjoy one of the most comfortable lie-flat beds in the sky, plus caviar, champagne, and a level of service that’s far too rare nowadays.
You can book this with American Airlines miles, Alaska miles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and British Airways Avios. And if you’re interested in routes to/from the U.S., don’t miss our Definitive Guide to Cathay Pacific U.S. Routes.
Hot Tip:Also, make sure to check out our guide on the best ways to book Cathay Pacific first class.
7. Japan Airlines First Class
Japan Airlines is an airline that I will never be opposed to flying. They’ve got a retro look on their first class product, ranging from the lounges to the brown leather armchair.
Their food and beverage are top-notch, featuring the discontinued (and very expensive) Hibiki 17 whisky.
All first class passengers on long-haul flights receive Bose noise-cancellation headphones, multi-course (almost like kaiseki) meals, Shiseido wellness kits in addition to amenity kits, Cristal champagne (on U.S. routes), and super comfy pajamas.
Japan Airlines is excellent about releasing close-in award availability — they release pretty much all of their unoccupied seats a day or 2 before departure. They’re also excellent about releasing consistent award seats farther in advance.
Some of the best ways you can book Japan Airlines first class are with American Airlines miles, Japan Airlines miles, and Alaska miles.
Hot Tip: Not sure which rewards card is best for you? Read our expert opinions on the best travel rewards credit cards in our deep-dive post!
8. ANA First Class
ANA’s first class is similarly exquisite — almost like a pod with an inordinate amount of privacy.
You’ll enjoy a great variety of food and beverage when flying ANA’s first class; the seat itself has tons of storage and features some great engineering. The sacrifice in having all this storage and handy compartments is that window seats only have 1 window, as opposed to the 2 or 3 windows in other airlines’ first class seats.
One drawback in this seating configuration is that the seats are actually a little too private — to the point that if you’re traveling with someone else, talking to them might be difficult. On the plus side, they offer Samsonite amenity kits, which is a nice collectible item.
ANA releases plenty of award availability far in advance, since their general philosophy is not to release award seats right before departure — they’d rather fly the seats empty. As a result, your best bet is to book far in advance.
There are many ways to book ANA first class, and each has benefits and drawbacks.
- Booking directly with ANA gives the best award availability and great award rates. Unfortunately, you can only book round-trip tickets.
- Virgin Atlantic gives the best first class award prices, by far.
- You can also book with Air Canada Aeroplan, United MileagePlus, or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
Hot Tip: Check out our review of ANA’s inaugural Airbus A380 “Flying Honu” flight in first class.
9. Emirates First Class Suites on the A380
The Emirates A380 First Class Suites have captivated the frequent flyer world for many years. When it first came out, it was a game changer for first class flights — especially with the inflight shower spa.
These suites are equipped with gold and wooden finishes, Bvlgari amenities, your own private mini-bar, and more. Emirates offers bottomless caviar and Dom Perignon champagne, a very long seat, the famous inflight shower spa, and fantastic onboard entertainment.
The only drawback to these First Class Suites is that the seats are actually not that wide at 23”. Also, the food can be hit-or-miss. Overall, though, this is a very blingy product that will certainly make for special memories.
Emirates also historically offered a chauffeur service, though that’s no longer the case, even for award bookings made with Emirates miles.
Generally, Emirates is very good about award availability, especially far in advance. Close-in award availability is less consistent, but still possible.
The best way to book Emirates first class without paying surcharges is with Alaska miles, which is still ridiculously expensive. Some other ways to book with surcharges include Emirates Skywards, Japan Airlines miles, and Korean Air.
Hot Tip: Consider also going to a destination that prohibits fuel surcharges, such as Australia or New Zealand.
10. Etihad First Class Apartments
The Etihad First Class Apartments are a classic version of Middle Eastern luxury. Though the airline is struggling to make ends meet, it’s still possible to fly this product…for now.
These Apartments are pretty similar to Singapore Airlines’ new A380 suites (see #4 above), except that your Apartments seat doesn’t swivel like the one in the Singapore product.
In the Etihad First Class Apartments, you’ll find a separate armchair and 6’10” bed. There are beds that connect with each other so you can make it a sort of double bed — though there will still be a wall halfway through that separates the 2 people.
You can also enjoy the shower and bar aboard the flight, as well as a meeting room/lounge and en-suite vanity. Acqua di Parma is typical for the Apartments amenity kit (a legitimately fantastic skincare line).
Etihad is very reliable when it comes to award availability for up to 2 passengers in the First Class Apartments. Unfortunately, the only route you can find it on in the U.S. is from New York City (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH), just like on the Etihad Residence (see #1 above).
If you’re flying internationally, try out the Apartments on a non-U.S. flight to get access to more award availability.
Here are the remaining A380 routes that feature the Apartments:
- Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Sydney (SYD)
- Abu Dhabi (AUH) – London (LHR)
- Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Paris (CDG)
11. THAI Airways First Class
Here’s the thing about Asian carriers: the hard products on first class may not be as cutting-edge or “blingy” as on the Middle East carriers, but the soft product and service are almost unbeatable.
This is the case for a carrier like THAI Airways, which operates a bunch of planes that have a first class product: 747s, 777s, A380s, etc.
The hard product in first class is pretty similar, though the A380 seats are actually a bit larger (definitely not the case for business class). The 747 has more private seats, but they’re a tad smaller. It all depends on your personal preferences.
THAI Airways is also one of the few airlines that provide Rimowa amenity kits, which I go nuts for (it’s a strange obsession, I know).
The best way to summarize THAI Airways first class is that you’ll be treated like royalty. Say hello to buggy transport in the airport, complimentary 60-minute massages, free flow of Dom Perignon, and great inflight amenities (like those Rimowa kits!).
The only problem is that their inflight Wi-Fi isn’t free — and it’s not cheap either.
THAI Airways doesn’t operate any flights from the U.S.; we would highly suggest departing from Bangkok (BKK) to experience the First Class Lounge (and massage).
12. Garuda Indonesia First Class on the 777-300ER
Garuda Indonesia is the flag carrier of Indonesia, and they equip a select number of 777-300ER’s with their flagship first class product.
It is notoriously difficult to book this Garuda first class product. Actually, it’s difficult to book SkyTeam first class flights in general, so Garuda isn’t alone here. Still, it’s especially difficult even compared to other SkyTeam Airlines.
If you do manage to snag a first class flight, you can expect chauffeur service, perfect customer service at every point of your trip, a fantastic hard product, and an onboard feast.
Interestingly, Garuda Indonesia is a transfer partner with Citi ThankYou Rewards, and they have in the past offered 90% off first class award bookings, which is frankly ridiculous. Be warned, though — the normal one-way first class award prices are off-the-wall expensive. Like, 190,000 miles one-way from Jakarta to London expensive.
Garuda Indonesia only operates this product on a few flights:
- Jakarta (CGK) – London (LHR)
- Jakarta (CGK) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Jakarta (CGK) – Jeddah (JED)
- Bali-Denpasar (DPS) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)
- Jakarta (CGK) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND)
13. Singapore Airlines A380 “Old” First Class Suites
Singapore Airlines has 2 variants of their First Class Suites. We talked above about the new First Class Suites on the A380 (see #4 above), but the “old” First Class Suites on the remaining A380 routes are still phenomenal.
There are 4 rows of suites, with rows 2 and 3 in a 1-2-1 configuration and rows 1 and 4 in a 1-1 configuration on the sides of the aircraft. The middle seats are the ones that can be converted into a double bed, so consider that when choosing your seat(s).
It’s honestly difficult to complain because Singapore Airlines executes the big things extremely well. You may experience poor Wi-Fi connectivity or a slightly “dated” product, but seriously? These are insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
The Singapore Suites amenities are typically Lalique, the inflight monitor measures at 23”, both Krug and Dom champagne are offered, and a glorious pre-booked service called Book The Cook is customary (hello, lobster thermidor!).
All in all, this product is excellent. But the saver availability on the New York City (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA) route is pretty sparse. You can generally find 1 seat far in advance, though finding 2 seats in advance is pretty challenging.
If you’re willing, you can fly from Singapore and experience Singapore Suites as well as try the Private Room, which is a super exclusive lounge.
Find these suites on the old A380s, which are operated basically anywhere the new A380s are not. I know that’s not a great answer — but here are some of the routes:
- New York City (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Singapore (SIN)
- Auckland (AKL) – Singapore (SIN)
- Beijing (PEK) – Singapore (SIN)
- Delhi (DEL) – Singapore (SIN)
- Mumbai (BOM) – Singapore (SIN)
- Melbourne (MEL) – Singapore (SIN)
- Osaka (KIX) – Singapore (SIN)
Want the scoop on flying Singapore Airlines U.S. based routes? Check out our guide on every Singapore Airlines route to/from the U.S. (including plane types).
14. Qantas First Class
Qantas is one of the hottest airlines, and for good reason. Between their impeccable safety record and dominant position as a leading airline, there’s no secret that flying to Australia and flying on Qantas go hand in hand.
The best way to get there? Qantas first class, of course.
Qantas has SK-II amenities, a swiveling first class seat in a private 1-1-1 configuration, Martin Grant pajamas, and one of the most comfortable beds in the sky.
This can’t be emphasized enough: if there’s one flight you can bet you’ll definitely sleep on, it’s most likely Qantas first class. On top of the long flight times, this makes for a cozy experience in your seat.
Additionally, the Qantas First Class Lounge, (particularly the Los Angeles (LAX) location), is one of the best first class lounges in the world. If flying on these few select routes, you may also be eligible for a chauffeur service:
- Sydney (SYD) – London (LHR)
- Melbourne (MEL) – London (LHR)
- Perth (PER) – London (LHR)
- Singapore (SIN) – Sydney (SYD)
Unfortunately, it’s becoming exceedingly difficult to find award availability on Qantas first class from the U.S., especially for more than 1 passenger.
Hot Tip: You can utilize Alaska miles, American Airlines miles, Japan Airlines miles, and Asia Miles as the best ways to book Qantas first class.
15. SWISS Air First Class on the 777-300ER
Lufthansa deserves a ton of credit for being the dominant player in first class to Europe. However, not far behind is SWISS International Airlines, which is also owned by Lufthansa Group, the parent company of Lufthansa Airlines.
We discussed earlier that Lufthansa’s partner award inventory is released only a maximum of 15 days before departure, so it’s generally impossible to plan far ahead. Still, it’s very possible and probable to book Lufthansa first class if you’re flexible.
But this isn’t the case with SWISS International Airlines. You can’t book SWISS first class unless you possess top-tier Senator or HON Circle elite status with their frequent flyer program, Miles & More.
So for most of us, it’s completely out of reach. Still, it’s great to talk about one of the fanciest first class products out there.
SWISS International Airlines operates the A340, A330, and 777 with first class. Their flagship product (read: best product) is on the 777-300ER
The ground experience in Zurich is spectacular, featuring transportation in Mercedes-Benz cars, a private passport control, and a stunning First Class Lounge filled with amazing a-la-carte dining
Unfortunately (!), they don’t drive you to the tarmac to board your flight, but the distance is just a few hundred feet anyway 😉
Once onboard, you’ll have a large and elegant armchair welcoming you as your new abode on your long-haul flight. Seats are arranged in 2 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring a 22” width (which increases when you use the lie-flat setting) and 80” of bed length.
You’ll be afforded a generous amenity kit featuring La Prairie amenities, Zimmerli pajamas, a selection of caviar, and other excellent cuisines.
SWISS International Airlines first class features sliding doors, which is an advantage over Lufthansa first class — you’ll get a ton more privacy in your first class flight.
16. Singapore Airlines First Class on the 777-300ER
Both Singapore Airlines’ old and new A380 Suites are a huge crowd pleaser, but Singapore Airlines also operates the 777-300ER on a select few routes to and from America.
It may not be as private as the first class suites on the A380, but the 777-300ER first class is extraordinarily luxurious in its own right. There’s only 1 row in a 1-2-1 configuration, making this cabin extremely private with a total of 4 seats.
Seats measure out to a massive 35” wide and 81” long when turned into a bed. This width is just 1” short of Cathay Pacific, which holds the record for widest first class seats.
Expect Salvatore Ferragamo amenities, comfy pajamas, excellent inflight entertainment, Bose noise-canceling headphones, Dom Perignon champagne, and Singapore’s signature Book The Cook service.
Award availability for this first class product is generally pretty good, since much of the attention is drawn to the A380 First Class Suites.
Here are the routes you can take to/from the U.S.:
- San Francisco (SFO) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Singapore (SIN)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Singapore (SIN)
Hot Tip: Need help booking? See our guide on the best ways to book Singapore Airlines First Class using points.
17. Korean Air Kosmo Suites 2.0
Korean Air flies a whole slew of planes to America: the 747, 787, 777, and A380. They also have Kosmo Suites and Kosmo Suites 2.0 — these are fantastic, and in first class on all planes except the 787 Dreamliner.
Kosmo Suites 2.0 have sliding doors that enclose each individual seat, unlike the regular Kosmo Suites on the A380. As a result, you really want to fly on Kosmo Suites 2.0 when you can (offered on the 747 and some 777s).
Here’s the best way to describe Korean Air first class: completely satisfying in the air but somewhat disappointing on the ground. The lounge experience when flying Korean Air first class is generally poor, and special transport is nonexistent.
But it’s a whole different ball game as soon as you step onto the plane. Here’s what to expect onboard:
- 2006 Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé Champagne, which is not only delicious but also ~$350 per bottle
- Delicious caviar
- DAVI by Mondavi amenities and ridiculously comfy pajamas (they might be the best in the sky)
- A diverse food and beverage selection that will make you drool
- Fantastic service
Seriously — Korean Air’s first class would be a contender for one of the best first class products in the world if it would improve its ground experience.
Fly them from places like Atlanta (ATL), San Francisco (SFO), Chicago (ORD), New York City (JFK), and Las Vegas (LAS).
18. Asiana Airlines First Class on the A380
Asiana Airlines is one of the biggest competitors of Korean Air — they share a common hub airport and fly to a lot of the same destinations. So it’s actually best to compare Asiana first class with Korean Air first class.
First, Asiana offers fewer routes, as it’s a smaller airline. They fly the A380 to just 2 cities: Los Angeles (LAX) and New York City (JFK).
There are 3 rows of 4 seats each in a 1-2-1 configuration with sliding doors, allowing you to have a very private experience. The seats are very large, measuring 25.2” wide and 81” long in bed mode.
You’ll enjoy caviar, solid dining options, a large seat, lots of privacy, and unpolished luxury with Asiana Airlines’ A380 first class product.
Asiana Airlines first class also offers a ridiculous amount of award availability, and it’s an unpretentious way to fly first class comfortably. The amenities aren’t as luxurious as Korean Air’s, but it’s dramatically easier to book.
19. Oman Air First Class
Oman Air, which is one of the undeservedly forgotten Middle Eastern carriers, recently revealed their new 787-900 Dreamliner, which features a first class suite that looks ultra chic.
There are 2 rows with 8 seats total in a 1-2-1 configuration, each with a sliding door you can use for the utmost privacy. The food is amazing and the ground experience (in Muscat, Oman) is reputed to be stunning.
Just like Japan Airlines, Oman Air serves Cristal and Grand Siecle, which is fantastic. Of course, caviar is a given in this first class.
You get your own mini-bar beside your seat, but the main storage is in shared lockers, which is interesting. Cabin finishes are sensational, with marble even being used at the side table next to the seat.
Some of the drawbacks include poor Wi-Fi (OnAir), lackluster bedding and headphones, and limited route options.
Hot Tip: Check out our guide to using Etihad Guest miles, which is a partner with Oman Air, to book Oman Air first class.
20. Qatar Airways First Class on the A380
Although Qatar Airways is world-renowned for their new QSuites business class (which could actually qualify as a first class product), it’s their A380 first class that’s one of the most underrated flights out there.
We did a review on the Sydney (SYD) to Doha (DOH) route, where you can read more details and get a better idea of what it’s like to fly this product.
The A380 is a ridiculously fun plane to fly on – Qatar decorates their cabins super well, includes great amenities, and has a beautiful first class lounge in Doha.
They also have a super fun bar onboard. Best of all, there’s tons and tons of award availability!
21. China Eastern Airlines First Class
The very last product is one that has significantly improved over the years, especially when it comes to the soft product. It’s one of the few airlines to feature double beds in first class.
China Eastern’s hard product was already fantastic, with the double beds enclosed in suites that have sliding doors (which is the best of any Chinese airline).
The seat itself is actually quite large at 26.5” wide and 79” long. There are 6 seats across 1 row in a 1-1 configuration on the sides, a bar in the center, and 1 row in a 1-2-1 configuration.
Passengers receive Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits…but the soft product pretty much maxes out there. The first class service seems to be very inconsistent, though it’s going to be the most comfortable way to fly first class to China and a great way to use your China Eastern miles.
Overall, there’s a ton of variation among first class across the world’s major airlines. We’ve analyzed the major first class products and put together a list of the best first class products here.
Remember that a different plane can have a completely different first class, even if it’s on the same airline.
Now you know which of the most aspirational first class airlines to book your award travel on!