What is your favorite business class airline?

Later this year I will be heading back to Manila with an extra stop in either Singapore or Hyderabad. My company’s biz classpolicy has recently changed so I will be flying business class, without using my own miles or cash to upgrade! (Woohoo!!). In the past I’ve always flown American as that’s where I have status and upgrades, but since I will be in biz no matter what for this extremely long trip I get to choose my own airline! It’s exciting but also kind of overwhelming since I’ve never gotten to choose before.

It looks like my options are primarily Etihad, American, British Airways, Emirates, United, Qatar, and Cathay Pacific. I know I would be perfectly comfortable flying American, but everyone says there are much nicer business class services available. And since I have a choice, I’d like to see what all is out there! 

What are the most critical considerations? Thinking about it, the most important things to me are a comfortable sleeping experience, lots of movie options, and reasonable sparkling wine.  For the record, it never occurred to me that I had to worry about the quality of sparkling wine in business class until I read the review of China Southern from One Mile at a Time (the review was very helpful, but I found the resulting controversy extremely interesting, if you’ve got some time.) Tasty food is a bonus, but I’m actually not super picky in that respect. Obviously I can (and will) read various trip reports and bloggers’ thoughts, but I’m very interested in what you guys have to say too.

So, Readers: What airline has your favorite business class product, and why?


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  1. Since you already have status with AA, flying them or a partner would seem the first place to look. Of the Oneworld airlines, British Airways tends to pack in the most seats, so I’d pass on that. One consideration would be whether you can stop to spend a few personal days at a hub city, while on these trips. If so, trying all three of Etihad, Qatar, and Cathay may not be a bad way to go. Explore a bit. Personally, I’d likely go with Cathay. Good customer service, good seating configuration, and only one type of aircraft flying to the US (no weird equipment swaps, a la Jetihad). If you did want to switch it around a little on Oneworld, you could go JAL as well.

  2. The best experience I ever had was Turkish Air – not an option for this trip, but for certain, try it sometime. Emirates would be my choice amongst your selections. Companies should upgrade employees who fly overseas IMHO.

  3. I recommend qatar they are part of one world so you will get air miles and they have a fantastic product also doha airport is a great hub

  4. EVA & Cathay have good connections to Manila & the same reverse herringbone seat & it is very comfortable. In my opinion the soft product is comparable, but the AV selection is better on Cathay. I assume you’d like to add to your AA status, so Cathay would be my choice.

    I’ve flown the 2 class United 777 business class seat to Tokyo & I like it too, but you only get that out of EWR or IAH.

  5. other option is to fly into Clarke on Qatar. The airport is much smaller and immigration formalities are much easier. They provide a free coach transfer into Manilla from there. Emirates will also start flying into Clarke from 30 March (again)

  6. I only fly Qatar Airways right now, but their business class is amazing! The food is great, the service is excellent and selection of in-flight entertainment is always large and new. Since they are part of one world, you could get points by flying Qatar. Also, since you will have a layover in Doha the Business lounge is five star!

  7. Qatar, esp if you can fly their Dreamliner, which is amazing. Food and in-flight entertainment are great.

  8. Qatar would be a great choice. Comfortable beds (try to route through BKK for the A380) and great service. Pre-flight rose champagne to boot.

  9. It really depends where you’re starting from. Doing multiple connections is never fun.

    Cathay is probably the best for one world elites to re qualify, although on the east coast Qatar would work too.

    Singapore A380 is nice if you don’t need the miles, very spacious, but served from very limited cities

  10. I flew United to Singapore. The lay-flat seats are surprisingly comfortable. With a sleeping mask and noise reducing headphones, I was able to sleep, uninterrupted, for over 8 hours.

  11. Hi, I prefer Singapore Air, but Cathay is good too. Singapore usually wins awards for their business & first class service. If you have a stopover in Europe and don’t mind stopping in Istanbul, fly Turkish Airlines- their lounge is over the top nice. Pool tables, grand piano, food from many different cuisines prepared fresh. Quite incredible.

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