Flying On Cloud Nine – Asia’s Best
With the seemingly never-ending hours, having to squirm in your seat, and the obnoxious couple next to you keeping you awake at night, flying isn’t exactly a favorite pastime for many folks. Cue business class suites, which allow you to fly in relative privacy, comfort and with free-flow champagne if you so desire. As the market for business class airline suites expands, we list down 10 major airlines (in no particular order) that stood out in their abilities to offer you the most luxurious flight experience.
Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
As Skytrax Airline of the Year 2014 and recipient of the World’s Best Airline award four times, Cathay Pacific with its flight experience that specifically caters to the unique needs of passengers on long-haul flights. The HK airline features angled, pod-shaped seats with multiple functionalities; more than 100 movies, 500 TV shows and an extensive music selection for entertainment; food that is shown live instead of merely ordering from menus, as well as efficient staff that attend to your needs by your name and a smile. From resting in one of its luxury lounges to arrival at destination, you can’t go wrong with Cathay.
Thai Airways International (Thailand)
Known as the land of smiles, expect to be greeted by smiles and ‘Sawatdee-kas’ by staff donning native yet professional outfits the moment you board Thai Airways. Called Royal Silk, Thai Air’s business class features a banquet’s worth of food and drinks served on white tablecloths and silverware, featuring full (not miniature) bottles of wine on board; resting comfortably in your seat, choosing from 5 levels of darkness for your window shade; having hot towels and water bottles on hand to freshen yourself up at any time by attentive staff, sleeping with well-padded cotton blankets, and a complimentary massage upon arrival. Best of all, Thai Airways offers all these services at good value for your money!
Japan Airlines (Japan)
Calling its new First and Business class services “BEDD” for “bed, dining, delicious, and dream”, Japan Airlines’ flight experience doesn’t fall short of business travelers’ expectations. The seating area, known as ‘Sky Suites’, is equipped with wood-grain paneling, lots of table space and storage compartments, and a partition that you can open or close between seats. Food options are extensive, with starters filling enough to be meals by its own, to creative free-flow meal options like Japanese curry rice and pork ‘katsu’ sandwiches, to luxury snacks (caviar, anyone?). As for comfort, Japan Airlines provides thick mattress pads or covers, big pillows and down comforters to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. No wonder Japan Airlines won the Skytrax award for Best Business Class Airline Seat in 2013!
Korean Air (Korea)
Korean Air’s business class is known as “Prestige Class”, and we say the name fits! From enough room for you, your gadgets and all your carry-ons, to being treated like royalty with a six-course meal with Western and Korean selections, the Korean Air flying experience is one to be reckoned with. When you leave the comfort of your fully-flat seats to venture around during flight, you won’t be disappointed with lounges to chill and mingle while flight attendants double up as your personal bartenders, and shopping at the Duty Free showcase while waiting to use the lavatory – which itself is large, spacious, and cleaned every single time after someone uses it! Talk about dedication, Korean Air has it all.
Oman Airway (Oman)
Despite being younger than other more established Middle Eastern airlines, Oman Air’s reputation for quality service is growing – fast! Having been awarded an average of one international award per month over the last two years, including the Best Business Class Airline Seat at the 2014 World Airline Awards, Oman Air offers first class service on its business class with the ability to watch large live satellite TV (BBC World and Al Jazeera) in-flight, a wide, 77.5-inch fully flat bed with direct aisle access, free pyjamas and quilted blankets, OnAir in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity and a good selection of dining options served on fine china. Not bad!
Etihad Airways (UAE)
Hop on board one of Etihad’s business class cabins and be greeted by inflight internet service immediately made available upon boarding, in-seat massage functions and personal lighting controlled at the touch of a button, amenity kits designed in a modern tapestry in the style of the Emirati people, wide aisle access and 750 hours of on-demand entertainment. A signature service that separates Etihad Airlines from the rest is its ‘anytime dining’ option, where passengers can dine at their convenience from an abundant selection of Arabic and Western dishes, drinks, snacks and wine, even when it isn’t mealtime. Overall, Etihad Air offers impressive service, with a clever layout to create feelings of space and privacy.
Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
Having a traditionally robust services sector, Singapore’s flagship airline offers top-notch service in all accounts. Dine with superb food and wine from a menu which is consulted by renowned chefs and wine consultants – either ordered in flight or via a pre-selection service known as ‘Book The Cook’, enjoy a variety of entertainment including complete seasons of various popular TV shows, rest in your soft aubergine leather seats that folds out into a wide 78″ by 28″ bed, and have staff donned in traditional Kebayas, iconically known by seasoned travelers as ‘Singapore Girls’, attentively cater to your needs in detail and make you feel like the only passenger on board throughout the flight. Singapore Air has earned a well-deserved reputation – it was named Best Airline in the Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) Awards for an astonishing 22 consecutive years.
Qatar Airways (Qatar)
A country that conjures up images of living in wealth and luxury, Qatar’s airline services are no exception to tasting ‘that life’. Having won the World’s Best Business Class award for the past two years straight, Qatar Air’s business class features an open and spacious design with generous storage space and sophisticated LED lighting to help passengers adjust to changing time zones. The seat itself is designed like an ottoman with ample legroom and a large work surface. On board, passengers can multi-task with the world’s first dual-screen interface and enjoy signature meal offerings designed exclusively for Qatar Airways by four celebrity chefs on demand. The business cabin also features a spacious bar, plush bathrooms, and even a Giorgio Armani amenity kit!
Emirates Airlines (UAE)
Having a longstanding reputation for quality service and luxury, passengers of Emirates Air’s business class are treated to 79-inch fully flat seats tastefully partitioned for privacy, large touch screen TVs equipped with some 1,800 choices for entertainment, staff that can serve drinks when requested and hold short, sweet conversations at the same time, and gourmet meal offerings rivaling those of luxury restaurants, having been awarded ‘Best Airline Food and Wine’ by readers of Frequent Business Traveler in 2013. From making the most out of your flight experience to taking care of non-seat related details, such as 40kg baggage allowance to fresh flowers in the bathroom, Emirates has got it covered.
Turkish Airlines (Turkey)
The food served on board Turkish Airlines sets it apart from other business class offerings – their superior DO&CO catering of extensive Turkish and international fare is served by a dedicated in-flight chef in uniform, starting with dessert (Godiva chocolates) and enjoyed by candlelight, making your dining experience on Turkish Air one-of-a-kind, earning it the Skytrax Award for Best Business Class Catering in 2013. However, food isn’t the only thing to like on Turkish Air’s business class: The seats are spacious, have abundant leg room, and seat control options allow for a variety of comfortable positions including a massage function; sleep in peace with twinkling stars on the ceiling and utilizing the ‘do not disturb’ signs provided; and enjoy friendly service throughout your flight.