The Most Luxurious Airlines You Can Fly

Whether you take to the skies often or just once in a blue moon, a truly luxurious airline experience can make all the difference to your mood, especially when it comes to surviving a long layover. Extra-large seats that transform into lie-flat beds, a generous glass (or two) of the famous Krug champagne, and shower suites are just some of the features offered by high-end airlines today. But which carriers really come in at the top of the pecking order?

Before we go any further, it's important to understand that luxury means different things to different people — one passenger may regularly book a limited-legroom Economy seat and be overjoyed with the added benefits found in Premium Economy. While another may be a seasoned Business Class traveler, whose idea of true luxury is the inflight shower pod access found in First Class. That's why you'll find an airline holding the title of "World's Best Economy Class" in this list, alongside another carrier offering First Class Apartment Suites.

If you want to understand exactly how we went about the selection process, head to the slide detailing our methodology right at the end. It includes trusted sources from the airline review website, Skytrax, which has been used to rank each of the airlines you see below for their score (out of 10) across all cabin classes. But for now, sit back and let us guide you through our pick of the bunch.

ANA All Nippon Airways (ANA)

Maybe you've never heard of this Japanese airline, but it gets a very impressive rating of 8 on Skytrax, from over 500 reviews. With flights from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles in the U.S. (and many hotspots in between), ANA is lauded for its exemplary 5-star staff service across all classes. But its lavish First Class suites are where the real fun begins, thanks to unbelievable space and privacy — cue sliding doors and more than enough room in your cabin to eat dinner with a friend.

Here, you're also treated to your very own temperature controls, Sony noise-canceling headphones, memory foam cushions and pillows, electronic blinds, and complimentary WiFi. ANA's delicious in-flight dining, with fresh dishes from a myriad of cuisines — including the Japanese Kaiseki tasting menu, score the airline even more brownie points. Konjac, Wagyu sirloin, or simmered squid, anyone? The amenity kits, featuring toiletries from The Ginza (an exclusive Japanese skincare brand) are yet more proof that ANA really has thought of everything — they include moisture masks, a lip balm, and even leg refreshing sheets! Passengers also comment on its much larger than industry standard TV screen — a whopping 43 inches of unbelievable 4K at your fingertips ... Oh, and we can't round this off without mentioning the exceptionally rare and impossible-to-source Hibiki 21 whisky on board. Whatever you do, don't miss out on sampling a glass of this tantalizing tipple.

Qatar Airways

From the Instagrammable cherry blossom spots of Japan to the pristine, smooth deserts of Qatar, enter the airline crowned "World's Best" in 2022 and given the title of "World's Best Business Class" in 2023 by Skytrax — Qatar Airways. It gets a solid rating of 7 from over 2,000 reviews, too. The plushest seats and suites often get snapped up in an instant, but this comes as no surprise. After all, Qatar's First Class and Business offerings are more akin to a 5-star boutique than a plane ride. Setting off from Doha? The Al Safwa First Class Lounge is a real bonus experience, featuring a wine selection to die for, including Krug champagne. It's the same story on board — you'll be offered a glass from the chandelier-clad mini bar in First Class. Did we mention the amenity kits — with skincare from the famous Castelo Monte Vibiano Vecchio?

Qatar's Q Suites in Business Class is arguably the best way to travel, though — paying homage to the fact that it isn't always better to upgrade to First Class from Business Class. Enter a fully enclosed elegant suite with sliding doors, slick controls, universal changing sockets, and textured soundproof walls, with a dine-on-demand service giving you ample flexibility around meal times. Not to mention luxury amenity kits and fantastic service, like at nap time, expect a proper turndown from the crew, complete with an especially thick mattress fitted to your seat, and lavish White Company pajamas for freshening up in.

Singapore Airlines

Whether you travel Economy, Business, or First Class, you can count on a premium experience at Singapore Airlines. The brand gets a solid rating of 7 to show for it, with over 1,000 reviews on Skytrax. But it's the First Class Suite experience we'll be focusing on. And with only six of them on the entire plane, it can feel more like a private jet than anything else. Think incredible attention to detail and elegance in every ounce of the cabin, including the Poltrona Frau leather seat, a huge personal wardrobe, customizable lighting, a crew that waits on you hand and foot, Bang & Olufsen headphones, and the signature street food-inspired satay skewers, complete with a spicy peanut dipping sauce.

Another bonus is that each set of adjacent suites has retracting walls and a portable ottoman, which means you can very easily create a plush double bed to share (and have a space to dine) with your partner. We can't forget about the sommeliers to guide you through the award-winning wine list, Lalique bed linens and oversized pillows, generous legroom, and the 1,400 entertainment options from the KrisWorld library. Not to mention the First Class bathrooms, which are incredibly spacious, featuring vanity mirrors and plenty of plush toiletries to freshen up with. It's a slightly toned-down experience in Business Class but you still get unlimited WiFi, amazingly wide seats, a citrus-based Quercus amenity kit from Penhaligon, and a delectable choice of dishes from the in-flight menu.

Japan Airlines

It's back to the "Land of the Rising Sun" now, but this time we're focusing our attention on Japan Airlines, who've secured a rating of 7 on Skytrax, with over 400 reviews. Not to mention the title of "World's Best Economy Class" on numerous occasions.

What this airline consistently wows customers with is its incredible value for money. Wave goodbye to shrinking legroom and lackluster padding, and welcome the legendary "JAL Sky Wider" seat. It offers incredible roominess, with increased space between rows and a slimmed seat back for ultra comfort. The gap between armrests is also plentiful, giving you a better chance to spread out during your flight — not something many of us can often relate to in Economy. The water bottle holder and personal power outlets don't go unnoticed, either. Sure, the experience is unlikely to match the 6-foot lie-flat beds in Business, but the comfort and service on offer in Economy is vastly superior to almost all of Japan Airlines' competitors. Add to this an in-flight drinks and dining menu inspired by some of Japan's leading restaurants, from authentic soba noodles and chicken cordon bleu, to plum wine and sake.

Premium Economy is the next step up, where you can expect even more space (the seats in front of you don't recline), as well as Sony noise-canceling headphones, a large folding table, and access to the famous Sakura Airport Lounges in Tokyo, Osaka, San Francisco, and Bangkok.

Cathay Pacific

Next up is the Cantonese airline enjoying another impressive rating of 7, with over 1,400 reviews on Skytrax. Welcome Cathay Pacific, who somehow manage to hit the seemingly impossible sweet spot between affordability and comfort, especially in Premium Economy. Here, you can expect great space for your legs, plenty of storage, a leather padded foot rest, plentiful entertainment options, and amenity kits. But the Michelin-star menus, featuring Cantonese dishes of braised chicken and bean curd sticks, Vietnamese pork chops with lemongrass, and Singaporean-style seafood noodle soup are the real treat. When it's time for some shut eye, your seats also have the functionality to switch to a lie-flat bed at the click of a button.

Business is, of course, a little step up, with access to plush airport lounges and the legendary Bamford bedding. But if you're looking for the ultimate luxury product, Cathay Pacific First Class is where it's at. Expect an abundance of storage (thanks to a hefty personal wardrobe), fresh orchids in every cabin, and one of the most spacious plane seats you've ever sat in. But this all pales in comparison to the hospitality of staff, and the exquisitely presented food on board. We're talking about having to make the impossible choice between dishes like grilled Wagyu beef tenderloin, roasted duck with plum sauce, or the Japanese Kaiseki set menu. The latter is definitely our pick of the bunch, championing delicate soba noodles, maitake mushroom, and Yaki style grilled red snapper.


It should come as no surprise that Australia's biggest airline is a key member of the luxury club — Qantas gets a respectable rating of 6 on Skytrax, from over 1,800 reviews — with incredible service cited as its biggest draw.

True to form, staff manage to strike the perfect balance between professionalism and putting people at ease, an especially important skill on long-haul journeys. In First Class, you can expect lots of privacy, legroom, storage, temperature controls, and all the other goodies typical of the most lavish of airlines. But one key stand-out feature is Qantas' amenity kits. Unlike many of its competitors, the airline offers these on short-haul flights too, with the addition of a deodorant — a toiletry often left out by other carriers. Plus, Qantas prides itself on a mixture of small plates as part of its dining experience. It means you can keep things as light or go as heavy as you wish, sampling lots of different tastes while you're at it, from caviar and cauliflower tartlet to smoky eggplant and harissa carrots. Add to this exceedingly comfortable bed — with a super thick mattress topper and feather pillows — and you're onto a winner. Not to mention a sound night's sleep.


Another big hitter in the luxury airline department, Emirates flies to over 160 destinations around the globe. Surprisingly its Skytrax rating is somewhat lacking at 5, with over 2,000 reviews, but the airline scores an impressive 4 out of 5 for its unbelievable inflight entertainment system. In First Class, you can expect a stupendous champagne offering (cue Dom Perignon), a delectable range of spirits to rival even that of ANA, and out-of-this-world hospitality. We're talking about flight attendants who clean and service the bathroom every time someone uses it, leaving it fresh as a daisy each time you go. You can even book a slot in the world-famous shower suites, complete with your choice of bathing scents and a heated floor.

There's more, too. Expect Bowers & Wilkins noise-canceling headphones, a spacious wardrobe, Hollywood-style vanity mirrors, a personal mini-bar, generous Bulgari amenity kits, and hydrating sea kelp pajamas ready and waiting for you. But the best part is the maximum level of privacy offered onboard — the walls separating one cabin from another are much higher than the industry standard, with the addition of sliding doors. Add to this a three-course gourmet meal, featuring the likes of truffle cappelletti served with parmesan cream, and you're in dreamland.

Virgin Atlantic

Britain's contribution to airline luxury comes in the form of Virgin Atlantic, although its current rating for all classes doesn't fare too well on this list — you're looking at a solid 5 on Skytrax, with over 800 reviews.

It's the Upper Class we're going to focus on for now, though — Virgin's poshest cabin — which is said to be the perfect mix of Business and First Class features. The best of which is clear for all to see before you even get on the plane ... Expect a separate, exclusive security lane at the airport, allowing you to avoid all the usual chaos and waste no time in getting to the airline's legendary Clubhouse Lounge. With a pool table, gym equipment, a great selection of hot and cold eats, Laurent Perrier champagne, and hot, steamy showers for freshening up in, it's enough to make you consider forking out for an airport lounge pass.

On board, the color schemes are effortlessly cool and you can expect plenty of space, incredibly roomy lie-flat beds, and sustainable sleep suits and amenity kits — both are biodegradable and made from recycled materials. Not to mention a "snooze zone" — a feature that promises minimal distractions and dimmed lights, amazingly friendly staff, and "The Loft," a social area allowing you to chat during the flight, grab a drink, or dine with friends.


Chances are you're familiar with this German airline, well-renowned for its spacious Economy seats, at a very affordable price. Lufhansa's rating also sits at a fairly average 5 on Skytrax, with over 2,000 reviews, but its First Class offering is something to write home about.

The first in a long list of green flags is the no-expense-spared transfer service, with none other than a Porsche as your personal vehicle, taking you and your bags to the aircraft via First Class terminals — a very nice touch. Next, expect an elegant color scheme and an exclusive feel on board – with only eight seats in the First Class cabin. Steaming, hot scented towels, thick, padded seats and soft leather arm rests add to the allure. Elevating the experience even further is the addition of Van Laack pajamas and slippers, great storage, a sizable ottoman, huge First Class bathrooms, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle champagne, and Bang & Olufsen tech.

Hospitality gets a huge 4 out of 5 score on Skytrax, and it's not rocket science to understand why. In First Class, the captain often comes around to welcome you personally to the plane before take off. You also get the sense that Lufthansa makes the effort to cater to each and every traveler — just like one or two other airlines on this list, you're free to choose any food item from the menu, and eat at any time — giving you ultimate flexibility.

Air New Zealand

Next up is the winner of "Best Airline in the World" and the "Best Premium Economy Seat" in the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2023. Yet, it gets only a rating of 5 on Skytrax, with over 800 reviews. This is the Auckland-based Air New Zealand — partner to the aforementioned Cathay Pacific — offering long-haul flights to the Pacific Islands and Australia. It's especially proud of its Māori heritage (you'll find plenty of cultural elements onboard) as well as its eco-friendly credentials. The airline has trialed an edible coffee cup made of vanilla-flavored biscotti, and its Project Green initiative diverts waste by re-using new and untouched service items on each flight. While First Class isn't an option onboard, Air New Zealand's Business Premier offering is luxurious enough.

For starters, expect a sleek and elegant cabin, a soft leather seat converting into a 6-foot lie-flat bed, ample storage, attentive and accommodating staff, a global roster of entertainment options, as well as an ottoman footrest. You'll also be given premium check-in, courtesy lounge access, and a Māori-inspired amenities bag — we're talking soothing balms made with mānuka oil, kawakawa, and beeswax. All of this, plus a mouthwatering Kiwi dining experience, including New Zealand leg of lamb, which you can order on demand via your own personal TV screen. This is perfectly rounded off with a complete list of tantalizing Kiwi wines — if you ask staff nicely, you may even bag the special perk of an inflight wine tasting experience.


Flying to multiple destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America, Etihad is one of two flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates. Somehow it gets the lowest score on this list — a rating of 4 on Skytrax (with over 1,700 reviews) — but it's known worldwide for providing an ultra comfortable and supremely luxurious flying experience.

The airline offers many different ways to travel, from Economy, all the way through to its First Class Apartment Suites. Focusing on the latter here, you can expect to let out a shriek of joy when you step onboard for the first time. We're talking complete and utter privacy, thanks to closing doors and some of the tallest partitions between connecting suites found on any aircraft. What's more, there's so much space inside that you could easily seat four people!

Talking of seats, each is upholstered with Poltrona Frau leather and is as comfy as it looks. Not to mention authentic amenity kits, designer cutlery, and great storage options, including a spacious wardrobe. There's even an inflight chef, adding a real restaurant-like quality to proceedings. In fact, they often come and say hello pre take-off and suggest wine pairings for your meals. But you can't possibly leave the Etihad Apartment Suites without booking your First Class shower slot. With heated floors, and Le Labo Bergamote toiletries, there's no getting away from just how widely luxurious this experience is.

A word on our methodology

To be included in our list of the most luxurious airlines, a carrier needed to showcase at least one feature or service that felt like it was indulgent, went above and beyond the norm, or offered great value for money in the comfort department. Whether that's an unbelievably spacious seat in Economy, a glass (or three) of the incredibly rare, much-sought-after Hibiki 21 whiskey, inflight chefs, or a private transfer from airport to aircraft, via your very own Porsche vehicle.

Drawn from personal experience, and ranked in order of scores on Skytrax, this is exactly the criteria we worked towards when putting the article together. Lastly, the inflight experiences detailed above are given as a general guide, but these may vary depending on whether you're traveling short or long-haul, or which specific plane within the fleet is assigned to your flight.