Airlines With The Best First Class, According To Traveler Reviews

Nothing says traveling in style quite like flying first class. From a welcome glass of champagne to the luxury of a mid-flight shower, airlines up the ante for passengers willing to pay a hefty price, unless you are lucky enough to nab a special discount deal.

However, not all first-class cabins are the same. In recent years, more airlines have moved away from first class and instead focused on enhancing their business class experience. Malaysian Airlines ditched its top-tier seats and replaced them with its "Business Suite" in 2018, while American Airlines announced plans to do the same on its long-haul international flights starting in 2024. That leaves a handful of airlines scrambling to win over passengers still looking to reach their destination in luxury.

While the advantages of flying first class compared to other levels are apparent — such as extra legroom or the blessing of actual metal cutlery instead of plastic or wooden substitutes — some airlines go above and beyond to make your time in the sky as memorable and comfortable as possible. We've searched through countless traveler reviews to round up the best first-class cabins in the business today.


With Lufthansa, the special treatment starts before you even step onto the plane. Passengers flying in first class are assigned a personal assistant to keep them up to speed at the airport, and a chauffeur is on hand to drive them from the terminal to the plane before anyone else even gets in line. Not too shabby.

A few of Lufthansa's aircraft are equipped with first-class seating, but the most luxurious cabins can be found on its 747-8is, where you'll relax in spacious seats that can fold down into equally spacious, 2-meter-long beds. These are complete with ergonomic mattresses, so you can forget about the risk of that post-flight crick in the neck. Each seat also comes with its own locker to store your carry-on luggage and a fully-stocked amenities kit to keep you feeling fresh at 35,000 feet.

While it may not be the most over-the-top first-class experience offered by an airline, Lufthansa has a reputation for polished, slick service both on the ground and in the air. "It was the older style, but we enjoyed the ambiance," one reviewer wrote on Tripadvisor. "The whole experience was just great. We were even met in the baggage area by an assistant with our luggage already collected and waiting for us."


The Emirati airline's economy cabin is known for being miles above its competitors, so it should come as no surprise that first class is equally outstanding. On its A380 aircraft, passengers are secluded on the plane's upper deck and can close privacy doors to create their own private suites. However, you'll want to dip out occasionally to visit the lounge and two shower spas stocked with Bvlgari amenities and decorated with murals of Dubai's pride and joy, the Burj Khalifa.

Somehow, its Boeing-777s are even more luxurious. These contain the world's first fully enclosed First Class Suites bearing their own virtual windows, temperature controls, and seats inspired by the design of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class to act as your hotel room in the sky. Said seats were also designed with zero-gravity technology straight from NASA itself (which is more relaxing and less terrifying than it sounds). In a blog post for Business Insider, Zach Benson described them as "among the best I've ever experienced" and claimed that he would "fly Emirates first class again just for the sleep."

Regardless of the plane, Emirates treats its first-class passengers to free-flowing champagne and caviar and meals engineered by Michelin chefs that can be served at whatever time suits you. They'll even have a chauffeur drive you to and from the airport in some locations. This is a whole other level of luxury.

Qatar Airways

Only a few of Qatar Airways' planes are fitted with first class, with the airline considering their business class to be more than sufficient for those wanting to travel in luxury, a testimony to just how good it is.

The first-class cabins that do exist reside on its A380s. Small screens can be raised to give you some privacy while you recline on an 81-inch-long, fully flat bed, and you can count on leaving the plane with a full stomach thanks to a near-constant supply of food — including an amuse-bouche, afternoon tea, and a three-course meal served à la carte — to keep you going. "The word 'dining' simply doesn't cut it," wrote Daniel Ross for Upgraded Points. "My food-and-beverage experience in Qatar first class was nothing short of a banquet."

Everyone knows that the worst things about long-haul flights are uncomfortable naps, boredom, and that groggy feeling that persists once you've touched down at your destination. No first class flight can promise you won't experience this, but you have a pretty good shot with Qatar Airways. Two massive bathrooms are available for eight passengers, meaning you'll (probably) never have to wait to freshen up, and the bathrooms are armed with complimentary toiletries and pajamas. You'll also receive a voucher for free Wi-Fi and have access to the lounge, both of which are reliable ways to keep you occupied.

SWISS International Air Lines

SWISS International Air Lines has the distinction of being the only airline in the world to offer first class on all of its long-haul flights. If you're one of the lucky eight sitting in the first class cabin, you'll be treated like a VIP before you even step onto the plane. Chauffeurs are on hand to drive you to and from the airport in some locations, as well as directly to the aircraft itself.

Once in your seat — which features sliding screens for (almost) total privacy –– you're personally welcomed with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle. A longtime tradition for the airline sees the captain come out to personally greet each first class passenger, who are then treated to a dining experience that SWISS likes to call "the restaurant above the clouds." You can order your gastronomical treats up to 24 hours before your flight, but you also have the option to order dishes like salmon, veal, and trout tartare from the menu à la carte. "I felt like I was in a high-end dining establishment," Matt Moffitt wrote for The Points Guy. "The tableware and plating throughout the meal were set out perfectly."

Other memorable highlights include a memory foam mattress pad, a luxurious amenities kit, and Zimmerli of Switzerland pajamas. The only qualm passengers seem to have is the size of the bathroom, but that's a small price to pay for hours of luxury.

Singapore Airlines

There's first class, and then there's Suite Class. Singapore Airlines has managed to add another tier for well-to-do travelers, offering what is essentially a mini hotel room in the sky. Found at the top of an elaborate staircase, these suites have beds, separate seats, ensuite bathrooms, and private vanities. If you're traveling with a partner or friend, you can even lower the divider to make one enormous suite. "The amount of shared personal space is truly mind-boggling," Sash wrote for Points, Miles, and Bling. With unlimited internet, a 32-inch TV, and a sliding wall to separate you from the rest of the plane, it's easy to forget you're in mid-air, not in a Marriott.

Suites are only available on Singapore Airlines' A380s, but you're not exactly down on your luck if you end up in one of its 777s. Its first class cabins feature some of the biggest seats in the business at 35 inches. Singapore Airlines is famous for its Book the Cook service, which lets passengers pre-order a blend of Western and Asian entrees. If you miss your 24-hour cutoff, you still have plenty of choice once on board and will reap the benefits of the welcoming Dom Pérignon champagne and caviar. Skytrax named Singapore Airlines the World's Best First Class Airline of 2023, and it's definitely a well-earned title.

Etihad Airways

Comfort is key on long-haul flights, making your seat the most crucial part of your journey. When you fly first class with Etihad Airways, every seat can be transformed into a surprisingly roomy private "apartment." Frequent fliers are huge fans of the buffet-style food service, private minibar, and three windows to watch the world go by as you fly –– not to mention the opportunity to shower before you land.

If you're traveling with someone, lowering the partition also gives you the chance to dine together. Etihad's tasty first class food service is followed by its signature Cognac service, which offers the perfect nightcap if you're embarking on an overnight flight.

For the right amount of money, your experience can get even more luxurious. If you upgrade to The Residence (only available between Abu Dhabi and New York from April 2024), you get more of a five-star hotel room than a seat. Up to two guests will have a bedroom, bathroom, and living area entirely to themselves for the duration of the flight. You'll also get complimentary Wi-Fi, private butler service, and breakfast in bed. As reviewer Sam Chui put it on their website, "There is nothing that comes even close to this in commercial flying."

Cathay Pacific

First class is only available on a handful of Cathay Pacific flights and is more about comfort and efficiency than razzle-dazzle. The airline's first class cabins only seat six passengers, which makes each seat incredibly spacious –– in fact, at 36 inches wide, Cathay Pacific boasts the world's widest first class seat. Stephen Au at Upgraded Points noted on their website that it "could fit 2-3 people comfortably," and he "had no idea that a seat on a plane could be this huge."

While there's sadly no closing door to transform all that space into your own private suite, you do get a massage setting on your chair, plenty of storage space, and a world-class, on-demand menu provided courtesy of Michelin restaurant Duddell's. As Cathay Pacific is based in Hong Kong, this is a mix of Chinese and Western dishes such as wok-fried lobster and pork belly, all of which are nothing short of delicious.

Air France

Air France's first class program is notoriously exclusive. La Première is reserved for just four guests per flight, making tickets a hot commodity. However, those who have managed to secure a seat will tell you it's worth the effort.

Flying from Charles De Gaulle is notoriously stressful, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you book your Air France first class seat in advance, you can start your trip with a complimentary 30-minute facial at the Sisley spa. Once aboard, you can expect all the usual staples: spacious seats, ample windows, a memory foam mattress, free Wi-Fi, and endless entertainment at your fingertips. What sets La Premiere apart from its competitors is magnetic, full-length curtains that essentially create a mini private cabin. "Save for Emirates' game-changer first-class product with floor-to-ceiling doors, this is as good as it gets," Zach Griff wrote for The Points Guy.

France's reputation for gourmet cuisine also makes it to the plane. Caviar, bread, fish, champagne — all of it's available to order as and when you want it. Reviewers also cite its excellent wine list as a highlight.

All Nippon Airways

There are three kinds of first class seats on ANA flights: The Suite, ANA First Square, and generic Airbus first class seats. Considering the name, it should be unsurprising that The Suite is the fanciest of the bunch.

Your seat has a private door, you can kick back and watch a 43-inch, 4K television with noise-canceling headphones, and you have private air vents to control the temperature of your seat — a dream for those who typically run hot on a flight. The size of the seats is another highlight for those who frequent ANA. Seats recline into a 76-inch long bed, providing "practically unlimited legroom," as JT Genter described it for Nerd Wallet.

Its Airbus seats boast similar features, just with a smaller television. If you're seated in ANA First Square seats, you have the smallest TV and no privacy door. It's not exactly a lesser experience, but for those who've also flown in The Suite, it can feel pretty dated.

Japan Airlines

The best seats on Japan Airlines can be found on its 777-300ERs. Passengers love first class seats on this aircraft, also known as JAL Suites, thanks mainly to the fact that you can choose your preferred style of mattress: firm or soft. In your waking hours, your seats also come with a massage function.

If the reviews are anything to go by, the food is a real highlight. In a review of the Los Angeles-Tokyo flight on its website, Live and Lets Fly claims that it does Western food "better than just about any Western airline" and has hefty portion sizes even by first class cabin standards. A typical menu features sea bass, owan soup, and braised beef. Each dish can be paired with anything from the flight's impressive wine list and even more impressive coffee service. Japan Airlines carefully selects a Coffee of the Month for its first class passengers and collaborates with coffee connoisseur Yoshiaki Kawashima to offer the best beans in the sky.

Although its first class is relatively no-frills compared to other airlines, it's the amenities that set Japan Airlines apart from the crowd. Passengers receive kits designed in partnership with Zero Halliburton and a personal care kit packed with products from iconic skincare brand Shiseido.

Qantas Airways

The Australian airline has one of the biggest first class cabins in the sky. A whopping 14 people can fit in Qantas' first class, but passengers still describe their journeys as pleasantly spacious. Ben Schlappig described it as "one of the most spacious and comfortable first class seats out there" in a review for One Mile at a Time. While the seats are sans privacy screens or doors, they're arranged in a way that still feels very private.

Rewind to before you even get on the plane, travelers have praised the LaGaia Spa available to first class passengers at Sydney Airport and Melbourne Airport. These are totally free, but passengers will be contacted the day before their flight to book them in advance (although it's always worth asking, just in case they have a free slot). A facial or hot stone massage works wonders for pre-flight jitters and zens you out enough to make that turndown service even more inviting.

If you do feel like leaving your seat, there's a bar at the front of the cabin for first and business class passengers. This makes for a cozy spot to relax, socialize, or stretch your legs, but most reviewers describe it as a lesser-known, infrequently used (and not particularly well-stocked) feature. The temptation to curl up with Sheridan-branded bedding is just too strong.

British Airways

British Airways may operate a more understated first class compared to its rivals, but it's elegant nonetheless. For what each seat lacks in privacy, it makes up for in service and amenities –– including comfy Temperley London loungewear, free in-flight Wi-Fi, windows twice the size of those in the economy, and a seven-piece collection of Elemis skin and body care products. You can also request the usual turndown service and enjoy a quilted mattress if you want to get some shuteye.

Meals can be ordered any time from a set menu, which is pretty expansive. Think refined British cuisine, with dishes such as lamb and salmon and indulgent desserts. What really makes flying first class with British Airways stand out to passengers, however, is the service. Multiple reviewers on Tripadvisor praised the "friendly" and "attentive" staff and went so far as to say that the crew is their motivation to shell out for British Airways first class again in the future.