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13 Best First Class Airlines in the World

Best First Class Airlines in the world

First Class cabins are the pinnacle of air travel, offering the epitome of opulence and refinement, redefining luxury for the discerning traveller. These sanctuaries elevate the very essence of air travel, turning a simple journey into an unforgettable, blissful experience.

As Business Class travel evolves and becomes increasingly popular, some airlines are moving away from offering First Class havens in favour of the less exclusive, mid-range product.

In this article, we will explore some of the best First Class airlines offering an unsurpassed experience of luxury, privacy and exquisite service – from chauffeur-driven limousines, extraordinary airport lounges, and exceptional cuisine to magnificent multi-room apartments in the sky.

Join the elite as we discover the zenith of airline luxury. Don't forget to also check out our article on the best Business Class airlines to see how they compare.

Search & Book your next First Class flight with BusinessClass.com today!

The BusinessClass.com guide to the 13 Best First Class airlines in the world: 

Qatar airways first class - one of the best first class airlines
Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways

BusinessClass.com score: 9/10

Qatar Airways currently only flies three routes with A380 aircraft – complete with a bona fide First Class product – London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Sydney to Doha, respectively. The airline also leased four Boeing 777s from Cathay Pacific, but these offer a different product.

First Class passengers receive VIP treatment, from chauffeur-driven limousines to seamless immigration and security on either end of your journey. The Al Safwa First Class Lounge is the pinnacle of airline lounges. Alongside exceptional dining, facilities include the "Qspa", high-end shopping and a cinematic media room.

The First Class cabin at the front of the Airbus A380 Upper has eight lie-flat seats – in a 1-2-1 configuration. The environment is so comfortable to rest, watch television, work or dine. Qatar's superb personalised service is legendary.

a couple having lunch in qatar airways first class - one of the best first class airlines in the world
Qatar Airways

Superb dine-on-demand cuisine is tailor-made by a dedicated chef. Try the caviar alongside an impressive wine list. The A380 boasts a fully stocked and full-service bar for its premium passengers.

Seats have a vast 26-inch (66-centimetres) entertainment screen containing a global selection of content for all ages. Noise-reducing headsets deliver cinema-quality sound. Wi-Fi is complimentary.

Exclusive amenity kits and gift boxes come from French Perfumer Diptyque, customised for male and female passengers, and night flight passengers receive pyjamas and slippers.

What We Love:

The incredible Al Safwa First Class Lounge in Doha

Inflight cuisine & beverages

The A380 First Class cabin

Champagne: 

Krug 2004, and Champagne Billecart-Salmon Rosé.

Oman Air first class suite
Oman Air

Oman Air

BusinessClass.com score: 9/10

From its base at Muscat International Airport, Oman Air flies directly to nearly fifty global destinations, including Europe, the Gulf, the Far East, and the Indian subcontinent. A mix of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A330s operates long-haul flights.

A stunning new terminal is home to the Oman Air First Class lounge, which is stylish and refined. This quiet lounge offers a buffet, à la carte dining, a bar with a selection of premium drinks, a spa with various treatments, quiet nap rooms, private showers and a personal escort to your gate.

First Class is exclusive to selected routes, such as from Muscat to London, Frankfurt, and Bangkok. A total of eight sliding door suites on the Boeing 787-9 offer a very high level of luxury, privacy, functionality, and comfort. Generous lie-flat seats have positional memory and massage functionality alongside a large ottoman for companion dining.  

a man eating lunch in oman air first class
Oman Air

Passengers enjoy an on-demand à la carte menu with a delicious range of Omani, Arabic, and international dining options, including a beautifully presented beluga caviar service and an excellent wine and beverage menu, including exotic teas by DAMMAN.

A large IFE monitor holds up-to-date entertainment, and passengers receive limited free Wi-Fi. Amenities include quilted duvets, fluffy silk-trimmed sleep pillows, cotton sleeper suits with slippers and amenity kits by Amouage.

What We Love

First Class Lounge at Muscat International Airport

A state-of-the-art suite

A delicious and inventive menu accompanied by fine wines

Champagne: 

Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millésime, or Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 2004, or Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve, or Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé.

a woman reading a book in Lufthansa first class
 Lufthansa

Lufthansa

BusinessClass.com score: 9/10

German national airline - Lufthansa - is one of the few European carriers to offer First Class on specific routes where there is a market for this truly top-notch product.

Its German hubs offer some of the world's finest First Class lounge facilities. Expect personal assistants, excellent dining and beverage options, spa facilities, and cigar lounges. Passengers enjoy private security immigration lanes and select luxury limousine airside transfers.

Lufthansa's First Class cabin was previously only offered on the Boeing 747-8i fleet and a small sub-fleet of Airbus A340-600s. However, the next-generation Allegris cabins will debut in 2024 on ten newly delivered Airbus A350-900s and include the fabulous new 'Suite Plus' in a separate double cabin. Flight attendants give just the right amount of interaction with name recognition and a focus on exemplary service delivery.

an air hostess setting up a table in lufthansa first class
 Lufthansa

The onboard dining experience has refined touches, making the experience like a fine-dining restaurant. Expect caviar with all the accoutrements and multi-course gourmet cuisine beautifully plated in the galley. Printed menus outline the Champagne, excellent wine selection and a long list of cocktails and mocktails.

Passengers receive Van Laack pyjamas, a wonderfully thick pair of slippers, and a designer amenity kit containing top-branded items from Swiss luxury spa brand La Prairie. Bose noise-cancelling headphones complement the large IFE screen, and paid Wi-Fi is available on most flights.

What We Love:

Excellent onboard meal service

Frankfurt and Munich First Class lounges

The small touches - a rose stem at each seat

Champagne: 

Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Duval Leroy or Cuvée Grand Siècle, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, or Cuvée Louise, Champagne Pommery.

cathay pacific airhostess standing in the first class
Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific 

BusinessClass.com score: 9/10

As the flag carrier for Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific's First Class is a product to be savoured, from the inspiring menus to the luxurious amenities and Cathay Pacific's warm, thoughtful service.

At the main hub in Hong Kong International Airport, First Class passengers enjoy dedicated check-in and security before sampling the superb airport lounges – The Wing, First – boasting luxurious cabanas, exquisite à la carte service, and a Champagne Bar, and – The Pier, First, offering additional spa facilities and private suites.

First Class service is only available on a subset of Cathay's Boeing 777-300ERs, offering six open suites arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration and one of the widest and most comfortable flatbed seats in the sky, completed by Bamford luxury bedlinen and soft pillows.

a woman sleeping in the bed of cathay pacific first class
Cathay Pacific

Celebrity chefs design First Class dining, and the presentation is impeccable, with white linen tablecloths, high-end cutlery, and glassware. Expect caviar with blinis and international and contemporary Asian dishes showcasing exquisite local delicacies. An extensive wine selection complements the onboard menu.

Each suite has in-seat power, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a top-rate entertainment system with Bose Noise-cancelling headphones. Passengers also receive a luxury amenity kit from British brand Bamford and high-quality pyjamas and soft slippers.  

What We Love:

Cabanas at The Wing, First

One of the widest and most comfortable First Class seats

Bamford Bedding and Amenity Kit

Champagne:

Krug Vintage, Champagne, France, 2004 or Rare Champagne, France, 2006

an air hostess standing in the middle of korean air first class
Korean Air

Korean Air

BusinessClass.com score: 9/10

Korean Air (KAL) is the flag carrier of South Korea, serving every single continent from its hub at Seoul-Incheon Airport.

Incheon International Airport offers amenities, including an ice rink and a casino. The Korean Air First Class Lounge is a tasteful, modestly-sized facility offering à la carte dining and a buffet with a limited wine and spirits selection. There are notably excellent shower facilities.

First Class cabins offer varying lay flat seat types and layouts onboard Boeing 777, B747, and Airbus A380 aircraft. The most private First Class product – Kosmo Suites 2.0 – is found on the B747-8 and select B777-300ERs, offering sliding doors and large seat partitions. Other aircraft have Kosmo open suites with an open and airy design and feel of the cabin.

korean air first class
Korean Air

First Class passengers dine on demand with meals designed to reflect the character of each destination, and wines vary according to the route. The A380 benefits from two bars and a lounge onboard the aircraft.

Service is generally impeccable. The IFE screen size varies and comes with a combination of international content and Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Sadly, there is no Wi-Fi connectivity on any aircraft.

Amenity kits include a skincare set by luxury French brand Atelier Cologne and other travel essentials. Long-haul flight passengers receive a mattress pad, quality duvet and pillow and high-quality pyjamas.

What We Love:

A stylish cabin

The dining experience is excellent

First Class service

The Champagne: 

Henri Giraud Ay Grand Cru Brut MV, or Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque, or Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé, or Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé

a woman taking a shower in the emirates first class bathroom - emirates is among the best first class airlines in 2023
Emirates

Emirates

BusinessClass.com score: 9/10

Emirates offers First Class on most of its flights. The Dubai-based carrier embraces the ultimate luxury in commercial aviation with true Arabian panache.

Dubai International Airport has three First Class lounges, including Concourse A, which is claimed to be the world's largest lounge of any kind. The lounge has an excellent à la carte dining restaurant and a Moët & Chandon Bar. Other luxuries include complimentary spa treatments, high-end shopping and direct boarding from the lounge.

First Class cabins deliver a fair amount of bling. All aircraft are being refreshed with private suites featuring zero-gravity seats, a pop-up minibar, mood lighting, individual climate controls, exclusive skincare, and fragrances. Airbus A380s also feature two impressive "shower spas" and walk-up bars. A sub-fleet of nine Boeing 777-300ERs features six completely enclosed suites dubbed "the gamechanger" – arguably the best airline suites in the world.

airhostess standing near a first class seat of emirates
Emirates

All meals are served on beautiful white crockery with restaurant-grade cutlery and unlimited caviar and Champagne servings, and a "Movie Menu" contains comforting favourites. Emirates prides itself on serving the best and most comprehensive drinks selection in the sky and is the only airline serving Veuve Clicquot, Dom Pérignon and Moët & Chandon Champagnes.

The inflight service is dignified, with an attentive international crew. The latest IFE systems feature wireless Bluetooth connectivity, and quality Bowers & Wilkins headphones keep out the external noise. Passengers receive luxury amenity Kits by BVLGARI, complimentary BYREDO travel wellness products, exclusive sleepwear, comfy slippers, and eye shades.

What We Love:

First Class on most flights

Fantastic wines from special years

A380 inflight showers and walk-up bars

Champagne: 

Dom Pérignon or Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot vintages, plus exclusive limited-time offerings such as Dom Pérignon P2 Champagne

swisss first class seat
Swiss

SWISS

BusinessClass.com score: 9.5/10

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is the only major airline in the world offering First Class on all of its global long-haul flights.

At Zürich Airport, SWISS First Service benefits include exclusive check-in, private security screening, priority boarding and two excellent First Class lounges. The flagship SWISS First Lounge E offers à la carte dining with an impressive 1,000-bottle wine humidor and two hotel-style day beds.

SWISS long-haul aircraft feature eight lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The best cabin, with privacy doors, can be found on the Boeing 777-300ER. The Airbus A340 has the same suite, but the cabin is narrower, while the A330 does not have privacy doors.

an air hostess serving a man in swiss first class
Swiss

The First Class dining experience, 'SWISS Taste of Switzerland', is akin to dining in a gourmet restaurant, with dine-on-demand haute cuisine served upon white pressed linens with stylish white chinaware. There is a good selection of Champagne and fine wines, including Swiss discovery wines from featured cantons or neighbouring regions.   

SWISS First flight attendants are highly trained and engaging, welcoming passengers by name. Customers receive specially designed luxury pyjamas, slippers, and an upscale amenity kit from Bally containing high-end La Prairie-branded products. Large IFE screens have excellent picture quality, a solid range of entertainment paired with noise-cancelling headphones, and limited complimentary Wi-Fi.

What We Love

SWISS First Lounges at Zürich Airport

'SWISS Taste of Switzerland' gastronomic concept

Premium in-flight customer service

Champagne: 

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle

etihad airways first class cabin
Etihad

Etihad

BusinessClass.com score: 9/10

Etihad Airways operates a sophisticated fleet of aircraft with excellent First Class products, including the exceptional 'The Residence' and 'First Apartments'.

First Class travellers in Abu Dhabi arrive by private chauffeur and enjoy sit-down check-in areas, a porter luggage service and dedicated security lanes to the lounge. The Etihad First Lounge has Middle Eastern-inspired multi-course and buffet meal options alongside a premium vintage wine cellar. Excellent amenities include spa facilities, a VIP lounge, and a cigar lounge.

The most exclusive onboard experience is found on select routes in the three-room 'The Residence' on the upper deck of the Airbus A380. Nine other 'Apartments' offer a substantial private living space. Adjoining apartments convert to a private double apartment for couples. First Class is also available on some of the airline's Boeing 787-9 aircraft and 777s, but these are soon to be retired.

airhostess serving tea to a man in etihad first class review
Etihad

Expect name recognition and plenty of attention to detail from the international crew. Passengers enjoy an extensive dine-on-demand à la carte menu with a restaurant-style presentation. A boutique wine list is available throughout the flight, plus a long list of cocktails, an impressive array of spirits, and a wide assortment of soft drinks and juices.

Pyjamas, slippers and amenity kits by Acqua di Parma help make the flight more comfortable. The Airbus A380 features a comfortable shower suite. The IFE system holds an enormous selection of international content alongside noise-reducing headphones, and passengers receive a limited-data Wi-Fi voucher.  

What We Love

Customisable dine-on-demand menu

The A380' The Residence' and 'First Apartments.'

Top-notch service from an international crew

Champagne: 

Devaux & Chapoutier Sténopé 2009, or Duval-Leroy Rosé Prestige Premier Cru

ana first class suite
ANA

ANA

BusinessClass.com score: 9/10

The First Class experience on All Nippon Airways (ANA) is incredible. The Suite, its newest inflight product, features on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and is available on routes including Tokyo to New York and London.

ANA operates dual hubs at Tokyo Haneda and Narita airports, where passengers enjoy premium check-in and fast-track security access – also available worldwide. Expect an escort straight for the lounge with the airline's famous noodle bar. Other features include shower rooms, napping areas, and private work cubicles.

ANA's Airbus A380s and most Boeing 777-300ERs have the latest lie-flat seat – 'The Suite' – complete with privacy doors. Any 777s yet to receive the refurbishment feature older seats, which still offer good privacy and plenty of practical space.   

a man having steak in ana first class
ANA

ANA's inflight service is incredibly friendly. The dine-on-demand menu is designed by ANA "connoisseur" chefs, with mix-and-match Western and Japanese menus. Restaurant-style presentation is a hallmark of the entire service. An extensive wine list accompanies the meal service, along with excellent spirits, soft drinks, teas and coffees.

The Suite boasts enormous 42-inch (106 cm) IFE screens packed with Hollywood and international content and noise-reducing Sony headsets. Passengers receive complimentary wireless internet, a high-quality bed set, soft cotton loungewear and slippers alongside ANA Original Globe-Trotter amenity kits with The Ginza products.

What We Love

The Japanese cuisine and impressive drinks menu

Chic lounges

"The Suite," and some of the finest service in the sky

Champagne: 

Krug Grande Cuvée or Champagne Billecart Salmon

british airways first class cabin
British Airways

British Airways

BusinessClass.com score: 8/10

First Class is now offered on only a handful of BA's routes and may not be the most groundbreaking of travel experiences, but it offers plenty to appreciate and enjoy. From its Heathrow hub, passengers get dedicated check-in, expedited security, and the spacious First Lounge. The more exclusive Concorde Room is a quieter hideaway with table service and the airline's most expensive wines, spirits and refreshments.

Onboard, First Class is always designed in a 1-2-1 configuration with nearly two-metre-long electronically adjusted lie-flat seats. On newer B777-300ER aircraft, the seat includes sliding privacy doors and a three-point seat belt. A large ottoman allows for companion dining.

"Dine Anytime" à la carte menus are served on high-end British crockery, cutlery and glassware. On day flights, the signature afternoon tea is rather elegant, and a good wine selection has been curated, along with a long list of cocktails, mocktails, exclusive BrewDog beers, and a wide assortment of soft drinks and juices.

an air hostess serving champagne to a woman in british airways first class
British Airways

The onboard service can be incredibly friendly and personalised. Passengers receive Temperley London loungewear and amenity kits containing luxury Elemis skincare products. Mattress toppers and crisp white bed linen make for a restful flight, while those seeking entertainment can avail themselves of the solid programming and noise-cancelling headphones.

What We Love:

The use of British products

Impressive lounge facilities in London

The First Wing access for passengers departing Heathrow

Champagne: 

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Brut, or Hattingley Valley, Blanc de Noirs English sparkling wine, or Lanson Rosé

american airlines first class bed
American Airlines

American Airlines

BusinessClass.com score: 8/10

American Airlines is the only remaining North American carrier to offer long-haul First Class. Flagship First is only available on Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

Flagship First passengers receive excellent on-the-ground services when departing from hub airports, with expedited check-in and security processes and first-rate Flagship Lounges offering high-end à la carte dining, premium beverages, expansive seating and shower facilities.

The Flagship First cabin on the B777-300ER offers eight lie-flat seats that swivel 90 degrees to the side like an office chair. Each seat has ample storage and an ottoman that doubles as a companion dining seat. Inflight service can be varied depending on the flight attendant.

a woman sleeping in her american airlines first class bed
American Airlines

The quality and presentation of meal service may not live up to the standards one may expect when flying international long-haul First Class. However, regional dishes are served on some Asian routes, with delightful local meals on its Tokyo flights. Printed beverage menus outline inflight Champagne and wines, and there is a comprehensive list of cocktails, international beers, soft drinks and juices.

Entertainment systems in Flagship First are similar to those in Business Class but offer a great choice of content, along with Bang & Olufsen noise-cancelling headphones. Casper pyjamas and slippers are the first of many welcome gifts, including Shinola and D.S. & Durga amenity kits.

What We Love:

The Flagship First lounges and Flagship First Dining areas

The inflight Casper bedding and pyjamas

Seats that swivel 90 degrees

Champagne: 

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, or Vollereaux Cuvee Marguerite 2013 Champagne

alaska airlines first class cabin
Alaska Airlines

Alaskan Airlines

BusinessClass.com score: 7/10

Alaska Airlines only operates narrowbody planes with a basic First Class product. Alaska does not pretend to be something it is not. Instead, it does the basics quite well.  

Alaska's main hubs are Seattle/Tacoma and Portland, Oregon. First Class passengers enjoy priority check-in and boarding lanes and a small network of Alaska Lounges in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Portland and Anchorage.

Alaska's narrowbody fleet is fitted with wide recliner-style Recaro seats in a 2-2 configuration over three or four rows – they do not lie flat. Quilted blankets are available at each First Class seat, but Alaska does not offer pillows or amenity kits on any of its flights.

a man having lunch in alaska airlines first class
Alaska Airlines

The airline offers hearty meals on its flights, with everything served on a tray. Everything is hand-delivered from the galley, and many ingredients are sourced from West Coast providers. There is no dine-on-demand service. A limited beverage menu includes one white and one red wine, and one sparkling wine, alongside craft beers, spirits, cocktails, Starbucks coffee and Teavana teas.

Alaska is proud of its size and operation, and its flight attendants' affable, attentive approach is genuine. There are no IFE screens or headphones, and passengers can stream free entertainment to personal devices. Fast-streaming satellite Wi-Fi is also available for a fee.

What We Love:

Supporting West Coast and Pacific Northwest businesses

Complimentary lounge access for First Class passengers

Genuine and friendly service

Champagne: 

Domaine St. Vincent Sparkling Wine

Airlines Toplists - 13 Best First Class Airlines in the World
Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines

BusinessClass.com score: 10/10

Singapore Airlines, also known as SIA, is the multi-award-winning flag carrier of Singapore and is regarded as one of the finest airlines for its quality products, style and inflight service. SIA operates a First Class service on its fleet of 26 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. These serve short and long-haul destinations, including indirect flights to Los Angeles and direct flights to northern Europe and destinations such as Hong Kong, Tokyo and Jakarta, which are closer to its Singapore hub.

Singapore Airlines is gradually moving away from First Class cabins on its long-haul flights in favour of Suites or Business Class products.

Singapore Airlines’ service is legendary, and First Class and Suites passengers will enjoy the crème de la crème of airline experiences. The level of attention and care is impeccable from the ground to the air. Porters will guide customers through each seamless step of the boarding process as a warm and genuinely friendly welcome awaits onboard.

FULL REVIEW TO COME

What We Love:

The outstanding and unrivalled quality of the in-flight service. Passengers genuinely do receive a first-class service.

The innovative comfort and spaciousness of the ‘Double Suites’. Perfect for a couple wishing to enjoy a flight in luxurious privacy.

 Exceptional international cuisine from the ‘Book the Cook’ service, expertly crafted by a panel of award-winning superstar chefs.

Champagne: 

Signature Champagnes include Dom Pérignon, Krug Grande Cuvée and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne

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