Who has the best Business Class in the skies?
Over the years I’ve had the fortune to fly Business Class on several airlines, and after each flight I’ve always asked myself ‘where does that fit in the best business class I’ve flown?’ I’ve filmed my experiences in travel vlogs which you can see on my YouTube channel, but one day I realised it would be good to have all my thoughts in one place in an easy to digest table of rankings.
I started this off to keep as a personal record of my Business Class flights, but I also thought it would be of use to fellow travellers, so I’m sharing it here to help you make a decision when booking your next trip.
How the rankings work
The rankings are based on 4 main categories, and are calculated as follows:
How comfortable is the seat (fully upright and in ‘bed’ position), how easy is it to operate, how easy it is to get in and out, how many functions you have to customise the seat position, how easy it is to get to your table/switches/power from the seat, how private is your seat (particularly if travelling as a single traveller)?
Note: if you have to climb over another passenger to get to your Business Class seat, I will cap the ranking at a maximum of 3 out of 5. I don’t believe you should have to do this in a Business Class cabin.
How much space is there for baggage (overhead bins and in/around your seat), is the cabin lighting set correctly for the time of flight, how quiet is the cabin?
How were you greeted/farewelled on the flight, how attentive are the staff, how did staff handle requests, how were customisations to the service (ie unplanned food requests) handled, how quickly were requests dealt with?
Food and Drinks (F&B)
Was the food substantially different to an economy offering, how was the food presented, how many options were available (I am a vegetarian and my wife is not, so we try and test multiple scenarios), how were the drinks options?
All rankings are out of 5 possible maximum points, half points can also be given. A ranking of 0 is the worst, up to 5 being the best possible.
What about the movies?
I don’t consider the In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) in these rankings as I feel it’s almost impossible to fairly compare that across carriers. Whilst rankings of other areas are of course subjective, rating the IFE based on what I like to watch (and to be honest I don’t watch a lot of TV/Movies on a plane) didn’t seem relevant. Aspects like the range of content available, foreign language content, kids content, radio stations, etc is all very specific to the traveller. Besides these days so many of us bring our own content on our own devices so I didn’t feel it was relevant.
I did consider ranking the moving map / external camera features, but as an AvGeek that’s important to me but maybe not so much to other travellers.
So TL;DR – IFE doesn’t feature in this list.
Why should you listen to me?
Good question. This Business Class ranking system is purely based on my opinion having travelled around the world for most of my life, and having focussed on Business Class specifically over the last few years. Whenever I travel I choose Business Class where possible and try to choose a variety of airlines to ensure I can compare aspects of the cabin and service fairly. At the end of the day, as I said, this is my opinion but I consider my opinion to be based on a lot of research and put forward in a fair and unbiased way.
Note: this list is ever growing and changing, so you’re seeing it as a snapshot today of my experiences. I’ve also included some future bookings with some airlines that I haven’t flown yet but have booked flights with, so you know what’s going to be added to this table soon.
Business Class rankings table
Now you’ve read all that (or have scrolled down to this point) here’s the latest version of my Best Business Class rankings table:[table “1” could not be loaded /]
- DI = Domestic (D) or International (I)
- SEA = seat
- CAB = cabin
- SER = service
- F&B = food and beverage
- AVG = average ranking / 5