Are these airlines really the best and worst for business class travel?

May 9, 2022

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From the ergonomics of tray tables to the types of cheese one can devour in an airport lounge, the small details matter when flying business class.

And why not? You want to make sure those carefully saved points go as far as possible.

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Luggage storage company Bounce recently decided to separate the best and worst experiences in the sky, ranking airlines across seven business class criteria including cabin and seat, cuisine, amenities and facilities.

These aggregated scores come courtesy of user reviews on online travel agent Business Class, with Singapore Airlines emerging as the overall champ with a total score of 9.57 across all categories, finishing just above Qatar, which managed an impressive 9.29. Egyptair is at the bottom of the list with a score of 5.71.

Which airlines performed well, which ones disappointed, and should you take these scores with a pinch of in-flight salt? Here at TPG, we’ve flown business (and more) with all of these airlines. Scroll down to see how each one measured up when we flew with them.

Note: amenities and seats can differ from plane to plane, and if some of the reviews appear to be two or three years old, there’s a COVID-19 reason for that and we’ll be sure to update with the latest reviews once they’re in.

Now read on to see our thoughts on the best and worst business class services.

10 best-rated business class airlines

1. Singapore Airlines

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Average rating: 9.57

What TPG says:

“After experiencing 18 hours of Singapore’s legendary service, it was clear how this carrier continually wins awards for the best service of an airline though the biggest issue with the flight was the seat itself: though the seat is oversized compared to competitors, it’s not comfortable for relaxing or sleeping, especially if you prefer a soft mattress or have trouble sleeping at an angle. Do whatever you can to select a bulkhead seat on this flight. If you can’t, rest assured knowing that there’s enough IFE content to keep you entertained for multiple trips from New York to Singapore.”

Read our full business class review of Singapore Airlines A350-900ULR from Newark to Singapore (Originally published Jan 2020)

2. Qatar Airways

Boeing 787-9 business class. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Average rating: 9.29

What TPG says:

“Qatar Airways’ business class on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner offered a top-notch onboard experience, even though it wasn’t the airline’s signature Qsuite product. No matter where you sit, the seats feel comfortable and stylish.

“With a comfortable seat and ample privacy thanks to the sliding door, I didn’t want the six-and-a-half-hour flight to end. Add in the plethora of amenities I was given and a delectable culinary experience, and I had an excellent experience in this new product.”

Read our full business class review of Qatar Airways 787-9 Dreamliner from Doha to Madrid (Originally published Dec 2021)

3. Cathay Pacific

The Cathay Pacific A350-1000 business class cabin. (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)

Average rating: 9.00

What TPG says:

“A stellar ground experience, fantastic seat, top-notch IFE and a near-unbeatable points redemption overshadowed the hit-or-miss food and inconsistent service that lags behind some East Asian and Middle East competitors.

The bed itself didn’t disappoint, especially with the amenities Cathay provided. The mattress pad, while not out of this world, was appreciated. Meanwhile, the duvet and pillow were both quite comfortable (though it was no Saks Fifth Avenue bedding that you’d find on United).”

“On this flight, cabin crew members were courteous and generally pleasant, but they were generally not proactive or assumed everyone wanted to sleep the whole flight, often lacking the personal touches that make other carriers’ business products really shine.”

Read our full business class review of Cathay Pacific A350-900 from Hong Kong to Newark (Originally published Dec 2019)

4. Turkish Airlines

Average rating: 8.86

What TPG says:

“Turkish operates two versions of the 777-300ER. Unfortunately, on my New York-JFK to Istanbul (IST) leg, I was on the older version, with a lower-resolution video screen and more dated finishes.

“While privacy is sorely lacking on Turkish’s 777, these forward-facing, lie-flat seats do have one plus: a significant amount of legroom. With an open layout, there is no concern about the tight footwells you might find in such seats as Delta One suites or even Singapore’s A350-900.

“I was a bit underwhelmed by the meal itself, from the single-tray service to the limited menu entries. I had just been expecting a bit more, pandemic or not.”

Read our full business class review of Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 from New York-JFK to Istanbul (Originally published Oct 2021)

5. Etihad

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Average rating: 8.71

What TPG says:

“Overall, the seat was very comfortable and I could have stayed far longer than this almost 7-hour flight. I also tested it out in its fully flat position. It was soft and wide enough around the shoulders for any type of sleeper, although the footwell felt a little small, and if you like to wriggle your legs in your sleep, you might find your range of motion hindered.

Related: Should you be worried about turbulence? Here’s what the experts say

“Etihad’s new business-class seat does indeed feel very similar to the British Airways Club Suite but I would consider this to be an upgrade due to the fabric upholstery, the cabin colors and the high-end finishes such as the marble effect on the seat’s flat surfaces.

“Etihad’s A350 is a beauty and, in particular, the new business-class product has a lot to make a passenger comfortable and happy.”

Read our full business class review of Etihad Airways A350 Paris to Abu Dhabi (Originally published May 2022)

6. Asiana

Average rating: 8.57

What TPG says:

“Asiana’s A350 is a comfortable way to get between Asia and the US. Pros: new A350 aircraft, solid hard product and attentive service. Cons: distinct misses in the food department and so-so choices for entertainment.

“While there are some things that Asiana could do to improve its product, like upping its catering to something more consistently good, I would absolutely fly this product again.”

Read our full business class review of Asiana A350 from Seoul to San Francisco (Originally published Dec 2018)

7. Japan Airlines (JAL)

(Photo by Zach Griff / The Points Guy)

Average rating: 8.57

What TPG says:

“Overall, I was impressed, but not blown away by this product. Sure, the quasi-suite was private and afforded me a good rest, but the lack of storage space was definitely noticeable. JAL continued to impress with its food-and-beverage program. All of it was delicious and much of it unique.

“Its business class remains a great points-friendly option for crossing the Pacific and connecting onward in Asia. Bring your own entertainment and know that you aren’t stepping foot into a cutting-edge hard product, and you’ll be set for a great flight.”

Read our full business class review of Japan Airlines 777-300ER from Bangkok to Tokyo (Originally published Aug 2019)

8. All Nippon Airways (ANA)

Average rating: 8.57

What TPG says:

“With the introduction of The Room, ANA has set a new gold standard for international business class. The cabin is stunning and the seat is simply the best in the skies, offering copious amount of personal space and tons of privacy. Everything about the seat is well designed, including the fancy new lighting and adjustable tray table.

“ANA didn’t just hit a home run with the seat. The new product was packed with some top-notch amenities too. The most noticeable is the highest-quality monitor I’ve ever seen on a plane. The 24-inch 4K screen is so crisp that it made working on my MacBook Pro with Retina display feel like I’d gone back to the 2000s.

“As it stands, The Room is a phenomenal business-class product. If ANA were to improve the ground experience and modify the service flow, it would even compete with some international first-class offerings.”

Read our full Business Class review of All Nippon Airways 777-300ER from Tokyo to New York (Originally published Jan 2020)

9. Air New Zealand

(Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

Average rating: 8.43

What TPG says:

“I found the Air New Zealand business-class experience on this route to be perfectly comfortable, though definitely not at the top of the pack. I loved the bedding and the fact that I had a lie-flat seat, but the configuration is less than ideal, the seats themselves feel cramped and face away from the windows.

“Food and amenities were generally on par with a standard business-class offering while not offering any single thing that helped set the carrier apart from its competition. Where Air New Zealand’s business-class offering really excels, though, is with its service. And because of that alone, I would consider flying with the carrier again on this fifth-freedom route.”

Read our full business class review of Air New Zealand 777-300ER Heathrow and Los Angeles (Originally published Nov 2019)

10. Thai Airways

(Photo by Javi Rodriguez)

Average rating: 8.43

What TPG says:

“I definitely think the airline deserves more credit than it gets. The passenger experience on the A350 is tough to beat: quieter engines, higher cabin-air quality and an overall smoother ride. What left the biggest impression, though, was Thai’s phenomenal soft product. From the luxurious massage treatments on the ground to the delicious food and world-class hospitality in the air, the entire experience was nothing short of unforgettable.

“The main difference I noticed with Thai was the warm, family-like atmosphere that their incredible flight attendants bring on board. It felt as if I were being welcomed into someone’s home rather than aboard an aeroplane — once again, a nod to their ‘guest’ rather than ‘passenger’ service mentality

Read our full business class review of Thai Airways A350 from Bangkok to Frankfurt (Originally published Aug 2019)

AND HERE ARE THE 10 WORST rated Business Class airlines

1. Egyptair

Average rating: 5.71

What TPG says:

“EgyptAir has made a phenomenal choice in aircraft. This Dreamliner represents a huge leap forward, and there’s no question that the carrier’s hard product — the cabin and seat — is top-notch.

“But the awful Cairo lounge, the lackluster catering (though I understand the lack of booze), weird lavatory blocking and inconsistent service severely hurt the overall experience. That said, given the price, $1,216 for a lie-flat seat all the way from Egypt to New York plus the connecting flight from the Middle East, I’d almost certainly book EgyptAir’s Dreamliner again.”

Read our full Business Class review of EgyptAir 787-9 from Cairo to New York (Originally published Aug 2019)

2. Copa Airlines

Average rating: 6.71

What TPG says:

“There’s only so much you can do on a vanilla 737 with standard recliner seats, and Copa did the job well, with no obvious failings. Friendly crews made getting from New York to Guatemala the long way easy.

“However, a less impersonal lounge at Copa’s Panama City hub — with warm food — and more options for the inflight entertainment would have made for a much better experience. That said, Copa proved it can win my business again for flights to Latin America. If nothing else, the introduction of lie-flat seats on its 737s should put it on your radar too.”

Read our full business class review of Copa Airlines 737 from New York to Guatemala City via Panama (Originally published Nov 2018)

3. AIR China

Average rating: 7.14

What TPG says:

“The food wasn’t exceptional, there wasn’t any Wi-Fi, and the dated seats could certainly benefit from an overhaul, but I walked away with a very positive impression of Air China and the 747-8.

“Of course, I can’t discount the fact that I didn’t have someone sitting next to me — with limited privacy, having a stranger so close by would have certainly impacted the experience quite a bit. If you do fly Air China’s 747-8, I recommend a seat on the upper deck, and perhaps closer to the back. It seems that’s your best shot at having a more enjoyable flight.”

Read our full business class review of Air China 747-8 from Beijing to New York (Originally published 5 Nov 2018)

4. Royal Air Maroc

Average rating: 7.29

What TPG says:

“The lounge, IFE and meal service won’t leave you feeling disappointed, but you likely won’t come away thinking it was the best flying experience you’ve had. If the airline invested a little more in the soft product and installed Wi-Fi on its aircraft, I think it could be a real contender for one of the better ways to hop across the Pond.”

“For now, though, perhaps its best selling point is the fact that it’s the only way to fly nonstop between the U.S. and Morocco, and it offers a slew of connections to many other destinations in Africa. And for that, it’s a more than suitable option to get the job done.”

Read our full business class review of Royal Air Maroc 787-9 from New York to Casablanca (Originally published in Mar 2019)

5. Ethiopian Airlines

(Photo by Wallace Cotton)

Average rating: 7.43

What TPG says:

“The weakest aspect of Ethiopian’s product is surely the 2-2-2 business-class configuration, placing it a bit behind the standard for premium cabins today. That said, the seats are comfortable, and the duvet and pillow will serve you well.

“The lounge in Addis wasn’t gorgeous and the Cloud Nine seats aren’t what you’ll get on some airlines like Qatar, but overall it was a good flight with excellent cabin crew and IFE, good amenities and decent food. Plus, considering the value, I really can’t complain.”

Read our full business class review of Ethiopian Airlines A350-900 from Addis Ababa to London (Originally published Jun 2019)

6. Iberia

(Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy)

Average rating: 7.43

What TPG says:

“Overall, this was a good flight with a comfortable seat, and I would definitely fly Iberia again. Relatively small enhancements to the ground experience (better directions and signage and allowing Iberia passengers to use the premium preflight dining service in a lounge maintained by the same parent company) as well as a warmer service, however, would make this flight more memorable than a typical business-class flight.”

Read our full Business Class review of Iberia A350 from New York to Madrid (Originally published Dec 2019)

7. Kenya Airways

Average rating: 7.43

What TPG says:

“Kenya Airways’ flagship service should be on your radar, especially if you are a Delta/SkyTeam flyer. My experience on it was not flawless, but KQ got me to Nairobi in a flat-bed seat smoothly without any real issues, and demonstrated a willingness to compete for real — take the excellent customer service I got before departure. I would fly the carrier again without hesitation.

“What did bug me, though, was the bed length, not quite enough for my 6-feet, 2-inch frame. I would have loved an extra inch. The fleece blanket was lightweight, very warm and long enough.”

Read our full business class review of Kenya Airways 787-8 from New York to Nairobi (Originally published Nov 2018)

8. American Airlines

American Airlines business class on the B777-200. (Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy)

Average rating: 7.57

What TPG says:

“American Airlines has come leaps and bounds since the days of strangely angled rotating lie-flat seats in a 2-4-2 configuration and cheese cubes in the Admirals Club being considered appropriate premium food for international business class.

“I am a big fan of their new lounges and the food offering available, particularly outside of breakfast hours. The hard product, seat, bedding and cabin layout are now up to the international standard. On board, the inflight entertainment system is very good, as is the Wi-Fi. Food and service is decent.

“Still, it doesn’t overly ‘wow,’ and maybe that’s exactly what one would want from a business-class product. I am certainly not a fan of bling or gimmicks. The best word to describe it might be ‘solid,’ and I suspect a bit more personalized and attentive service could push this easily into ‘very good’.”

Read our full business class review of American Airlines B777-200 from New York to London (Originally published July 2020)

 9. Polish Airlines

Average rating: 7.57

What TPG says:

“These particular seats offer little in the way of privacy, as I also experienced on Turkish’s A330 and Air India’s 787. There isn’t a slide-out divider, and they’re exposed to the rest of the cabin. Seats 4A and 4F seem to offer the most privacy, since they’re right up against the window with a bulkhead wall behind. I didn’t find the galley noise to be disturbing either, even though that had been flagged on SeatGuru.

“Aside from the lack of privacy, I was also disappointed in the amount of storage space. Did I have the time of my life? No, not at all, but the friendly crew and interesting food and beverage selection did make up for my lousy boarding experience in Warsaw.”

Read our full Business Class review of Polish Airlines 787-9 from Warsaw to New York (Originally published Jul 2018)

10. Royal Jordanian

Average rating: (7.57)

What TPG says:

“This Royal Jordanian Crown Business flight experience wasn’t anything special — I’m not sure how it could have been considering it was only a 45-minute flight, but nothing about it remotely justified the ridiculous cost. In fact, now that economy award availability has opened up, I don’t see a good reason to book business class. Royal Jordanian has a monopoly on this route and prices it as such.

“The Pros: A spacious, open air lounge with fresh, delicious croissants. The Cons: High carrier-imposed charges on award tickets, limited economy award availability and no in-flight service of any kind.”

Read our full business class review of Royal Jordanian A320 from New York to Amman (Originally published Sep 2017)

Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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