RANKED: The Best Business Class Seats In 2018

Over the course of the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to sample every single “generic” business class configurations there is out there. By “generic”, I’m talking about business class configurations that a number of airlines operate. I’m effectively ruling out specific custom-made configurations, such as Qatar Airways’ QSuites, Delta’s Delta One Suites, British Airways’ weird forwards-backwards configuration, etc.. I plan to try those out soon, though for now I thought it would be fun to visit a quick ranking of all the business class seats we’ve flown here at YTHK so far.

(For the record, based on reviews alone I’d predict that QSuites and Delta One Suites are both ahead of the competition compared to all of the products listed below. Here’s to hoping I can prove that sometime soon.)

While economy class is all about the price these days, there is lots of competition for the best business class seat out there

I figured I’d start from the worst and move on up. So here we go:

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How To Know Which First/Business Class Product You’re Getting On Korean Air

This should be particularly useful for those of us in Hong Kong flying to Seoul in a Korean Air premium cabin, as I’m sure Korean Air has a “never fly the same aircraft type with the same flight number twice” policy on each of their four daily flights between these two cities. 😉

Korean Air has one of the most poorly designed airline websites I’ve had the pleasure of using. It’s easy to actually (dummy) book and access flights, though there’s a buffer time upon selecting each seat upon seat selection (you have to wait 8-10 seconds after you select each seat, so you better not misclick), you can’t “cross-reference” cabins (pull up economy and business class fares at the same time), a lot of the time you can’t check-in online because of issues with Korean Air’s website with verifying non-Korean credit cards, and mobile boarding passes rarely work during check-in.

It’s a shame, because the onboard experience is exceedingly pleasant, and in quite a few cases, competitive – especially in economy.

However, there’s one benefit to Korean Air’s website – it’s very easy to identify which product you’ll be getting (provided there isn’t an equipment swap). The issue is that no one seems to know – I’ve seen so many complaints, even from so-called “travel experts”, when flying Korean Air that they had no idea which product they were getting. I decided I’d write about that in a separate post.

So, here’s how you know which premium product you’re going to be flying on a Korean Air flight:

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A Guide To Qatar Airways’ Business Class (787, A380, A350)

When we review flights at Young Travelers of Hong Kong, we attempt to center each review around each specific flight. For that reason, last year we introduced guides, where we’d introduce the product as a whole based on our cumulative experience, as well as other experiences that we’ve read from trusted sources. In this post, I’ll be giving my version of a comprehensive guide to Qatar Airways’ reverse herringbone (A350, A380, 787) and leased A350 business class product.

Qatar Airways Airbus A350 Doha Airport

I haven’t flown Qatar’s A330 or A340 (which has a similar configuration to Lufthansa’s A380 business class, though with different finishings and slight structural differences), their old 777 business class (different finishings but otherwise similar to their leased A350) or their brand new 777 QSuites, so I’ll leave them out of this guide. If I do fly them in the future (which is likely, since Qatar will switch to flying their older 777s from Hong Kong for both frequencies later this year), I’ll write a separate guide about these products.

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A Guide to Swiss’ 777 Business Class

Swiss has long offered one of Europe’s business class products, but as people become more open to connections, Swiss is gaining prominence on the map. I’ve heard that their first class product is divine, but it’s been nearly impossible to attain on miles, so you’re pretty much limited to business class if you want to travel on Swiss in a premium cabin (which is pretty attainable on miles, though my parents paid cash for all flights I’ve had on them). Swiss is also in the process of replacing their aged A340 product with their newer 777 product, so their newer product will soon serve as the backbone of their longhaul business class fleet.

IMG_0053Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

I’ve had the pleasure of flying Swiss between Hong Kong and Zurich multiple times, and it’s one of the better business class products that I’ve seen thus far. I believe I’m familiar enough with their business class product to put together a comprehensive guide on what you should expect when you book Swiss’ 777 (and soon, their A340) in business class.

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A Guide to Korean Air’s (Older) International Business Class

Over the years, Korean Air’s reputation has risen quite a bit. I’ve had the pleasure of flying Korean Air on shorthaul and longhaul flights, though haven’t had a chance to sample their newest cabin product. Nevertheless, I feel like it’s safe to say that Korean Air is a fine choice – unless you can score their newest 777-300ER or 747-8 business class product, which seems top notch, I don’t think they have one of the world’s best hard products, and some of their amenities could be lacking, though I do enjoy all of my flights on them.

Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

I decided I’d quickly throw together a guide on Korean Air’s business class, as there’s no denying that the popularity of the product is increasing.

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A Guide to Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class

If there’s anything that this blog has been all about, it’s been the argument that Jason and I have been having regards Cathay Pacific regional business class. I’ve tried a few different business class products that I certainly find to be even worse, and I’ll try to keep a neutral stance, but there’s no denying that it’s a crap product. 😉

img_2538Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Regional Business Class

In all honesty, I’ve been giving the product a pretty hard time, and most business travelers don’t have much flexibility on which flight they can take, especially when there’s only one flight a day and it’s operated by a regional cabin. So I’ve decided it would be good to compile a quick guide on how the product is, and the perks you’ll get compared to if you’re seated in economy (apart from not getting cramped into a 3-4-3 configuration).

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