We recently asked our TPG Lounge readers to share what they feel is the best international business-class product. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).
Battle of the US Airlines
While some wrote in with harsh words for US-based carriers in terms of their international business class offerings, a few folks still held true to their favorites.
“Eh, don’t throw Delta’s soft product in with United and American Airlines. DL usually has a pretty solid soft product in international premium cabins, though perhaps not to the level of, say, Singapore Airlines. I mean, the new Polaris hard product is pretty nice — not Q Suites or Delta One Suites nice, but still nice — and certainly night and day from the ancient 2-4-2 ‘business’ class of UA’s yesteryear.” — Ross B.
“The new United Polaris seat and service is the best I’ve done so far. However, I’m trying EVA Air and the Qatar Q Suite on my honeymoon, so I have a feeling I might have a new favorite or two after that!” — Bryan D.
“Polaris Lounge access puts United over American and Delta for US carriers in my humble opinion.” — George P.
“Polaris wins for me because of routing.” — Seth R.L.
Non-Us Carriers for the Win
When it comes to our TPG Lounge members’ all-time favorite international business class products, non-US carriers definitely had the edge over their US-based counterparts.
“If you’ve ever flown in Qatar J (business class), you know it rightfully belongs at the top of the list. Everyone voting otherwise just hasn’t flown in it.” — Nelson S.
“Singapore Airlines for comfort, service and food!” — David P.
“I’ve flown in Qatar’s business class and still prefer Emirates. Can’t beat the bar at the back.” — George A.
“Qatar’s Q Suite is the best for a family of four!”— Emily C.
“Austrian Air! Nice seats (1-2-1) and an onboard chef in business class, which is usually a first-class perk. The only downside is no Wi-Fi I guess, but I don’t really care about that too much. I only have Delta to compare it to. Both were on the 767 and Austrian took gold without question.” — Deniz W.
“Cathay Pacific [because of the] combination of hard product, soft product, airport lounges and ease of transit through Hong Kong’s airport (HKG). For the product alone, probably Qatar Airways, but I didn’t enjoy transiting through Doha (DOH) and after all the hype, the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge was such a letdown for me when I finally got to experience it.” — Su M.O.
“I’m surprised no one has mentioned China Airlines’ 77W/359. Though the hard product is just reverse herringbone (versus enclosed suites), it may very well be the most stylish and cool looking cabin, and though they don’t provide pajamas or on-demand dining, the service and food is amazing, especially their whisky selection — they always seem to have some special bottle of Kavalan Solist along with JW Blue. The big negative for me, unlike, say KE/MU/AF, is that you only earn 100% MQMs on Delta as opposed to 150%. But if you’re not chasing status or have some wiggle room in the amount of MQMs you need to earn, I’d definitely recommend them if you need to fly SkyTeam (or just in general) across the Pacific!” — Robi C.
“EVA Air. Impeccable service and a good hard product.” — K.C. V.
“I like Korean Air’s Prestige Suites, but Delta Suites are a pretty objectively better hard product. I do agree that Korean Air’s service is usually better, but I don’t think it’s enough to make up for the difference in hard product, especially not if you’re on metal with the older KE J hard product, which is just bad compared to anything in DL’s fleet.” — Ross B.
“I fly to Peru quite a bit and I have flown in first class and business on Delta, United and LATAM. LATAM was by far the best, with clean, newer aircraft, food that was amazing and staff that were very accommodating. Delta came in second. The staff were very nice but the aircraft was very dated and not so clean on that route. The food was good though. For United, the aircraft was newer and clean, the food was horrible and the staff were not so friendly.” — Edward S.
“Qatar Airways is leagues above everyone else, from catering to comfort to service standards to amenity kits.” — Pushkar D.
Readers Helping Readers
We love it whenever our TPG Lounge members get so involved in a topic they end up answering each other’s questions with tips based on their own experiences. That’s what happened when TPG reader Nick E. asked the rest of the group if they thought JAL’s business-class product would be a good choice for a future flight.
“I am considering flying in JAL business class from Bangkok (BKK) to Tokyo (NRT) to Vancouver (YVR). It looks like I don’t see it on this list, but has anyone flown JAL business? Was it good or bad? It’ll be on a 787-8.” — Nick E.
“I haven’t flown in business — I was in F — but the seat looked great and comfortable on the 777. I hear the 787 seat is good but not as good [since it’s] less private.” — George A.
“It’s good, but be careful on those 787-8 routes. There are a few planes that are angle-flat J seats rather than lie-flat seats. They used to fly them to San Diego and Vancouver and it’s just not as good as the Apex Suite seats found on the 777/787-9. Whatever you do, make sure you order the Japanese menu ex-NRT. It’s delicious and there’s an such awesome attention to details.” — Nelson S.
“At least on the 777, it’s awesome. If you have the means, get yourself into row five. It’s a super small cabin with only one row. Great seats, great service and great food.” — Erik M.
Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.