- Shutterstock/Dmitry Birin
- Skytrax released its annual ranking for airlines with the best first-class experience.
- Top ranking airlines in 2018 include Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Air France.
Flying first class is the ultimate indulgence when it comes to air travel. Just stepping on a plane and taking a peek through the curtains at those elite seats is an experience in both envy and admiration. But there is also something fun and exciting about fawning over first class. After all, it’s pretty impressive the way airlines design that exclusive section, trying to one-up each other in customer satisfaction and luxury.
Skytrax, the United Kingdom-based consumer aviation agency, recently released its annual “Best Airlines in the World” ranking for 2018. The survey, which began in 1999, is an annual customer relations satisfaction survey that is among the most professional and prestigious. It has gone from attracting the entries of 2.2 million airline customers in 2000, to receiving more than 20 million entries in 2018.
It’s no surprise that Skytrax, which prides itself on an exhaustive appraisal of the airline industry, would also evaluate which first-class cabin sits supreme in their 2018 rankings.
This year, 335 airlines were included in the survey and more than 20 million respondents were counted in the final results, which measured multiple parameters like service attentiveness, staff language skills, and meal service efficiency.
For 2018, the World’s Best First Class was also voted the World’s Best Airline, as Singapore Airlines took home both awards. Singapore Airlines has distinguished itself recently by focusing on customer service and investing in a newer, more modern fleet of aircraft. It made headlines last month when it announced plans to re-launch the world’s longest flight, a trip from Newark, New Jersey to Singapore later this year.
Below are the top 10 first-class cabins ranked by customers in 2018.
10. Thai Airways
- Thai Airways
Why They Made The List: Thai Airways “Royal First Class” cabin is designed with comfort in mind. Featured on AirBus A380s and newly renovated Boeing 747s, Royal First Class includes chilled champagne, 23-inch wide seats, flat screen TVs, 500 music CDs, and 180-degree lie-flat beds.
9. Qantas Airways
Why They Made The List: As the flag carrier for Australia, Qantas Airlines is an elite operation. A sheepskin mattress, armrest controls, and 17-inch screen await the lucky passenger, while an airline attendant is ready to serve signature dishes from a tasting menu designed by Neil Perry. Qantas’ award-winning “Cellar in the Sky” wine selection is a nice indulgence as well.
8. Cathay Pacific Airways
- Cathay Pacific Airways
Why They Made The List: Cathay Pacific Airways, the flag carrier of Hong Kong, showcases a first class that is all about premium service. The leather seats offer comfortable manually controlled massages and the 500-thread-count duvet keeps one warm when the beds lie flat. Steaming jasmine rice can be served directly at your seat while enjoying entertainment on a 17-inch personal TV screen.
7. Qatar Airways
- Flickr /Qatar Airways
Why They Made The List: Founded in 1993, Qatar Airways has made a name for itself with premium first-class service. Combining luxury with elegance, Qatar Airways first-class cabin includes a lie-flat bed with Frette linen and an ultra comfy duvet, 4,000 entertainment options at your fingertips, and a world class menu that has previously included filet mignon, seared scallops, and shrimp ka-bob.
6. ANA All Nippon Airways
Why They Made The List: ANA is the largest airline in Japan. A private square cabin with sliding doors ensures no flier will be disturbed on the journey, as the high panel walls create a wooden cove in the sky. Delicious dishes on board are prepared in either Japanese Kaiseki style or in the elegance of Modern European cuisine. On ANA, privacy is perfect.
Why They Made The List: The Dubai-based airline has grown in reputation to be viewed as one of the top flying experiences in the world. Their first-class suite is essentially a fully-enclosed hotel room with temperature controls, mood lighting, and leather seats that are inspired by Mercedes-Benz. Hundreds of entertainment options and a 10-year old wine cellar help make Emirates a truly first class experience.
Why They Made The List: This German airline is Europe’s largest in both size and fleet. Lufthansa’s first-class experience includes being met by a personal assistant at the airport, a wide reclining seat, fine wine and culinary delights, and multiple in-flight entertainment options.
3. Air France
- Air France
Why They Made The List: The French flagship carrier, Air France, provides one of the most memorable first-class experiences as each of their “Le Premiere First Class” seats feels like a luxury hotel room. Famous Chefs like Joël Robuchon, Guy Martin, Régis Marcon inspire the diverse food menu served over Bernardaud-designed porcelain china.
2. Etihad Airways
Why They Made The List: Founded only 15 years ago, Etihad Airways is the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates. Etihad Airways is another global jewel, as their first class cabin is essentially a giant “First Apartment” with 6-foot-10 inch fully-flat bed, along with access to Etihad’s in-flight showers and luxury lounge.
1. Singapore Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
Why They Made The List: Ranked by Skytrax as the World’s Best Airline in 2018, it’s no surprise that Singapore Airline is also ranked as the best first-class airline. Their premium first class service has set the standard for in-air accommodation. Private space, extra-wide seats, mood lighting, and 1,000 entertainment options are just some of the indulgences one gets when flying with Singapore.