Earlier this month FlightFox put out their rankings of the best first class products in the air and along with those the best prices they’ve found to actually buy each ticket.
I expressed some disagreement with their rankings. For instance, I didn’t agree that Singapore Airlines has the best all-around first class. For instance, I don’t find their seat all that comfortable for lounging although it is good for sleeping, I don’t really find their ground services to be special (although they do a great job with food in The Private Room in Singapore), and they need to work on their snack menu.
The folks at FlightFox underscored though that they were only talking about Singapore’s A380 Suites. Fair enough.
I didn’t agree that Lufthansa has the 5th-best first class.
I’d take Qantas’ A380 First Class Suites (their #15) over Air France (#12) in a heartbeat — as well as over JAL (#11) and Qatar (#7).
They were kind enough to invite me to submit my own rankings, and they offered to publish them on their site. We spent a good bit of time going back and forth about definitions, were they looking at only the inflight product (since they were treating the Singapore Airlines A380 separately from the 777-300ER) or did the whole ground experience count? What about food and amenities?
And I asked that they allow me to asterisk those products that I don’t have first-hand experience with. For instance, I have some general impressions about Transaero’s Imperial Class, I haven’t flown it. But in order to offer a ranking that matched theirs, I’d need to include it. So I want to highlight where my experiences are limited, and thus my opinions both more general and more tentative.
In the end I do rate Singapore’s Suites Class as #1 — ground services leave something do be desired, as do inflight snacks and ‘supper’ service where applicable. But the overall food is great, the seat privacy is outstanding, and the service is as good as any airline in the sky (most of the time).
And I rate Cathay Pacific as #2 — despite having ground services that also leave something to be desired. They have great service in their own right (though far less obtrusive than Singapore’s). They have very good amenities, good food though not as good as Singapore’s (but better snacks). Most of all they have my absolute favorite seat in the sky, the one I get the very best sleep in. And since even first class, to me, is first and foremost about the seat and the spaciousness, and since Cathay offers seating 3-across instead of 4 on their 777s, they rank very highly indeed.
I don’t think Emirates really compares, even with the suites onboard their A380, but they do have a shower in the sky.
I really love Etihad’s suites, their amenities, and have mostly very good luck with their onboard chef concept. They have one of the most stylish cabins in the sky.
Qantas’ A380 first class is also very very good, and I am looking forward to flying it again very soon.
Singapore’s 777-300ER first class is my number six — delivering the same pluses and minuses as the A380 which I give my number one to, but without the privacy of the suite or the spaciousness of the two-person ‘double bed’ in the center section.
I understand that they’ve also reached out to Lucky from One Mile at a Time for his rankings, and will be posting those this week as well. It’ll be interesting — to me, at least — to see how our opinions of first class products compare (or I should say, how our rankings of Lufthansa First Class differ.. hah!).