UK – USA Business Travel
- Richard Moss
Why travel in business class?
Perhaps it’s the seamless priority boarding and luxury, peaceful lounge access that appeals to you. Maybe the vast quantity -and gourmet quality of- the food and beverages are equally important. Similarly, the prospect of a good night’s sleep in a wide and comfortable lie-flat seat might peak your interest. Additional baggage allowance, extra storage space and the ability to work onboard may sway you. Then there’s the chauffeur service from your home to the airport as well.
Whatever your reasons, business class cabins are the best they have ever been and the demand is at it’s highest. Business class is so good infact, that First class is dying out. More and more airlines are stripping out First class entirely on some if not all aircraft, to focus on consistent improvements to business class.
Who is better to advise on the crème-de-la-crème of business class, than our well-travelled experts at Your Travel Corporate? Here are our definitive top 6 business class products.
Whilst Emirates still operate a luxurious First class cabin on some A380 aircraft, it’s business class is undeniably very good. Business passengers are exclusively seated upstairs and benefit from an onboard bar complete with a comfortable area to socialise. Seats align in a staggered 1-2-1 formation and middle seats feature an adjustable screen for privacy. Seats fully decline and there is ample foot room for any fidgets! Additional features include plenty of storage, an entertainment controller, mini bar and multiple power outlets all within arm’s reach.
Your business class experience starts on the ground with an exclusive chauffeur service. Be sure to book this at least 12 hours in advance for both your transfer to the airport and on the other side to your end destination. The chauffeur service is available within 50km of the airport after 14th April 2020. A sleek and professional BMW 5 series is available to business class passengers in 70 international cities.
Pre-flight, you could enjoy a refreshing shower in the calm and peaceful Emirates lounge. Working areas, Wi-Fi, prayer rooms and ample reading material are also provided. You may also wish to indulge in the tantalising delights from in-house chefs. Menus rotate monthly and include everything from homely classics, international favourites and guilt-free wholegrain salads, fruit selections and fresh detoxifying juices. Enjoy a seamless transition straight from the Emirates lounge on to the plane and into the business class cabin.
The Qsuite is arguably one of, if not the best, business class product around thanks to it’s incredible onboard experience. Qatar Airways business class ‘Qsuite’ cabin is fitted with cosy mood lighting and modern interiors. Each seat benefits from a privacy door, allowing passengers to completely cocoon themselves into their suite. Additionally, the privacy door helps to block out noise from other passengers and the corridors, therefore enabling a peaceful sleep. Which is arguably, what business class is all about!
On the other hand, those travelling as couples can book middle Qsuites and rest assured that they won’t be completely cut off from one another. Infact, these seats can convert into double beds. Maybe not an essential for business travellers, but we imagine this appeals to honeymooners or those travelling with children.
All seats include some serious storage and room, perfect for even the taller travellers. The seat itself has a variety of features, including a ‘Do Not Disturb’ button and built-in charging ports. A 22” HD, touch screen ICE system completes the Qsuite. Qatar Airways crew are on hand to service you as and when required, and as a business class passenger you can eat whenever and whatever you would like. Just be mindful that generally the service is better the more notice you are able to give.
Singapore Airlines are renowned amongst our clients for impeccable service. The personal and friendly attention to detail from the crew is very impressive on the world’s largest passenger airliner. Other perks of travelling with Singapore Airlines include the popular ‘Book The Cook’ service. Here you can preorder gourmet a la carte meals up to 24 hours in advance. On the other hand, if you prefer not to settle in advance there is the onboard menu.
With no overhead bins in the centre of the plane, the middle business class seats feel incredibly spacious. Business class seat storage is so abundant it has even been likened to travelling First class with Emirates. A full sized cabin bag and additional handbag can fit under the foot cubby. Our top tip for travellers on this aircraft with Singapore Airlines is to pick a middle bulkhead seat. Window seats have almost half the foot cubby space and can be deemed somewhat uncomfortable to sleep in when the seat is lie flat and feet are angled into a smaller space.
The seat itself is an array of calming purples and greys with vibrant, contrasting copper tones. Lush materials also feature as well as substantial pillows, duvets and comfortable seat toppers. Just like Qatar Airways, middle business class seats on Singapore Airlines A380 can basically transform into a double bed with the privacy screen down. However, unlike Qatar Airways, there is no padding available to place over the lowered privacy screen, so it is not deemed as flush, or as good of a makeshift double bed as Qatar’s offering.
Delta were first to launch business class seats as suites, each with an aisle access privacy door back in 2016. The best way to experience a Delta One suite is on their Airbus A350. Although found on 777s, 767s and A330-900neos, the seat is marginally larger on the A350. Additionally, there is no overhead cabins in the centre of the plane, so the middle bulkhead seats are more spacious than other aircraft. The A350 benefits from four lavatories for business class, whilst all other aircraft only have two.
Passengers in a Delta One suite can benefit from fast WiFi and high-powered USB ports. Adjustable lighting, plentiful storage and cuisine from partnerships with celebrity chefs are among other benefits. Tumi amenity kits now featuring Le Labo fragrances are available to all business class travellers. These kits were improved in 2019 to use up far less plastic. The renovation to the kits is expected to divert almost 31,000lbs of plastic to landfill in one year.
Delta One suites are perhaps the best choice for those aspiring to a tranquil journey and restful sleep. Seats are already padded in memory foam cushion and in-flight bedding is provided by Westin Heavenly®. Lower your lighting, switch on the Do Not Disturb and close your privacy door to block out any aisle activity and you are well on your way to waking up at your destination perfectly refreshed.
Etihad’s A380 business class product makes this list for three key features. Firstly, the exceptional a la carte food and drink menu’s which are a true ‘dine anytime’ service. You might wish to experience a healthy breakfast, an international 3 course cuisine, all day sweet treats or a ‘mocktail’. While Etihad’s crew will prompt when a general meal service is available, they are entirely flexible to you eating to the beat of your own drum.
Secondly, the onboard entertainment within Etihad’s business class is pretty incredible. There is the main touchscreen, a second (far smaller) screen displaying in-flight information, and a potential third screen on the mobile phone sized controller. Whilst this may seem excessive, the dual screening allows for plenty of navigation and multipurpose use whilst not deterring from the main screen.
Thirdly, Etihad airport lounges are some of the best in the world. Business class passengers are invited to use Etihad business lounges at Abu Dhabi or even arrivals lounges elsewhere in the world, such as the US. These modern and chic spaces are perfect to start or end your journey in a seamless and stress-free transition. Lounges include complimentary dining, relaxation areas, family zones and business centres. For an enhanced experience, upgrade your lounge access to First and utilize additional benefits. You could benefit from a fitness centre, dedicated concierge and the Six Senses Spa. What a way to start a long journey.
Virgin Atlantic have done away with First class in recent years to focus on ‘Upper Class’. This is essentially one cabin combining the previous first and business class. Virgin’s fleet of A350-1000’s launched with the Upper Class in 2019 with only three aircraft. Eight more are due to complete the fleet by 2021.
The unique formation of Virgin’s upper class seats are great for solo business travellers, however we would not necessarily recommend them for couples or families. All 44 upper class seats are in a 1-2-1 formation, with each seat facing the window. Essentially, middle seats face outwards to the aisle, so even with a privacy screen down these seats are unsociable. Then again, there is ‘The Loft’ to enjoy with colleagues. Virgin have been known for bar areas on board, however, on the A350 this is replaced by ‘The Loft’. ‘The Loft’ is a relaxed, lounge area, designed exclusively for upper class passengers to socialize. There is a large TV, atmospheric lighting and two sofas as well as single armchairs, seating up to ten. You can order drinks here with the handheld device from your seat, and easily carry out any work or meetings.
Virgin also make this list due to their lounge the ‘Clubhouse’. Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses are modern and playful spaces with an abundance of things to do. There are zones for kids, zones to work and plenty of fun nooks and crannies, even the odd pool table. As well as an abundance of incredible food, there is an afternoon tea service at Heathrow which is highly rated among our clients. Finally, Virgin Clubhouses offer free short spa treatments or hair and facial trims to get you on your way.
Now that you know the best of the best in business class, you want to book them. Whether you book business travel for yourself or for other colleagues in your company you will want the help of a dedicated, personal business travel agent to source you the very best prices for your budget and itinerary.
Look no further. Our award-winning agents are ready and waiting to help you.
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