With international travel well and truly back, 2023 is shaping up to be the busiest year of domestic and international travel we’ve seen since before the global pandemic hit, with consumer confidence at its highest in recent years.
According to data provided by the UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation), it has been revealed that global international tourist arrivals could reach 80 per cent to 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, with the findings also revealing that more than 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022, double the number recorded in 2021 (although still only 63 per cent of pre-pandemic levels).
And despite airline ticket fares increasing, there’s more people willing to pay top dollar to travel in comfort and style. In the case of airlines, doing so equates to a ticket in Business Class. In recent years, airlines have had the chance to update their business class offerings and rethink exactly what luxury air travel looks like. In the case of respective Business Class suites, it’s often everything one can expect… and more. Think chauffeur services to the airport, lounge access, priority boarding, champagne before takeoff, lie-flat beds, world-class entertainment, celebrity chef-designed dining menus plus a whole lot more.
So, weither you’re looking to take a business class flight on your next sojourn or perhaps you need some inspiration for utilising those banked up Frequent Flyer points, ICON has curated the top five Business Class offerings in 2023 from some of the world’s best airlines.
Named as one of the top five safest airlines in 2023, Etihad’s flying experience, whether you’re travelling in Economy, Business or First, is a pure delight and one that ensures consumer comfort is key.
Flying Business Class with Etihad reveals a world of luxuries from the moment you step on board. Etihad offer an elevated Business Class experience that is designed exclusively in collaboration with renowned designer Giorgio Armani and Armani/Casa, with every detail underpinned by Emirati style and hospitality that is second to none.
The Business Class suites offer an abundance of space and privacy for travellers, especially on long-haul flights where you’ll find your seat will transform into a fully-flat bed, perfect for getting some much needed rest. On the airline’s A380’s and 787’s, you will find seats are constructed in the 1-2-1 configuration to offer the ease of direct aisle access. This offering is further supported by a curated turn-down service that promises to leave guests feeling well-rested — from a memory foam mattress and luxurious Armani bedding, it might just be the best sleep you’ll get on a plane… ever!
Complimentary to the Business Class offerings on Etihad are dedicated Acqua Di Parma amenity kits, which each guest will receive on long-haul flights. Within this set you can expect to find an eye mask, ear plugs, luxurious socks and a signature fresh fragrance.
You’ll find a modern Business Class offering across Qantas’ 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A330s and now, after a multi million-dollar facelift, the A380s. Designed in collaboration with Australian industrial designer Marc Newson, Qantas Business Class is next level luxurious, with a focus on comfort, privacy and style at the forefront of its offering.
While Qantas’ international lounges found at both Sydney and Melbourne respectively are somewhat tired — the airline just announced a $100-million upgrade to its lounge network — it’s still a great way to begin your journey. Enjoy dining options including seasonal menus designed by Neil Perry (the Creative Director of Food, Beverage and Service at Qantas), as well as premium beverages, showers plus more.
On board most Business Class flights, you’ll find the ‘Vantage XL’ seats which will recline to fully-flat bed. Your seat can also be fitted with a comfy mattress whenever you want, and the 1:2:1 configuration means access to the aisle for all customers in Business.
Of course, the menu is, again, designed by Neil Perry, so lap up the in-flight dining options (and if available, grab yourself Perry’s iconic chicken schnitzel toasted sandwich).
Overall, the Qantas Business Class service is a treat, which is to be expected from the world’s safest airline for 2023.
For years now, the Business Class service on Emirates‘ flights have been renowned for being truly luxurious (and some may say ‘over the top’), especially on its A380 long-haul flights — it’s a must-try at least once in your life!
On both A380 and the Boeing 777 flights, the Emirates Business Class features are some of the best you’ll find. For starters, you can expect a dedicated chauffeur to pick you up from your home address and drive you to the airport. At the airport, you’ll find dedicated lanes for Business Class customers, a dedicated lounge to unwind in and priority boarding.
But it’s onboard that the real Emirates experience awaits. On the A380, you can expect to find a seat that seamlessly reclines into a fully flat bed with a soft mattress and blanket, refined dining options (including some menu highlights from Neil Perry’s Qantas menu, a partner to Emirates) hundreds of titles on the ICE entertainment system and an exquisite amenity kit by Bvlgari (you’ll even find your own mini bar stocked full of goodies). Of course, the talk of the Business Class suite on an Emirates A380 is the dedicated on-board bar, where you can order whatever cocktail tickles your fancy from 40,000ft in the air…Negroni, anyone?
The redesigned fleet of Boeing 777 feature lie-flat seat (although not a fully flat bed), gourmet meals and 23-inch HD TV screens — similar offerings to the A380 but minus flat beds and on-board bar.
Singapore Airlines is a regular choice for frequent travellers who appreciated the airlines’ commitment to safety, service and comfortability. But when it comes to its Business Class offerings, Singapore Airlines is often in a league of its own.
When it comes to travelling Business Class on Singapore Airlines, the best offerings come out of its A380, A350 and 777. Respectively, you’ll find all the perks expected on each of these flights, like lie-flat seats/beds in hand stitched, full grain leather by Poltrona Frau, a world-class dining menu served on the finest porcelain from Narumi and paired with champagne and wines from the best vineyards around the world, and amenities by London-based apothecary, Penhaligons.
The fleet of A380s recently had an upgrade, so you’ll find a newer, more comfortable seat, more privacy and more storage space, too. Singapore Airlines Business Class comes highly recommended for flights direct from Melbourne/Sydney to Singapore, or all the way through to Europe.
Last but most definitely not least is Qatar Airways and its famed ‘Qsuites’ — winner of the ‘World’s Best Business Class’ in the 2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards. What you’ll find in Qatar Business Class, no matter which flight you’re on, is the combination of luxury, spaciousness and elegant design with a team dedicated to the needs of its passengers.
We’re going to talk about Qatar’s impressive Qsuites as they are the pick of the bunch when it comes to Qatar’s Business Class offerings. Available on selected routes, within each Qsuite you’ll enjoy complete and utter privacy with the introduction of Business Class suites with doors. Within each suite, you’ll find a stylish shell with ambient mood lighting, fully lie-flat beds and generous storage space. Moreso, on selected flights, you’ll find a cabin that offers aft and forward-facing seats —great if travelling with a partner, friend or work colleagues. Oh, and if you’re travelling with a spouse or partner, select the middle row seats to find movable panels that will allow you to transform your space into a social area or fully private room with a lay-flat double bed.
When it’s time for some shut eye, prepare to be pampered with a curated selection of Diptyque face and body care products, as well as a personal travel-size signature fragrance from the French perfume house. You’ll also receive super comfy loungewear and slippers from The White Company.