Given the sophisticated business-class service now available on long-haul trips, airline travel experts advise that a first-class seat isn't always necessary. According to the air carrier and the jet model, the extent of luxury differs. We look at the business or first class on three Middle Eastern airline companies Qatar AirlinesAirways, Emirates Airlines, and Etihad Airways—and highlight some of the perks they provide to attract business travelers.
Please be aware that as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, each airline's operations and perks have changed to ensure customer safety. The services described in this blog post were available prior to Spring 2020, and they may even no longer be offered or may be available on a restricted basis. Browse your air carrier's website for the latest information on facilities, travel requirements, and limitations prior to making reservations.
Both Emirates Airlines A380 and the Boeing 777 are two distinct kinds of class aircraft.
The aircraft model, as per writer and pilot Patrick Smith of AskthePilot.com, could make a significant difference. “On the surface, the A380 is the ugliest aircraft ever constructed, but inside, it's huge, exquisite, and whisper-quiet. The A380 upper deck business class is fantastic.” “It's extremely, very tight at seven across,” he adds of Emirates Airlines' Boeing 777 business class, which also features a more conventional seat.
The A380 has 76 lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration that convert to completely flat beds ranging 70 to 79 inches in length.
Regardless of the fact that “it was not a fully sealed suite like something you'd see in first class,” as per Smith, Seats have quite a console and minibar on one side and the chair is positioned deep within the cubicle. An electrically controlled privacy barrier separates the two centre seats; Smith recommends choosing a seat with an exterior console that "helps to balance for both you and the aisle."
A Relaxation Area
The onboard lounge, which is positioned in the back of the business-class cabin and is accessible to both first- and business-class passengers, appears to be a popular addition. It's a location where you can relax with your peers, eat, drink, canapés, and relax in general. Smith adds of two sofas with seat belts, "You're welcome to hang out even if there's turbulence." As per a Daily Telegraph critic, the bar "provided a wonderful platform for discussion between passengers and multilingual workers." 5 According to Lachlyn Soper of BabyTravelstheWorld.com, the lounge is great for the cocktail "I'm flying over Slovenia with nine hours to go."
Emirates Airlines' ICE (communications, entertainment, and information) system has previously won the Skytrax "World's Best Inflight Entertainment" award. The “visual screen is large and perfectly clear with a comfortable set of noise-reduction headsets,” according to Smith, and there are more than 3,500 channels to choose from, which includes TV shows, movies, podcasts, video games, and music. Every seat does indeed have a power outlet that can be used to charge your phone, laptop, or other electronic devices.
Noise Issues to Think About
All three airlines have worked hard to create business-class cabins and services that allow you to work while enjoying yourself. They will not, however, be able to provide a completely silent environment for either. One reviewer noticed this while flying from London to Dubai in business class on an Emirates Airlines Airbus A380. He argues that the deafening screaming of children "tainted" an otherwise good event. When he questioned an Emirates Airlines spokesperson if the airline had looked into a "adults only" option, he was told flatly, "No, we have not."
In June 2020, Emirates Airlines COO Adel Al Redha indicated the airline would adjust operations on its planes for the health and safety of its employees and customers. Before planning a trip, passengers must check Emirates Airlines' site for even the most updated information on restrictions, which may include the need for a pre-flight COVID-19 medical certificate as well as COVID-19 illness coverage under an abroad health insurance policy.
The amazing feeling of entering the upper deck of the A380 "never gets old," as per a reporter for the business news blog Airline Reporter who detailed his business-class flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. He likes Etihad Airways's cabin design because it has "class and sophistication." While he dislikes the rear-facing seats as well as the front-facing seats because of the somewhat lower pitch, he welcomes the A380's bed being wider than the A330/or A340's 777.9's.
Because of the comfort aspect, the decor, the cuisine (which he called "fantastic"), and the in-flight entertainment system, he rated his Etihad Airways business-class experience higher than even some of today's first-class offers. "The airshow portion is one of the best I've ever seen," he says. “There's a head-up display mode, as well as various bits and pieces of information like the pitch and roll rate of the aircraft and the vertical speed indication. It has a lot of cool features that any aviator will appreciate.”
According to a Telegraph review, the Etihad Airways A380 business studios are "undoubtedly some of the most modern business-class seats on offer." According to the critic, the seats were Poltrona Frau leather, and the studios were brown, taupe, and "understated golds." “There is a lot of storage, and a large extendable dining table may also be used as a desk.” Furthermore, because the business class is so large, “the cabin remains quiet calm even when near capacity.” 10
Etihad Airways's "extremely peaceful lounge room" serves drinks, tea, and snacks.
It lacks the hubbub found in the common rooms of other airlines...some passengers will surely appreciate the relative calm, and the space itself is inviting.
According to Tariq El-Asad, director of Tamea International and a frequent traveler to and from the Middle East, Qatar's interior design is superior to Emirates Airlines'.
"Because it's more ergonomic, it's more enjoyable to use." I really enjoyed the mod-style business-class seats on a London-Doha flight—they felt extremely futuristic, with both form and function in perfect harmony.”
On a long-haul flight from Doha on one of Qatar's 777s, Smith claimed his seat, with its 2-2-2 arrangement and huge console for each person, was "roomy," but the "retractable privacy barrier was modest and not really functional." He adores the A380's herringbone-style configuration, in which every seat is an aisle seat. When the seat was completely flat, he noticed that it made for a comfortable bed, especially with the mattress pad included to "help fill in the cushion gaps."
Both food and entertainment are available
Qatar Airlines emphasizes expensive extras such as Ladurée chocolates, Armani amenity kits, and Frette linens. “Bedding found in some of the world's most expensive hotels, with sheet sets costing upwards of $1,000. According to Vogue, “there will be no uncomfortable pillows or scanty blankets on this flight.”13
When Ben Schlappig (onemileatatime.com) flew from Bali to Doha on a 777, he was impressed that he was given pajamas in business class; unfortunately, they were of poor quality and didn't fit. (He specified a medium, describing it as "fitting like a tank top.") 1415
According to Schlappig, the meals were created by Nobu Matsuhisa and Vineet Bhatia and take into account “not only flavors and spices, but how the taste receptors are influenced at 30,000 feet.” The same people control the menus in both business and first-class. 1615
The finest part, according to Schlappig, is yet to come. “Qatar AirlinesAirways' onboard bar takes the cake. Krug Champagne, which is generally only available to first-class passengers, is served. The 'premium' alcohol selection is available to everyone because the bar is shared by first- and business-class passengers. Onboard bars don't get much better than this, from the decor to the ambiance to the drink selection.”
The entertainment system, according to a correspondent for The National, an English-language daily newspaper based in Abu Dhabi, garnered great praise. There were movies ranging from the most current blockbusters to oldies, as well as documentaries, to see.
Key Differences in Dining Options
The three airlines offer different services in a variety of ways. Here are some of the dining options, along with meal types and serving times.
A six-course dinner is available on Emirates Airlines. According to a Telegraph critic, the food and drinks were good, although he "had expected the airline to emphasise Arabic cuisine to a greater extent." 18 Patrick Smith (askthepilot.com) isn't a fan of Emirates Airlines' (and Qatar's) separate services for each customer, i.e. no aisle cart. “The whole procedure feels haphazard and chaotic, with flight attendants racing to and from the galley with plates and trays.” 3 The fact that the trays are set with Royal Doulton china and linen tablecloths and napkins may provide some comfort to some. 1920
Etihad Airways's "dine whenever" option, according to a Telegraph reviewer, made "eating at predetermined times when flying business with other airlines may suddenly feel like more of an imposition." According to the à la carte menu, his lunch of Arabic mezze, chicken supreme, and chocolate and vanilla mousse cake was "tasty and well-presented."
In Qatar Airlines business class, food is supplied a la carte and on-demand, with no set meal or snack hours. Although some passengers are thrilled about the idea, Smith is skeptical: “It's a little too open-ended, and this technique was never explained.” I waited for two hours after landing, ravenously hungry and expecting the service to begin, only to discover there was none.” He bemoans the fact that no flight attendant asked if he needed anything during the entire journey.
Each of the three airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, and Qatar, provides a distinct experience for passengers seeking comfort and elegance on every trip. You may consider issues such as travel routes, health, and safety regulations, and cost when deciding which airline to fly. When booking air travel, regardless of the airline, think about the best travel rewards cards for collecting miles or points on flights.