Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

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misterjohnny
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Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by misterjohnny »

We are looking at going to Europe September 2022. Budapest is definitely on the list, and maybe Venice. Maybe go from Budapest to Vienna to Munich. Very much up in the air but there are so many great places I'm not that picky. So a factor in the decision is where we fly into.
I want to fly Business Class, I've never flown Business overseas but we can afford it and you can't take it with you. What are good airlines to fly business class to Europe, and what cities are good to fly into? We will be originating in Los Angeles, and would like as few connections as possible.
Should we consider first class? Are their airlines where Business is as good as other airlines First?
Thanks.
muffins14
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by muffins14 »

I’m not familiar with first class, but I’d say common cities to fly into are London, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich from the US.

Aside from convenience though, I’d likely just plan around what cities you most want to visit
Jags4186
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by Jags4186 »

Lufthansa has the nicest first class. Frankfurt is a major Star Alliance hub.
THY4373
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

There is a lot to unpack in your question especially given how broad and open your question is. Also this sort of question is probably better on Flyertalk than here. It is hard to give you a blanket answer on business class because within many airlines there are a variety of business class seat configurations. For example BA's old Club World business class seat is pretty horrible (by business class standards) but their new Club Suite is quite good. But BA charges you for seat selection in business unless you are an elite (about the only airline to do so). Virgin also has several different business class configurations but none are as bad as BA CW also the Virgin crews seems to be having more fun than the BA crews. LH does not have all aisle access in business so for me as a solo traveler I don't like it much but as a couple you probably will be fine with it (upstairs on a 747 is special and you won't be able to do that much longer). I have not flown AF and KLM yet in business so cannot comment. I really like SAS when I flew them in business class, tasteful cabin and all aisle configuration. Austrian was also very nice with an all aisle access configuration. The AA business class seat is very good and I believe pretty consistent across the fleet, their service is more hit or miss than say the European carriers though. True United Polaris is also very nice (flew it Athens this summer) but again service is hit or miss. There is a lot of "fake" Polaris (older business class) seats still around on United. I flew Delta business once but not their new Delta One suites and it was fine, their suites should be quite good (but again I don't believe they are fully converted to new product yet).

I have flown BA First and I really like it (on points either fully or as an upgrade on cash business class ticket). In general, service and food will be better to much better in first. The seat will also of course and it might be worth from West Coast. The value of first in my opinion going east overnight is less because the service isn't as important if you are sleeping. BA first if there is a nominal difference in cost is probably worth it to get free seat assignments and better product. I haven't flow LH or AF first class. The airlines with a really nice business class (Singapore, ANA, Qatar) are mostly (Singapore's fifth freedom flight to FRA I believe excepted) not going to be a great way to get from North America to Europe. Emirates also has a fifth freedom flight to Athens from JFK I think but their business class is middle of the road but the A380 with bar is pretty cool.

Also remember that intra-Europe business class is really just economy with a blocked middle seat and lounge access. You won't have a better seat so if you fly to say London and then from there to Budapest for your second leg you will essentially be in glorified economy.

My suggestion to you is to look for reviews of the airline and *aircraft* you are considering purchasing tickets on. Basically google something like United 787 business class review. This should turn up plenty of reviews for you to consider. Also keep in mind that equipment can change any time, particularly with COVID being a thing. So that British Airways Club Suites flight you book now might turn into their far less good Club World by the time you fly it (happened to me).

Good luck.
Last edited by THY4373 on Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Check out Austrian Airlines if you want to fly into Vienna. In my experience, it's a step up from Lufthansa.
THY4373
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

Jags4186 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:54 pm Lufthansa has the nicest first class.
That is arguable even to Europe. A lot of folks put Air France's first (the good one on the 777) above LH and some of the ME3 and Asian carriers have arguably better first class though not a great way with an exception or two, to get to Europe.
stan1
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by stan1 »

You might consider premium economy which should be a lot less than business class. Premium economy will give you more of a recliner seat whereas business will give you a narrow flat (or near flat) bed. I would not pay for first class unless there is a very good sale.

LAX to Munich on Lufthansa is probably a good choice if you really do want to minimize connecting flights. Connect via plane or train to Budapest. Or fly Lufthansa into Frankfurt and connect to Budapest then fly back from Munich. Better justification for business class on a flight from West Coast to Europe that is 11-12 hours versus a flight from east coast to Europe which is 7-8 hours (or less).

Sometimes Austrian has a non-stop from LAX to Vienna. May or may not be offered when you want to travel.

With both Lufthansa and Austrian watch for code shares on United equipment. Some United equipment is fine, some is older.

I don't have any information on what clearing customs is like at LAX right now. They've made a lot of changes in recent years. In my pre-COVID experience I preferred to clear customs at SFO over LAX.

At the end of the day it is air travel not a luxury experience. Even when in premium class travel I set my expectations low which helps avoid disappointment.
Last edited by stan1 on Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by ResearchMed »

Jags4186 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:54 pm Lufthansa has the nicest first class. Frankfurt is a major Star Alliance hub.
LH has a great first class, at least in their 747s, but I don't know how long they are still using those.

But some of the Asian airlines may have nicer premium products, so if you are headed anywhere they fly, you might consider them.
Cathay Pacific had an amazing F. Only 6 seats/beds, and the beds were 33 inches wide, almost the width of a twin bed. And wonderful service.
JAL was also very, very nice.
Singapore F has "suites". We took a route that "only' had J (Business), but it was very comfortable, and that had the best airline food I've tasted in the recent past. They have a "Book the Cook" thing where you can select from a pretty nice choice for each meal.

I understand that some of the Middle Eastern airlines have very special F services. One of them even offers one a chance to shower (but I'm not sure how appealing that is to me, at least).

If you Google the various F and J classes on the top international airlines, you should get some good descriptions and also photos.

One thing, however: It seems that true F is going away on some airlines, but the J has become almost as nice as F was.

It can vary a LOT among airlines, and also between different aircraft within a single airline if they have more than one type.

F can be really expensive if paying cash. We use awards, and the difference in awards needed between F and J is often not all that much, if one can find the award spaces.

Enjoy, F or J! :happy

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bob60014
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by bob60014 »

Head over to the Flyer Talk Airline Forums and poke around. Several of the "gold standard" carriers BC service take regular beatings (especially during Covid) so it really comes down to cost, timing and availability. No matter how you get there, enjoy your time on the ground!!
adamthesmythe
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by adamthesmythe »

You can find reviews at flyertalk.com or you can go on Youtube for some very personal impressions. Seatguru.com can also be useful.

For the cities you are mentioning- some may involve connections, and the connections are shorter flights where the experience will be more ordinary. A business class ticket will put you in something equivalent to US first class on shorter flights- maybe.

Munich will have nonstops to the US, although there may be more nonstops to Frankfurt.
hunoraut
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by hunoraut »

Decide where you want to go, and how much youre willing to spend, THEN decide how youre gonna get there.

“First class” products are disappearing rapidly, so on many routes you wont have a choice. Theyre often 2x-3x business class fares, so not anywhere worth the incremental different (personal opinion). And, lastly, theyre only effective on the long-haul segment, as after you cross the atlantic, the european leg is literally an economy seat (with the center seat blocked) and extra food service.

From LAX, your direct flight to Europe is most served on a Star Alliance carrier (Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss, Scandinavian, Turkish, etc).

Ive flown on all of these (and more) in all classes. If not picking nits, the Lufthansa group (Lufthansa/Austrian/Swiss) is your surest bet of an overall good experience. The other ones are hit or miss. And dollar for dollar, i wouldnt choose an American-based carrier.
bob60014
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by bob60014 »

adamthesmythe wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:28 pm .......Seatguru.com can also be useful.....
FWIW, Seatguru is basically dead. Tripadvisor has not made any significant updates in quite some time.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by adamthesmythe »

bob60014 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:52 pm
adamthesmythe wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:28 pm .......Seatguru.com can also be useful.....
FWIW, Seatguru is basically dead. Tripadvisor has not made any significant updates in quite some time.
I guess that shows how Covid has influenced my travel.

Edit that to "Seatguru was also useful..."
THY4373
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

ResearchMed wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:08 pm I understand that some of the Middle Eastern airlines have very special F services. One of them even offers one a chance to shower (but I'm not sure how appealing that is to me, at least).
It actually used to be two Etihad and Emirates but since the former retired their A380s only Emirates has "shower class" now. I haven't done Emirates but I did Etihad's Apartments (First on the A380) which had the shower and it was pretty awesome. Not the shower so much but basically having your own private "apartment" eh cube with doors was pretty cool. What I also liked was the bed and the chair were separate so you could go from sleeping to sitting in your chair without having to convert anything. The shower was fun too, not something I really need to do again but hey not many have showered at 40k feet. Having flown ANA, BA, Cathay and Etihad in first some several times I put Etihad apartments at the top of those I have flown.
neverpanic
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by neverpanic »

United Polaris and SwissAir business class were great to me. I've never flown First internationally, but I am interested in trying Qatar Air.
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THY4373
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

hunoraut wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:37 pm Ive flown on all of these (and more) in all classes. If not picking nits, the Lufthansa group (Lufthansa/Austrian/Swiss) is your surest bet of an overall good experience. The other ones are hit or miss. And dollar for dollar, i wouldnt choose an American-based carrier.
While I generally agree on your take on avoiding US carriers all else being equal on routing and cost or nearly so I'd take AA's, United's real Polaris, and Delta One suites over LHs lackluster business class hard product (seat). Maybe it is different for couples but I dislike sitting next to folks if I can avoid it, especially in COVID times and with LH I am stuck doing that. Austrian's hard product is better than LHs so that I'd take it.
curmudgeon
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by curmudgeon »

misterjohnny wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:22 pm We are looking at going to Europe September 2022. Budapest is definitely on the list, and maybe Venice. Maybe go from Budapest to Vienna to Munich. Very much up in the air but there are so many great places I'm not that picky. So a factor in the decision is where we fly into.
I want to fly Business Class, I've never flown Business overseas but we can afford it and you can't take it with you. What are good airlines to fly business class to Europe, and what cities are good to fly into? We will be originating in Los Angeles, and would like as few connections as possible.
Should we consider first class? Are their airlines where Business is as good as other airlines First?
Thanks.
A few thoughts:

1) Having your return flight nonstop from Europe to LAX is highly preferable. If you return via someplace on the east coast, you have to go through customs/immigration there, including claiming your bags and going through security again (as well as the usual potential for missed connections).

2) Venice isn't a great option for departing Europe to the west coast. The flight times and connections tend to be a bit awkward.

3) As others mentioned, first/business for flights within Europe tends to be an economy row at the front of the plane with the middle seats blocked out.

4) The mainline airlines tend to all have business class with "lie flat" seats. Some are better than others, but opinions will tend to vary. A few small airlines may still have older limited recline seats on long-haul flights. Seatguru.com is a good resource for seat data, but take the reviews with a grain of salt (and planes get substituted sometimes with a different type).

5) Flight schedules for next summer/fall are probably still pretty tentative, so it's hard to completely predict what your options for non-stops will be. LAX-Munich or Frankfurt should be there, maybe Vienna, but Budapest would be doubtful. Not all flights run daily, so sometimes it's worth looking at adjacent days to see if you might find better options.

6) flights.google.com can be a useful tool to survey some flight options. I also like www.flightconnections.com , though it can take some playing around to understand the limitations, especially on the free version.

7) Taking the train within Europe can be a good option, with the advantage of leaving/arriving in the center of the city. It can often be more convenient that flying, but some routes can be a lot slower than others. If you are interested in train options, www.seat61.com is an invaluable reference.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by Flashes1 »

If you've never flown International business class, you'll be impressed with any major carrier's offerings. I'd look for the best combination of price, times, and routes.....and not worry too much about the carrier.

There's a very big difference in price between business and First class. Unless you have almost more money than you know what to do with, I'd focus on business class and in the future, use points to try to upgrade to First.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by ResearchMed »

THY4373 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:05 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:08 pm I understand that some of the Middle Eastern airlines have very special F services. One of them even offers one a chance to shower (but I'm not sure how appealing that is to me, at least).
It actually used to be two Etihad and Emirates but since the former retired their A380s only Emirates has "shower class" now. I haven't done Emirates but I did Etihad's Apartments (First on the A380) which had the shower and it was pretty awesome. Not the shower so much but basically having your own private "apartment" eh cube with doors was pretty cool. What I also liked was the bed and the chair were separate so you could go from sleeping to sitting in your chair without having to convert anything. The shower was fun too, not something I really need to do again but hey not many have showered at 40k feet. Having flown ANA, BA, Cathay and Etihad in first some several times I put Etihad apartments at the top of those I have flown.
Did Singapore ever actually start their newer Suites configuration? That was supposed to include a window in each suite, and also an easy chair as well as the bed.
And they can still arrange them as a "double", by dropping the partition between the beds, as they did in the old configuration.

That is definitely on our "wish" list, if we could ever swing it with awards. We haven't tried yet, but when we do, we'll be happy to fly on any day, any time that there is awards availability :happy

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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by eric321 »

Prices do vary drastically by destination. If you are connecting, those destinations are generally cheaper than a non stop.

Look for a business class with direct aisle access, this is pretty common place and most offer it.

The obvious airlines (UA/AA/DL, LH, BA, VS, AF, LX (Swiss)) were mentioned.

A few other ideas: Air Canada (generally cheaper option with a very good business class and options for an international product to Toronto). Finnair, solid business class option. Turkish airlines.
02nz
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by 02nz »

misterjohnny wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:22 pm We are looking at going to Europe September 2022. Budapest is definitely on the list, and maybe Venice. Maybe go from Budapest to Vienna to Munich. Very much up in the air but there are so many great places I'm not that picky. So a factor in the decision is where we fly into.
I want to fly Business Class, I've never flown Business overseas but we can afford it and you can't take it with you. What are good airlines to fly business class to Europe, and what cities are good to fly into? We will be originating in Los Angeles, and would like as few connections as possible.
Should we consider first class? Are their airlines where Business is as good as other airlines First?
Thanks.
U.S. airlines are hardly class-leading in service, but generally speaking they have a superior hard product (seat) to the European carriers. United, American, and Delta all have 100% lie-flat seats on transatlantic routes, and most of the planes have direct aisle access. Lufthansa has lie-flat but no planes with all direct aisle access, Air France still has some planes with seats that don't go flat, and BA is in a transition from crappy (but fully flat) seats to seats with 100% direct aisle access.

Lufthansa's subsidiaries sometimes offer better service (Austrian in particular) but the seats are no better or a bit worse. Still fully flat though.

However, connection-wise you're likely to have a hard time beating Lufthansa's connections via Frankfurt or Munich. Munich is a nicer and less congested airport, but either is preferable to Heathrow and Paris-CDG.

If you actually spring for first class, I'd go with Lufthansa, Swiss, or Air France. BA's first class has been called the "world's best business class" - and it's pretty true.

I agree re: taking a long-haul flight out of and into LA. Connecting in the U.S. means not just increased chance of missed connections but also (likely) a crappy domestic "first class" product on most routes, as well as a tedious process of customs, re-checking bags, and (possibly) re-clearing security at your first port of entry upon returning to the U.S. By comparison, connecting in Frankfurt or Munich is an absolute breeze.
gtd98765
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by gtd98765 »

Find the route/airline that uses a 787 for the trans-Atlantic leg and take biz class in that one. Gigantic difference on 787 - quieter and cabin air pressure is higher so you feel less drained after hours in the air.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by 02nz »

gtd98765 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:11 am Find the route/airline that uses a 787 for the trans-Atlantic leg and take biz class in that one. Gigantic difference on 787 - quieter and cabin air pressure is higher so you feel less drained after hours in the air.
Airbus A350 offers similar benefits - even quieter, in fact.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by neilpilot »

Except for flights to China my only first class & business class flights have been free upgrades. However I’d like to add the following:

Someone suggested Comfort Economy. My experience is that it’s hardly better than basic economy.

While it used to be that you had to book a RT to a single destination to get a decent price, I now find that an open jaw ticket can be booked at a similar price point.

I prefer booking a foreign carrier to US, especially on the outbound flight, since you then have EU penalty protection if the flight is delayed departing the US. That difference earned us $1200 on a 8 hour delay from JFK to London a few years ago, on a flight that only cost use about $275 each
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

ResearchMed wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:37 pm Did Singapore ever actually start their newer Suites configuration? That was supposed to include a window in each suite, and also an easy chair as well as the bed.
And they can still arrange them as a "double", by dropping the partition between the beds, as they did in the old configuration.

That is definitely on our "wish" list, if we could ever swing it with awards. We haven't tried yet, but when we do, we'll be happy to fly on any day, any time that there is awards availability :happy

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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by sperry8 »

misterjohnny wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:22 pm We are looking at going to Europe September 2022. Budapest is definitely on the list, and maybe Venice. Maybe go from Budapest to Vienna to Munich. Very much up in the air but there are so many great places I'm not that picky. So a factor in the decision is where we fly into.
I want to fly Business Class, I've never flown Business overseas but we can afford it and you can't take it with you. What are good airlines to fly business class to Europe, and what cities are good to fly into? We will be originating in Los Angeles, and would like as few connections as possible.
Should we consider first class? Are their airlines where Business is as good as other airlines First?
Thanks.
Go to Google Flights. Type LAX as the origin city and type Europe in the destination. Type some month in 2022. When it gives results you can modify to add non-stop (among other things). Then you can see all your options.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

02nz wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:47 pm If you actually spring for first class, I'd go with Lufthansa, Swiss, or Air France. BA's first class has been called the "world's best business class" - and it's pretty true.
I do think BA first class gets maligned a bit. Sure it isn't up to the standards of the best first class but by the standards of TATL business class I would say it is much closer to first class than business class. Yeah it might be in the same league of QSuites (I haven't flown them yet) but it is quite a bit beyond what the US and Euro carriers offer in J. The advantage of BA first is how available it is, no carrier comes close to as many first class seats as BA TATL. Also it is frequently available for cash for not much more than business. I have literally seen BA first selling for only a few hundred more than business. At that price it is totally worth it if the flights work for you. BA first can also represent a great deal if you find a cheap business class ticket as you can upgrade (assuming award availability) for around 30k points round trip and you'll earn about 20k of those points back on the underlying cash fare.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by BrooklynInvest »

My wife's going to London next week and flying Delta Premier Plus. It looks to be kind of a middle ground between biz and standard. Also, Air Portugal allowed us to bid on business class and we wound up with a very affordable upgrade. Not the oppulance of some airlines but nice.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

BrooklynInvest wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:38 am Air Portugal allowed us to bid on business class and we wound up with a very affordable upgrade. Not the oppulance of some airlines but nice.
TAP has great business class fares and a decent product however if anything goes wrong they are more of a dumpster fire airline than any other I have dealt with. I had refundable business class fares with them that I cancelled last year that I had to do a chargeback on. Thankfully they were so disorganized they never responded so I got my money back. If one does book with them take screen captures of all the ticket terms and realize their refund fee applies not per ticket but per leg and they don't make this obvious (so that 100 euro fee if you have a four leg round trip will be a 400 euro refund fee). FT is littered with issues getting TAP to refund. Hopefully less of an issue in 2022 but go in eyes wide open.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

02nz wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:47 pm but also (likely) a crappy domestic "first class" product on most routes,
The crappy US domestic first is way better than the fake business class in Europe. I mean you get the same seat as economy with the "benefit" of a blocked middle seat. US domestic "first" is significantly better than that. Now the flights may very well be shorter in Europe and that might be better overall but the European shorthaul premium product is substantially worse if we are talking about the seat.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by BillWalters »

Any opinions on Turkish Air? I have JFK - IST coming up in business.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by THY4373 »

BillWalters wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:50 am Any opinions on Turkish Air? I have JFK - IST coming up in business.
Older long haul business class is not all aisle access but some folks still prefer it because of the space so might be better if you are travelling as a couple. The new business class (I believe on the 787) is all aisle access so probably better as a solo person. Food is supposed to be good as is the lounge in IST. TK has a generally good reputation. I haven't flown them yet but might in December if my French Polynesia trip falls through.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by alfaspider »

BillWalters wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:50 am Any opinions on Turkish Air? I have JFK - IST coming up in business.
I have only flown on the old hard product (which is lie flat, but 2/2/2 without direct aisle access for the window seats), but their soft product (service and food) is excellent. The "flying chef" thing is mostly a gimmick, but they seem to try. IST is a brand new airport and pretty nice for the most part, but a long way from the city. The Turkish lounge in IST is one of the best lounges anywhere in terms of food and entertainment options.
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misterjohnny
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by misterjohnny »

Thank you everyone for your replies. You gave some great tips and ideas. Definitely will be looking to fly back to LA without a stop elsewhere in the U.S. I will check out flyer talk for a little more in depth info, particularly when we get down to booking and know what planes we will be getting.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by 02nz »

THY4373 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:49 am
02nz wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:47 pm but also (likely) a crappy domestic "first class" product on most routes,
The crappy US domestic first is way better than the fake business class in Europe. I mean you get the same seat as economy with the "benefit" of a blocked middle seat. US domestic "first" is significantly better than that. Now the flights may very well be shorter in Europe and that might be better overall but the European shorthaul premium product is substantially worse if we are talking about the seat.
I don't disagree, but to secondary destinations like Venice and Budapest there are usually few or no long-haul nonstop flights from North America. So my recommendation was to avoid flying from say LA to Chicago in domestic first and to fly instead on a widebody out of LA. And indeed intra-Europe flights are much shorter - e.g., Munich to Venice is just an hour, vs 4 hours LA to Chicago.
AnnetteLouisan
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

BillWalters wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:50 am Any opinions on Turkish Air? I have JFK - IST coming up in business.
I have an opinion on the Kempinski Ciragan Palace in Istanbul. Always wanted to try their pool and I think it’s still swimming weather there now.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

THY4373 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:49 am
02nz wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:47 pm but also (likely) a crappy domestic "first class" product on most routes,
The crappy US domestic first is way better than the fake business class in Europe. I mean you get the same seat as economy with the "benefit" of a blocked middle seat. US domestic "first" is significantly better than that. Now the flights may very well be shorter in Europe and that might be better overall but the European shorthaul premium product is substantially worse if we are talking about the seat.
Flying US domestic first or European business is a waste of money if the flight is not at least three hours in length. Save your premium flights for international or for east coast to west coast US flights.
Random Poster
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by Random Poster »

Air New Zealand, LAX to LHR, non stop.

Then take the train to Paris and go from there. Or take a cheap flight from London to any city in Europe and go from there.

ETA: If you are paying cash for the tickets, look into an Around the World ticket, using either OneWorld (AA, BA, Qantas, etc) or Star Alliance (UA, LF, AC, etc). Sure, you will end up flying more (maybe hit up Singapore or Sydney or wherever too, while you are at it…), but the ticket might be cheaper than just a plain round-trip business class ticket.
Most experiences are better imagined.
hunoraut
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by hunoraut »

THY4373 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:19 pm While I generally agree on your take on avoiding US carriers all else being equal on routing and cost or nearly so I'd take AA's, United's real Polaris, and Delta One suites over LHs lackluster business class hard product (seat). Maybe it is different for couples but I dislike sitting next to folks if I can avoid it, especially in COVID times and with LH I am stuck doing that. Austrian's hard product is better than LHs so that I'd take it.
Routing from where im at is very similar with LX vs LH, so I usually pick LX. (Actually fly from VIE but OS always connects through Chicago...blech).
The times I've been LH the loads are light enough that i've never been 'stuck' next to a stranger on the angled J seats. Other bonus is the novelty of upper deck on the 747s. More often im on their F and its hard to flaw.
hunoraut
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by hunoraut »

BillWalters wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:50 am Any opinions on Turkish Air? I have JFK - IST coming up in business.
Great catering. Hit or miss service onboard, more often miss than hit (somewhere between indifference to negligence). If you need anything OTHER than that i.e. dealing with their ground service, it is dysfunctional. A very well-appointed lounge in Istanbul but most of the time an absolute jungle in how busy it is.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by Archimedes »

BillWalters wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:50 am Any opinions on Turkish Air? I have JFK - IST coming up in business.
Turkish Air business class is excellent. And the business class lounge in IST is awesome. They have multiple chef stations with tasting options. We flew to Greece through IST and we specifically wanted a few hours for our wonderful layover in the business class lounge at IST.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by Archimedes »

When the net worth got to the point where we knew we could never spend it all, we upgraded from economy to business class. We have been on business class lie flat seats on many airlines, Delta, United, Turkish, Lufthansa, KLM, Austrian, Singapore, JetBlue, and others. The lounge quality varies quite a bit, but the seats are generally quite nice and almost all are lie flat these days. There are some differences in the service quality from the staff, but even on the same airline the service can be quite variable, from one flight to another. Some US based and Germany based staff have been wonderful, gracious hosts, and some have carried a bit of a negative attitude about providing good service. Our attitude is we are on vacation, we just go with the flow and make our best effort to enjoy the ride.

As far as paying the higher prices, old habits die hard. I still shop to a degree for price when purchasing business class tickets. The four of us are flying to Egypt for a trip floating down the Nile in December. We got great fares on Lufthansa with a good connection, so we booked it. It was 10k for 4 round trip business class tickets, so not too bad. We could have flown on one of the premium middle eastern lines, but it doesn't feel worth it to pay double the price, even if the 10k saved will just sit in some investment account and never be used until it is passed down to charity or to the heirs.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by mrb09 »

I really like Munich as a hub, it is a nice newer airport. A few years ago we did a nonstop from SFO to MUC via Lufthansa, premium economy on the way over and business on the way back (I bid for an upgrade on both, and it was accepted only on the way back). Business with lie flat seats on a 10 hour flight was definitely much nicer.

I thought the MUC Lufthansa business lounge was pretty nice.

From MUC, we booked another flight to Florence and back independent of Lufthansa and just gave ourselves plenty of leeway on the transit time. On the way over we just stayed overnight in a small town near the airport between flights (despite its name, MUC isn't that close to Munich itself).
02nz
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by 02nz »

THY4373 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:31 am
02nz wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:47 pm If you actually spring for first class, I'd go with Lufthansa, Swiss, or Air France. BA's first class has been called the "world's best business class" - and it's pretty true.
I do think BA first class gets maligned a bit. Sure it isn't up to the standards of the best first class but by the standards of TATL business class I would say it is much closer to first class than business class. Yeah it might be in the same league of QSuites (I haven't flown them yet) but it is quite a bit beyond what the US and Euro carriers offer in J. The advantage of BA first is how available it is, no carrier comes close to as many first class seats as BA TATL. Also it is frequently available for cash for not much more than business. I have literally seen BA first selling for only a few hundred more than business. At that price it is totally worth it if the flights work for you. BA first can also represent a great deal if you find a cheap business class ticket as you can upgrade (assuming award availability) for around 30k points round trip and you'll earn about 20k of those points back on the underlying cash fare.
BA's F seat is not significantly better than United's business class (not counting the old seats that will soon be fully phased out) or American business class. It's not even significantly better than BA's own new business class. Sure there's caviar, but I'll pass that up any day to avoid the sorry excuse of an airport that's called London Heathrow.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by bberris »

I flew the Bonehead lie-flat seats to Europe. Basic economy, all 4 middle seats to myself.
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bltkmt
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by bltkmt »

Jags4186 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:54 pm Lufthansa has the nicest first class.
We flew Lufthansa to Amsterdam two years ago - not first class, but whatever they call the next class. It was heaven.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by HawkeyePierce »

I would avoid Lufthansa in business class. Their product has fallen very far behind any of the American carriers. Same for British.

Depending on where you're coming from, my preference would be for a United or Delta nonstop for the longhaul portion with a short connection on the EU side if you must. If you're going to do that, avoid connecting through FRA or CDG. MUC, AMS or even the smaller hubs like ZRH and BRU are far more convenient.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by BogleFan510 »

02nz wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:28 pm
THY4373 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:49 am
02nz wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:47 pm but also (likely) a crappy domestic "first class" product on most routes,
The crappy US domestic first is way better than the fake business class in Europe. I mean you get the same seat as economy with the "benefit" of a blocked middle seat. US domestic "first" is significantly better than that. Now the flights may very well be shorter in Europe and that might be better overall but the European shorthaul premium product is substantially worse if we are talking about the seat.
I don't disagree, but to secondary destinations like Venice and Budapest there are usually few or no long-haul nonstop flights from North America. So my recommendation was to avoid flying from say LA to Chicago in domestic first and to fly instead on a widebody out of LA. And indeed intra-Europe flights are much shorter - e.g., Munich to Venice is just an hour, vs 4 hours LA to Chicago.
To those secondary destinations, you might look into Barcelona as a hub to fly through. Lots of inexpensive flights from there to other european cities, and a nice, reasonably priced stop for a few days.
jello_nailer
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by jello_nailer »

Jags4186 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:54 pm Lufthansa has the nicest first class. Frankfurt is a major Star Alliance hub.
That used to be my milk run too - into Frankfurt on a 380, or United on a 777. Good lounges in FRA also.
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Re: Business Class to Europe - Airlines and Cities?

Post by 02nz »

hunoraut wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:07 pm
THY4373 wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:19 pm While I generally agree on your take on avoiding US carriers all else being equal on routing and cost or nearly so I'd take AA's, United's real Polaris, and Delta One suites over LHs lackluster business class hard product (seat). Maybe it is different for couples but I dislike sitting next to folks if I can avoid it, especially in COVID times and with LH I am stuck doing that. Austrian's hard product is better than LHs so that I'd take it.
Routing from where im at is very similar with LX vs LH, so I usually pick LX. (Actually fly from VIE but OS always connects through Chicago...blech).
The times I've been LH the loads are light enough that i've never been 'stuck' next to a stranger on the angled J seats. Other bonus is the novelty of upper deck on the 747s. More often im on their F and its hard to flaw.
To be clear, Lufthansa's business class seats are fully flat. They layout (relative to the aisle) is slightly angled.
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