If you think that luxury in air travel is reserved only for first or business class, think again. Several international airlines are redefining the economy class experience, offering amenities and services that rival those in the pricier sections of the plane.
While you won’t find lie-flat seats or endless servings of Dom Perignon, these airlines offer an economy class that stands out from the rest. From top-shelf beverages to amenity kits you’d usually only find in first class, here are seven airlines that offer a superior economy class experience.
Japan Airlines: A Class Apart in Comfort
Japan Airlines, the national carrier of Japan, operates flights to 10 cities across the United States. On these long-haul journeys, the airline offers some of the most spacious seats and generous legroom in the industry.
Beyond comfort, passengers can indulge in an array of food and beverage options, including Japanese Soba noodles, Ume-shu (plum wine), sake, and a variety of snacks available on demand. The service is impeccable, as you would expect from a Japanese airline.
Insider Tip: Opt for Japan Airlines’ Boeing 787 for the best experience. Unlike other airlines that use a 3-3-3 seat configuration on this aircraft, Japan Airlines offers a more spacious 2-4-2 layout, providing extra room for your shoulders and hips.
Singapore Airlines: Business-Class Touches in Economy
Singapore Airlines operates nonstop flights to six U.S. cities, including unique routes like New York to Frankfurt. The airline offers a range of amenities in economy, such as hot towel service and an amenity kit featuring a toothbrush, toothpaste, eye shades, and socks.
All passengers can even enjoy a premixed cocktail, like the signature Singapore Sling, with their meal. The airline is also renowned for its exceptional service, even for those seated in economy.
EVA Air: Elevated Essentials
EVA Air offers nonstop flights from six U.S. cities to Taipei. While you won’t find the Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits exclusive to business class, economy passengers are treated to slippers and an eye mask.
The airline also offers above-average legroom and large seatback screens for entertainment. The dining experience is enhanced with metal cutlery, a step up from the usual plastic.
Qatar Airways: Luxury in the Details
Qatar Airways operates nonstop flights from 12 U.S. cities to Doha. Known for its top-tier business class, the airline’s economy class doesn’t disappoint either. Expect a physical menu card, a fleece-lined blanket and pillow, and a selection of amenities like Institut Karite Paris lip balm. Snacks and beverages are available throughout the flight.
Emirates: A Touch of Opulence
Emirates offers nonstop flights to 12 U.S. cities, including unique routes like New York to Milan. The airline’s Airbus A380 features some of the widest seats in economy class. Passengers receive a reusable amenity kit and have access to an extensive in-flight entertainment system.
For a special celebration, you can even pre-order a chocolate cake and a bottle of Moët for an additional fee.
ANA: Japanese Elegance
All Nippon Airways (ANA) operates flights from eight U.S. cities to Japan. While not as spacious as Japan Airlines, ANA still offers above-average legroom and a selection of high-end wines and Japanese sake.
For an extra fee, passengers can pre-order gourmet meals, elevating the dining experience.
Turkish Airlines: Culinary Excellence
Turkey’s national carrier, Turkish Airlines, operates nonstop flights from 12 U.S. cities to Istanbul. Known for its top-notch in-flight entertainment and exceptional catering, the airline offers a range of culinary delights, even in economy. From salads with virgin olive oil to cheese pies for breakfast, the food is a highlight.
Insider Tip: The type of aircraft can significantly impact your comfort level. For example, if you’re flying Qatar Airways, the Airbus A350 offers the widest seats among their fleet, which also includes the Boeing 787 and Boeing 777.
The aircraft and airline you choose can make a world of difference in your economy class experience. With the right selection, you can enjoy a touch of luxury without the first-class price tag.
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