Up until a few years ago the American Airlines 777-300ER Business Class cabin was almost like a second home to me as I flew back and forth across the Atlantic between LA and London using Systemwide Upgrades to move me out of Economy Class and into considerably more civilized surroundings.
Now that all three legacy US carriers offer a Premium Economy cabin on their transatlantic routes and airlines like British Airways, Norwegian, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia and Lufthansa offer Premium Economy too, I figured it would be helpful to start reviewing a few of these cabins to see what they offer.
The A350 was the last wide-body aircraft that Qatar Airways operates that I hadn’t had a chance to try out (either in the -900 or -1000 guise) so it didn’t require much deliberation for me to book a fantastic Business Class fare that included a couple of segments on the Qatar Airways A350-900.
Qatar Airways has given me some of the best Business Class experiences I’ve had in all my years of flying but not all of its Business Class cabins are equal. If you want to be sure of a great Business Class seat you need to know which Qatar Airways aircraft to book and which to avoid as the difference between the airline’s worst seats (found on the A340s and some A330s) and the best seats (found in aircraft equipped with the airline’s Qsuites) is like night and day.
One of the many reasons I'm not longer wedded to American Airlines is that the airline recently changed its upgrade policy to one which really doesn't suit me. The current upgrade policy is now one which puts me at a serious disadvantage when trying to use one of the 4 systemwide upgrades top-tier elites are given every year. It's also the reason I found myself sitting in American Airlines Economy class on one of the longer routes the airline flies.
Considering how many Qatar Airways flights I’ve been on in the past few years it’s amazing that this was my first flight in the Qatar Airways A380 Business Class cabin. I flew in the A380’s First Class cabin between Doha and Paris last year as an add-on to my Auckland – Doha flight and I wasn’t that impressed so I was interested to see what Business Class would be like.
I've flown in Qatar Airways Business Class quite a few times but this was my first experience of the Qatar Airways A330 Business Class cabin. Technically speaking I tried out an very similar product last year when I flew in the airline's A340 Business Class cabin but, because I'm determined to review every aircraft Qatar Airways offers, I'm keeping this one separate.
Finnair flys its excellent Airbus A350 between London Heathrow and Helsinki on a daily basis but, as luck would have it, the A350's schedule wouldn't get me into Helsinki in time to connect on to my Qatar Airways flight to Doha so I was stuck with a narrow-body A319. I don't normally book myself into short-haul Business Class (either with miles or points) as I don't generally see the value in paying considerably more for a cabin that differs only slightly from Economy Class. On this occasion, however, I had chosen to overpay for my flight and book the frontmost cabin as the math behind the tier points I'm earning this year showed that it was the right thing to do.
Despite a reasonably good experience in British Airways Economy Class on the airline's A380 aircraft I wasn't expecting great things on my 787-9 Business Class (Club World) flight back to the UK. This was to be my first experience of the British Airways Dreamliner but, having flown in BA Business Class quite a few times, I knew to expect high-density Business Class seating, no direct aisle access and certainly no internet connectivity.
I genuinely don’t mind traveling across the Atlantic in Economy Class as long as three conditions are met - it’s a daytime flight, I’m booked into an exit row seat and I got a good deal on the fare. It’s because all three of those came together that I found myself boarding a British Airways A380 over the Holidays and settling in to my Economy Class seat.
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