Recently, I listed five “commonplace” business class products that I should have tried by now, but hope to try in the near future. Now I’ll do the same for first class.
As with business class, a primary mission on my blog is to sample as many premium products as possible. Only by actually experiencing competing products will I be able to authoritatively compare and contrast in my flight reviews. Here are five first class products I need to try soon:
Nearly everyone who flies Air France labels it the superlative first class experience. I’ve been putting off a journey on Air France due to schedule and cost constraints, but need to find a work a flight in. We have not seen any great fare sales lately and the cheap paid fare out of Algiers has been pulled.
I feel like if I do not take advantage of Korean Air soon, I’ll miss out due to a stealth devaluation. Currently, Korean Skypass charges only 80,000 miles for an off-peak award from North America to North Asia (as far south as Hong Kong). Korean is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. This is a great-value award for a carrier that is consistently highly-regarded and generous in releasing award space.
I did fly in first class on American Airlines a few years ago from Chicago to Beijing in first class, but that was on the old 777-200 product. Since that first class product has now been removed, I never published the trip report and do not plan on ever doing so. But the first class seat aboard the 777-300 looks excellent and it appears that American Airlines has stepped up its soft product, at least on longhaul routes to Sydney and Hong Kong.
Oman Air recently unveiled its new “First Class Mini Suite” aboard the 787-9. It’s not much different than the APEX suites in business class and resembles the first class suites I just flew on Malaysia Airlines. But Oman Air often offers excellent business class fares and is a product I’ve wanted to try for years (and a country I wish to re-visit).
China Southern is a difficult one. All flight reviews (though there are not many) suggest the product is inferior. Furthermore, China Southern first class awards can no longer be booked with Korean Skypass, meaning this award will be out of reach for many…perhaps for me too (haven’t checked the prices). Thus, the value of this report would be limited. Even so, China Southern is a major Chinese airline that serves Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. Additionally, I’m trying to sample A380 first class at least once on every carrier.
Anything I am missing?
I flew AA first from London to JFK a couple months ago. It’s very nice but the seat feels very exposed when compared to the excellent new reverse herringbone business class seats on the 77W. It’s really good if you need to do work because he seat swivels towards a section of the seat that becomes a functional desk.
Find a way to fly La Premiere. Just do it. Make sure to get the 77W on at least one leg, though.
Agree. Especially departing from CDG.
I flew China Southern A380 First Class (my last A380 First Class) last month and was pleasantly surprised by the soft and hard product. Given the Skypass restriction, I flew roundtrip from CAN-PEK for 30K Skypass miles (as roundtrip within China is still possible using Skypass). It was obviously not the full longhaul experience but not paying cash to fly was worth it.
Matthew – Really enjoy your blog.
I’m about to fly AF business NYC-CDG and then la Premiere 77W on the way back. Living in Charlotte, I’m obviously tied to American and oneworld. Then when I travel to Europe or Asia, I also use Miles & More and all the Star Alliance brands. So this might just be a one time thing. I have no status with any SkyTeam airline, and have not even set up a Delta account. But I’m really excited.
I plan on doing the 80k transfer from Chase evenutally to fly Korean Air. There are multiple opportunities depending on time of the year to do both the 747i and the A380 first class on one routing. I would prefer the A380 for the transpacific flight though… I’ve heard the bathroom situation on the 747 is not clearly divided from Business Class.
I would like to try Oman first on a trip to Muscat, hopefully, some day soon. I’m a small guy so I have no problems with First class on 787s (like BA). I know some people find them cramped.
No real interest in China Souther. Although Guangzhou is the one major city in China I have not visited, so maybe there is an opportunity in the future.
Loved Korean Air in F. Food may be the weakest point, but the rest was consistently good. On the other hand, Thai Royal First has some amazing soft product and ground experience, but the hard product is wildly uneven.
I flew AF F recently (both on 77W) but wasn’t impressed with on board service. Perhaps I was expecting too much but I felt like the flight attendant worked in first class for the first time ever.