With travel, both for business and leisure, being placed on hold for most of us in India, we decided to do some armchair travelling and list our favourite business class cabins flying the Indian skies.
Gone are the days when Indian travellers would be transported on some of the oldest aircrafts of international airlines. Till very recently (we are talking before the pandemic struck) the opposite was true. Airlines like Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Emirates fly their flagship aircrafts on the India route, while others offer additional perks like Turkish’s in-flight chefs or Vistara’s spanking new Dreamliner. Here is a look at some of the best cabins in the Indian skies, which we can’t wait to get back on again.
Emirates A380 Business Class
Possibly my favourite airline for westbound travels, the Emirates A380 business class seat is an absolute treat. For starters, the business class cabin is spacious and extends over a large part of the A380 upper deck. The seat, with its luxurious wood finish design, gives a truly luxurious feeling — there is a massive entertainment screen, a mini detachable tablet of sorts to control your entertainment and seat position, and the spacious flatbed seat.
Another one of my favourite features is the personal in-seat minibar, with a bottle of Perrier and other non-alcoholic beverages. If you’ve had enough of lazing around in this super posh seat, head on to the back of the aircraft to the massive onboard lounge where you can enjoy a cocktail or interact with fellow passengers.
Favourite feature: The extra-large screen and entertainment
Don’t miss: The onboard lounge in the cabin
Turkish Airlines B777-300ER Business Class
I love the simple elegance of this super spacious cabin, in a fuss-free 2-3-2 configuration. The Turkish Airlines business class seat is perfect for the business traveller who wants to work, chill, or sleep. The seat/flatbed controls are straightforward, operated from the armrest. There is a storage area under the footrest for your shoes and small items. The screen is decently sized and offers an amazing selection of movies.
The turndown service provided to each traveller is on point — a duvet to line the seat, a plush blanket and pillows, along with socks and slippers. What I most love about it is their unique F&B, especially if you like Turkish food. A dedicated in-flight chef serves you Turkish mezze and mains from a gorgeous trolley, followed by a tiered display of Turkish desserts.
Favourite feature: The simple front-facing layout
Don’t miss: Turkish style meal served by the chef
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class
I recently tried out the super chic cabin on Singapore Airlines’ spanking new Airbus A350. With its gorgeous pastel colour palettes, leather seats and houndstooth pillows, the cabin feels extremely luxurious. It is generously configured in a 1-2-1 format, ensuring aisle access for everyone. Business travellers will find a cocoon of privacy in the single seats by the windows.
This airline is known for designing highly functional seats, and this aircraft is no different — plenty of storage space for your gadgets. I loved the little compartments, right over my shoulder, where I could store my laptop, phone, and spectacles. In addition to the tray table, there is a generous workspace, where you can place a large laptop. In the flatbed mode, the seat merges with the footrest creating a wide space to sleep, lounge, or watch tv in.
Favourite feature: The extra-wide design when the seat is deployed in flatbed mode
Don’t miss: In-flight satay service, which is this airline’s signature
Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class
A great product for business travellers eastbound from India with connections to North America and Australia, I experienced it on a 15-hour Hong Kong-San Francisco hop, and must say this business class is one of the finest in the skies. With all-aisle access, 1-2-1 configuration, the layout of this cabin is referred to as ‘reverse herringbone’, which means that your back faces the aisle, so you get an increased sense of privacy. I love the generous workspace that the seat affords, in addition to the large extendable table. There is also a cubbyhole of sorts, where you can store your gadgets. I must highlight that in terms of seat cushion comfort and overall ergonomics, this is by far the best product in the skies.
Favourite feature: Sense of privacy due to the reverse herringbone design
Don’t miss: The airline has its very own beer, Betsy, available to in-flight passengers
Virgin Atlantic B787 Dreamliner Upper Class
Boeing’s fuel-efficient Dreamliner aircraft flies between Mumbai/Delhi and London, and the airline’s Upper Class product is all about modern luxury. The herringbone format in a 1-2-1 format ensures aisle access for everyone, while the leather-upholstered seats give it a feel of a chic private jet or yacht. The seat features ample storage space for your personal effects and an amply sized entertainment screen, in addition to charging points and a USB port to charge devices. The Upper Class cabin also comes with a full-fledged in-flight bar, where you can enjoy cocktails. When you’re ready to sleep, the seat converts to a fully flat bed, with a linen turndown service offered by the cabin crew.
Favourite feature: Amenities and service
Don’t miss: A cocktail at the bar
Vistara B787 Dreamliner Business Class
The most luxurious domestic business class in India? This homegrown airline’s brand new Dreamliner planes have been plying on domestic routes, pre-lockdown, and are soon to be launched on international flights. Maintaining the elegant pastel and dark colour tones of the airline, this sophisticated cabin has a spacious feel with its 1-2-1 configuration. I love the 18-inch entertainment screen, which is operated through a touchscreen handset. The flatbed seat can be operated easily using the control unit, and there is also a USB port and a three-pin charging point. Moreover, I like the large windows of the Dreamliner, which bathe the cabin in natural light.
Favourite feature: Flatbeds on domestic flights? Love it!
Don’t miss: Excellent in-flight service
All images: Courtesy airlines