Business-class airline travel always looks delicious from the pages of the brochure: immaculate stewards serving endless glasses of chilled French bubbly while you ease into your recliner for a few hours of pampering and peace. We asked members of the Wanted team and friends to report back on reality.
AIRLINE Cathay Pacific Airways
PASSENGER Travel writer Gillian McLaren
ROUTE B777-300ER; Johannesburg-Hong Kong
LOUNGE In Hong Kong, I thoroughly enjoyed the recently refurbished The Pier. The mood is that of a Hong Kong street, and tasty food is provided in four areas: a food hall, bar, noodle bar, and teahouse.
BOARDING It was a joy to glide past the queue, and the airline staff welcomed me aboard with a hot face towel and a flute of Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne.
THE SEAT I could adjust my seat from upright, through the relax position, and into a flat bed of 191cm.
GOODIE BAG In a chic grey bag, I was delighted to find Jurlique advanced serum, lipcare balm, and rosewater balancing mist, together with the cotton eye mask, earplugs, and toothbrush.
FOOD This was fine dining, with white-linen cloths, white porcelain by Narumi of Japan, pleasing glassware and cutlery, and impeccable service.
BEST THING The cabin is sleek, and cubicles are private, comfortable, and ergonomically designed.
PASSENGER Wanted contributor Gary Cotterell
ROUTE Airbus Industrie A340-600; Madrid-Frankfurt-Cape Town
CHECK-IN Friendly 4/5.
LOUNGE It is all very German and business-like: pared-down to the basics, with a food offering to match.
THE SEAT The most comfortable seats I’ve experienced. I loved the adjustable, air-cushioned padding: it was like sleeping on a cloud.
GOODIE BAG Jil Sander Navy, with products to sample from modern Greek apothecary Korres.
FOOD The appetisers were particularly yummy and refined, with clever flavour combos. The staff took great delight in promoting the mains of the day, a traditional German baked roast-goose dish.
WINE Lots of Champagne Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut and wonderfully crisp German 2015 Rheingau Riesling Hessenstein Prinz von Hessen with dinner.
STAFF Super-friendly and well informed.
BEST THING The beds, for sure.
PASSENGER Wanted contributor Gary Cotterell
ROUTE Boeing 777-300ER and A380; Johannesburg-Dubai-Madrid
CHECK-IN Friendly 5/5.
LOUNGE Comfortable, well-equipped, best full-service offering, and amazing buffet spread.
THE SEAT The new aircraft will feature enhanced Business Class seats that recline to 180˚ fully flat beds.
GOODIE BAG Bvlgari for Emirates. This is one of the biggest bags in the industry, and is generously laden with Bvlgari products.
FOOD There is always top-notch fine dining, in the lounges and on your tray. A highlight was the murgh makhanwala creamy chicken curry
WINE One of my absolute favourites, Laurent Perrier Brut NV, and a selection of fine wines.
STAFF The most international and multilingual bunch in the world: super friendly and helpful.
BEST THING There is good reason why Emirates has been voted everyone’s favourite carrier, with 100% the best overall experience.
AIRLINE British Airways
PASSENGER TV and radio presenter Jen Su
ROUTE A380; Johannesburg-London
CHECK-IN British Airways Business Class (Club World) has recently opened an exclusive new check-in area, with two new fast-track security lanes, called The First Wing, at London’s Heathrow Terminal 5.
LOUNGE The Slow Lounge is my favourite airport hangout. I like the little private rooms there, to chill with a glass of champers before the flight.
THE SEAT The beds lie flat, and I always feel so relaxed and refreshed when I land.
GOODIE BAG I love the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and the other skincare goodies, as well as the toothbrush kit and other essentials.
FOOD There’s an excellent selection of gourmet food offerings, fine wines, and champagne.
STAFF Some of the friendliest flight attendants and check-in staff. I’ve always had an excellent experience with BA staff.
BEST THING The First Wing, the peaceful sleep, and feeling totally refreshed upon arrival.
AIRLINE Air France
PASSENGER Wanted Editor Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly
ROUTE Boeing 777-30; Johannesburg-Paris
CHECK-IN No queues, quick and efficient.
LOUNGE I didn’t even think of heading for the Air France lounge, as I am obsessed with the British Airways Slow Lounge, and head straight there when I’m flying. THE SEAT Wide and just soft enough with a perfect reclining angle. They don’t lie flat, but the window seat had a handy storage compartment.
GOODIE BAG A beautiful faux-suede toiletry bag with some teeny Clarins essentials was a welcome treat. The more useful sizes were available in the comfortably sized, clean bathrooms.
FOOD AND WINE This was Air France. Of course the catering was incredible. It started with Palmer and Co Champagne and could have ended with Calvados, if I’d wanted it to. The menu was very French, with the taste of a real French baguette always a highlight for me throughout the flight.
BEST THING The Champagne and the baguette.
AIRLINE Etihad Airways
PASSENGER Wanted digital assistant: Katharynn Kesselaar
ROUTE 787 Dreamliner; Johannesburg-Abu Dhabi
CHECK-IN Quick and efficient.
LOUNGE En route to Abu Dhabi we were given access to the Shongololo Lounge, which was was adequate, with comfortable seating and a buffet. On the journey home, the premium Etihad lounge was totally luxurious with excellent hospitality, a delicious buffet, and a spa, as well as shower facilities.
THE SEAT The 787 Dreamliner offers a fully reclining seat, with a comforter and pillow to make your sleep even more comfortable. The seats also offer an in-seat massage system.
SERVICE Professional and friendly: the staff are trained in seven different languages.
ANY OTHER PERKS Etihad offers an inflight nanny to assist parents flying with young children. This service is available to economy and business class flyers.
BEST THING The food and overall service. I thoroughly enjoyed the flight.