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5 of the World’s Coolest First Class Airplane Seats

By Peter Vanden Bos
Read time: 5 minutes

These days, flying in first class gets you much (much) more than a free in-flight meal and a plush seat at the front of the plane. As more travelers choose to upgrade from ever-shrinking economy class seats, airlines are investing millions of dollars in new premium cabins with cutting-edge technology that are more spacious than ever before. From private onboard apartments to suites that feature a reclining seat and a separate bed, these are five of the coolest first-class seats you can book for an unforgettable vacation.

Emirates First Class

Emirates First Class suite with plated meal and large entertainment screen
Credit: Image courtesy of Emirates

Dubai-based Emirates changed the game when it comes to in-flight luxury. It purchases more Champagne than any other airline in the world, including rare vintages that retail for up to $500 a bottle. And in 2008, Emirates was the first airline to introduce onboard shower suites on its fleet of double-decker Airbus A380 aircraft. But for now, the carrier’s latest-generation First Class product can be found on only a handful of its Boeing 777-300ERs — and you’ll definitely want to go out of your way to book one of them.

These fully enclosed suites offer up to 40 square feet of personal space, including floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and personal lighting and temperature controls that truly make it feel like your own private cabin. The technology is also remarkable: You’ll not only have a high-definition entertainment screen with thousands of movies and TV shows to choose from, but if you happen to be sitting in the center of the aircraft, your suite will also have virtual windows that project the real-time view from outside the aircraft.

Air France La Première

Close-up image of first-class airplane seat
Credit: Walter Pietsch/ Alamy Stock Photo

You’ll have more than enough room to make yourself comfortable in Air France’s exclusive La Première cabin, which features a single row of just four seats and is available on select Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Each suite contains a 35-inch-wide seat that can be converted into a fully flat, 6.5-foot-long bed with a memory foam mattress, along with elegant cabin finishes and thoughtful features like a floor-to-ceiling curtain to maximize privacy. 

The seat lacks some of the bells and whistles you’ll find on newer products — the carrier plans to introduce even larger seats in late 2024 — but Air France truly shines when it comes to service. La Première passengers can relax in exclusive lounges with gourmet dining and free spa services before being whisked away by a private chauffeur to board the aircraft. Once onboard, you can expect more over-the-top amenities, including a multicourse dining experience from Michelin three-starred chef Glenn Viel.

Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suites

View of Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 First Class Suite, including recliner chair and separate bed
Credit: Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

In 2023, Singapore Airlines was named the world’s best airline in the World Airline Awards, an honor it has held five times. The airline brings its top-notch service to its latest onboard premium product, found on the upper deck of its Airbus A380 jumbo-jet fleet. These First Class suites boast a plush leather swiveling recliner chair alongside a separate bed, so you don’t worry about having to convert your seat into a bed. The airline even offers double suites that feature extra-large beds for those traveling with a friend or loved one. 

And when flying Singapore Airlines, you can forget about the standard “beef, chicken, or fish” menu choices. The carrier’s “Book the Cook” amenity allows passengers to choose from dozens of fine-dining options up to 24 hours before departure, including dishes such as lobster thermidor, Singaporean laksa, and wagyu beef tenderloin. 

Japan Airlines First Class

Japan Airlines Airbus A350 taking off from Tokyo Haneda Airport
Credit: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/ AFP via Getty Images 

In early 2024, Japan Airlines debuted its latest First Class product on its new flagship aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000, which you can find on routes such as Tokyo to New York. The spacious new suites feature sliding privacy doors and a sofa-like seat that’s wide enough for two people to sit comfortably and can be converted into a fully flat double bed. 

But before you start snoozing, you’ll want to take advantage of the oversized 43-inch high-definition entertainment screen and the suite’s impressive tech — including built-in headrest speakers, a digital monitor that allows you to communicate directly with flight attendants, and a tail-mounted camera that shows a bird’s-eye view of your flight. As on the other airlines on this list, the service in Japan Airlines First Class is top-notch. Expect exquisitely presented meals with both Japanese and Western menu choices, along with an extensive wine list. 

Etihad Airways First Class Apartments

View of Etihad Airways First Class Apartment with bed, TV screen, and reclining seat
Credit: KARIM SAHIB/ AFP via Getty Images 

When you’ve booked a ticket for an “apartment” — on an airplane, no less — you know you’re in for something special. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has outfitted the upper deck of its fleet of 10 Airbus A380s with First Class Apartments, each with sliding doors and a plush leather recliner facing a separate couch that can be converted into a 6-foot-10-inch-long bed. Onboard, you can expect Giorgio Armani amenity kits, free-flowing caviar, the airline’s signature cognac service, a customizable dine-on-demand menu, and turndown service. There’s even an onboard shower you can reserve to freshen up before you arrive. 

Though you probably won’t find much to complain about if you’re flying in one of the “Apartments,” Etihad Airways offers an even more luxurious option called “The Residence,” and there’s truly nothing quite like it in the skies. Accommodating up to two people, the 125-square-foot Residence consists of three rooms, including a bedroom with a double bed, a separate living area, and a private shower. It’s about as close as you can get to flying a private jet on a commercial airplane.

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