Best International Business Class for Australian Business Travellers
This proved one of the toughest categories to judge, which in itself is good news for business travellers!
There was plenty of to and fro in emails, on Skype chat sessions and over the odd bottle of red as the Australian Business Traveller Awards panel weighed up their collective travel experiences throughout 2011.
Despite impressive flat-bed offerings from Emirates and Etihad, Qantas’ perennial Skybed II and Cathay Pacific’s impressive new business class seat, it was hard to go past the wide leather seats of Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380.
Each of these sumptuous sumo-sized benches is an ample 34 inches across, and the spacious 1-2-1 layout ensures every passenger has direct access to the aisle.
SQ’s graciously attentive service remains first rate, as do the meals and wines served in-flight.
Add personal storage nooks, a soft cotton duvet and feather pillows in lie-flat mode and this is, indeed, a great way to fly.
Best International First Class (Seats) for Australian Business Travellers
The Australian Business Traveller Awards panel chose to split First Class into two categories – Seats and Suites – reflecting a trend in both directions as well as the issue of personal preference. Some frequent flyers enjoy the mood of an open cabin, others delight in the privacy of a personal suite.
In the Best International First Class Seats category, British Airways’ new First Class was the frontrunner by every measure.
Everything about this cabin shows that BA has done its homework and nailed the formula for ultimate relaxation (or productivity) on the long haul Kangaroo Route.
The seat and its surrounds are undeniably elegant: think refined, relaxed, and chic but without being flashy. It makes a pleasing change from all the fake wood, brass and assorted bling in many premium cabins these days.
Bells and whistles include a wardrobe to hang clothes, electronic window blinds, a super-sized angled video screen and thoughtfully positioned tables.
The cabin is spacious without feeling busy, with service and meals straight out of the classiest bistro.
Best International First Class (Suites) for Australian Business Travellers
For those who’d rather cocoon themselves for the duration of a flight, self-contained suites are the only way to travel.
Those members of the Australian Business Traveller Awards judging panel who’ve been fortunate enough to sample the suite life voted Singapore Airlines ahead of a decidedly swanky shortlist.
SQ’s Suites tick just every box the well-heeled traveller could conjure: a private and incredibly quiet (it’s actually sound-proofed) cabin with discrete sliding doors and window blinds.
There’s a separate leather-upholstered seat and a full-size (2m long, 70cm wide) bed capped by a plush mattress with duvet.
Describing any First Class suite gets to the stage where every successive bullet point sounds more and more indulgent, and that’s the idea – so we’ll just draw the line here and suggest you keep saving your own points for that upgrade-of-a-lifetime!
The Australian Business Traveller Awards are judged by an independent panel of business travellers and frequent flyers plus the AusBT team, and provide a uniquely Australian perspective on the best products and services for Australia's estimated 2.6 million business travellers.