Best International First Class?

 
Old Aug 20, 06, 12:15 pm
  #1  
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Best International First Class?

I'm a longtime FT lurker and fan, and I need some knowledgeable advice .

I have some trips to Europe and Asia in the months ahead, and since I've already qualified for 1K in 2007 I'm curious if anyone has had recent experience flying First on any other carrier and found it to be more amazing than United's First Suite?

I haven't flown *anyone* except UA since 1998, but I've heard that SA is awesome, as well as ANA. I've heard that LH is never as good as United. I'm also curious if the experience on other carriers is route-specific. For example, SA's flights from LAX to SIN use Airbus, and friends tell me that SA's famous service is unique to 747 Megatops. True?

Also, I'm planning a trip with my girlfriend in November and always figured that United's configuration is NOT conducive to traveling with someone unless you're sitting in 4EF or 5EF on a 747 (but I think that First Suites are fantastic for solo business travel)! ^

Thanks for the help.
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Old Aug 20, 06, 12:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Northbrook60065
I have some trips to Europe and Asia in the months ahead, and since I've already qualified for 1K in 2007 I'm curious if anyone has had recent experience flying First on any other carrier and found it to be more amazing than United's First Suite?
Pretty much any non-US first-rate carrier. LH, LX, CX, SQ, NH, etc, etc.

I haven't flown *anyone* except UA since 1998, but I've heard that SA is awesome, as well as ANA. I've heard that LH is never as good as United.
LH F beats the pants off UA F in terms of service. The seat is not as good, imho, but the service, staff, and in FRA the F terminal make it lightyears ahead of UA.

I'm also curious if the experience on other carriers is route-specific. For example, SA's flights from LAX to SIN use Airbus, and friends tell me that SA's famous service is unique to 747 Megatops. True?
No. You will get great service on any SQ flight. Your friends were probably referring to the fact that the nonstops LAX-SIN and EWR-SIN only have business and coach, not first.

All in all, try someone else. I dont think you'll be disappointed.
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Old Aug 20, 06, 1:23 pm
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If you're going US-Europe, the only carriers I can think of with a decent F class are LH and BA (not sure on AF, haven't flown them on the new seat.)

There are some alternatives though.

As of Oct Emirates will fly NYC-HAM
SQ flies JFK-FRA
MH also flies EWR-ARN imo.

To Asia, NH,SQ,CX etc. you have some options here (or via Europe).
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Old Aug 20, 06, 1:28 pm
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If you are using *alliance miles then LH is your best bet for europe and SA for Asia. LH has better food in service - or at least at par with SA - butthe seat is not as good or as private if you travel alone.

SA is excellent of course, but not as much better than other quality internatianl airlines as people say. Thai can sometime surprise. BA and Cathay are great but UA miles won't get you there.

In terms of seat, SA has the best First, LH has a better business class seat.

happy travels.
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Old Aug 20, 06, 1:45 pm
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I would definitily try SQ on a Megatop 747 in F if possible. The service is fantastic and the seats are very comfortable. I have only flown SQ F by myself so I am not sure how it is when traveling with a partner but I think there where two rows with pairs that would work better than the configuration in UA F. Flying SQ will spoil you with great service - always called by name, they anticipate that you will want another drink or more bread and come offering before you have to ask, restrooms spotless during flight. When things go wrong i.e. delays, AVOD malfunction they pull out all the stops to make things right. The F seat is very comfortable, seems wider then UA F, and they offer turn down service with very nice bedding.

I have tried ANA and personally I didn't care to much for it - however I was on a 4 hour inter Asia flight so that may have something to do with it. Were I will give props to ANA is FANTASIC condition of their planes. I was on a 763 and it put UAs 767 fleet to shame. It was a newer aircraft with 777 style overhead bins, 5 abreast business class with fully electronic adjustable seats and touch less facets in the lavitory. Also had a camera in the belly of the plane. I didn't care much for the food, either the western or asian choices and the service was poor because of the language barrier, the FAs barely spoke any english.

Thai really seems to be on a push to modernize their product offering so when you get a newly done aircraft they are usually far and away better than UA - however if you don't look out. Service and Food was on par with UA. AVOD in the new aircraft is fantastic compared to even SQ.

Haven't flown CX but heard great things. These are just my two cents everyone seems to have a different thought. Service is usually the factor I use more than anything.
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Old Aug 20, 06, 2:07 pm
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Depends what's important to you.

I have recently been on both SQ (747) and NH (777) Trans-Pacific First Class. In all respects but one, SQ is superior. However, the NH seat is much wider and much more comfortable for sleeping, although the bedding isn't as good as SQ. As point of reference, SeatGuru notes SQ at 22" wide and NH at 33" and that was my experience. If you're a bigger person or someone who tosses and turns, NH was far superior for sleeping comfort.

If you're going to stay awake, enjoy all that is amazing about SQ. If you want to sleep to be ready for whatever awaits your landing, hop on NH.
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Old Aug 20, 06, 3:12 pm
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SQ in First Class is the ultimate travel experience to Asia. That means going on a 747 in order to get the true experience....unmatched service and dedication to the details.
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Old Aug 20, 06, 10:18 pm
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SQ and CX are the jewels in the sky. Everyone else is a step below. Many are flights of stairs below.

UA Int'l F is craaaaaaaaaap.
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Old Aug 20, 06, 10:53 pm
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Northbrook60065, welcome to FlyerTalk!

Nearly every poll of international First Class services puts United a bit far down the list. Still, I'd say the service and amenities are pretty nice.

If you have the chance to fly another carrier's International F service, you should do it. That's the only way to know for sure whose service is best.
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Old Aug 20, 06, 11:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin
SQ and CX are the jewels in the sky. Everyone else is a step below. Many are flights of stairs below.

UA Int'l F is craaaaaaaaaap.
^

I'd like to add Asiana to that "Jewel of the Sky" list, but yes, they just need to do something about the First seats on the 747's! Not at the MegaTop level just yet!
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Old Aug 20, 06, 11:38 pm
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When EOS is VASTLY superior to UA F, you know there is a problem :P

In 2005 Skytrax ranked top 10 >

1 > CX, SQ, TG, Malaysia, Qatar, Gulf, LX, LH, Emirates, ANA > 10

http://www.forbes.com/travel/2005/11...17feat_ls.html

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Aug 21, 06 at 12:13 pm
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Old Aug 21, 06, 12:58 am
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This reminds me that i spoke to a UA agent yesterday about an award trip in first i have on SA. The UA agent agreed that it was great and that " Singapore actually SELLS their first class too!" Too bad UA WHQ doesn't get that......
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Old Aug 21, 06, 2:58 am
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SA?

So, you scored a first class award ticket on South African Airlines? Congrats.

If you get a chance, you should try Singapore Airlines, which is SQ.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 3:03 am
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Originally Posted by 1k-all-the-way
This reminds me that i spoke to a UA agent yesterday about an award trip in first i have on SA. The UA agent agreed that it was great and that " Singapore actually SELLS their first class too!" Too bad UA WHQ doesn't get that......
BTW SA stands for South African Airways and not for SQ.

Seat 1B on SQ 747 is great, although it might feel lonely sometimes!
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Old Aug 21, 06, 3:06 am
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SQ F is definitely the way to go. NH isn't too bad either if you're on their planes with the new style configuration. Between SQ and NH, SQ still is the dominant carrier.
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