Ranked: The Best Airlines for Affordable Business Class Travel


If flying economy is like staying in a Motel 6, flying in business class is like checking into a Hyatt. It’s not quite the Four Seasons (that would be first class), but it certainly has more perks than your average motel. However, you’ll easily pay three to four times more to fly business class than you would for an economy seat. And if you’re going to pay more, we say you should get more.

According to experts, though, our list omits some of the finest airlines in the world, and we do recognize that fact. This article is intended to share the top five airlines offering business class flights at a price that won’t leave you with a huge credit card bill.

No. 1: Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines may not be the first airline you think of if you’re planning an international trip, but you should probably add it to your list. The airline is known for offering great deals — and Hawaiian hospitality — on business class flights to Asia and the South Pacific.

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It’s possible to find bargain prices on business class tickets year-round, but particularly during the off-season.

What you can expect to find onboard:

  • Plenty of legroom and a seat with an ottoman/footrest
  • Seat that transforms to fully lie-flat bed
  • Mattress cover, comforter, and soft pillow
  • Storage compartments
  • Amenities like earplugs, earphones, eye mask, toothbrush/toothpaste, lotion, lip balm, tissues, comb, hydrating mist, sunscreen, and pen
  • Two USB ports and an AC power outlet
  • Entertainment tablet that slips seamlessly into an arm that extends from the console in front of you
  • Entertainment options, including movies, TV shows, and games
  • Drinks, including alcoholic beverages
  • Gourmet meals

No. 2: Turkish Airlines

If you’re a world traveler who would rather visit non-touristy spots, the off-season is the time to visit Istanbul. It’s then you can snag a round-trip flight from the U.S. to Turkey for as little as $1,500. Once in Istanbul, you can fly to nearly any European city in under four hours.

Turkish Airlines sweetens the pot by offering an optional stopover in Istanbul that allows you to extend your stay in a 5-star hotel at a bargain price. That way, if you want to see what Istanbul offers before jetting off to another exotic locale, it won’t cost much.

What you can expect to find onboard a long-haul flight:

  • Spacious leg room area
  • Lie-flat seats
  • Seat massagers
  • Flying chefs preparing made-to-order meals
  • Complimentary wifi
  • Noise-canceling headphones

No. 3: Aeromexico

You may already be familiar with Aeromexico, especially if you routinely fly between the U.S. and Mexico. However, did you know that the airline offers some of the best business class fare on trips between the U.S. and other Latin American countries? For example, it’s possible to pay less than $700 for a one-way ticket from Los Angeles to São Paulo, Brazil.

When looking for a business-class ticket on Aeromexico, you’ll want to search for “Clase Premier.”

Here’s what you can expect to find onboard:

  • Lie-flat seats
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Large, bright entertainment system
  • Movies and television shows
  • Full drink service, including alcoholic beverages
  • Gourmet meals
  • Personal power outlet
  • Extraordinary service

No. 4: Aer Lingus

For many, the top selling point for flying business class is access to much more leg room, better food options, and lie-flat seats. Round-trip flights on Aer Lingus between Europe and the East Coast will run you around $1,500, and you can expect to pay a few hundred more for round-trip flights between Europe and the West Coast.

Here’s what you can expect to find onboard:

  • Fully lie-flat seats
  • Seats with a massage option
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Universal plug socket and USB-A charge outlet
  • Water bottle holder and reading light
  • Storage space
  • Fully retractable table
  • Amenities kit, including items like flight socks, eye mask, ear plugs, toothbrush/toothpaste, mints, lip balm, and hand cream
  • 16-inch HD touchscreen screen
  • Movies, TV series, interactive games, music, and audio library of podcast and world music

No. 5: TAP Portugal

You may not have the most luxurious experience flying TAP Portugal, but travel writers claim it’s still quite nice. Besides, flights between Europe and the U.S. start at under $700. TAP is one of the few airlines that doesn’t charge a premium for return-only flights. That means if you decide to backpack through Europe but aren’t quite sure when you’ll return, your favorite travel credit card won’t get dinged with extra charges when you book a flight home.

What you can expect to find onboard a long-haul flight:

  • Fully lie-flat seat
  • Mattress cover, blanket, and soft pillow
  • Cubbies for storage
  • Amenities like facial moisturizer, eye mask, toothbrush/toothpaste, argyle socks, pen water bottles, noise-canceling headphones
  • In-seat entertainment with large 15″ screen
  • Entertainment options, including movies, TV shows, and travel programs
  • Drink service available with meals

If you don’t immediately find the fare you’re hoping for on one of these airlines, stick with it. While the best deals may not pop up for every flight, each of these carriers is known for offering some of the best rates around. The opportunity to fly business class is sure to be worth the effort.

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