Best airlines, suites, seats and more: the Australian Business Traveller Awards

By David Flynn, August 4 2015
Best airlines, suites, seats and more: the Australian Business Traveller Awards

The Australian Business Traveller Awards recognise the trend-setters and game-changers in the highly competitive business travel market across 30 categories ?including first class suites and business class seats, airport lounges, frequent flyer programs, inflight food and wine, travel technology and more.

Best Airline: Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways’ ‘Flying Reimagined’ campaign was both ambitious and brilliantly executed, spearheaded by the launch of the airline’s Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 fleet which raise luxury travel to new heights.

The high praise for Etihad’s first class and business class, meals and service has all helped catapult Etihad Airways to win this year’s title of Best Airline.

Best First Class: Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways effectively reinvented first class flying with the launch of its Airbus A380 First Apartment.

This leapfrogged competitors Emirates and Singapore Airlines with an unrivalled 39 square feet of space boasting a separate armchair and bed, personal vanity cabinet and wardrobe plus a chilled drinks cabinet.

From elegant lighting to Poltrona Frau leather upholstery there's an uncompromising attention to detail in the First Apartment suites. 

Best Business Class: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines’ ‘Next Generation Business Class’ for its new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is arguably superior to many airlines’ first class offering.

Superbly crafted by JPA Design as a truly bespoke business class, we were impressed by the seat’s comfort, style and practical convenience such as plenty of personal space and storage options. 

Best Domestic Business Class: Qantas A330 Business Suite

There’s not a domestic business class seat anywhere in the world which tops the new Qantas A330 Business Suite.

With gate-to-gate recline, a fully lie flat bed, direct aisle access and plenty of shelving and stowage nooks for working inflight, the Marc Newson-styled seat gets a confident thumbs-up from every business traveller.

Best Premium Economy Class: Qantas

Created by award-winning designer Marc Newson, Qantas' premium economy seat remains the most comfortable in an increasingly crowded field.

The exceptional lumbar support, integrated footrests and extra legroom make this the seat to beat for even the longest international flight.

Best Economy Class: Qatar Airways Airbus A350

Qatar Airways cleverly marries the overall sense of space in the Airbus A350 cabin with an economy seat that’s a generous 18 inches wide, with ample room around the knees for even the tallest traveller.

Best Inflight Food: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines turns each flight into a five-star restaurant experience with its Book the Cook service, which quite literally takes inflight cuisine to new heights. Lobster at 40,000 feet? Why not!

The quality and variety of meals is unsurpassed, and frequent travellers appreciate the ability to enjoy different dishes even if they fly every week.

Best Inflight Wine: Qantas 

Qantas boasts one of the most extensive cellars in the sky, with top-shelf whites, reds and Champagnes. It’s also the third largest buyer of Australian wine, which it proudly showcases to the world.

Best inflight lounge: Qatar Airways A380

Offering premium travellers a social space where they can mix and mingle, the elegant lounge and inflight bar on Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380 boasts a private jet vibe.

The considered design, warm colour palette and high-end finishes are testimony to the exacting standards which Qatar Airways has applied from tip to tail of its superjumbo flagship.

Best First Class Amenity Kit: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific’s first class amenity kit brings to life the airline’s 'Life Well Travelled' motto.

This unique collaboration with Australian brand Aesop includes signature skincare products in a specially-designed stackable case which is both elegant and functional. 

Best Business Class Amenity Kit: Emirates

Emirates’ business class amenity kit won us over with the inclusion of quality products from luxe brand Bvlgari including perfume, and all in generous sizes which you’ll enjoy using long after your flight.

Best IFE System: Emirates

With over 2,000 channels of movies, TV shows and music, plus live TV stations and inflight Internet, Emirates’ ICE system is the perfect way to spend those hours in the air. You could fly around the world for weeks on end and still not see half of what ICE has to offer!

Best Cabin Crew: Virgin Australia

There seems to be a special something behind the smile of Virgin Australia’s inflight team – a genuine enthusiasm, a love of their job which takes that warm, friendly Aussie attitude and turns the dial up to 11.

Best Airline Alliance: Star Alliance

With some 28 member airlines under its wing, Star Alliance can take business travellers almost everywhere they need to go.

Frequent flyers especially value the ability to use their points or miles to upgrade across all member airlines, although on the downside there's less consistency in lounge access than with competitor Oneworld.

With ANA flying to Australia later this year and Turkish Airlines planned for next year, Star Alliance will become an even better option for Australian business travellers.

Also read:

The Australian Business Traveller Awards recognise the trend-setters and game-changers in the highly competitive business travel market across 30 categories ?including first class suites and business class seats, airport lounges, frequent flyer programs, inflight food and wine, travel technology and more.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we’re @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

21 Apr 2013

Total posts 34

What about best lounge 

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2514

That's covered here: Best lounges, airports & hotels: the Australian Business Traveller Awards

You'll also find awards for tech, frequent flyer schemes and credit cards featured on the AusBT homepage.

Agree SIA J class is fantastic ! In my opinion it is better than their F class, especially MEL-SIN route.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 268

Better than F? Close, but not quite, their Fis pretty impressive as well. 

I'd agree.

Blown away by the EY apartments I flew 3 weeks ago. 15 hours and 10 minutes went by in a flash. 

SQ's new 77WN J is also very good, but it's only a modest increment over the previous generation - which is more a reflection of how good it already was, rather than the lack of progress made. 

QF new J, although I haven't tried the leather domestic version, I've tried the international version - and I was thinking to myself how clever is this - the way they've laid out storage and space. 

Worthy winners

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 268

If we're looking at it purely as a hard product - then yes Etihad stands alone for First Class (Residence not included). But if we look at it as a complete end to end experience, I wouldn't rank Etihad first class as the winner until they sort out their First class lounge problems!

Otherwise I agree completely with the list. 

Is this series of Best XXX based on some sort of survey?

I'm just curious about the context

Is there an excecutive summary that details the rationale for this series. Just seems to come out of nowhere...

Apologies in advance. Not trying to step on anyone's toes but its begging for some sort of explanation/exec summary/context. If it was published, then I apologise for missing it.


29 Oct 2012

Total posts 17

I'd also be interested in hearing about this. Was there a survey that I missed, or is this purely AusBT opinions? I'd hate for this to be tainted with the "paid for" reputation that Skytrax has. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

Hi TRB - no survey involved in this one, the awards were decided by the AusBT editorial team. And jpk77, definitely no 'commercial' angle in this, simply based on our own informed judgement and consideration.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 439

If best J seat is based purely on hard product I don't know how SQ was chosen over CX or QR's 1-2-1 Cirrus. I've flown SQ and its not nearly as private.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 232

So that it does not appear that I am a VA knocker I am a VA Velocity Gold  Member and will only ever use VA in OZ.

it does sadden me to see it's arch rival QF out manouvre and pip VA at the post with their new seating and aircraft upgrades almost every time.

Whilst it is great to see they have the best cabin crew and FF programme you can't give the bes or most attractive t service on compariavely inferior products.

VA must have a reason for delaying their A330 Business Class Seat upgrade but I feel they may have missed the boat on this one.

I hope their upgrades are done soon or they will suffer in the Business Class market in Australia.

Time will tell.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jan 2015

Total posts 36

In my opinion, I think Virgin Australia won best Flight Atendants because of their strict un-excepting almost reqiurements. richard branson wouldent even qulify for being a flight attdendent for his own airline. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1252

That photo of all the Star Alliance flight attendants is spectacular. So nice to see all the different uniforms and people from the far reaches of the globe.

18 Apr 2015

Total posts 67

So Etihad gets the gong because of its rebranding / marketing campaign?? It clearly wasn't based on the economy experience or its home port

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jan 2015

Total posts 36

Anyone else dreaming about a logies type show for all the rewards?

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