3 Cheers for the Cheap Seats: the best economy class airlines 2018

Occasionally, we can all treat ourselves to a business class flight, but most of the time we have to make do with the cheap seats. Some airlines, however, have better “cheap seats” than others. In my own personal experience, here are some of the finest airlines to fly in economy class in 2018!

Before we begin, I must give honourable mentions to British Airways (B787 only), Uzbekistan Airways (yes, really!), Thai Airways (voted #1 by some experts recently), and Sri Lankan Airlines (always nice).

10. Vietnam Airlines

I could have opted to not include Vietnam Airlines and instead put any of the honourable mentions here at #10. With VN it really depends on the aircraft. Yet in long haul, and in the newer aircraft, it is a pleasure flying with VN – I consider them to be a sleeping giant.

9. Royal Jordanian

Another sleeping giant, RJ deserves its place here, mainly due to the comfort of the seats in economy class, but also the service of the cabin crew, which I found to be exceptional and hold really true to Jordanian hospitality.

8. Ethiopian Airlines

Unless you’re planning to visit Addis Ababa any time soon, you might not get to experience ET’s great economy class, but I really recommend it! Again, on some older aircraft, there may be slight issues with IFE and comfort, but on the newer planes, you won’t be concerned about a thing.

7. Turkish Airlines

Always one of the best, TK never fails to please me with the perfect presentation and performance of the cabin crew throughout the entire flight. I consider TK an old friend – if only transitting through Istanbul Ataturk Airport wasn’t such a pain…

Onboard the Emirates A380 in economy class

6. Emirates

I don’t fly with EK as much as I used to (I prefer Doha New Hamad Airport) but one thing is for sure: the IFE of Emirates is the best in the business, and in conjunction with a multi-lingual crew and surprisingly good catering, an economy class experience with Emirates is not something to be ashamed of.

5. Lufthansa

True German professionalism is what you always get with Lufthansa, but recently there has been more of a corporate effort to add some zest and even more smiles to make your experience better. In narrow body planes such as the A320, Lufthansa easily have the best economy class in Europe.

Flying to Tokyo on a Korean Air A330 Economy Class

4. Korean Air

“Surgical precision” is the term I would use to explain economy class aboard KE – but is that really a bad thing when many other airlines in the region (OZ, JA) leave much to be desired in their own cheap seats?

3. Air New Zealand

Always a pleasure to fly with the Kiwis – just a shame they are so far away! Forget the SkyCouch, that is a gimmick – the real economy class experience for NZ is the sleek black seating and interpersonal crew.

Economy class on Qatar’s A380

2. Qatar Airways

Nowadays, I fly with Qatar many times each year, and the service in the cheap seats just keeps getting better. The IFE is almost on par with Emirates, and the ergonomically-astute seating is also great for medium- and long-haul but where Qatar really shines is with the cabin crew and even the ground staff at the airport and check-in.

Singapore Airlines A380 lower deck economy cabin

1. Singapore Airlines

Whether you fly on a regional A330 around SE Asia, or on a long haul flight aboard the A380/A350 to Europe or North America, you will always be grateful you chose to fly with Singapore Airlines. It is true that SQ charge a slight premium on their fares compared to some of their rivals, but the extra little cost is more than worth it. Meals are a joy, service from the cabin crew, both male and female, is exemplary, the IFE content is the best of any airline in Asia, and especially on the A380, the seats are just so comfortable!

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