Guide: Star Alliance Business Class Cabins, Routes and Fleets to Europe

by Sam Roecker

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Star Alliance Business Class Cabins to Europe

I’ll cover United-operated flights in a separate post, so this list only includes Star Alliance partners (plus Aer Lingus) with flights from Mainland US and Canada to Europe. This guide includes fleet, cabin and route information for the following airlines:

✅ Aer Lingus [EI]

✅ Air Canada [AC]

✅ Austrian Airlines [OS]

✅ LOT Polish Airlines [LO]

✅ Lufthansa [LH]

✅ SAS Scandinavian Airlines [SK]

✅ SWISS [LX]

✅ TAP Portugal [TP]

✅ Turkish Airlines [TK]

**Note: Guide excludes Star Alliance partners with limited North American routes: Air New Zealand (operates Los Angeles – London-Heathrow), Brussels Airlines (Brussels only flies two US routes), Ethiopian Airlines (flies Los Angeles – Dublin) and Singapore Airlines (operates New York-JFK – Frankfurt and Houston – Manchester). I’ll cover a few of the more unique Star Alliance routes in a future post. Stay tuned!

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Irish carrier Aer Lingus is not a member of Star Alliance, but it’s a good MileagePlus partner option for awards to Dublin or other destinations throughout the UK. I would not recommend taking a longer connecting flight on Aer Lingus, as it operates as a low-cost carrier on intra-European flights. Aer Lingus offers a consistent longhaul business class product and growing network of destinations across the US.

✈︎︎ Longhaul Fleet: Airbus A330-200 (A332), Airbus A330-300 (A333); and Boeing 757-200* (752) 

💺 Cabin Notes: *ASL Ireland operates five Boeing 757-200 aircraft for Aer Lingus on select routes to the East coast (e.g. Dublin – Hartford, CT). The narrowbody 757 features lie-flat seats in business class (very similar to JetBlue Mint), but you’ll want to pay attention to seat selection to book the “throne” seats in rows 1 and 3. Check out this trip report.

↳ Aer Lingus Flights to/from Dublin (DUB): Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Hartford (BDL), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York-JFK (JFK), Newark (EWR), Orlando (MCO), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Toronto (YYZ), and Washington Dulles (IAD)

Aer Lingus Flights to/from Shannon (SNN): Boston* (BOS) and New York-JFK (JFK)

*seasonal 

Aer Lingus Business Class A330

Aer Lingus Business Class A330 | Photo Credit: Skift

 


 

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Air Canada’s recent rebrand from international business class to Signature Service was more than just a brand identity change. New amenities like the Signature Suite in Toronto (YYZ), concierge service, BMW tarmac transfer, and Laurent-Perrier Champagne make Air Canada one of the top products across the pond…with a major exception. Air Canda Rouge is a low-cost subsidiary that mainly operates to leisure destinations. Don’t mistake Premium Rouge for business class (it’s not) and redeem additional points needed for a “premium” cabin. Rouge longhaul flights are operated on Boeing 767-300ER aircraft transferred from Air Canada (it’s best to avoid that aircraft on Air Canada regardless, as it’s an older product).

✈︎ Longhaul Fleet: Airbus A330-300 (A333) and Boeing 767-300ER (763), 777-200LR (77L), 777-300ER (77W), 787-8 (788) and 787-9 (789)

💺 Cabin Notes: For the best Air Canada experience, book a flight on the carrier’s Boeing 787-8 or 787-9 Dreamliners or the Boeing 777-200LR or 777-300ER. The A330 aircraft won’t be refurbished until 2019. Check out One Mile at a Time for details on the new Signature Service, including select US transcontinental routes.

 Air Canada Flights to/from Calgary (YYC): Frankfurt (FRA) and London-Heathrow (LHR)

 Air Canada Flights to/from Montréal (YUL): Brussels (BRU), Dublin* (DUB), Frankfurt (FRA), Geneva (GVA), London-Heathrow (LHR), Lyon (LYS), Paris (CDG), Reykjavík-Keflavík* (KEF), and Rome (FCO)

 Air Canada Flights to/from Toronto (YYZ): Amsterdam (AMS), Copenhagen (CPH), Dublin (DUB), Frankfurt (FRA), Geneva (GVA), London-Heathrow (LHR), Madrid (MAD), Milan (MXP), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG), Reykjavík-Keflavík* (KEF), Rome (FCO), Shannon* (SNN), Warsaw-Chopin* (WAW), and Zürich (ZRH)

 Air Canada Flights to/from Vancouver (YVR): Frankfurt* (FRA), London-Heathrow (LHR), Paris* (CDG), and Zürich* (ZRH)

Air Canada also flies to/from London Heathrow (LHR) from Halifax (YHZ), Ottawa (YOW), and St. John’s (YYT)

*seasonal 

 

Air Canada Business Class New Signature Service on the Boeing 787

Photo: One Mile at a Time

 


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Vienna-based Austrian Airlines is a subsidiary of Lufthansa Group. Austrian is best known for its DO & CO catering and “Flying Chef” who prepares meals onboard (the food is fantastic). Austrian also features a coffee menu with 10 Viennese specialties! Austrian is a great option for award flights to Central and Eastern Europe.

✈︎ Longhaul Fleet: Boeing 767-300ER (763) and Boeing 777-200ER (772)

💺 Cabin Notes:  While Austrian uses the same seat on both 767 and 777 aircraft, the 777 has a wider cabin and thus some paired seats (meaning not every seat has aisle access). Also, note some seats are closer to the aisle and some closer to the window–see below.

 Austrian Flights to/from Vienna (VIE): Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles* (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York-JFK (JFK), Newark (EWR), Toronto (YYZ), and Washington Dulles (IAD)

*seasonal 

Austrian Business Class

Photo Credit: Lufthansa Flyer

 


 

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LOT Polish Airlines operates a small longhaul fleet of ten Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The 2 x 2 x 2 configuration isn’t the best, but it is lie-flat and relatively spacious. LOT has recently expanded beyond its Warsaw hub with flights from Budapest and Krawków. The Polish carrier also has ample award availability through MileagePlus.

✈︎ Longhaul Fleet: Boeing 787-8 (788) and Boeing 787-9 (789)

💺 Cabin Notes: 2 x 2 x 2 lie-flat configuration on both aircraft and the same seat across the fleet.

LOT Flights to/from Budapest (BUD): Chicago (ORD) and New York-JFK (JFK)

↳ LOT Flights to/from Kraków (KRK): Chicago (ORD)

↳ LOT Flights to/from Warsaw (WAW): Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York-JFK (JFK), Newark (EWR), and Toronto (YYZ)

LOT Polish Airlines Business Class Boeing 787-8 Boeing 787 Dreamliner

LOT Polish Airlines Business Class | Photo Credit: Airline Report

 


 

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United joint venture partner and Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, is one of the most reliable Star Alliance award redemptions in business class. Lufthansa is far from the best Star Alliance business class option, but it is one of the most consistent, with the same seat across the fleet (very minor differences, like larger screens on the A350). Lufthansa has a massive fleet and network, and we’ll cover details in a future post. Longer flights – including US West coast – feature enhanced bedding and pajamas. 

✈︎ Longhaul Fleet: Airbus A330-300 (A333), A340-300 (A343), A340-600 (A346), Airbus A350-900 (A359) and A380 (A388); and Boeing 747-400 (744) and 747-8 (748)

💺 Cabin Notes: Consistent seat across the fleet with minor variations. Note the main deck of the 747-400 is configured in 2 x 3 x 2 (upstairs is always best on any 747).

Lufthansa Flights to/from Frankfurt (FRA): Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Houston-Intercontinental (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Mexico City (MEX), Miami (MIA), Montréal* (YUL),  New York-JFK (JFK),Newark (EWR), Orlando (MCO), Philadelphia (PHL), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC), Seattle (SEA), Tampa (TPA), Toronto (YYZ), Vancouver (YVR), and Washington Dulles (IAD)

Lufthansa Flights to/from Munich (MUC): Boston (BOS), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX), Mexico City (MEX), Miami* (MIA), Montréal (YUL), New York-JFK (JFK), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Toronto* (YYZ), Vancouver* (YVR), and Washington Dulles (IAD)

*seasonal 

Lufthansa Business Class Boeing 747-8 Upper Deck

Lufthansa Business Class | Photo Credit: Lufthansa

Lufthansa Business Class New Bedding for West Coast Flights

New Bedding for West Coast Flights | Photo: One Mile at a Time

 


 

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SAS Scandinavian Airlines has one of the best business class seats across the Atlantic, the Thomson Vantage XL. SAS also offers a consistent product with all longhaul aircraft featuring the new seat and cabin** (note the one exception below). The cabin finishes are delightfully Scandinavian with truly incredible attention to detail. The carrier recently purchased an entire stock of vintage Champagne to serve in business class. Cheers! 

Also check out SAS’ new brand identity here. 

✈︎ Longhaul Fleet: Airbus A330-300 (A333) and A340-300 (343)

💺 Cabin Notes: **One A340-300 (ex-LAN Chile) is not reconfigured – you can track that aircraft here. The other seven A340s and all A330s feature the new cabin.

SAS Flights to/from Copenhagen (CPH): Boston* (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Miami (MIA), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), and Washington Dulles (IAD)

 SAS Flights to/from Oslo (OSL): Miami (MIA) and Newark (EWR)

SAS Flights to/from Stockholm (ARN): Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami* (MIA), and Newark (EWR)

*seasonal 

SAS Scandinavian Airlines Business Class Thomson Vantage XL Seat

SAS Business Class | Image: TheDesignAir

 

SAS Business cabin

SAS Business Class | Photo Credit: SAS

 


 

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Lufthansa Group subsidiary SWISS operates longhaul routes primarily out its Zürich hub. In 2015, SWISS introduced its stunning flagship Boeing 777-300ER with some of the most thoughtfully designed cabins. Check out details on the PriestmanGoode-designed cabins from blog TheDesignAir.

✈︎ Longhaul Fleet: Airbus A330-300 (A333) and A340-300 (343); and Boeing 777-300ER (77W)

💺 Cabin Notes: Boeing 777-300ER aircraft have a nicer seat and newer cabin. A330 and A340 are consistent in business class, but definitely avoid the A340 in first class.

SWISS Flights to/from Zürich (ZRH): Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Montéal (YUL), New York-JFK (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO)

SWISS Flights to/from Geneva (GVA): New York-JFK (JFK)

SWISS Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Entryway Business Class and First Class

SWISS Boeing 777-300ER Entry | Photo: SWISS

 

Swiss Business Class Boeing 777-300ER

SWISS Business Class Boeing 777-300ER | Photo: TheDesignAir

 


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TAP Portugal’s only consistency is inconsistency, especially in regard to the carrier’s various business class configurations. Until the Portuguese carrier receives its first A330neo I would not recommend booking TAP across the Atlantic.

✈︎  Longhaul Fleet: Airbus A330-200 (A332), A330-300 (A333) and A340-300 (A343)

💺 Cabin Notes: Inconsistent across the fleet with multiple different configurations.

TAP Flights to/from Lisbon (LIS): Boston (BOS), Miami (MIA), New York-JFK (JFK), and Newark (EWR)

TAP Flights to/from Porto (OPO): Newark (EWR)

TAP Portugal A330 Business Class Configuration

One of TAP’s Many Configurations… | Photo: Aviation Tribune

 


 

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Turkish Airlines is consistently one of the easiest Star Alliance partner flights to book using MileagePlus. The carrier has a massive network, flying to more than 120 countries. Turkish flies Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a subpar (although still lie-flat) 2-3-2 configuration and Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft in a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration. Like Austrian, Turkish is best known for its DO & CO catering and onboard chef. The flagship lounge at Istanbul is also incredible.

I flew Turkish business class last summer from Chicago (ORD) to Istanbul (IST) on the 777-300ER. The food was fantastic–everything else was not. The service bordered the line of distant to completely disengaged; drink refills were unheard of, and the meal service took nearly three hours. I was traveling with two friends, so the three middle seats were actually ideal for us. Bottom line, I wouldn’t rush to fly Turkish again soon, but I also would not actively avoid it (especially given its massive global network).

✈︎ Longhaul Fleet: Airbus A330-200 (A332), A330-300 (A333), and A340-300 (A343); and Boeing 777-300ER (77W)

💺 Cabin Notes:  Mostly consistent lie-flat configuration on flights to the US, although some A330 have older (but still lie-flat) herringbone seats.

Turkish Flights to/from Istanbul Atatürk (IST):  Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Houston-Intercontinental (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Montéal (YUL), New York-JFK (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Toronto (YYZ), and Washington-Dulles (IAD)

Turkish Airlines Business Class A330

Turkish Business Class A330 | Photo Credit: PriestmanGoode

 

Turkish International Business Class Dining Transatlantic DO & CO Catering

Turkish International Business Class Dining | Photo: Turkish Airlines

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8 comments

Pam June 26, 2018 - 12:26 pm

You forgot Eithiopian

Reply
Sam Roecker June 26, 2018 - 12:28 pm

Good catch! Thanks, Pam.

Reply
Natalie June 26, 2018 - 7:54 pm

You forgot Singapore air too. They do two routes on fifth freedom flights to the USA.

Reply
Natalie June 26, 2018 - 7:55 pm

Oops sorry i missed the small print! Ignore that 🙂

Reply
Sam Roecker June 26, 2018 - 8:22 pm

Thanks for reading, Natalie! Working on a follow-up post for the more unique Star Alliance routes across the Atlantic 🙂

Reply
Natalie June 26, 2018 - 9:06 pm

Yay! Can’t wait! Been following your blog since 2015 and love it! 🙂

Reply
Sam Roecker June 26, 2018 - 9:08 pm

We love hearing that, thanks!

Reply
United MileagePlus Saver Business Class Awards Chicago Europe July 3, 2018 - 9:03 pm

[…] 🌟  Guide on Star Alliance business class cabins […]

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