International airlines take the excitement of air travel to the next level, especially when embarking on a journey from the US to Europe. For travelers anticipating their first time in Europe, these flights aren’t just a means of transportation—they serve as an introduction to the culture awaiting them at their destination. (This is especially true when you pick an airline that is the flag carrier of your destination.) 

Passengers can sample European foods, watch foreign films on the flight, or tune their ears to the local language by paying attention to the announcements and conversations around them. This introduction makes the trip across the pond a chance to learn more about your destination and set the stage for your vacation.  

Long-haul flights offer various classes that range from budget-friendly to world-class service. Picking the service that fits your desired price doesn’t have to mean giving up comfort. Many airlines now have premium economy and comfort classes, a middle ground between business class and economy. 

Choosing the suitable class involves researching and comparing the offerings from different airlines, ensuring that the one you select aligns with your budget considerations and comfort preferences.

In this article, we’ll review what seasoned travelers believe makes an excellent transatlantic flight experience and trends you should consider. Then, we’ll recommend some immersive cultural experiences international airlines provide on flights from the US to Europe. Finally, we’ll offer essential information you should know before booking your ticket! 

Setting the Scene: The Transatlantic Flight Experience

If you’re planning your first trip abroad, you’re probably wondering what to look for in an airline. After all, if you have nothing to compare it to, determining what makes an airline stand out can be a challenge. Even still, you likely have certain expectations for your trip and want an airline that doesn’t disappoint. 

If you have traveled to Europe before, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same excitement! The airline industry is constantly changing and growing to meet the demands of modern travelers. 

What Makes a Great Transatlantic Airline?

Although most airlines offer a variety of classes and experiences to please travelers of all backgrounds and budgets, most people agree that the best airlines have the following things in common. 

  1. They offer affordable prices.

While providing all travelers with their desired services is important, the best airlines provide reasonably priced options alongside their more luxurious fares. This cost range extends beyond an affordable economy class and includes transparency. Travelers should know what is included (and what’s not) so they can make an informed decision before booking. 

  1. The seats are comfortable.

The best transatlantic airlines know that long flights drag on and on when passengers are crammed and uncomfortable. The best airlines provide ergonomics, leg room, and reclining seats to avoid cranky passengers and keep travellers coming back. They also offer seats with extra legroom for a minimal fee, so those who need it have options. 

  1. They have reliable, convenient schedules.

A nine-hour layover may not seem like a big deal when you’re getting a great price, but take our word for it—it’s not always worth the savings. Arriving overtired when you are already jetlagged isn’t ideal. The best airlines offer short connection times and have plenty of direct flights across the Atlantic. Moreover, they rarely experience delays or cancellations. 

  1. They aren’t stingy with baggage. 

Depending on how light you can travel, baggage cost may be one of the most important factors when booking transatlantic flights. Still, even light travelers may be surprised that not all airlines allow them to take a full-sized backpack as a personal item. The best airlines include a carry-on and personal item allowance in the base fare. 

Trends in Transatlantic Flights

The best airlines ensure they’re up to date with the newest technology and trends to continue to meet passengers’ expectations. If you want to experience the latest and greatest that modern air travel offers, explore airlines that include the following on their flights.

Digital Flight Management

Most airlines have apps that allow you to check in, track your baggage, check your flight status, and purchase extras on your flight. For example, American Airlines passengers can even see whether their bag has been boarded on the plane before takeoff! Meanwhile, Aer Lingus allows you to use their app as a remote for your seatback monitor so you can comfortably manage your in-flight entertainment system. 

Health and Safety Measures

Cleanliness isn’t something we take for granted after going through a pandemic. Airlines know that passengers are more concerned about their health than they used to be, so the best ones have policies that require the aircraft to be cleaned and sanitized between flights. 

Lie Flat Seats

Airlines are revamping their first and business classes to incorporate lie-flat seats. While these fares may be considerably more expensive, they turn your flight into a relaxing experience in the skies. 

Innovations in Aircraft Technology

New airbus aren’t just more comfortable—they also use less fuel and emissions. In addition, they feature charging ports and have faster WiFi speeds than ever before. 

Top Airlines for Business Class Travel to Europe

In addition to the factors above, business class passengers want to ensure they get the best bang for their buck. After all, business class isn’t the same on every airline. They vary in seating configurations, quality of service, and amenities. Here are some of our top picks for transatlantic flights on European airlines! 

Lufthansa: German Efficiency and Luxury

Lufthansa has one of the best reputations in Europe, making it a popular choice for travelers who prioritize comfortable seats, reliability, and quality service. They have nonstop flights to Munich and Frankfurt from several cities in the USA. However, anyone seeking premium service should check out their flight offerings, not just those heading to Germany. Their routes can connect you to most major European countries, such as Italy, Greece, and Spain!

British Airways: A Touch of British Elegance

British Airways offers a lot of convenient routes from North America thanks to its partnership with American Airlines. With many flights stopping in London, the potential for shorter flight times to various European destinations adds to the appeal of choosing British Airways. 

One of British Airways’ notable strengths lies in its Club World cabin, the business class offering that exudes luxury and comfort. Passengers in Club World enjoy spacious seats that convert into fully flat beds, providing a restful environment for long-haul flights. The thoughtful design of the cabin emphasizes privacy, and the amenities include premium bedding, noise-canceling headphones, and an exquisite dining experience. 

Air France: French Gastronomy in the Sky

This French airline is renowned for its cuisine, serving exceptional food and wine in business and first class on its routes across the ocean. It has flights from nearly two dozen cities in the United States, with possible connections from other cities thanks to the SkyTeam alliance. Most flights fly directly to Paris, but it’s often the best option for other popular destinations in France, such as Nice or Lyon. 

Unique Offerings and Niche Airlines

The best-known airlines aren’t always the best pick! We recommend exploring these unique European airlines if you’re open to trying new things. They offer the right combination of affordability and quality, along with an exceptional travel experience. Here are some of our favorite perks!  

Aer Lingus: The Irish Experience

Aer Lingus is an Irish airline based in Dublin. They offer a unique perk for transatlantic passengers: the ability to clear U.S. customs before boarding the plane in Dublin. This advantage allows the airline to fly directly to less frequently offered routes like Cleveland or Hartford. There’s no need to clear customs before you fly to Dublin or after you arrive in the United States, making it a breeze to fly with Aer Lingus.

Aer Lingus offers passengers the ability to bid on available business class seats that go unsold, making it possible to score a great deal at the last minute while securing the route you want in advance. 

SAS Scandinavian Airlines: Nordic Efficiency

Travelers interested in destinations in Northern Europe, such as Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen, or Stockholm, should consider flying with SAS. They have routes worldwide, including Asia, Africa, and, of course, the United States and Canada. 

Travelers love that SAS is committed to reducing emissions and strives to meet short and long-term goals centered around the environment. These admirable aims combine with excellent service and hospitality, making the whole experience delightful. 

Tips for Choosing the Best Airline to Europe

When it comes down to it, the best airline for you depends on factors like destination, budget, and preferred class. While the airlines we suggested may be the best choices for your desired flight, it’s important to consider all other great airlines that fly transatlantic. 

Factors to Consider

Thankfully, many U.S.-based airlines you may frequently use for domestic travel also fly internationally. If you’ve racked up miles with United, Delta Airlines, or American Airlines, you can use those miles to book transatlantic flights or upgrade your ticket to a better class. 

Even airlines that don’t fly to Europe may partner with airlines that do. For example, United is part of Star Alliance, which has expanded its network to include flights on Air New Zealand, Turkish Airlines, Swiss Air,  Singapore Airlines, and more. 

Meanwhile, Delta Airlines is a member of SkyTeam, so they partner with flights operated by KLM, Emirates, Alitalia, Air Europa, and Czech Airlines. 

American Airlines customers can access flights from Iberia, Qatar Airways, Finnair, and British Airways thanks to the OneWorld partnership.  Booking with your preferred airline allows you to earn miles when booking while exploring destinations outside their normal routes. 

You may be tempted to save a quick buck by booking with low-cost airlines like RyanAir to hop from country to country once in Europe. If you go this route, keep in mind that delays are frequent, and you may have to pay extra for luggage included on your transatlantic flight.

We recommend looking at the various airlines listed on our website, where you can find more information about each. Doing so will help you narrow down your options based on the services you’re interested in.

Comparing Prices and Services

Once you’ve narrowed your flight options to a few airlines, your best bet is to compare the quality of the service with the price. You may decide it’s worth a few extra bucks to fly on an airline you trust instead of trying a new one on a long-haul flight. Or, you may go for the best deal in business class, regardless of the airline. Flight search engines can help you compare prices for your desired route, so use these to your advantage. 

Embark on Your Adventure with Business Class Experts

The airline you choose can make all the difference, but thankfully, there are a lot of resources out there that can help you pick the one that meets your needs! The time you spend researching and comparing your options will pay off, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable and exciting flight to Europe. 

Learn more about the airlines suggested in this article by contacting us directly at Business Class Experts. We can provide personalized recommendations, help you find the best price, and even assist you through the booking process. Give us a call or email us today