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The Business Traveler U.S. Award Winners: Airlines and Cabins

Airplane wing / Photo: Tomasz Kubis/Shutterstock

These Business Traveler U.S. Award winners provided exceptional service for flyers this year. Find out which airlines’ business, first and premium economy cabins earned top marks, and whose cuisine and wine programs satisfied in the sky. Plus, the winners for Best Private Fleet, Best Airline Alliance and more.

Delta Air Lines

Eight Business Traveler U.S. Awards

Delta Air Lines cabin / Photo: Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines dominated its North American competitors by receiving eight Business Traveler awards this year. The Atlanta-based carrier continues to lead the way in a post-pandemic era that has drastically reshaped how people travel. Read more about why the airline won eight awards this year, including Best Airline for Domestic Travel and Best Frequent Flyer Program.

Virgin Atlantic

Best Premium Economy in the World

Virgin Atlantic cabin / Photo: Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s new planes are packed with unique design touches and an emphasis on comfort. The product improves the passenger experience with spacious seats, better ergonomics and the airline’s irreverent personality. Flashy amenity kits, pre-departure glasses of champagne, and improved catering make this section of the plane attractive. The airline offers premium leather seats with 38″ of pitch, 18.5″ of width, and a 13″ touch screen with more than 1,000 hours of entertainment, as highlighted in their glossy in-flight magazine, Vera. Meals are crafted by celebrity chefs and served on china with glass and silverware. On the ground, Virgin offers a more expedited check-in process. Flying Premium Economy on factory-fresh Airbus A350 and A330neo aircraft should be a treat.

United Airlines

Best North American Airline Premium Economy

United Airlines cabin 777-300 / Photo: Courtesy of United Airlines

Since its introduction in mid 2019, United’s Premium Plus cabin has rapidly grown in popularity. Upgraded perks begin on the ground, allowing passengers to check in with two free bags. Onboard, spacious seats feature 19″ of width and 38″ of pitch, adjustable leg rests, footrests, a power outlet, USB charger, and a 13″ touch screen. United offers noise-canceling headphones on long-haul journeys, a set of Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, and an amenity kit with Sunday Riley skincare products. An improved meal and beverage selection includes a hot main course, dessert and plate of fruit. On some trans-continental routes, complimentary alcoholic beverages are included. Following an inaugural year filled with weak reviews, United has made major improvements in the category.

Singapore Airlines

Five Business Traveler U.S. Awards

Singapore Airlines First Class Skyroom / Photo: Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

The pioneer of First Class travel has done it again. Find out why Singapore Airlines clinched five awards this year, including Best Business Class in the World and Best First Class in the World.

Turkish Airlines

Best Transatlantic Airline

Turkish Airlines / Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines

Being the biggest airline in the world in terms of international destinations served while keeping standards high is no easy task. However, Turkish Airlines continues to raise the bar with its impeccable short-, medium- and long-haul network. With a fleet of 324 planes averaging seven years of age, the airline reaches almost every corner of the globe, offering a consistent service with a product that is hard to beat. Young Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A350-900s are deployed on routes from the Americas, offering transatlantic passengers a timely and quality-oriented experience, enabling them to continue their journey after a quick stop at the stunning Istanbul Airport.


Best Budget Airline
Best Food and Beverage on Domestic Business Class

JetBlue Mint Suite / Photo: Courtesy of JetBlue

How many carriers can be named the best budget airline yet serve the best business class meal on its flights? JetBlue can. This friendly yet tenacious budget-oriented airline rapidly evolved from flying between secondary airports in an all-economy class setting to competing in the domestic business class market through its Mint product. The airline continuously updates its in-flight menu with the assistance of fine dining restaurants like New York-based Legacy Records, which recently crafted a special NYC-oriented menu for the airline’s premium passengers, featuring unique in-flight dishes such as flat-iron steaks. Now flying overseas to London and potentially merging with Spirit, JetBlue has an interesting road ahead.

Etihad Airways

Best Airline for Sustainability

Etihad Airways Greenliner / Photo: Courtesy of Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi’s flag carrier, Etihad Airways, plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. According to the airline, for any emissions they produce, the same amount will be removed from the atmosphere. The airline has removed more than 40 single-use plastic items from Business Class and 100 in Economy, saving 17 tons of landfill waste annually. The airline’s new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners and Airbus A350-1000s will be part of the Etihad Greenliner program, trialing new technologies that tackle key sustainability issues in aviation with the greenest airplanes available to date.


Best Airline Alliance

Oneworld / Photo: Courtesy of Oneworld

Winning the hearts of fast-paced, high-spending business travelers is part of what Oneworld strives to do every day. The alliance’s numerous perks, including its three tiers of status—Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby—continue to set it apart from competitors, which offer only two tiers and fewer benefits for customers. Even though Oneworld is the smallest airline alliance, the easy-to-reach Ruby status, along with the perks customers receive when attaining it, makes it a favorite. With American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas as the alliance’s leading carriers, Oneworld customers enjoy ample coverage through its members’ destination network.


Best Private Fleet

VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500 / Photo: Courtesy of Vistajet

Private Maltese jet-for-hire company VistaJet boasts a fleet of Bombardier jets, ranging from the smaller Challenger 305 to the world-class, ultra-long-range Global 7500, capable of flying from New York to Shanghai on one tank. The luxurious private jet company—an official supplier to the Ferrari Formula 1 team—has grown from a small Zurich-based firm to one of the world’s premier fleets. The company’s revolutionary business plan is based upon a multiyear subscription program that allows customers to enjoy guaranteed availability on any route and any aircraft within VistaJet’s fleet. With the range its planes provide, VistaJet easily links customers and their destinations.