It is always nice to find yourself on a comfortable airline no matter how long your flight might be. Some airlines seem to have more comfortable cabins on short flights, while others seem to have better seats and more leg room on their long haul planes. Often, this just depends on which airplanes in the carrier’s fleet are newer. Anyone who has taken a long flight knows that it is much more preferable to have a comfortable seat when flying overseas than it is to be comfortable if you are only going to be in the air for an hour or two. Certain airlines stand out above the rest when it comes to overall comfort and positive passenger experience on long haul flights. These carriers have more leg room, more comfortable seats, and better food. While every airline offers a higher level of comfort to people flying in premium classes, some stand-out airlines even give economy-class flyers a great long haul experience.

Here are the best airlines for flying long haul in economy class.

It is always nice to find yourself on a comfortable airline no matter how long your flight might be. Some airlines seem to have more comfortable cabins on short flights, while others seem to have better seats and more leg room on their long haul planes. Often, this just depends on which airplanes in the carrier’s fleet are newer. Anyone who has taken a long flight knows that it is much more preferable to have a comfortable seat when flying overseas than it is to be comfortable if you are only going to be in the air for an hour or two. Certain airlines stand out above the rest when it comes to overall comfort and positive passenger experience on long haul flights. These carriers have more leg room, more comfortable seats, and better food. While every airline offers a higher level of comfort to people flying in premium classes, some stand-out airlines even give economy-class flyers a great long haul experience.

Here are the best airlines for flying long haul in economy class.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific
Photo: Tom Mascardo 3 / Flickr

This airline is a standout when it comes to service. Always ranked as one of the world’s best carriers, Cathay Pacific is a favorite for people who are flying into Asia from the US, Australia, and Europe. Famous for their ultra-luxurious first class cabins (with lie-flat seats and a private seating area), Cathay’s economy class is also noteworthy on its transcontinental planes. Shell seats mean that people can recline without moving their seat-back (and disturbing the person behind them). This also leads to better-than-average leg room. In addition, Cathay’s stand out food service and customer-friendly staff make them an obvious choice for people seeking a high level of comfort for their next long haul journey to Asia.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines
Photo: mroach / Flickr

Like Cathay, Singapore Airlines is known for its first class cabins on long haul flights. The first class cabin is actually made up of individual “suites,” which offer lots of amenities and complete privacy. This higher level of service does trickle down to economy class, where the carrier offers class-leading leg room and great personalized entertainment options. Economy-class food that won’t stand up when compared to the first class offerings, but will certainly beat almost every other airline’s economy meals in a taste test. Singapore Air’s New York to Singapore route is one of the longest in the world, but no carrier is better equipped to give passengers on such a lengthy flight a comfortable time in the sky.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways
Photo: Deanster1983 / Flickr

Named the world’s best airline in 2012, Qatar has a superb economy class. It boasts extra wide seats and leg room that is comparable to both of the East Asian airlines mentioned above. The personalized entertainment options and decent food are also part of this airlines long haul attractiveness. Qatar might not seem useful for most flyers, but it can be a good option for people seeking connecting flights from Europe to Asia and Africa.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic
Photo: contri / Flickr

Virgin Atlantic is known for its unique approach to passenger service. Leg room in economy class lags behind the industry leaders, but Virgin does have some very unique amenities, including personalized entertainment, a complimentary headset, and a free package with other in-flight items. In-seat power makes it possible to charge devices like tablet computers and iPods while in flight. Complimentary meals are offered on all intercontinental flights. Virgin also has a “premium economy” class, with better food, larger seats and more entertainment options that standard economy.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines
Photo: PhillipC / Flickr

Hawaiian Airlines is one of the highest rated carriers in the US. Though most of its flights are between the Hawaiian Islands, it does offer regular service to Hawaii from both sides of the Pacific. The carrier features free in-flight drinks and meals on flights from the US mainland (one of the only carriers to continue to offer free meals and beverages on domestic flights in the US). Most airlines, especially those in the US, only offer such services to premium class passengers, but even economy class passengers on Hawaiian receive these perks.

Have you had a great long haul flying experience? Let us know what airlines you think belong on our list of the best airlines for long haul flights in economy class.

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One comment

Best Airlines for Long Haul Economy Class Flights

  1. I agree with most of the comments on the airlines above for economy seating, remembering 98% of all passengers on any plane are usually in economy and that is where the attention to detail is finally being given by World Airlines.
    I travel to the Far East a couple of times a year and have used just about every airline, and being very tall (6ft. 5 ins in \’old money\’) these are my top airlines for best economy seating and service on long haul;
    Emirates on the A380-800 British Airways on their old but airworthy 747\’s, Cathay Pacific, Qatar on their Airbus A330\’s (?) and the most uncomfortable was Singapore Airways on their cramped economy A380 (and awful food) and the worse long haul of all time was with Air France! However, one good star for them, the food was fantastic. Pity the economy seating on that old Boeing 777 was not us to the same standard.

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