While Flying Blue remains one of the most basic pillars of SkyTeam award flight redemptions, First Class are still among the hardest ones to score. Today, we’re diving into the world of First Class redemptions using Flying Blue, a topic that for us is both exciting and a bit complex.
In this post
- First things first: which airlines offer First?
- The good, the bad, and the status
- Finding First Class awards with AwardFares
- Routes with availability
- Want more award travel intel?
- Read more
First things first: which airlines offer First?
Not all SkyTeam airlines roll out the red carpet, but these six fly high with dedicated first cabins:
1. Air France (La Première)
La Première is undeniably one of the most luxurious first-class experiences in the sky. On the Boeing 777-300ER, you’ll find just 4 suites arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, offering ultimate privacy and spaciousness. Each suite boasts a fully-flat bed that’s over 7 feet long, a 23-inch HD touchscreen entertainment system, and a separate ottoman that can be converted into a dining table.
Image from: Callum Elsdon
The A380 offered an even more exclusive experience, with only 9 La Première suites on the upper deck. These suites were even larger and featured sliding doors for even more privacy. Sadly, Air France retired their A380s in 2020, but the La Première experience on the Boeing 777-300ER is still top-notch.
2. China Eastern Airlines
China Eastern’s First Class cabin on the Boeing 777-300ER is another great option, especially for those looking for a more affordable luxury experience. The cabin features a few seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, each with a fully-flat bed, a 17-inch IFE system, and plenty of storage space.
The airline also offers a great selection of Chinese and Western cuisine, as well as attentive service from a multilingual crew.
Image from: One Mile At A Time
3. Garuda Indonesia
Garuda Indonesia’s First Class cabin, branded as “First Suite,” is pure luxury. The airline’s Boeing 777-300ERs feature 8 First Suites arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, each with a sliding door for ultimate privacy. The suites are spacious and well-appointed, with a fully-flat bed, a 23-inch IFE system, and a minibar.
But the real star of the show is the food. Garuda Indonesia offers Michelin-inspired menus on select routes, featuring dishes created by renowned Indonesian chefs. The airline also has a wide selection of Indonesian and international wines and champagnes.
Image from: Garuda Indonesia
4. Xiamen Air
Xiamen Air’s First Class cabin is a bit of a secret, as the airline only operates a limited number of routes. But for those lucky enough to snag a seat, it’s a real treat. The cabin features 8 First Class seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, each with a fully-flat bed, a 15.4-inch IFE system, and plenty of storage space.
The airline offers a mix of Chinese and Western cuisine, as well as attentive service from a multilingual crew.
Image from: Airline Reporter
5. Korean Air
Korean Air’s First Class cabin, known as “KosmoSuite,” is another great option for luxury travelers. The cabin features 12 KosmoSuites arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, each with a fully-flat bed, a 23-inch IFE system, and a minibar.
The airline also offers a great selection of Korean and international cuisine, as well as attentive service from a multilingual crew. However, there are some restrictions to be aware of. Korean Air’s First Class is only available on a limited number of routes, and award availability can be difficult to come by.
Image from: Korean Air
Saudia’s First Class cabin, known as “Al Fursan,” is a luxurious option for travelers to the Middle East. The cabin features 12 Al Fursan seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, each with a fully-flat bed, a 23-inch IFE system, and a minibar.
The real highlight, however, is the focus on Arabic hospitality. Passengers can expect a warm welcome, attentive service from multilingual crew members dressed in traditional attire, and a menu featuring gourmet Arabic and international dishes alongside a curated selection of Arabic coffee, dates, and other delicacies.
Image from: Saudia
7. Delta One (Bonus)
While technically classified as Business Class, Delta One on select Boeing 777-200LR and Airbus A350-900 aircraft offers a First Class-like experience. The Delta One Suite features a sliding door for privacy, a fully-flat bed stretching over 7 feet, a large 17.9-inch IFE touchscreen, and ample storage space.
The airline also boasts an excellent food and beverage selection, featuring dishes created by renowned chefs and a curated wine list. Additionally, Delta One passengers enjoy priority boarding, lounge access, and personalized service from a dedicated flight attendant.
Image from: Delta
So, while not technically First Class, Delta One is a strong contender for those seeking a luxurious and comfortable transatlantic or transpacific travel experience, particularly on routes not served by airlines with dedicated First Class cabins.
The good, the bad, and the status
Now, here’s the reality check: award availability in these First Class havens can be elusive. Let’s break it down:
- Air France La Première: Only Flying Blue Platinum members can unlock this secret menu (though some award seats open up closer to the flight date).
- Korean Air and Saudia: Sadly, their First Class remains a no-fly zone for Flying Blue redemptions.
- The Rest: Technically open to everyone, but finding award space feels like winning the lottery – rare and exhilarating.
Finding First Class awards with AwardFares
1. Go to AwardFares
2. Under Frequent Flyer Program, choose Flying Blue
3. Tap on Cabin and select First Class only
4. Under Departure and Destination, specify origin and arrival airport(s)
For example Shanghai (PVG) to Melbourne (MEL)
5. Choose a date
Or use the Timeline view to explore flights for different dates.
6. Expand details, filter by price
Use the search results header to sort by price and see the cheapest redemptions on the top. Tap on any results to see the final price including taxes and fees.
7. Check seat maps
Tap on the Seat Map icon to check available/occupied seats on the flight you are interested in.
Routes with availability
Doing some research AwardFares, it’s easy to filter out and see available seats in First Class only. These are some of the routes that present good availability using Flying Blue miles.
|Route with Link
Example of Garuda Indonesia CGK to Amsterdam AMS in First Class:
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