We were recently asked in the forums which airlines operate UK and European flights with lie-flat business class seats.
Booking these flights can often be a good way of experiencing an airline’s business class product without the expense (or time) of flying long haul.
Whilst we have long written about the ability to fly on wide body aircraft between London, Madrid and Helsinki, we thought it was worth updating our list for 2022 given the changes that have happened through covid.
I pulled this list together by running a search for particular aircraft types on Cirium, the aviation data and analytics experts. This search was performed for September 2022. Let us know in the comments if we have missed anything.
Intra-Europe flights with lie-flat business class seats
Remember that this list is based on September 2022 schedules. Whilst the bulk of these routes are permanently running with long haul aircraft, some may not be operating at the moment.
Aer Lingus operates a couple of holiday routes on its A330 aircraft. Some flights to London also get the airline’s latest A321LR aircraft, which is a modified narrow body aircraft with a proper business class cabin. Instead of having these aircraft sitting idle during the day waiting for their return flight to the US, they operate on short haul.
- Faro – Dublin (daily A330)
- London – Dublin (A321LR)
- Malaga – Dublin (daily A330)
- Antalya – Moscow (double daily A350)
- Athens – Moscow (daily 777)
- Belgrade – Moscow (A330 twice weekly)
- Larnaca – Moscow (daily 777)
- London – Moscow (daily A330/777)
- Thessoloniki – Moscow (daily A330)
The A350 features Aeroflot’s latest business class seat, which is very smart looking. The A330s are a bit older and feature an angle-flat seat, whilst the 777s feature a range of products including a 1-2-1 and 2-2-2 business class cabin.
Spanish Airline Air Europa (which you may remember was on IAG’s menu until recently) runs a number of wide body services throughout Europe, including:
- Amsterdam – Madrid (double daily 787)
- Athens – Madrid (twice weekly)
- Barcelona – Madrid (double daily 787)
- Gran Canaria – Madrid (daily 787)
- Milan – Madrid (daily 787)
- Tenerife – Madrid (daily 787)
The 787-9s feature a 1-2-1 layout whilst the older 787-8s have a 2-2-2 layout, but both are flat bed.
Condor, the German leisure charter airline, is launching a number of new A330 routes this summer, including:
- Frankfurt – Mallorca (double daily A330)
- Düsseldorf – Mallorca (daily A330)
These routes are being launched with leased A330-200 aircraft and feature ex-Etihad business class seats so these flights should be quite smart.
Later in the Autumn Condor is expecting delivery of new A330neos.
You probably weren’t expecting to see this Dubai-based airline offering short haul flights in Europe, but Emirates does offer a fifth freedom sector that can be booked separately from the Dubai flights:
- Larnaca – Malta (daily 777-300ER)
Separately from the main discussion here, it is also worth remembering that Emirates runs three fifth freedom routes from Europe to the Americas. It is handy if you have Emirates Skywards miles to burn. These are Milan to New York JFK, Athens to New York JFK and Barcelona to Mexico City,
Another fifth freedom route, this time from an African airline:
- Stockholm – Oslo (daily 787-8)
Finnair operates a number of wide bodies to European cities:
- Amsterdam – Helsinki (double daily A350)
- Brussels – Helsinki (A330 on select days)
- London Heathrow – Helsinki (double daily A350)
The wide body Iberia flights to Heathrow are the ones we cover the most. These are flown for cargo reasons to connect IAG siblings British Airways and Iberia.
- London – Madrid (daily – combination of A330 and A350)
Another fifth freedom route, Kenya Airways operates the following domestic flights in Italy:
- Milan – Rome (twice weekly 787-8)
This flight is actually part of a triangle route: Nairobi – Milan – Rome – Nairobi, so you can’t actually fly from Rome back to Milan on Kenya Airways (unless you want to fly via Nairobi, that is!)
Nordwind is a Russian charter airline. It is scheduled to operate domestic flights:
- Moscow – St Petersburg (A330 weekly)
….although I’m not entirely sure if these feature fully flat business class seats.
You probably weren’t expecting to see Singapore Airlines on this list, but the airline has reinstated a number of ‘fifth freedom’ routes that allow it to operate between two third-party countries.
- Barcelona – Milan (A350 every 2-3 days)
- Copenhagen – Rome (A350 every 2-3 days)
Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ low cost subsidiary, is also running a fifth freedom route between Athens and Berlin, although Scoot only has a premium economy-style forward cabin.
Separately from the main discussion here, it is also worth remembering that Singapore Airlines runs fifth freedom flights from Manchester to Houston and Frankfurt to New York.
Unsurprisingly, Turkish Airlines tops out this list thanks to its continent-straddling location. A lot of these are operated with A330s, which may only feature angle-flat seats.
In September 2022, it is currently timetabling:
- Adana (Turkey) – Istanbul (daily A330)
- Amsterdam – Istanbul (double daily 787/777)
- Ankara – Istanbul (quadruple daily 777)
- Athens – Istanbul (double daily 777)
- Antalya – Istanbul (double daily A330/777)
- Barcelona -Istanbul (double daily A330)
- Berlin – Istanbul (double daily A330)
- Bodrum – Istanbul (daily A330)
- Paris – Istanbul (triple daily A330/787)
- Copenhagen – Istabul (daily A330)
- Düsseldorf – Istanbul (double daily A330)
- Izmir – Istanbul (double daily 777)
- London – Istanbul (triple daily A350/777)
- Rome – Istanbul (daily A330)
- Frankfurt – Istanbul (triple daily A330)
- Hamburg – Istanbul (daily A330)
At least a couple of Turkish Airlines’ A330s are configured for regional flights, which means you’ll be stuck with a premium-economy style seat. I’ll let you do the research on that …..
These flights come with a warning
Don’t forget that you may find last-minute aircraft changes on many of these flights. You are clearly safe if you book Singapore Airlines from Barcelona to Milan, but Turkish Airlines could easily swap to a short haul aircraft for Frankfurt to Istanbul.
Many (if not most) airlines will not consider a change of equipment as a reason for compensation or rebooking.
If you are planning a trip to any of the destinations on the list above, these are the flights to focus on. It should be easier than usual to get Avios seats given the greater capacity.