Review: Brussels Airlines Business Class A330-300 (BRU-JFK)

The last time I flew Brussels Airlines business class was just before the pandemic. I enjoyed it back then and I can now thankfully report that the product has held up well: my flight from Brussels to JFK aboard the A330-300 was a delight thanks to top-notch catering by Do & Co and a spacious throne seat. Despite the lack of wi-fi, this remains one of my favorite ways to cross the Atlantic.

How I booked my Brussels Airlines business class ticket

I redeemed 63,000 LifeMiles and paid $190.55 in taxes and fees for this flight. Those taxes and fees are so high because my itinerary originated in Frankfurt, and Germany has the third highest airport taxes on the planet. Had I originated in Brussels, I would have paid just $81.05.

My flight details were as follows:

  • Brussels Airlines 501
  • Brusells (BRU) – New York (JFK)
  • Departure: 10:35 AM, March 22
  • Arrival: 2:00 PM, March 22
  • Flight Time: 8h 25m
  • Business Class, Seat 5A

Brussels Airlines business class boarding & departure

About an hour before departure, I underwent the typical line of questioning that precedes flights to the US. For whatever reason, the Brussels Airlines employee responsible for preflight security interviews took a special interest in the past six months of trips I’d taken overseas, which meant the process took a bit longer than usual, about 10 minutes.

I boarded the plane shortly afterward and made my way to seat 5A. Within minutes, I was equipped with a pre-departure drink–I ordered a rum and coke–and spicy nuts.

a glass of soda with lemon slice and a packet of chips on a table

At 10:45, we pushed back from the gate and taxied for 10 minutes before taking off.

Brussels Airlines business class cabin & seats

Brussels Airlines A330-300 contains 30 lie flat seats spread across seven rows. Odd-numbered rows are laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, while even-numbered rows are arranged in a 2-2-1 configuration. The best seats in the house are the so-called “throne seats” at 1A, 3A, and 5A which take up the same amount of space as the two seats in front and behind it.

a screenshot of a game

This cabin is only four years old, and it still looks pretty slick. The light wood surfaces and blue seats showed minimal scuff marks, scratches, or stains, and gave the cabin a bright and modern look, in an admittedly staid, Ikea sort of way.

a plane with seats and windows

I was seated in 5A, a throne seat. Brussels Airlines tends to reserve these for elite members until relatively close to departure, but since I booked my ticket only three days prior I was able to pick the seat immediately after booking. I’ve flown in this seat several times before, both on Brussels Airlines and on Austrian Airlines, but was still taken aback by the footprint of this seat. Though the seat itself is no wider than other European and US business class seats, there are two large counters on either side of the seat which make it feel extremely spacious.

a person sitting in a chair in an airplane

On the left side of the seat above the counter is a rectangular storage cubby large enough to store the Brussels Airlines amenity kit.

a black bag in a white shelf on a plane

At leg level on the same side is more storage, essentially two recessed shelves.

a black bag in a white shelf on a plane

On the right side of the seat in front of the armrest is a row of metallic buttons to control the seat and the overhead light. Flipping up the armrest reveals buttons to adjust lumbar support, firmness, and the massage function, as well as an IFE remote control. I noticed quite a bit of dust and grime at the corners of this area and on the edge of the armrest cover.

a close up of a device

Immediately above the righthand armrest on a partition between the seat and the aisle is a latch to release the tray table from its storage slot, allowing it to slide forward and flip down.

a close up of a seat
a close up of a machine

Further up the partition is a pop-out reading light, a three-prong headphone jack, a USB charging port, and a universal power outlet, as well as a grimy leather loop that holds the provided headphones.

a close up of a steering wheel

In front of the seat is a crisp, 15.6-inch display. 

a screen on the side of a plane

Below the screen is more storage, accessible by a rectangular, latched door that flips down.

a hand holding a screen

To the right of the screen is a literature slot.

a tv screen on a table

My only complaint with the seat is the the foot cubby is rather tight.

a blue carpet under a seat

Overall, I was delighted by what I think might just be the perfect business class seat for a long westbound flight–I enjoyed fantastic views through my three windows and was able to utilize the immense counter space on either side of me to work and eat comfortably. Since it was daytime throughout the flight, I didn’t sleep, which meant I didn’t have an issue with the tight foot cubby and slightly too firm seats.

Brussels Airlines business class amenities

A black fabric amenity kit was waiting for me in the storage area to the left of my seat upon boarding. The contents were fairly basic: earplugs, flight socks, eye mask, toothbrush, and lip balm and hand cream by the Brooklyn-based beauty brand, Apotheke.

a group of items on a table

Brussels Airlines entertainment & wi-fi

Brussels’ A330-300s are not equipped with wi-fi, surprising given the planes’ recent refurbishment. The entertainment selection was quite good, with a fairly expansive collection of movies and TV shows, as well as music and an interactive flight map. The 15.6-inch display was bright and crisp and the small remote was easy to use, although felt a bit dirty when I first picked it up.

a hand holding a remote control

The provided headphones were flimsy and produced a pretty poor sound so I’d highly recommend bringing your own.

a pair of black headphones with a roll of paper

Brussels Airlines business class lunch service

My favorite part of flying on Brussels Airlines is the food. Their business class cabins are catered by Do & Co, an Austrian company that I think consistently produces some of the best food in the sky.

I perused the following menu and decided to order the cod for my main. I don’t eat shellfish or meat, so I was disappointed to learn that there was no suitable starter for me. Given how common plant-based diets are nowadays, it’s surprising that there wasn’t a vegetarian option among the list of starters.

a menu of a restaurant
a menu of a restaurant
a menu with text on it

The drinks menu features red and white wines, spirits, soft drinks, coffee, tea, and a superb selection of beers that is unmatched in any other business or, dare I say, first class cabin I’ve ever flown. Any other day I would’ve ordered the Tripel Karmeliet but I was feeling a bit beered-out and opted instead for the 2016 Château Baret instead.

a book with text and images of wine bottles
a menu of beer bottles
a menu of a drink

The cod arrived and, though it didn’t look like much, it was finger-licking delicious. The large gnocchi were fluffy and slightly sweet, and the cream sauce was a creamy, rich acompaniement to a lean fish like cod.

a plate of food on a tray

Brussels Airlines business class bed

Having departed my apartment in Frankfurt at around 6 AM, I was feeling tired and decided to get some rest. Brussels Airlines provides a large pillow and soft blanket, though I would’ve preferred a comforter or something plusher.

a tv on the bed

The seat is quite firm so even though I found it perfectly suitable for sitting, sleeping on it wasn’t particularly pleasant. It wasn’t completely uncomfortable but, had this been a red eye, I probably wouldn’t have slept soundly. I didn’t find the foot cubby particularly problematic, but I could see it being annoying for taller people who sleep on their side.

a tv on the bed

Brussels Airlines business class bathrooms

Brussels’ A330 has two lavatories, one at the front of the cabin and one at the rear, for 30 business class seats. The bathrooms were kept clean throughout the flight and there was never a wait to use them.

a sink in a bathroom

Above the sink were bottles of facial moisturizer and hand lotion from a Belgian beauty brand called RainPharma.

a group of bottles on a shelf

Brussels Airlines business class pre-arrival service

Shortly before landing, passengers were offered a light meal. The only option was an arugula and grilled Asian pear salad with goat cheese, walnuts, figs, and jam which was absolutely delicious.

a plate of salad with fruit and nuts

Dessert, a fluffy white chocolate mousse cake, came on the same tray and was excellent.

a square white plate with a square white object on it

Brussels Airlines business class service

The service on this flight was very good, thanks to the fact that the flight attendant who served as my primary point of contact throughout the flight was incredibly responsive and kind. Unfortunately, the few interactions I had with other FAs were mostly unpleasant owing to an abruptness that I found pretty offputting.

Arrival at JFK

About 20 minutes before landing, we crossed the mouth of the Long Island Sound and turned west towards JFK. The great tradeoff of sitting in a throne seat on a westbound flight is that you won’t be treated to views of the Manhattan skyline upon descent. Had there been empty seats on the right side of the plane, I would have switched for landing but, unfortunately, I was out of luck.

The plane touched down at about 1:25 PM and, after about 35 minutes of taxiing, we pulled up at gate 2 in JFK’s Terminal 1. We deplaned at 2:10 and, thanks to Global Entry, I was through to baggage claim by 2:20.


I really enjoyed this flight. I had a few complaints–no wi-fi, spotty service, lackluster cleaning on certain high-touch areas, overly firm bed–but these were quibbles with an otherwise great product whose excellence was driven by some superb catering. If you’re flying westbound and can snag a throne seat, Brussels Airlines is an excellent option.

  1. You mentioned this was a last minute booking. Do you have an article about that? Benefits, how to do it, etc while you are traveling?

    1. I don’t have an article about it but I will write one! Generally, I book last minute because certain airlines (Lufthansa, for instance) release award seats within 14 days of departure.

  2. Are used to fly them for years between JFK in Brussels and I loved their business class seat. Looks like they have adopted the new SWISS business class seat which at 6’4” I don’t find very comfortable. Do you know if this business class seat is identical to the one on the Swiss 777 aircraft?

  3. Great article, I am planning on flying with this airline and I wanted to know if would you do anything differently as far as your seating and other things go. Thank you

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I’d definitely recommend a throne seat (1A, 3A, or 5A) unless you’re traveling with a partner and really want to be next to them!

  4. I guess they’ve completely stopped the Neuhaus chocolate box as a parting gift? Sad as we’re traveling to Stockholm via SN in a couple of weeks.

    1. I was definitely disappointed by the lack of Neuhaus, though hopefully they just forgot to stock them on my flight and they still give them out on yours!

  5. Nice review!
    Just a detail: Brussels Airlines doesn’t have any young aircraft, their 330s are between 13 and 20 years old.

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