Traveling can be boring and tiresome, but not if you can afford the trappings of first class air travel. With so many features added to modern cabins, long haul flights are now a much more pleasurable experience than in previous years.
Airlines are constantly trying to outdo each other with new perks added to their onboard service every now and then. From plush linen to special chefs on board and in-flight showers, it's hard to imagine a private jet that gets any cozier than these cabins. Read on to find out which airlines have the top ten rated premium experiences. As part of this list we have included the price of a ticket to the shortest destination that each airline flies.
Now, when you see a section of the plane named as an apartment then you know that the service here is nothing but reverential. Etihad outdid themselves with the lavish setting that they put inside their A380.
The seat configuration is an eye catching affair. Each row has a maximum of only two seats with row two to five being First Apartments. The first row has a First Apartment to the right and The Residence on the left. The cabin seats a total number of ten passengers. The First class Apartments come with Poltrona Frau leather seats accompanied by a chaise lounge that doubles up as an 80in bed.
As for entertainment, there are 250 TV shows, 100 films, 16 radio channels, a music catalog with 350 CDs and 60 games to keep you up all through the flight.
Meals on the flight are prepared by a chef designated to the cabin who can whip anything from crab boudin to North Atlantic Cod fillet. The choice is really yours as there is room even for off-menu items. A ticket will cost you $911.
When you talk about raising the bar, Qatar Airways takes it literally. On board the A380 is a champagne bar with gold finished chandeliers and freshly-cut flowers for decoration.
The cabin seats eight passengers, the least for an A380 and with the overhead bins done away with, the ceiling gives the impression of being higher. The seats have a 90-inch wide seat pitch and are the softest and coziest you will find on a plane. They also come with flat beds that have a massage function. You are also provided with Missoni slippers and pajamas.
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In-flight entertainment is Android-based and include a touch screen handset with which to follow the progress of the flight. The Android handset is coupled with a 26 inch piece that has more than 2,000 options to keep you entertained which include box sets, TV shows and movies.
Mealtime transforms the cabin into your own little boutique hotel experience. Of course there is all the caviar you can have but it is their wine choices that are most impressive; Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes Premier Cru Superieur 2008, Joseph Drouhin Clos de la Garenne Premier Cru Puligny Montrachet Cru Puligny Montrachet 2010 and Krug Grand Cuvee are among the selections available. A plane ticket to fly with them will leave a $684 dent in your pocket.
Cathay Pacific Airlines
It has been a top class carrier for several years now and if there is one thing they are not about to do is lower the bar. Cathay Pacific has come up with inventive ways to mollycoddle passengers. The first class suites include leather seats that double-up as beds. The entertainment catalog has a wide selection of video and audio options and a touch screen control panel to adjust the settings to your suite.
Dining aboard the flight is brought up to five star quality thanks to their partnership with the Mandarin Oriental group of hotels. The menu is designed to pay homage to the home city of the airline, Hong Kong. Meals are prepared upon order so you have them fresh. The fare for a trip to Los Angeles from Hong Kong will cost you $9,300.
Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific Airlines
After going through a rough patch that cost them thousands in revenues, the airline parted ways with British Airways, running off with Emirates. The Kangaroo is back on track and is livelier in the skies now than ever before.
Its seats extend to a relaxing 212 cm and doubles up as a bed. They also swivel so that you are either facing your dining partner or facing forward. Their advancement in technology surpasses any other on board a flight. They are the first to use Samsung Gear Headsets that provide virtual worlds as you watch movies.
On board meals are prepared by the re-known Aussie chef, Neil Perry and includes roast pumpkin with sesame dressing and Patagonian tooth fish which are miso glazed with broccolini. The service reminds you that a great airline is not made by just the luxuries it can provide but also service delivery. To get yourself flying first class you will have to cough up $684 across the shortest distance.
Photo Credit: Qantas
Since they got their A380 first, they earned the right to name their first class differently and it is referred to as Suites Class while the others stick to first class. The cabin is a mini-room that has Italian leather on the walls with the shutters taking on the plantation style.
Entertainment is offered on a 23 in screen with 1,000 hours of viewing options to choose from. Ambient lighting, pajamas and slippers do well to set the mood for a good night sleep and when you wake up in the morning there is a mirror and vanity corner to take advantage of.
Singapore Airlines remain the only airline that has both Perignon 2004 and Krug Grand Cuvee as champagne choices which are accompanied by caviar. Singapore first class goes for $1593.
The airline is the world's busiest carrier, flying a whooping 143 billion miles in a year on international flights. It has also brought some changes to the whole airline industry being the first to have showers. Theirs is a wood grain suite with a bit of gold here and there. The suite is fully enclosed. There is also a glamorous on board drinks cabinet and bedding soft enough to suit an Emirati prince. Booking a first seat with emirates costs you $824.
With all the innovations that gulf carriers have unveiled in the recent past, one can be forgiven if they forget that back in 1919, BA was the first to offer a luxury first class experience during their flights between Paris and London.
The seats are made of fabric rather than leather, but are just as comfortable. Onboard entertainment hasn't gotten as much emphasis as some would like, but you are sure to stay entertained. The gourmet meals on board give you the chance to sample Thai shallots, pouched lobster and salmon among other five star meals. The crew makes sure you get your money's worth with their exemplary service. It will cost you about $4970 on a round trip from London to New York.
First class cabins give you a choice between seat options. The Kosmos Suites 2.0 have a sliding door that is diaphanous from the inside. The airline has 79 in seats that give you more than enough snuggle room. The suites have ample space being 26.5 in wide and also include a footrest and adjustable back support that is tweaked with a one-touch control panel. Each seat has a personal LCD screen for your entertainment needs and noise canceling headphones together with a reading lamp.
The onboard bar and caviar will keep your taste for finer things satisfied and to add to this travelers are also served with Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rose 1998. For an air kosmos suite you should be prepared to fork out $5,922.
Photo Credit: Korean Air
The first class suite does not really angle towards glamour, but rather simple sophistication. The suite comes equipped with a lie-flat bed, mattress, pillow and duvet. The seats are ergonomically shaped with intuitive seat controls.
Wine selection is done by Markus Del Monego a renowned sommelier with a taste for the best. The caviar that you will find waiting for you on board will be accompanied by meals from Michelin chefs. With 30 radio channels, 200 TV shows, 300 CDs of music and 100 movies in eight languages there is no time to be bored. A one way flight to Paris from Miami will set you back $7,400.
Photo Credit: Lufthansa
The first class experience with Japan Airlines is intended to be a premium one and boy, did they hit the mark! The wood-grain interior and leather seats make for an atmosphere of relaxation beyond expectations. The suites include 23 in personal TVs and privacy partitions that can be pulled back.
The array of chefs on board are on call to whisk whatever you desire, among them is Chef Yamamoto from Ryugin restaurant. The cuisine ranges from western dishes to traditional Japanese delicacies all served with Salon 2002x. A short flight with this Japanese giant requires you to have $1593 to spend.
Photo Credit:Japan Airlines
Flying first class is more about the luxury than the journey, but you already know that by now. What's your experience flying first class?
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