On-demand meals created by celebrity chefs, skincare by some of the world’s beauty brands and pyjamas that deposit sea kelp into your skin every time you move — these are just some of the many perks that airlines’ first and business class seats could bless you with.
While travelling at the pointy end of the plane has always been special, these days, airlines are upping the ante by curating experiences entirely exclusive to their top-tier cabins. From designer kit bags and leather notebooks you can take home, to a chauffeur-driven car that’ll take you to the airport, here’s what to expect when flying first and business class on these five airlines.
Want to travel first class between the US and Australia? Qantas is the only airline offering it currently, on its Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-Singapore-London routes. The experience starts from the moment you arrive at the airport with lounges in Sydney and Melbourne and, on the other end, Los Angeles. There, guests can dine from a menu designed by Neil Perry or, in Sydney and Melbourne, book in for a treatment at Qantas x LaGaia Spas.
Onboard, guests can order from a la carte menu with a sommelier on hand to advise on matching wines and champagnes. After dinner, get comfy in their expansive armchair seat that reclines into a fully-flat bed. While you slip into Martin Grant-designed pyjamas and matching slippers, a turndown service will see the bed made with Sheridan bedding, a memory foam mattress and your choice from a pillow menu.
Pyjamas that use special tech to gentle release sea kelp when you move, helping to keep your skin hydrated, show just how well thought out the first class experience on Emirates really is. The airline also has two showers on board with heated flooring for when you step out, a bar where you can mingle with other first class guests and an a la carte menu that’s served on the finest Royal Doulton china.
In terms of pamper products, the airline partnered with luxury Italian brand Bvlgari to create a kit bag of fragrances, lotions and other toiletries you’ll no doubt keep when you de-plane, as well as stocks of Byredo skincare in each of its suites. Passengers can dab on an eye cream, apply chamomile roll-on oil to their wrists or temples to better relax and spray a pillow mist that’ll help them get into sleep mode.
While Etihad isn’t operating first class on flights from Australia, you can book into it on flights from London or other select destinations. The fare includes chauffeur service to and from Abu Dhabi International Airport, anywhere in the UAE, as well as access to a lounge equipped with a gym and, of course, showers.
On Etihad B787, guests are treated to a private suite with a full-length wardrobe where you can hang clothes, as well as doors that close for complete privacy. After watching your pick from thousands of on-demand movies and shows, or having a snooze, freshen up with an Acqua Di Parma amenity kit.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand’s top offering is business premier, though that includes a fully-flat bed. The tier is available on flights between New Zealand, Australia and the Islands.
A ticket for it will also get you two pieces of carry-on, three pieces of checked luggage and priority boarding. Also included is lounge access when departing from airports where there is an Air New Zealand branded and operated lounge. On the in-flight menu, expect dishes like spicy Korean chicken, beef fillet and for dessert, pistachio mousse.
Every detail is thought-out on Singapore Airlines. To give you an example of this, extensive research was carried out with lighting experts to determine the optimal colour and intensity of Singapore Airlines’ in-seat lighting.
One step up from first class and available only on A380 are the airlines’ suites. Each suite comes with a fully-flat bed, full-sized wardrobe and an amenity box lined with soft leather. Meals were created by the airline’s international culinary panel, and are served on fine bone china tableware from Wedgwood set atop crisp linen.