10 of the Most Over-the-Top Flight Amenities Available in First Class
Airlines are one-upping each other in order to attract first and business class passengers who demand one-of-a-kind inflight service, high-end amenities, and cuisine from award-winning celebrity chefs. And that’s just the beginning.
Take Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. For travelers with deep pockets, it offers The Residence, a three-room suite including a living room, a separate bedroom with a double bed pristinely tucked in Pratesi fine linens, and a private bathroom complete with an en-suite shower. If that weren’t enough, the cabin comes with your very own personal chef—meals will be served on 24-karat gold-plated tableware as well as crystal glassware designed by Vera Wang for Wedgwood—and a dedicated butler. Said butler will be in constant contact with a concierge team on the ground that can book tables at top restaurants in London or hard-to-get theater tickets in New York City. If you’re traveling with kids, the Flying Nannies program—entertaining kids with crafts, magic tricks, and more—is sure to appeal.
Read on for 11 more airlines that make flying something to be enjoyed, not just endured.
This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
If top-tier design is what you’re after, Finnair’s Airbus A350—which flies between Helsinki and Beijing, Bangkok, and Hong Kong—is worth checking out. The tableware and textiles are designed by iconic Finnish design house Marimekko, giving business class a distinct Nordic touch. For the ultimate in mood lighting, the LED glow in the cabin gradually changes to suit the time of day, destination, or season. This upgrade from shades of grey allows for a choice of up to 16.8 million colors and custom programs—including one inspired by the Northern Lights. You’ll be breathing comfortably, too, as the air filtration system refreshes the cabin air every 2-3 minutes.
Are you one of those people who is always hot (or cold)? Well, the individual adjustable temperature zones were made for you. Another perk of business class? Female passengers have a dedicated ladies’ room, which is stocked with cosmetics and other supplies. Also, when you’re in Helsinki, make sure to drop by the traditional Finnish sauna in the premium lounge—a layover never felt so relaxing.
Every Seat's an Aisle Seat
ANA is the first Japanese airline to have a fully-flat staggered seat configuration on select aircrafts, making every seat an aisle seat with 50 percent more room than conventional layouts. You’ll be far from bored with more than 300 programs of digital on demand movies, videos, music, and games on a 17-inch LCD widescreen touch panel. Sony noise-canceling headphones are given out to ensure no neighbor is a bother. Plus, passengers in ANA’s select business class cabins can enjoy cuisine curated by Michelin-starred Chef Albert Tse of the Conrad Tokyo and Chef Antonio Cardoso of the Conrad New York. The seasonal menus are served in conjunction with specialty cocktails, fine wines, champagne, and, of course, plenty of sake.
Who wouldn’t love a complimentary chauffer service to and from the airport? Emirates offers this perk in 70 cities worldwide, for its business and first class passengers—you can go to your hotel, favorite restaurant, or straight to work—and that’s just the start. Once you board first class, you can slide the doors closed and enjoy a private suite complete with a minibar, vanity table, and mirror to freshen up when you arrive—available on A380 and A340-500 aircrafts, and on most Boeing 777s. Then, rejuvenate in the onboard shower spa with a selection of Bvlgari toiletries and signature Timeless Spa products. If afterward, you’re feeling fresh-faced enough make friends, head to the onboard bar and lounge, where you can munch on canapés and sip a glass of champagne. Service like this leaves no excuse for under-eye baggage at arrivals.
Meals by a Celebrity Chef
If you’re headed to Fiji, you’re in for a treat. Fiji Airways ensures culinary perfection in its business class created by Fiji-based celebrity chef Lance Seeto. With the goal of introducing Fijian culture and hospitality before even touching down on the islands, the authentic dishes include the native iTaukei among Indian, Chinese, and British cuisine. From the Yadra Vinaka breakfast (good morning in Fijian) to the specialty cocktails crafted to reflect a Fijian sunset, the airline exudes warmth and friendliness. Beautiful hand-crafted Fijian Masi art, made by locals, can be seen throughout business class, offering a cultural preview to those venturing to the South Pacific Islands.
If you’ve ever tried to snooze in a suit mid-air, you’ll appreciate Qantas’ thoughtful amenities for tired firstclass travelers. You’ll get 100% cotton jersey two-piece PJs embroidered with black kangaroos, slippers, socks, an eye mask, and a kit with SK-II skincare and toiletry products. When traveling with your special someone, you’ll be happy to see the seats convert to a fully-flat, extra-wide bed with space to host a companion if you’d rather lounge and play cards. When it’s time to eat, the inflight sommelier can help you decide how to pair your eight-course tasting menu. Add to that complimentary chauffeur service to the airport—on select routes—and fast-track immigration upon arrival, and suddenly this long-haul flight seems very, very do-able.
Meals by Chef Daniel Boulud
Flying La Premiere and Business class on Air France means enjoying dishes created by world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud whose background in classic French technique inspires such dishes as Atlantic lobster, Provençal lamb chop, and seabass in vine leaves. Inflight wine and champagne options are refreshed every two months. After a full meal, you can snuggle into your 6.5-foot-long seat-bed, which has an additional mattress for comfort and a pure Merino wool blanket to bring on the coziest of zzz’s.
Carpet Made From Flight Attendant Uniforms
Sustainability is something we should all be concerned with and KLM takes that to a new level in its World Business Class by using carpet made from recycled flight attendant uniforms. The uniforms were used to spin new yarn, which was incorporated into the blue star design of the carpet. In addition to the eco-friendly fabrics and calming colors designed by Hella Jongerius, you’ll savor the space in your 6-foot-9-inch sleeper seat, one of the longest in the industry. The new seats offer a 20% increase in space and a privacy canopy will provide your own individual haven conducive to work, play, or relaxation. When hunger calls, settle in with a three-course meal created by Michelin three-star Dutch chef Jacob Jan Boerman, available on routes out of Amsterdam.
Salvatore Ferragamo Amenity Kits
From exclusive suites on board the A380 aircraft to the Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits, Singapore Airlines takes luxury up in the air to a whole new level. On the A380, which operates out of JFK and LAX, the airline has 12 luxury suites that are completely private, making it your own little abode in the sky. The large, height-adjustable tables can transform into a workstation office, a meeting-room table, or your dining spot. The suite also has a companion chaise seat, luggage stowage space, and a personal coat closet. When it’s time to turn in, the bed is separate from the seat itself and comes with full-size pillows, fine linens, and turndown service. If you’re traveling with your mate, beds in the middle two seats can be converted to an optional double bed. The only thing missing is the Dom Pérignon and Krug Grande Cuveé, but not for long, as they’re both served onboard.
A 6-Foot-7-Inch Flat Bed
If you’re tall, Business Premier on Air New Zealand is made for you. The soft leather armchair converts into a fully-flat 6-foot-7.5-inch bed, ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. The Kiwi dining experience is created by Auckland- and London-based chef Peter Gordon and includes innovative takes on specialties like lamb shank and seared venison fillet. If you’re flying with kids, make sure to hit the lounge in Auckland, which includes a Kiwi treehouse area for the wee ones. It has books, interactive toys, and plenty of games to keep them occupied. Adults will love the barista-brewed coffee, 24 different styles of seating, and food theater with cooked-to-order cuisine.
A Sommelier-Approved Wine List
Wine connoisseurs are sure to be impressed by LAN’s award-winning wine list, which has been hand-picked by South America’s master sommelier, Hector Vergara, for the past two decades. Annually, he starts with 600 bottles and picks the best 30 to be served on LAN. While enjoying your wine and fine fare, you’ll have access to more than 1,300 films, TV programs, music selections, and games. Plus, on LAN’s 787-9 Dreamliner there are larger windows for a true birds’ eye view, an in-seat lumbar massage system, advanced air humidifier technology to reduce fatigue and dryness, and pressurization of the cabin to a lower altitude—6,000 feet instead of 8,000—to reduce the likelihood of headaches and jet lag. When you’re ready for bed, the Premium Business Class seats recline to a full 180 degrees.