When one has the dough to spare, there are possibilities that literally touch the sky. Gone are the days when the basics in air travel were enough to satisfy the high spender; now is the time for indulgence in ultimate luxury. Airline companies have introduced much innovation in their facilities within the aircraft, to separate themselves from competition, and keep their elite customers vouching for their services. After all, it’s now about celebrating and indulging in air traveling. This list features luxurious first-class and business-class seating to satisfy the most demanding travelers. So, take a look at our picks.
First class luxury cabins/suites
1. Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 VIP cabins
Much was known within a short time in the world of air travel for the Airbus A380 aircraft, which happened to be the largest passenger aircraft known. And the space and size was indeed put to good use, with the ultimate luxury features in their VIP cabins, which included amenities like personal suites for individuals or couples, leather seating and full sized beds, 23-inch flat screens TV sets, choice of 100 movies and 180 TV programmes to choose from, apart from the personalized butler service which accompanies the gourmet cuisine to opt from.2. US Airways Envoy Suite
For those who wish to do business, even after covering a long distance in their air, the US Airways Envoy Suite just might be the right choice. Using this concept in numerous aircrafts such as the A330-300, A330-200, B767 of the Airbus, it gives the moneyed executives everything that they ought to wish for, if not more. With extra-wide seats for comfortable seating, the envoy suites are actually miniature versions of personal cabins, with every amenity with a hand’s reach. With a food and beverage menu including oriental cuisines like Chinese, and more common like American ones, passengers have the option of various vegetarian or non-vegetarian delicacies to choose from. Flat screen TVs with a choice of 25 hours of Television programmes, 20 movies, along with 50 CDs and 30 audio channels - all on demand, along with amenities kit which includes everyday supplies are just some of the things the passengers get. Since modern day business travelers are rather tech savvy, there are opportunities to connect ones laptop in the front table itself along with the Wi-Fi internet on board. The different aircrafts we mentioned before have different sitting capacities, but facilities are generally the same.
3. Etihad Airways Diamond 1st class suite
The Diamond 1st class suite on the Etihad airways is the perfect example of what the flavor of luxury is in the Gulf region. The diamond 1st class suite is an exclusive range of seats for the passengers, which can be later converted into a private suite, if one wishes to take rest or require greater privacy. Some of the amenities include the 23-inch TV set, mini-bar, changing room, seat convertible into flat-bed, connectivity ports for laptops and personal communication devices, all for each passenger. Just when you might feel hunger pangs, you would have professionally trained Food and Beverage managers from famous restaurants to cater to your gastronomical needs.4. Jet Airways private cabins
For a decent duration of time, Indian flights didn’t have much to offer on the luxury front, but it all changed when Jet Airways bought in their private cabins. Taking a complete U-turn from the mundane long haul flights in cramped spaces, Jet Airways offered something out of the convention with their private cabins, each with 26 sqft of space. With gourmet cuisine and rare champagnes such as Dom Perignon and Krug on offer, each passenger can enjoy meals for 2 on their long haul flights, all within the classy privacy of their cabins. Other major notables include the 23-inch TV set, 200 hours of movies and programmes to choose from, and when it’s time to take a nap, the seat doubles up as a 7-foot long bed to relax in.5. Lufthansa 1st class cabins
Utilizing 2 of the world’s most eminent jumbo jets, the Boeing 747 and Lufthansa Airbus A380, Lufthansa has other luxury suites on offer, for their elite clientele in their flights. One of the main changes seen in these 1st class cabins are the extra spaces provided for each passenger. The seat which doubles up as a full-sized bed is primarily constant, but the other amenities like the bathroom feature greater space for the dressing, bathing and toilet area, each individually demarked along with greater privacy in each area through installation of sound proof curtains. Other luxuries include the on-demand audio-video capabilities with high resolution screens to absorb all the multimedia around.6. Singapore Airlines Singapore suite
When luxury air travel comes into the picture, it’s almost impossible to keep Singapore Airlines out of the picture, as the state owned airline is known for its modern luxurious amenities on board, such as the Singapore suite. Each passenger is treated to amenities like separate space for sitting on the leather chair, and an individual full-length bed, apart from a separate leather arm-chair, and also ample luggage space in each of these suites. If you have the need to change your dressing, be assured of privacy in your suite which has been given sound-proofing treatments, and designer upholstery for aesthetics. We hear that designer Poltrona Frau has involved in the designing of much of the cabins, especially the full length closets. For dining, there are multiple cuisines on offer along with rare Dom Perignon and Krug champagnes on the menu to opt from.7. Japan Airlines Jal Private suites
When it comes to Japanese luxury, one can expect minimalistic designs with hi-tech add-ons, something which is fairly apparent in the Japan Airlines private suites, called ‘Jal’ suites. The compact and multi-functional cabins provide space for each individual passenger to sit across the amply spaced chair, which can then be converted into a full length bed. Multimedia capabilities include the 19-inch screens meant to show you a plethora of movies or live TV, along with options for plugging in your personal computing devices. For couples travelling together, the double accommodation suites are on offer as well. What’s more catching is that all of these capabilities are put in such an economical area of space, without compromising on luxury, though designer leather upholstery might be the only missing factor, which we saw in the earlier options. The aircraft used for housing these suites are the Boeing 777-300 ER planes, known for being highly customizable, and offer plenty of space to innovate with.8. Emirates Airlines private spa suite
Another luxury offering from the Gulf based airline services is the Emirates Airlines private spa suite, which indeed has something extra to offer its 14 lucky passengers; a complete private spa with whole range of treatments on the menu. One can say that this concept is a serious break from the traditionally known facilities of gourmet cuisines and multimedia loaded cabins, and something which refreshes the passengers after each journey aboard the flights. Each suite, apart from the now usual amenities like entertainment system and private bars, provides for complete privacy in the 1 person shower room, which gives its guests a 5 minute shower, all controlled via a software system with indicators for time. From what we came to know of it, it currently plies on the Dubai-London route, and if opted for, could include a private chauffeured luxury car, to one’s hotel or destination in each of these locations.
UPDATE: Emirates Airlines First class Tour. Courtesy: YouTube user Volterrific.
9. British Airways First Class Cabins
When talking luxury and sophistication, there is little to keep the British away. The British Airways suites are perfect examples of the style and luxury of the country of origin. Amenities aboard their exclusive B777 aircraft include extra wide convertible beds cum chairs, along with mood lighting, and 15-inch entertainment system. Since the modern day traveler is a gadget friendly one, there is the USB integrated multimedia system, RCA jack, noise cancelling headsets, electronic blinds, along with leather about tables to use at one’s convenience. The décor and ambience carries the apparent theme that one can associate with brands like Aston Martin and Jaguar that have put the European nation on the world luxury map.
10. Singapore Airlines Sky/First class suite
Singapore Airlines like most top end brands has more than a single option for its elite customers. It is company which also uses multiple Boeing B777-300 ER and B-747-400 aircrafts, which have the award winning Skysuite and First Class suite for its elite group of customers. Very apparent in its style of décor pertaining to the brand, they have characteristic amenities like extra broad beds-cum-chairs, complete entertainment system with 23-inch screens, USB ports, along with general amenities like plush soft linen or bed cover and pillow covers and the optional duvet too. These suites are also sound proof, giving the much needed privacy to the passengers. For those who like enjoying gourmet cuisine, the menu offers a splendid variety of multi-national cuisine to choose from. In case one wants to retire for a much needed nap, the personal turn-down service by the attendants is also an option.
1. Cathay Pacific Business Class
Though similar in some respect to the first class options, but the stature of luxury wasn’t as elite for these Business class seating arrangement of Cathay Pacific. After going through some prominent corporate level changes, facilities like the seating were also changed. Now passengers can dine, sleep, work, read or just relax all within the same seating space, which has been given extra wide designs, with a unique shape to cocoon the guests in comfort, especially on long haul flights. These seats were fitted with entertainment systems including the 15-inch LCD TVs with hundreds of movies and shows on demand, apart from a plethora of choice for music and video games. Also the multi-port USB connectivity helped to plug-in iPads and other personal computing devices, aided by the help from the control panel. When it comes to retiring at the end of the day, a simple few maneuvers could convert the seat into a 2 meter bed to relax on.2. Delta U.S. lie-flat seats
Introduced as a part of the business class, the Delta Airlines lie-flat seats were the first examples in US based flights. The features which set it apart were the reclining seats, adjustable to 3 comfort positions and conversion to a 6 foot 3 inch bed, entertainment system with fold out video monitor, foldable and height adjustable dinner tables, plus personal storage spaces for bags, shoes and other luggage. Also, the entertainment system allowed passengers on-demand movies and TV, along with a plethora of 12 video games to get entertained on. There was also a built-in system with which passengers could directly connect to the main aisle for services of the airline staff, without disturbing any of the fellow passengers. On the whole, it came with modern and stylish shaping, and the airline branding colors of blue and silver.
3. Air France Business Class
This option might not have been as detailed as some of the other business class aircrafts, but certainly was a fair competition to the others. This class of seats was actually re-introduced with enhancements over previous designs with new variety for customers’ dining, greater comfort in each seat with broader seats and fixed foot rests, and the 15-inch screens for entertainment and multimedia usage. The control panel too saw some more practically viable changes suited to the target passengers. Check-out more about Air France business class seats here.
4. Qantas Business Class seating
In the age of cut-throat competition in every industry, Qantas Airlines went on a spree to differentiate itself from much of the competition. It was one of the first to offer designer made unisex sleeping clothes and toiletries kit for the passengers amongst other amenities. The seats were however generally spaced out, with a very soothing black and maroon color combination for design. The flexible seating arrangement meant that consumers could stretch out to take naps on long haul flights when needed.
5. American Airlines Next Generation business class seats
Plying on Boeing 767-300 and 777 aircrafts, the next generation of American Airlines Business class seats, got the much needed futuristic upgrades it lacked. At the core, the concept was same, but the ergonomics changed with a more suitable set of up gradations, including the in-flight on demand video entertainment, overhead bins, the extendable, or rather the convertible seatings with possibilities for changing from seats to a make-shift bed, along with the extendable tray. Also each passenger was given his/her own amenities kit for keeping up their health and overall comfort.6. Swiss Business Class seats
From what we know of, these seats were one of the first to be introduced anywhere in the world, with the theme of ‘Bed above the clouds’. What this meant, was referring to the flexible seating positions, which each passenger could adjust his/her seat to, as per needs; from soft water-bed like texture to a firm one, everything was now in the control of the passenger. Also the foot rests weren’t ordinary, as they had multi-speed foot massagers so that passengers could relax reading or entertaining themselves on the multimedia system aboard their flight. There was device integration too with USB connectivity, and iPod socket along with noise cancellation headphones for an optimum experience. Even the aesthetically designed side panels for stationary were new too. Check-out more about Swiss business class seating here.
Introduced by the Korean owned Business air carrier Asiana Airlines, these new seats were a fresh and rather stylish additions for the premium segment of business travelers. The name itself is quite the mystery, which later unfolds into various interesting aspects; ‘Oz’ stood for the airline’s code, ‘Quadra’ stood for the 4-new additions to the seating arrangements, and ‘Smartium’ referred to the smart design of the new seats. These 4 new additions included the 74-inch long flat-bed seats, privacy features, direct access to the main aisle to contact service staff members, and the staggered layout which offered space, as well as the advantage of an optimum number of seats in various sections. Other amenities included the storage space for guest luggage and stationery, foldable dining and cocktail tables, power outlets and even USB ports with the multimedia system on board.
Also, check-out Top 10 most luxurious aircraft interiors.