Cloud Nine: The World’s Most Luxurious In-Flight Experiences

One good upgrade on a flight can spoil you for life – better food, bigger seats, a more attentive cabin crew. And that’s just in your regular, run-of-the-mill first class. But there are even more luxurious flight experiences out there in the sky, ones that just might put some high-end hotels to shame. After trying one of these, travel will never be the same again.


Singapore Airlines

Onboard Singapore Airlines’ A380 aircraft, you’ll find individual suites with sliding doors and window blinds – all the better to shield you from the prying eyes of the paupers sitting in the back of the plane. The suites also boast one of the first standalone beds in the sky, rather than one that folds out from a seat, and you’ll enjoy it even more with a luxe turndown service – just ask for it whenever you’re ready for some shut-eye. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – before it’s time for bed, in fact, before you even board the plane, you can take advantage of Singapore’s unique Book the Cook service, which lets you request a dish prepared especially for you at any time from when you book to 24 hours prior to departure. And of course, your meal wouldn’t be complete without your choice from the on-board wine list. Another glass of bubbly? Will that be Dom or Krug?


Etihad Airways

shutterstock_198519170Etihad Airways already had the First Suite and First Apartment, but they really upped the ante with The Residence, a three-room suite in the sky designed for up to two guests (that’s more than one room per guest, for those keeping count at home). In the living room, you’ll find a sofa (with ottoman, of course), two dining tables, a 32-inch TV, and a chilled drink cabinet. Your private bathroom includes a shower, and is stocked with toiletries and bathrobes. When it’s time to really relax, retreat to the bedroom, where the double bed is piled high with Egyptian cotton sheets and your choice of pillows. And all that’s just in the air – on the ground, you can also enjoy the Etihad Chauffer, who will pick you up in your departure city and take you to the airport in style, as well as drive you home when you get back. At the airport, Etihad’s lounges only add to the experience, but the true Etihad experience can be found at the Premium Lounge in Abu Dhabi. At this lounge, you’ll find Style and Shave by Etihad, where First Class travelers enjoy pampering express beauty treatments for free, and the Six Senses Spa, where First and Business Class travelers can relax with a massage or even a facial. It makes U.S. lounges look positively dull in comparison.


And then there’s Emirates

shutterstock_167772635Emirates is one of the youngest airlines in the sky, but they’ve gained some serious attention already. Perhaps their most talked-about feature is the Shower Spa, an amazing use of space that offers First Class passengers the opportunity to freshen up at any point during the flight. Shortly before or after takeoff, the select few reserve a half-hour anytime during the flight to take advantage of a five-minute supply of water and a wide array of toiletries. When you return to your seat, you’ll find a plate of fruit with honey dipping sauce waiting for you – because of course you will. This is Emirates, after all. The Shower Spa, though, will only take up 30 minutes of your flight. You’ll spend much more of it in your seat, and if you’re in First Class on Emirates, that’s really not a problem. With sliding privacy doors, you’ve basically got your own little world, but don’t worry if you’re flying with someone – just lower the privacy divider between your seats. Your seat also has a personal minibar, its own vanity table, wardrobe, and a personal entertainment system. Time for bed? Just ask one of the flight attendants to convert your seat into a fully flat bed. And if you need a midnight snack, don’t worry – you can order food at any time without having to leave your seat. You’ll actually be sorry to hear the captain announce you’ve arrived.


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