With all the discount airline carriers and cut-rate travel amenities, it may seem like the airline industry is solely focused on delivering the biggest value quotient possible to travelers. Tiny seats, cramped quarters, and little to no entertainment options define many airline experiences today. Even if you're looking forward to your travel destination, long flights are never fun, especially if they last eight hours or more. Here are several ways you can have a truly luxurious flight experience while flying first class during your next trip.
BRITISH AIRWAYS 787-9 DREAMLINER
This first-class cabin delivers opulently appointed seats, with each passenger having access to their own 23-inch LCD screen. These monitors are controlled by smartphone-like touchscreen remote. Several power plugs and USB ports keep your electronics connected and charged, so you don't have to worry about maintaining your device's battery over an extended number of hours. You'll easily forget about how many hours you have left for your flight with the soft lighting, reclining seats, and incredible food options. A ticket from London to New Delhi costs about $5,000, but you'll definitely arrive in style - refreshed and ready to explore!
AIR FRANCE LA PREMIERE
If the British Airways definition of luxury isn't quite up to par, consider Air France's La Premiere option. Each seat in this first-class section reclines to create a bed, and the entire unit converts into a private suite for the ultimate experience in relaxation. Extra storage areas, a personal coat service, and exquisite food can be enjoyed when you aren't engrossed by the personal flat screen television in each suite. Prepare to spend about $10,000 for a one-way ticket for first class travel to many destinations.
It costs about $15,000 for a first-class seat aboard one of Qantas' premier jets. On the plus side, you'll be spending the next 20 hours enjoying extravagant amenities like designer eye creams and lotions. There's also a full itinerary of in-flight entertainment options, including virtual reality headsets. The reclining chairs in each first-class "suite" fold back for privacy, making your long flight as peaceful and comfortable as possible. The entire experience is made even better with the available fine dining selections and full bar service.
The head of Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, feels airplanes have become too much like airplanes and not enough like hotels. To counter this, the first-class cabins on Etihad flights are truly spectacular and nothing like you've ever experienced before. They treat flyers to a litany of technology offerings, meals prepared by an onboard chef, and incredibly comfortable chairs that convert to beds. Prepare to spend a minimum of $6,500 for a one-way flight to as much as $23,000 for a one-way first-class ticket in the "Residence" - Etihad's three-bedroom suite onboard the Airbus 380.
While many of these first-class options may be beyond the reach of most of today's travelers, airlines also provide plenty of business or "entry-level" first-class seats that can make flying much more enjoyable for a modest increase in fare price. In the end, the destination is the ultimate reward for any time spent on the plane, but it pays to be comfortable by flying first-class.