The World’s Most Luxurious AirlinesPosted on November 24, 2009 by DaveThough most people are finding it tough financially, which means having to curtailextravagant living, there are plenty who have no problems getting their mitts on money. Thismeans those who are used to living the high life can carry on regardless and indulge in theirluxurious side. And on everyone’s luxury list is a well-earned break. But who to fly with?Here we present some of the most luxurious airlines in the world and what they have to offerthe discerning well-heeled traveler.1. Virgin AtlanticImage: FatmonkeyAlways wanting to be seen as the hip and happening airline, Virgin Atlantic’s Upper ClassSuite offers a colourful cabin where passengers can meet each other in a relaxed atmosphere.With free massages on offer, no set meal times and an attractive bar area, Virgin is a popularchoice with those who like all the trimmings but not necessarily all the stuffiness of a luxuryairline.
Other perks on offer: Complimentary chauffeur driven car service to and from the airport,drive thru check-in at Heathrow, Gatwick and Johannesburg, and fully reclinable flat-bedseats.2. EmiratesImage: PYONKOEmirates have been a consistent contender in the luxury market over the last few years, withan attentive service and excellent reputation. They offer private cabins in first class, wherethe seat converts into a 2m long flat bed, and in-flight amenities include a 23 inch LCD flatscreen and personal mini bar. Business class seats are very roomy, with deep reclining sleeperseats, and frequent flyers are able to customize their entertainment systems with theirpersonal choices for use on future flights.Other perks on offer: Laptop charging, SMS, phone and email are all available from yourseat. First class passengers enjoy a seven-course meal prepared by top chefs and accompaniedwith a wide selection of fine wines.
3. Thai AirwaysImage: Richard MorossIf you’re planning on flying to or through Bangkok any time soon be sure to leave a fewhours in your travels to visit Thai Airways’ first class lounge at Bangkok’s newSuvarnabhumi Airport, which this year was awarded the World’s Best First Class Lounge bySkytrax. Offering a luxury spa, massage rooms, a fine dining area, deluxe seating areas andstate-of-the-art visual entertainment rooms, a visit to the lounge is worth booking a luxuryseat alone. On board, Thai’s first class and business class sections offer wide seats thatconvert to flat beds, an excellent in-flight entertainment system and an exquisite menuselection that is fast making Thai Airways known as ‘Restaurant in the Sky’.Other perks on offer: First class passengers are able to pre-book their six-course meal priorto the flight. Complimentary Dom Perignon Champagne is available, as is a limo service.
4. British AirwaysImage: HowardOne of the granddaddies of luxury flying, British Airways has been around since just afterWorld War I in one guise or another but their luxury offerings are far from old hat. Theircabins hold an understated luxury that’s synonymous with the British way of life and variesfrom plane to plane. On the Boeing 747 and 777 aircrafts there are ‘demi-cabins’ boastingseats that extend to an impressive feet and six inches in length. Passengers can enjoy diningat a time that suits them, and if you’re flying from London you can order a ‘Catch of the Day’freshly caught that morning in Loch Fyne, Scotland.Other perks on offer: Dine on the ground in one of BA’s elegant land lounges prior toboarding a night flight to maximise your sleep time in the air.
5. Singapore AirlinesImage: Richard MorossThere was much fanfare a few years ago when Singapore Airlines revealed their new firstclass suites on the A380. Replete with recliner seat and separate bed area, the cabins are,without doubt, the ultimate luxury in air travel. Although, their first class and business classseating areas are none too shabby, either. First class beds are made up with your own down-filled mattress, duvet, and pillow by air cabin staff, and in business class 30 inch-wide seats,which convert to a flat-bed, are in a 1-2-1 configuration so offer ample space ensuring you’vegot your own slice of luxury.Other perks on offer: Snacks and drinks are available at a passenger area throughout theflight. Medium-haul business class seats offer all-in-one business panels. All seats havewidescreen TV with extensive in-flight entertainment system.
6. QantasImage: David LytleNicknamed ‘The Flying Kangaroo’, Australia’s main airline is also the world’s second oldest,founded in 1920. Since then, their services have just got better and better, offering first,business and premium economy seats. Fully flat beds in first class are available on the Boeing747–400 and Airbus A380 only, so if you’re going to book them you’d better be quick. Eachpod has a 17 inch wide screen HD TV with a whopping 1,000 programs to choose from, sothere’s no chance of being bored during the flight, either. And in business class on demandcontrols allow you to watch what you want, when you want. First class passengers are alsotreated to a unique dining experience, where all meals are freshly prepared on board andcanapés are served before an appetising eight-course tasting menu. How indulgent!Other perks on offer: As Qantas is part of the oneworld ® alliance, passengers are invitedinto any other participating oneworld ® airline lounge worldwide where a Qantas lounge isnot available.
7. Cathay PacificImage: Richard MorossOperating out of Hong Kong Airport, one of the busiest hubs in South East Asia, Cathy hasbeen servicing the luxury flier for many years. It’s not only their attentiveness to passengersthat makes people fly with them time and time again, but the level of comfort offered onboard, on both their first and business class cabins. With just six to nine seats in first classyou’re sure to be pampered throughout the trip. Each seat has a massage function, personalcloset and ottoman. The business class seats are laid out in a herringbone configuration,which offers the ultimate in privacy, but a lonely flight if you’re traveling with a friend orpartner.