Though most people are finding it tough financially, which means having to curtail extravagant living, there are plenty who have no problems getting their mitts on the money.
They’ll most certainly want to indulge in some classy getaways and fly with as little hassle as possible. Besides that, everyone’s schedule has a well-earned break on it. But who to fly with? Here we present you with some of the most luxurious and best airlines in the world and what they have to offer a discerning well-heeled traveler.
1. Virgin Atlantic
Always wanting to be seen as the hip and happening airline, Virgin Atlantic’s Upper-Class Suite offers a colorful 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 popular choice with those who like all the trimmings but not necessarily all the stuffiness of a luxury airline.
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-bed seats.
Emirates have been a consistent contender in the luxury market over the last few years, with attentive service and excellent reputation. Private cabins in first-class come with seats that convert into a 2m long flatbed. During your flight, a 3-inch LCD flat screen, and a persona` mini bar will enable you to fly like a king or a queen. Business class seats are very roomy, with deep reclining sleeper seats, and frequent flyers are able to customize their entertainment systems with their personal choices for use on future flights.
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Other perks on offer: Each seat has access to laptop charging and phones with SMS and email capacities. First class passengers enjoy a seven-course meal prepared by top chefs and accompanied with a wide selection of fine wines.
3. Thai Airways
If you’re planning on flying to or through Bangkok any time soon be sure to leave a few hours in your travels to visit Thai Airways’ first class lounge at Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi Airport, which this year was awarded the World’s Best First Class Lounge by Skytrax. Offering a luxury spa, massage rooms, a fine dining area, deluxe seating areas, and state-of-the-art visual entertainment rooms, a visit to the lounge is worth booking a luxury seat alone. On board, Thai’s first class and business class sections offer wide seats that convert to flat beds, an excellent in-flight entertainment system and an exquisite menu selection 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 prior to the flight. You’ll also be able to get your hands on some Don Perignon.
4. British Airways
One of the granddaddies of luxury flying, British Airways has been around since just after World War I in one guise or another but their luxury offerings are far from an old hat. Their cabins hold an understated luxury that’s synonymous with the British way of life and varies from plane to plane. Boeing 747 and Boeing 777 aircraft have seats that extend to an impressive foot and six inches in length. Passengers can enjoy dining at 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.
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Other perks on offer: Dine on the ground in one of BA’s elegant land lounges prior to boarding a night flight to maximize your sleep time in the air.
5. Singapore Airlines
There was much fanfare a few years ago when Singapore Airlines revealed their new first class suites on the A380. Replete with recliner seat and separate bed area, the cabins are, without doubt, the ultimate luxury in air travel. Suffice it to say that their first class and business class seating areas are as comfy and enjoyable as they get.
Other perks on offer: Medium-haul business class seats offer all-in-one business panels. All seats have a widescreen TV with extensive in-flight entertainment system. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to get some snacks for the movie!
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Nicknamed ‘The Flying Kangaroo’, Australia’s main airline is also the world’s second oldest, founded in 1920. Their services have only been improving since then, adding business and then premium economy seats. Boeing 747–400, and Airbus A380 have nice flat beds in first class, which are extremely popular so if you’re going to book then you’d better be quick. Each pod has a 17-inch widescreen HD TV with a whopping 1,000 programs to choose from, so there’s no chance of being bored during the flight, either. And in business class on demand controls allow you to watch what you want when you want. First class passengers are also treated to a unique dining experience, where all meals are freshly prepared on board and canapés are served before an appetizing eight-course tasting menu. How indulgent!
Other perks on offer: As Qantas is part of the oneworld ® alliance, passengers are invited into any other participating oneworld airline lounge worldwide where a Qantas lounge is not available.
7. Cathay Pacific
Operating out of Hong Kong Airport, one of the busiest hubs in South East Asia, Cathy has been servicing the luxury flier for many years. It’s not only their attentiveness to passengers that makes people fly with them time and time again, but the level of comfort offered on board, on both their first and business class cabins. With just six to nine seats in first class, you’re sure to be pampered throughout the trip. Each seat has a massage function, personal closet 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 or partner.
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Other perks on offer: Get your very own sleepsuit or pajamas in first class, and Agnes b, Murad and Dermalogica products in the business for the ultimate in in-flight pampering.