Luxury at Cruising Altitude: 5 Uber-Extravagant Airline Cabins You Must See

Luxury at Cruising Altitude: 5 Uber-Extravagant Airline Cabins You Must See

These stunning experiences include designer bedding, the finest bubbly, and spas in the sky.

By Karen Gardiner

For many, air travel has lost the allure of glamorous days gone by: the days when flying was a pleasure, passengers dressed for the occasion (the horror of sweat pants as traveling wardrobe not yet a remote dream) and flight crew catered to every whim, with a smile. Yet, all is not lost if resources permit: Relive that golden age and travel like a true Bravolebrity by flying in one of these luxurious airline cabins.

1. Singapore Airlines First Class

Singapore Airlines describes its new First Class experience as “your private sanctuary in the sky.” It’s an apt description. First-class passengers enjoy private cabins with sliding doors and window blinds, and seats (designed with BMW Group DesignworksUSA) that recline to become double beds topped with crisp Givenchy-designed linens. But it’s the additional treats that might have you reaching for your credit card. Passengers are welcomed aboard with Dom Perignon, Ferragamo amenity kits, and outstanding meals created by the airline’s Culinary Panel of celebrity chefs. The meals, which can be preordered and customized through the “Book the Cook” service, are complemented by an extensive wine and champagne list and served on Givenchy china. 

2. Etihad Airways “The Residence”

Flying Etihad’s The Residence some time soon? You can look forward to a luxurious experience that begins curbside at the airport as you are greeted by an Etihad Concierge and whisked off to a dedicated check-in reception. Then it’s on to the exclusive Etihad First Class Lounge, with five-star dining, or to the Six Senses Spa for pre-flight pampering with a range of complimentary (or, more accurately, included) treatments. Once on board, you can stretch out in your private Poltrona Frau leather-furnished three-room suite, order from an a la carte menu, sleep on an Egyptian cotton-clad double bed, then freshen up before arrival with a shower in your en-suite bathroom.

3. Emirates First Class

Emirates also offers the rare pleasure of showering at 35,000 feet with its spacious A380 Shower Spa, where you can make use of your Bulgari amenity kit. Once freshened up, you can head for the onboard lounge and mingle with fellow passengers over canapés, and champagne and cocktails served by the in-flight bartender. Afterward, draw the privacy doors closed, turn on the ambient lighting, and enjoy sweet dreams in the comfort of your own private sanctuary.

4. Qatar Airways First Class

Caviar? Check. Lobster? Check. All just part of the celebrity-chef created multi-course meals served in Qatar Airways’ first-class cabins. Complement your gourmet in-flight meal with a selection from the extensive fine wine and champagne list, then visit the sumptuous lounge bar, decorated with gold chandeliers, fresh flowers, and plush leather chairs, for cocktails. Afterward, put on your designer pajamas and relax into a Frette linen-covered flat bed in your own spacious private cabin. Don’t disembark without stashing your exclusive Giorgio Armani gift set.

5. Air France “La Première”

Many airlines claim to offer a first-class experience equivalent to a “hotel in the sky” but only Air France’s La Première, made up of four elegant suites, features beds covered in fluffy Sofitel My Bed duvets. While Air France goes for understated chic over the glitz and glamour of the other airlines on this list, Francophiles will appreciate the effortlessly chic (and très French) cabin design with wood, tweed, and suede accents, the gourmet meals developed by Michelin-starred chefs, and Givenchy amenity kits. 

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