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

March 11, 2015

Hello again, flyers. I have this little bitty problem. See, I got upgraded one time on a flight from New York to Madrid, and it spoiled me for life. Business class on a transatlantic flight is not something we take lightly around here – it can turn 6 hours or more from nightmarish to nearly pine. The food is much better, the seats are large enough to curl up in, and the crew is incredibly nice to you. Please understand, I’m not trying to brag; I’m trying to explain why now, every time I take a long flight, my mind wanders back to that one journey and I sigh wistfully. So, in honor of the first class tickets we all want and can’t afford, we’re presenting you with the most incredible in-air experiences offered around the world – and far above it. Read, yearn, sigh…just remember to keep your mouth closed. Nobody likes drool.

Even cats want to fly in style. And some do. Seriously.Even cats want to fly in style. And some do. Seriously.

First class on Etihad has a great reputation, and with good reason. Their chefs are among the best in the world, let alone the airline industry. First class seats are more like suites – each has a seat that, with the touch of one button, unfolds into a bed (a long bed – 6 feet, 8 inches). The seats also rotate 180 degrees, so you can eat dinner with a friend or have a meeting while in flight. The privacy shell lets you get into the aisle easily while still keeping you shielded from prying eyes. Oh, they also provide you with pajamas – Swarovski encrusted pajamas. Sounds good, huh? Frankly, with fares for a round-trip first class ticket from New York to Abu Dhabi starting at about $14,000, it had better be even better than it sounds.

Etihad airlines premium air travel experience

Alright, Singapore Airlines, you’re up. Singapore in general is an incredibly luxurious airline, but in first class on board their A380, it’s taken to a whole new level. The suites have sliding doors, so they’re basically their own compartments. Singapore already had large seats (so large that the seatbelt comes up in the middle, and passengers are given a pillow to fill the extra space), but they’ve upped the ante yet again with the suites. The new seats are their largest yet, and are hand-stitched by Italian artisans. Or you can try out their industry first – standalone beds, rather than lie-flat seats. These come with a turndown service, as well. As far as the food goes, the airline is already known for excellent food, and suite passengers get all the benefits of their in-flight cuisine and then some. They also get Givenchy pajamas and Ferragamo toiletries. There are only twelve of these suites per plane, making it an incredibly exclusive option. What number is even more exclusive than twelve? Try twelve thousand – because that’s about how many dollars you’ll pay for a suite-class round-trip ticket between LAX and Singapore.

First class suite on EmiratesHer headphones block out the sound of the paupers in the back of the plane. Also known as us.

Lastly, Emirates. Emirates is one of the youngest airlines in the skies, but it’s also gained a reputation as one of the most luxurious. They also have private suites onboard their Airbus A380s, but what sets them apart isn’t in the seats – it’s in the bathroom. Several of Emirates’ first-class cabins have bathrooms that come with a shower. Granted, it’s on a five-minute timer, but it’s still a shower. In the sky. And don’t worry about pesky liquid limits – they’ll give you a shower kit. The onboard lounges give passengers a chance to stretch their legs while getting a drink and socializing (because, you know, some people apparently enjoy talking on flights). And back at your seat, you’ll find a complimentary minibar, skincare products, your cushy leather sleeper seat, and of course the in-flight entertainment. You’d better really want it, though, because first-class round trip between New York and Dubai? Well, it’ll run you about $20,000.

I was going to say it’s worth it, but that’s a lot of money.I was going to say it’s worth it, but that’s a lot of money.

So there you have it. Three of the best in-flight experiences you can have – even if they will cost a substantial chunk of change. But hey, if I had the money, I’d fly like that – and I bet you would too. Have you ever had an incredible in-flight experience? Or is there an airline on which you really want to try out first class? Let us know in the comments! Happy travels!