A long time ago, flying first class internationally meant that you were handed a glass of champagne as you entered the plane, you got a little bit of extra room and your bed reclined to roughly 45 degrees. Hopefully, these days are in the past. International airlines – mainly the ones based in Asia and Middle East – compete in a serious race to offer passengers the most luxurious accommodations in the sky.
This list is not for the ones planning a trip overseas on a cost-effective budget. These first-class cabins are the best of the best – the most luxurious and at times ostentatious cabins operating routes to and from the United States. These airlines offer caviar, personal chefs, airport limousine service, the best champagne and last but not least, beds tha t recline completely flat. Here is our list:
Singapore Airlines Suites
Highlights: Private check-in at Singapore Changi Airport (including a private jetway directly to the plane from the lounge), excellent food from famous chefs, including Alfred Portale and Georges Blanc, and an optional double bed.
The extras: Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries kit and Givenchy pillows, blankets, pajamas and slippers.
Emirates First Class
Highlights: With wood and gold accents in the decoration, a bar area, on-call dining options and airport limousine service, Emirates’ First Class was the standard for opulent airline service that worked as role model for all other airline companies.
The extras: Private shower suite complete with heated floors and Bulgari toiletries kit.
Cathay Pacific First
Highlights: Not the cabin itself, but a lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. At the Wing Lounge, you have the option of spending your time in a “cabana”, fully equipped with a shower, vanity, bathtub, chaise, wardrobe and bath robes.
The extras: Luxury amenity kit from Aesop. Sleep suit designed by PYE.
Lufthansa First Class
Highlights: Lufthansa’s first class aboard the Airbus A380 has one of the most spacious seats in the skies. On top of it, a lay-flat bed. Krug Grande Cuvée champagne, a great collection of fine wine and food, and a number of entertainment options are all standard.
The extras: A private driver to escort you directly to the jetway, Fleuresse cotton sheets, noise-canceling insulation and a Braun Buffel amenity kit including toiletries by La Prairie.
Etihad The Residence
Highlights: The most opulent cabin of the list. The Residence features a seating room with space for two guests complete with an entertainment system and high-quality beverages.
The extras: Gold-plated cutlery, a 32-inch TV, complimentary Bose noise-canceling headphones, separate private bathroom with shower and a bedroom with an 82-inch-long bed and a living room.