Ultra high net worth globetrotters have already figured out their favourite first class cabins high in the sky, and it is not all about better legroom or recline angles. Nowadays, it is the extra pampering that comes along with greater physical comfort and the networking opportunities that distinguishes the best in first class travel. Project Luxury & Art reveals our top seven first class cabins. Bon voyage
Etihad has recently rolled out the holy grail of the first class experience—The Residence—aboard the iconic A380 airbus. This is your own private mile high suite, featuring a leather armchair, 6-foot bed and sliding doors, as revealed by Nicole Kidman in the airline’s virtual reality film, Reimagine. A Hollywood-style vanity unit is available for mid-flight touch ups and the first class bathroom allows for an energising shower before touchdown. Head to The Lobby on the upper deck to work or socialise in a space that is inspired by the chicest of boutique hotels. You might just forget that you are in the air.
Regularly topping the list of the best airline seats in the world, Emirates offers one of the most luxurious on-board experiences out there. The devil is in the detail. Sip a glass of its signature Dom Perignon, nibble some caviar and then head to the spacious shower spa (kept pristine by dedicated shower attendants) for a spot of pampering courtesy of the Bvlgari amenities before your turndown service. Even the pyjamas on overnight flights use Hydra Active technology to keep your skin soft while flying. Peckish between meals? Request ‘room service’ via the handset. The ultimate in Arabian indulgence.
Singapore Airlines is the definition of outstanding service and its visually attractive first class compartments are always high on the bucket lists of passengers in the know. The first airline with a double bed in the sky, today the Boeing 777-300ER features the latest in Singapore Airline’s premier offering, with a hand-stitched extra wide seat, extended partitions for privacy and the ultimate in entertainment (including Bose noise-cancelling headphones). The airline prides itself on offering a personal experience to every passenger in first class, so you can choose your meal up to 24 hours before you fly, request breakfast mid-flight, or settle in to sleep. For even more comfort, you can upgrade to a Suite on the A380, which was designed by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste.
Sleek and impeccably designed, the British Airways first class cabin is worthy of a scene from a Bond movie. The patriotism continues with an exclusive Liberty London amenity kit, which includes a crisp white cotton duvet and soft cotton pyjamas. On the new 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, the number of first class seats is reduced from 14 to 8, allowing for an even larger screen and other additional upgrades recommended by its first class passengers. Your ticket includes a complimentary concierge service from Quintessentially, bag pick up and check-in by AirPortr, as well as an invitation to the Concorde Room—the most luxurious lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and New York’s JFK Terminal 7, with private cabanas and state-of-the-art business suite. Jolly good show.
Described as ‘your home above the clouds’, SWISS First offers standard priority boarding, generous baggage limits and triple miles for members. With eight fully reclining first class armchairs on long haul flights, the first class cabin maintains a quietly exclusive air. The menu is taken care of by a new Maître de Cuisine every three months, currently Michelin-starred chef Thomas Neeser, a member of the Grandes Tables de Suisse, whose restaurant Les Saisons at Grand Hôtel du Lac Vevey is a gastronomic delight. Four times a year passengers are treated to the SWISS Connoisseur Experience, allowing first class passengers to experience seasonal Swiss gourmet delights such as seafood in February, caviar in May, and white truffles in November. After an exquisite meal and the treats from an amenity kit that contains select Swiss products, such as pyjamas by Zimmerli and skincare products by La Prairie, you will arrive with a healthy Swiss glow.
Lufthansa’s first class experience begins with the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, where passengers can enjoy individual support from a personal assistant, a limousine direct to the plane and access to luxury lounges. From then on, the customised lighting scheme of the cabin, combined with a neutral and understated colour interior palette, offers soothing comfort to the jet-setting traveller. The seats are ergonomically designed and the airline’s FlyNet connection keeps you in touch with the ground. For the full, bespoke service, Lufthansa will even assist with securing a private jet for onwards travel.
La Première is just that—from the moment that you are greeted at the exclusive first class meeting point by Air France’s crew, you luxuriate in the La Première travel experience. With priority access through the airport, a chauffeur-driven arrival and personalised spa treatments available in the Biologique Recherche centre in the lounge, the relaxation begins before you even step on-board the plane. Of course gourmet dining is expected and signature meals from Joël Robuchon, Régis Marcon, Guy Martin and Michel Roth alternate every two months. Four private suites are available on the B777-300 aircraft, but even the gentle curves and subdued tones of the standard reclining seats in the first class cabin offer all the privacy and comfort of home.