Insider Reports
PT Picks - World's Best First Class Cabins

  Aviation visionary, Adam Rodriguez observes luxury at cruising altitude.



Emirates First Class
From the moment your complimentary chauffeur picks you up from the airport (a service currently available in 70 cities worldwide), Emirates’ First Class experience is all about making travel seamless and intuitive. Along with airport perks like Fast Track immigration privileges and (in Dubai) direct boarding from the A380 lounge, you’ll find onboard comforts like Private Suites with sliding doors and personal mini-bars, gourmet meals served whenever you want (and on Royal Doulton bone china), and Shower Spa bathrooms stocked with Bulgari amenities. A380 passengers can also trade travel stories over a drink around the bartender-manned Onboard Lounge.

Cathay Pacific First Class
Cathay Pacific maintains a steady line of communication with its frequent fliers, and not only takes their comments to heart, but often invites them to test out prototypes of new cabin designs and onboard amenities.  So it’s no surprise that its First Class product—launched in 2007 and recently refreshed—ranks high in flier satisfaction. Envisioned by London-based architects Foster + Partners (who also created the flagship First Class Lounge of The Wing in Hong Kong) and accented by custom-created artwork, the sophisticated First cocoons feature high-end materials like stitched leather, smooth silks, and 500-thread-count cotton duvets, pillows, and mattresses. Smart touches abound, from more adjustable meal tables, improved touch-screen controllers, and larger personal closets to organic cotton PYE pajamas and Aesop amenity kits that snap together to create a stackable case. Two flight attendants are dedicated exclusively to the six-seat cabin, and are on hand to serve the plated meals (no trays) and upgraded treats like full tins of caviar.

British Airways First Class
The Boeing 787-900 Dreamliners aren’t British Airways’ only new arrivals this year: with the new planes comes a next generation First Class, which expands upon the updated A380 cabin that was launched in 2013. Though many of the details of the evolved cabins are still hush-hush, they will feature the current cubicle-style seats, with personal closets, companion seats, mattress-and-duvet-topped flat-beds, and electronically-controlled window shades, as well as 30 percent more personal space and 60 percent more personal stowage than previous cabins. An elegant décor, mood lighting, and state-of-the-art technology help set the scene, while bespoke amenity kits, soft cotton PJs, and meals served when you want keep things cushy.

Asiana380 Special Edition First Suite Class
At first, Asiana’s premium suites woo you with all their bells and whistles, including two sliding doors for total privacy, the world’s largest in-flight personal TVs (32-inches), companion seats, and private mini-bars. But the airline’s fans are most passionate about the impeccable service and thoughtful touches: Flight attendants study photos to be able to identify repeat guests by name; drink preferences are noted and favorite wines loaded on board (when possible); the Happy Mom Service makes flights more comfortable for women traveling alone with kids; and staff will even store your winter jacket if you’re headed somewhere warm. First Suite passengers enjoy concierge service from counter to cabin and relaxed restrictions on baggage weight and size. When other in-suite amenities like extensive chef-created menus, duck-down bedding, Bulgari products, and cozy loungewear and slippers are added to that, you might never want to disembark.

Singapore First Class
Not one to rest on its laurels, Singapore Airlines is taking its already-stellar First Class to another level with the launch of “Next Generation” cabins on their new 777-300ER aircraft (and then future A350s). Designed in partnership with BMW Group DesignworksUSA, the new First shells feature curved walls for added space and privacy, flat-beds that measure 35 by 82 inches and are topped with padded headboards and thicker mattresses, and super-sized 24-inch LCD HD screens with a more intuitive touch-screen interface. The new lighting color and intensity is the result of extensive research, while meals created by a panel of international chefs are served on Givenchy tableware—in the elegant, refined manner for which Singapore is famous.

United Global First
Back-massaging chairs, turn-down service, ice cream sundaes—what else could a traveler want? Offered on most international routes, United Global First makes journeys comfortable with all the needed perks, from ergonomic tray tables, USB and laptop charging ports, and noise-cancelling headphones to six-foot, six-inch-long flat-beds that get made up with sleeping cushions, duvets, and pillows. Signature touches like the BackCycler motion system—offering extra lumbar support and gentle, pulsing massage—keep Star Alliance diehards happy.

Qantas First
From your complimentary Chauffeur Drive and dedicated airport First Host to the fast-track immigration and boarding lanes and spa-equipped lounges (all at select airports), the Qantas First pre-flight experience sets the tone for a smooth ride. Once on board, your suite comes equipped with a fully-flat bed (with ottoman),which gets topped with a sheepskin mattress, duvet, blankets, and pillows when you are ready. But be sure to stay awake for the eight-course tasting menu created by top Australian chef Neil Perry (a la carte options are also available); a Sommelier in the Sky is on hand to help choose the perfect premium pairings. Luxurious skincare kits and 100 percent cotton jersey sleep suits—emblazoned with a sleek black kangaroo—are worth stuffing in the carry-on.

Etihad
There isn’t just a First Class on Etihad—there are First Suites, First Apartments, and The Residence. Guests of all cabins enjoy chauffeur service to the airport (offered in 30 cities), a dedicated airport concierge and check-in area, and (in Abu Dhabi) access to a sleek lounge with Chef’s Table and Six Senses spa. On board, Suites feature privacy panels, mini-bars, and companion seating, while apartments feel like private planes, complete with armchairs that open up to an 81-inch bed, 24-inch flat-screens, and a dedicated bathroom with shower. The Residence has all that in a suite designed for two, with separate bedroom, living room, and bathroom—plus a  personal butler, and a private chef that can whip up your favorite meal. The only wish they can’t fulfill? Making the flight longer.

Qatar First Class
With Frette linens and duvets, Giorgio Armani amenity kits, designer “sleeper suits,” and celebrity chef-crafted meals served on demand, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a five-star hotel instead of Qatar Airways’ First Class. Other perks of the cabin—which features eight seats on the A380’s top deck—include supersized TVs (loaded with thousands of entertainment choices), on-air mobile service (for those who can’t disconnect), and a selection of signature drinks. The discreet service is in keeping with the boutique hotel vibe, as are the stunning lounges in the recently-opened Hamad International Airport.

Lufthansa First Class
Settle into wide, ergonomically-shaped seats and enjoy Lufthansa’s on-point First service, available on several aircraft models. In addition to an extensive entertainment system and work-friendly touches like wider tables and in-seat outlets, the airline distinguishes itself with gourmet, regional-inspired dishes created in collaboration with luxury hotel chefs, and a noted Vinothek wine program for which a world champion sommelier selects exclusive First Class-only labels. Once well-fed, get out the mattress and oversized pillow for some deep sleep.

Tags:
Emirates Airlines , Cathay Pacific , British Airways , Asiana Airlines , Singapore Airlines , United Airlines
Posted On: 01 June 2015    Print    Email
Author: Adam Rodriguez
 

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