On average flying means seating for hours in a cramped seat with no leg room and only bland chicken to eat. As you board the plane to your seat, you will notice the first class sections with large more comfortable seating and plenty of room to stretch your legs, but not all first class seats are created equal.
Behind the first class curtain, some airlines offer the luxuries of a 5-star hotel. Just like at a hotel your premium first-class airplane ticket might offer a complimentary driver to pick you up, a porter to take your bags for you at the airport, speedy service at check-in, and even a concierge to handle making last-minute dinner or hotel reservations for you. From there you can pamper yourself at the spa with a complimentary massage, enjoy the access to unlimited food and drink at the lounge bars and restaurants and this is all before you even board your flight!
Once on board you will be flying in style. Here you can enjoy the good life as you get a refreshing beverage, and heated towels upon arriving at your comfortable seat with ample leg room. First class seats on some plans are like a hotel room in the sky that offer plush double beds with soft duvets, spacious bathrooms with showers and fine dining multi-course menus prepared by celebrity chefs.
Premium travel offers a variety of benefits, but as not all airlines provide the same services here are some features to look into before you purchase your next first class ticket.
One of the perks of flying first class is you get an upgraded baggage allowance. Baggage fees are becoming standard, and the costs quickly add up. The standard rate for checked bags is typically between $40-70 per suitcase, so if you are doing a round trip flight with three checked bags, you can easily have an extra $350+ in fees.
When booking your flight, make sure to check how many free checked bags you get, and if you get any additional baggage perks. Most luxurious airlines offer first class flyers up to 3 suitcases checked free of charge. Meanwhile, some airlines will give you the full VIP treatment and assign you a porter who greet you the moment you arrive at the airport and will check your bags for you. With this convenient service, you can save time and walk directly to the first-class check-in counter.
To help you save time first-class tickets should expect a smooth check-in experience with a dedicated check-in counter. Some airlines even provide concierge agents at the check-in counter that can handle last-minute arrangements for you might such as booking a hotel, car service or dinner reservations for when you arrive at your destination.
Likewise, when you head to security, you will be able to use the faster priority screening lines to save you even more time. These extra benefits mean you won’t need to arrive at the airport as early, and can quickly pass through security and proceed directly to the first-class lounge where you can relax stress-free.
Not all airport lounges are equal in the amount of luxury and services they provide, and it is worth investigating the lounge service before you book your flight. Some of the best airport lounges are more than a place to catch up on business or enjoy comfortable seating, but grand spaces that feel like a 5-star hotel.
The more lavish airport lounges will have a staff member who will escort you to the lounge and will take care of any last minute things you might need. The best lounges are ones that you will look forward to visiting as they offer everything you need to arrive at your destination feeling refreshed, such as large bathrooms with shower facilities, spas, and even private bedrooms where you can catch up on sleep if you have a more extended layover. To keep you entertained features like movie theaters, billiard rooms, fitness rooms, duty-free shopping, virtual golf, and libraries are becoming more common.
When entering the lounge, make sure to check first if there is a spa, as now, many airlines Airlines including Qantas Airways, Air France, Thai Airways and British Airways all provide free spa services to pamper you pre-flight. If spa services are available, they vary dramatically depending on the airline, so if this service is important to you make sure to inquire before you book your flight.
15-minute massages are the most common free service, but some airlines will allow you to pick between a facial or body treatment. To further relax your muscles and mind, Thai Airlines provides a complimentary 60-minute full body oil massage or a traditional Thai massage.
Just like all the services provided aren’t the same, neither are the spa rooms. Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney offers one of the most serene spaces where you get a massage surrounded by plants.
One of the best features of airport lounges would have to be all the free food and top-shelf alcohol they provide! Airport lounges are perfect places to enjoy a full meal, a quick snack, or a cocktail.
The dining experience highly varies between lounges, with some offering a grand buffet spread and others providing in addition to the buffet private dining tables with full waiter service and à la carte menu prepared from award-winning chefs. To compliment your dining experience, you can pair your meal with some of the best champagne, beer, wine from around the world. Or if you prefer you can order top-shelf alcohol all for free while relaxing at the bar.
When flying first class boarding, the plane couldn’t be simpler. Most airlines will have an agent discretely escort you from the lounge directly to your gate. Some airlines provide a more VIP treatment and will drive you directly to your departure gate or to the steps to board the plane. Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt offers one of the most luxurious boarding experiences and will drive you from the lounge in a limousine to the aircraft once the plane is ready for boarding. As a first class passenger you will also be the first to board the flight, so you will be able to settle in sooner.
Upon boarding, most airlines will greet guests to a pre-flight glass of champagne for you to celebrate the start of your journey. For example, Qatar Airways provides first-class flyers exclusive perks such samples of wine and champagne from around the globe paired a variety of dishes including Oscietra caviar. Emirates makes having your welcome cocktail or glass of champagne easy, as you can help yourself to your mini-bar next to your seat. If you would prefer a different drink or would like something to eat, Emirates also provides the option to request a meal or snack food anytime on the flight from the cabin crew.
Flying first class means you have more meal options than merely chicken or beef. Instead, you will get an elevated culinary experience. The growing trend is for airlines to use celebrity chefs to design the menus and to offer regionally inspired dishes. For example, when flying Air France, you can enjoy food prepared by famous chefs including Anne-Sophie Pic, Régis Marcon, Guy Martin and Joël Robuchon.
The first class meals, are not only provided first on the flight but is far better quality and better presented too. For your meals, many airlines will cover your table with a tablecloth, and serve your meals on fine bone china - a huge upgrade from the food served in re-heatable plastic containers served in economy. You also will be provided more food, with multi-course meals that you can order from the menu. If you can't decide, some airline like Etihad Airways will prepare your meal just the way you want, so you can mix and match your favorite choices - so if you'd like to try all the dessert options you can!
Break out the bubbly and celebrate one of the perks of flying first class - complimentary champagne. So raise your glass of Dom Pérignon to toast your first class voyage. In addition to vintage champagne in first-class, you can also enjoy a selection of the most exceptional vintages selected by a sommelier, and other popular and exclusive drinks. No matter if you want a drink to pair with your meal, a cocktail to sip on while you watch a movie, or a nightcap to help you sleep, at any point in the flight you can request alcoholic beverages for free - and there is no limit on how many you can enjoy.
Instead of stepping over the person in the aisle seat to access the tiny bathrooms at the back of the plane your first class ticket guarantees you will have a better experience using the restroom while flying. At the front of the plane, there are often 1-2 bathrooms dedicated to the limited number of first class passengers so there is a slim chance you will be stuck waiting in line. Once inside the bathroom, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of space to freshen up or change clothing.
First class bathrooms vary from airline to airline but most offer lots of counter space, complimentary toiletries, a bench for putting on your shoes, and a large mirror perfect for doing your makeup and hair. Emirates A380 first class provides the ultimate luxurious bathroom experience offering in-flight showers and heated floors. On these flights, you can book in advance to get a 30-minute time slot with 5 minutes of shower time to clean up before you land.
On a long-haul flight, the in-flight entertainment is crucial for having an enjoyable journey. Premium seats often come with much larger screens, such as Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 that offers 32-inch flat screen TV to enjoy the in-flight movies. To help you enjoy crystal clear audio without any background noise while watching movies, or enjoying the in-flight entertainment system's music and audiobook selection noise-canceling headphones are provided on some airlines.
In the premiere seats, you can also enjoy free fast Wifi from takeoff to landing so you can keep connected with friend and family. Next, to your seat, you’ll find more outlets to charge your various devices, from laptops, tablets, or phones, so if you prefer to use your device to watch movies or play games, you can do that with ease too.
Airlines such as Qantas, Emirates, Korean Air, and Virgin offer onboard lounges and bars for first class passengers enjoy a drink from the stand-up bar! The option to have space to walk around and mingle with other flyers is the ultra-luxurious and is the perfect way to make your long-haul flight seem shorter. At the bar, you can order a cocktail and hors-d'oeuvre before and chat with other flyers in the social setting. When flying with Emirates, they even offer a massive 55-inch TV which is perfect for watching the game with other sports enthusiasts. Meanwhile, if you are traveling as a couple or group, some airlines provide lounge seating in their bar spaces which is the perfect place to hang out together.
If you are on a long-haul flight, you might be seating for over 8 hours, so a comfortable seat will make a big difference in how much you enjoy the journey. First class seats are designed with relaxation in mind, so you never need to climb over another person to use the bathroom or stretch your legs. The larger chairs often provide ottomans or can fully recline into a bed so you can sit however you feel most comfortable.
While the size of the chairs and functions vary from airline to airline, some airlines add in additional features like massage functions to help treat sore muscles, while Emirates provides “zero-gravity” seats to reduce pressure on your body and allow you to feel weightless. On Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 first class passengers get a full bed and a separate leather chair which can recline and swivel 135 degrees.
On longer flights, opting for a more expensive first-class flight will offer you the privacy you seek to relax. Many trips are now offering seats that feel like tiny hotel rooms with private spaces that provide a floor to ceiling noise canceling curtains or the ability to close the door to your cabin.
Within the first-class suites, you will find plenty of space to stretch out your legs and ample storage space. Cleverly designed you will find plenty of compartments to store your electronic devices or jacket next to your seat while you also will get your own dedicated overhead storage bin too. In addition to the perks of a larger TV, softer blankets, better light and temperature customization, some cabins even offer other unique features such as a personal mini bar!
Perhaps one of the best perks of flying first class is the ability to go to sleep on a bed to ensure you arrive at your destination well rested. When you are ready to sleep, you can request a turndown service where your leather chair will be fully reclined and topped with a cotton duvet and fluffy pillows.
If you are particular about what type of bed you can sleep on it is best to inquire with the airline, as some seats will recline into beds that will be over 6 feet long which is perfect for taller people. Meanwhile, Japan Airlines helps to ensure you sleep comfortably by offering you the choice of a firm or soft mattress pad. For the premier airplane bed, Singapore Airlines offers an actual bed, and if a couple is sleeping together, they can request a double bed.
Most airlines now offer flight amenity kits on your seat filled with skin-care products and toiletries from top beauty brands like Bulgari, Aesop, and Aromatherapy. What you will find in each bag varies significantly from airline to airline, but products like hand cream, mouthwash, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, cleaning cloth and ear plugs are relatively standard. As amenity kits are a favorite feature of a first-class ticket, airlines often compete over who has the best bag by including a variety of additional products to help you pamper guests on your flight such as cooling eye cream, facial hydrating cream, ultra-rich lip balms and hair styling products.
Attempting to sleep in your clothes can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. To ensure your optimal comfort, first-class passengers can enjoy complimentary pyjamas to wear to help them relax while flying.
With the goal of providing you with a nice pair of pyjamas to wear, airlines often use famous fashion designers or fashion brands to designs their unisex cotton pyjamas. The pyjama sets are conveniently given in a bag that you can bring to the bathroom so you can easily carry your change of clothes. Inside the pyjama bag, you will find neutral colored high-quality long sleeve pyjama tops with matching drawstring pants to keep you warm, along with plush slippers, and an eye mask.
Instead of being limited to sharing an overhead bin, or reducing your legroom by storing a bag underneath the chair in front of you, first class seating offers plenty of storage space. In addition to your dedicated overhead bin, the smartly designed first-class cabins will make use of every area to provide more storage. Items like ottomans will double as storage bins for storing your shoes or handbags, while the walls next to your seat will have built-in magazine racks for all your reading materials. Next, to the TV, you might find lockers perfect for hanging your garment bag or jacket while there will be smaller storage for your electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and phones. All the ample storage features will streamline your flight experience by keeping everything you might need on your flight easily accessible.
Once you arrive at your destination, you will be eager to get off the flight, and your first class seat guarantees you will be the first to get off the plane as you will have priority disembarkation. At the airport, you'll find your bags will be the first to come off the conveyor belt in the baggage claim area too because they are marked with first-class tags. Combined these two features will save you valuable time. On some airlines, airline staff will even escort you off the flight to the baggage claim area and assist you will claiming your baggage to make the experience as simple as possible.
After arriving at your destination, the last thing you want to do is line up with the crowds of tourists and try to hail a taxi. Instead, some airlines provide complimentary chauffeur drivers to first-class passengers to transport them in a sleek luxury car to their hotel. If you need the car service, you can either make arrangements when check-in for your flight or at the airport lounge to guarantee a driver is waiting for you. But, if you forget to make a booking, you can also head over to the chauffeur drive desk to make the necessary arrangements.