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The lavish first class suites that airlines have to offer

7 min read

06 May 2016

Former deputy editor

There’s an increased demand for private jets among professionals, but for those who want even more luxury when they take to the skies for business – or pleasure – we’ve revealed the best treats airlines have to offer passengers that are travelling first class.

Private flight service Victor conducted a study in February, which revealed that there’s been a growth of interest when it comes to travelling aboard a personal jet, as it experienced a 336 per cent booking increase.

“With private charter flights continuing to increase across Europe, particularly over the summer months, it is clear that more travellers – both in and outside of the traditional high and ultra-high net worth jet-setter demographic – are saving time and maximising value by tailoring the private jet experience that totally suits their needs,” said CEO Clive Jackson.

And in March, budget airline Ryanair got in on the act by launching its first private charter service to meet the needs of groups and corporate travellers. Its Boeing 737-700 jet comes with 60 reclining, leather-clad, business class seats in a 2×2 formation and promises to deliver “fine dining”.

Of course, private jets aren’t for everyone. So, British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group has forged a deal to kit out the BA fleet of 120 planes in partnership with aviation technology provider Gogo. The investment is set to cost over £30m at a rate of around £250,000 per aircraft, according to The Telegraph.

Its 2Ku tech will deliver WiFi connections for long-haul flights, which could provide the chance to use apps such as Skype and even Netflix. The majority of the fitting is set to be completed by 2019, while the debut is expected to arrive in 2017.

But until that time comes, we’ve broken down what commercial airlines, including BA, have to offer for luxury-loving passengers who want to travel first class.

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British Airways


Boasting “on-board elegance”, BA says: “Your First suite is a haven of style and comfort where sophisticated and contemporary British design meet impeccable service and attention to detail.”

When passengers decide they want some shuteye, the seats will flatten into a 6ft 6in bed, complete with quilted mattress, fresh sheets and pyjamas – just in case you’ve forgotten your beloved onesie at home. Suite users also secure access to a personal power supply to keep electronics charged up.

As for the menu, stomachs should be satisfied by classic English afternoon tea, as well as dishes that include wild mushroom and truffle mousse and cauliflower purée
with a shimeji mushroom salad and seared fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef with summer vegetables, fondant potatoes with horseradish and chive sauce.

While the WiFi isn’t readily available yet, BA boasts a “world of entertainment” with access to a 15-inch screen full of films, TV shows, music and games, while noise-cancelling headphones are also on offer for those who want to drown out the sound of neighbours.

Continue onto the next page to see which airline offers food created by a celebrity chef.




Image: Shutterstock

Virgin Atlantic


Virgin Atlantic claims its upper class suite “makes travelling a true pleasure”. A touch of a button converts the seats into a flat bed without any assistance from staff required, while personal wakeup calls can be requested.

A live news feed will keep passengers abreast of developments, while each seat comes with power for those dedicated workers who want to hit the ground running when they arrive.

Slightly smaller than BA’s offering, the TV provided measures in at 10.4-inches – but has over 300 hours of entertainment available. If you’d rather avoid square eyes, Virgin reckons its bar will provide the perfect location for mingling with fellow passengers.

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On the cuisine front, which you may want to consider after necking from pre-flight bubbly of the Gardet Brut Premier Cru variety, you may be pleased to know a celebrity chef in the form of Lorraine Pascale was responsible for the menu.

Pascale developed some signature dishes for upper class, all of which use a healthy, home-cooked approach. Promoted meals include warm salmon and lentils and chorizo with asparagus, while children can tuck into macaroni cheese and chicken tenders.

Continue reading on the next page where we’ve saved the best until last – the airline that will leave you fresher than you were when you boarded.

Emirates


Emirates is all about encouraging “me-time” which it considers an art form. The extremely personal area offered in its first class cabin provides passengers with individual private suites. Complete with privacy doors, travellers have access to their own mini-bar, where they can knock back beverages to their heart’s content.

The suite also allows them to set the mood with lighting, combined with entertainment from a selection of over 2,500 channels, will create a private cinema-cum-concert scenario.

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If you fancy pampering yourself, there’s a vanity table and mirror available, which will tie in perfectly with access to an on-board shower. Inclusive of Bvlgari toiletries, passengers are encouraged to rejuvenate themselves.

The staff on board will prepare meals when hunger strikes for passengers, even if that means a midnight snack, while fine wines can be matched to suit the dishes on offer.

And if all that pampering and prettifying has left you feeling like networking, the on-board lounge is open to both first class customers, where a dedicated bartender will whip up cocktails and canapés.

This couple enjoyed living the business class lifestyle so much, the duo launched a business that lets them travel the world in luxury – working just 20 hours a week.