First class flights chasing new heights of luxuryPosted on April 30th, 2018 in Blog, News
First class seats may be getting more scarce, but those that remain are getting more extravagant than ever.
This trend of super-deluxe in-flight accommodation reached new heights last year, when several airlines unveiled first-class experiences that set travellers back more than $10,000.
Here’s what you can expect when flying in the lap of luxury from Australia in 2018.
After much speculation, Singapore’s flag carrier revealed its new first class experience in November 2017. Hardly a first class ‘seat,’ this enclosed cabin is more like a flying hotel room, which according to Australian Business Traveller is how designer Jacques Pierrejean conceived it.
This enclosed five-square-metre suite includes:
- a bed for two, with embroidered bedding by Lalique
- two en-suite bathrooms
- a reclining and swivelling Poltrona Frau leather armchair
- a wardrobe with space for your jacket, shoes and bags
- a 32-inch HD screen
- dinner served on Wedgwood china.
The pioneer of first-class cabins back in 2003, November also saw Emirates introduce its latest lavish update of the concept, which takes design cues from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
A little smaller than Singapore Airlines’ cabin at 3.7 square metres, it makes up for this in its opulent features, such as:
- a fully reclining seat/bed
- moisturising pyjamas
- personal air conditioning
- hardwood floors
- a 32-inch HD screen
- video calls to the cabin crew
- virtual windows for central cabins.
The Hong Kong airline also gave its first class cabin a facelift in 2017, a decade after it was introduced, though less dramatically than some of the other Asian airlines. This involved upgrading the entertainment system with:
- an 18.5-inch HD screen
- a touchscreen video handset
- improved screen control and stability during turbulence
- Do Not Disturb & Wake Up functions
- high-power USB charging.
Taking its cue from other regional airlines, Malaysia Airlines is adding sliding privacy doors to turn its first class seats into cabins. To further differentiate first from business class, the airline will also improve the passenger experience on the ground and in the air and offer a wider selection of in-flight food and drink.
Expected to debut with the airline’s non-stop Perth to London flights in March, Qantas’ Boeing 787 fleet will be fitted out with new first-class cabins and business suites. Qantas held a design workshop in 2016 to get the input of frequent first-class fliers, whose suggestions may shape the finished product.
Does first class have a future?
This trend of escalating luxury is a response to the declining popularity of first class flights around the world. Business class is widely viewed as offering a more affordable level of comfort and privacy for fliers, as well as being more economical for airlines.
Many of today’s business class seats offer all the comforts that were reserved for first class just a few years ago. This is pushing high-end airlines to offer an ever more exquisite experience to satisfy passengers who are happy to pay extra for the privilege, and things are only going to get grander.
Stay on top of luxury travel trends
Be one of the first to hear about the latest developments in luxury airlines, accommodation and destinations around the world by attending The Travel Industry Exhibition.
Australia’s travel industry exhibition takes place on 21-22 August 2018 at Dockside, Darling Harbour, Sydney.