In Style + Design

Flying High: Four Of The Best First Class Airline Suites And Seats

Leonardo da Vinci famously said “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Though flying has since become far more common, and fewer and fewer people still consider it special, his words are entirely relevant to first class travel. Once you’ve had a taste of it, every subsequent flight will have you wishing for the pointy end.

There truly is no other pampering quite like the first class airline kind. Doting attendants, gourmet meals, and an endless array of entertainment are only the start. Some airlines now have showers, butlers, bars and custom Italian bed linen too. Among the seats and suites available in our corner of the world, these make disembarking most difficult.

Etihad Airways’ A380 The Residence

It only makes sense to start this list with Etihad Airways’ The Residence. Arguably, the most luxurious of the bunch, the three-room suite sprawls across nearly 12 square metres in the nose of the A380’s upper decks. It’s not an exaggeration to say it will guarantee passengers an experience they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. A double bedroom with wardrobe to hang your suits? Swanky lounge equipped with a 32-inch TV? Full-standing shower? Tick, tick, tick.

Other perks include Egyptian cotton sheets, loungewear designed by Christian Lacroix, and a personal butler. Meal-wise, guests are contacted by the airline before flying to discuss any dietary requirements and food preferences. On-board, they’re then presented with their choice on bespoke 24 karat gold-plated porcelain tableware.

Singapore Airlines A380’s Suites

Next up: Singapore Airlines’ A380’s Suites. The result of a billion-dollar investment and four years of planning, the suites, which were unveiled at the end of last year, are impressive to say the least. Also tucked into the front cabin of upper decks, they are each a personal oasis in the sky, seamlessly blending comfort with technology.

A sliding door leads guests into the suite where they’ll find a plush leather swivel chair next a full-flat bed. The 32-inch HD TV also swivels, allowing guests to watch it from any angle. Those in the exclusive class can hang their clothes in the full-size wardrobe and freshen up using items from a leather-lined amenity kit.

Emirates’ A380 First Class Private Suite

Synonymous with luxury all around the world, Emirates doesn’t disappoint with its First Class Suites, available on every A380, and on most Boeing 777s. The experience begins at the airport with first class passengers having access to the Emirates’ lounges. There, they can take a shower, savour a cocktail, and feast on gourmet cuisine. Suffice to say, they should be feeling fairly blissed out before even setting foot on the plane.

Once aboard, the exceptional treatment continues with massaging leather seats that convert into flat beds, take-home sleeping suits and slippers, and, of course, more showers. These however are stocked with high-end products that include Bulgari perfumes and VOYA shampoos and conditioners.

Qantas’ Airbus A380 First Class Suite

While Qantas has big plans to overhaul the look of some of its fleet in 2019, for the time being, its Airbus A380 First Class Suites are still more than making do. But that’s exactly what you’d expect from the iconic Australian airline. The first class journey begins from guests’ front door with a chauffeur-driven car booked to escort them to the airport.

After checking in, it’ll be straight to the lounge where a spa treatment and champagne await. The lavishness continues on board at the front of the main deck. Each suite has Sheridan bedding and accessories, and pyjamas designed by Melbourne designer Martin Grant. On the menu are canapés, soups and salads, small plates, and larger meals.

Published 23 April, 2018