Premium seats are how airlines make their money, so airlines are competing in a serious way to get coveted business- and first-class dollars. For travellers, this means offering lay-flat seats, private lanes at customs and immigration and chauffeured rides to the airport. From our domestic carriers to the luxury pioneers in the Middle East, here are the coolest new offerings in premium amenities.
The airline hasn’t done much with business class over the years, but its new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, arriving in 2019, will include lay-flat seats, bedding and turn-down service for those in its premium cabin. It’ll also feature a large touchscreen with on-demand dining, which means guests can eat whenever they want to.
Canada’s national airline offers Signature Service, which includes large pods with flat-screen televisions and lie-flat seats with massage features. Throw in WANT Les Essentiels amenity kits, vitruvi skin-care products and a set of noise-cancelling headphones, and it’s basically a spa in the sky. The cabins also have dining on demand complete with sommelier-selected Canadian wines. On the ground, Signature Service passengers get special check-in and security lines, as well as expedited immigration at some airports.
Studio FA Porsche designed the business-class interiors on Cathay’s 777s and A350-90, with exquisite seat ergonomics, 190-cm lay-flat seats and sculpted seat wings for privacy. The 47-cm personal TV screens have “do not disturb” and “wake up” alerts that can be left on for flight attendants, so they’ll know if guests like to be woken up for meal service or would rather skip it and sleep. The amazingly soft blankets they’re sleeping under are also made from recycled fishnets and plastic bottles, helping the environment while providing luxury bedding at the same time.
Like chocolate? United Airlines is your new go-to for international business class. Passengers get warm-from-the-oven, chocolate-cranberry cookies right before landing, and customers on flights that originate outside the United States receive a box of chocolates. If one is in the mood for an ice-cream sundae during their business-class journey, they can choose from Ghirardelli toppings including dark-chocolate mini-chips, hot fudge sauce, caramel sauce and caramel-flavoured mini-chips. Also new for United, gel pillows for everyone! Previously only available upon request, these firm-yet-soft neck supports proved so popular they’re now de rigueur for all business-class passengers.
Taking lay-flat beds one step further, business-class passengers flying Qatar get 100-per-cent cotton sleepwear from The White Company on flights from Montreal to Doha, and will sleep on Italian linens from Frette Hotellerie. Amenities kits are from renowned Italian luggage maker BRIC’s – the hard-shelled bags are mini versions of the Bellagio and Sintesis suitcases – and are filled with moisturizer, facial mist and lip balm from Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, the environmentally friendly olive-oil company.
The world’s biggest airline is putting more thought into the quality of its business-class passengers’ sleep than anyone else this year, with a new line of bedding accessories from the sleep-research impresarios at Casper. Items will include a mattress pad, pillow and lumbar pillow, pillowcase, duvet, blanket, pajamas and slippers.
Lots of airlines tout “chef-created” menus in business class, but Turkish Airlines is going one step further. With its new Flying Chefs program, chefs in toques serve passengers dinner by faux-candlelight.