3 in-flight perks you didn't know existed, for a price
There are so many opportunities to separate the haves from the have-nots, and today we're going to look at in-flight perks you had no idea existed. These travel perks are mainly offered by carriers in hopes of attracting a premium clientele who pay up to 10 times more for their seat than coach passengers.
Before you even fly
The shmoozing starts at the airport, where first and business class travellers can ditch the archaic members-only lounge and hang out on designer terraces before their plane takes off.
At New York's John F. Kennedy and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International airports, Delta provides outdoor lounges designed alongside Architectural Digest magazine curators. These lounge areas usually offer up complimentary food items and beverages, which continue on-board.
Competing with these designer digs comes Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse lounges at London Heathrow. You'll be able to relax at the spa and get your hair cut by a Bumble and bumble hair stylist if so desired.
At Qantas, a popular Australian airline, you can sign up for a ferry service that will take you to and from the airport in a luxury car if you're paying for first class and your flight is longer than 12 hours.
In-flight showers and way better bathrooms
The in-flight shower is something none of my colleagues believed existed. The disbelief is valid; the in-flight shower is only offered on two or three airlines making the experience all the more exclusive.
Emirates Airlines pioneered the in-flight shower a decade ago. It is intended for those on long itineraries who rightfully get a bit unkempt on a stuffy flight. The entire experience runs for 20 to 30 minutes with 5 minutes of shower time. When you leave the shower, you are greeted with fruit and honey at your seat.
Air Etihad also offers this perk on its A380 aircrafts. Both carriers offering the in-flight shower serve areas around the United Arab Emirates.
Air France, in its race to keep up, offers first-class travellers change rooms and complimentary pajamas, while Virgin Airlines recently began offering Afternoon Tea on daytime flights for the upper echelons.
In general, the upper class bathrooms are roomier and cleaner than their coach counterparts because they are less frequented and receive more attention. You have access to designer toiletry packs, fragrances, razors and toothbrushes so that one can be as fresh faced as possible once you land from a tough flight.
Michelin star food menu
In-flight meals don't have to remind you of your last hospital stay. Customers in first and business class have the luxury of picking from a different menu, one that isn't offered to economy classes.
Michelin stars are awarded to restaurants and chefs that pass a bar of excellence in the annual Michelin Red Stars hotel and reference guide; the golden standard of worldwide cuisine. Foodies would sell their moustaches to eat at a Michelin starred restaurant, but now, premium airlines are offering their premium clients access to a food menu created by Michelin star chefs, in the air!
First, Qatar Airways has commissioned Japanese celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa of the acclaimed Nobu restaurants to develop some of their dishes. Matshuisa is the recipient of one Michelin star thus far in his career. Menu items include oven-roasted mustard-dill salmon on pine-nut rice, braised lamb shank with chickpea and saffron sauce or Arabic spice prawns with machboos sauce.
Next, all classes aboard Singapore Airlines –except the economy class– have access to a menu developed by 3-star Michelin chef Georges Blanc, plus a handful of other exceptional chefs. Menu items include Beef bourguignon with dark wine sauce and potatoes, carrots and ham. Menus change depending on destination.
Lastly, we look at Air France. This carrier serves first and business classes a menu created by 3-star Michelin chef Daniel Boulud on flights departing from the United States. How does an Atlantic lobster dish served with coconut curry sauce, black rice and bok choy sound?
How can I become first class?
If you can't necessarily afford to dish out thousands of dollars every flight, how would one access the travel perks found in the upper classes?
Travel specialists suggest stacking up as many travel-rewards points as possible so that you can upgrade your ticket once you attain that magical number of points.
Maybe one day you'll be flying to Dubai, eating fruit and honey in a complimentary pajama set, too!