With travel looking a little different this year and for the near future, airlines are making changes to cleaning, seating procedures and more. Many airlines ensure social distancing during each step of the flight process while also reducing food and beverage service on flights and requiring all crew and passengers to wear a mask. All of these changes will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but, pre-pandemic, airlines around the world made some big changes to their first and business class cabins.
Airlines constantly evolve and change to be the best and attract more customers. The industry frequently finds ways to keep up with the demands and needs of travelers. With the rise of budget airlines, competitors roll out attractive fares, new routes and big enhancements to premium class cabins — all competing to be the best.
Although frequent travelers naturally have loyalty toward a certain airline, they also know while first- and business-class accommodations are all premium, some differences among the airlines put some above others.
Each year Global Traveler honors the best overall airlines, as well as the best premium-class services, in the GT Tested Reader Survey awards to help travelers get an idea of which airlines stand out to our readers. In addition, Skytrax, a U.K.-based consultancy organization that runs airline ranking and review sites, releases a ranking system of the World’s Best First-Class Airlines, a great tool to keep in mind while looking to book the perfect flight.
American Airlines is introducing more dining options for passengers traveling in first class on most domestic flights and select shorter-haul international flights of more than 900 miles or more than 2.5 hours. Meals will be individually packaged and served with silverware. For morning flights departing 5–9:45 a.m., passengers have a choice of a continental breakfast box or a turkey and Swiss croissant. On eligible flights departing 9:46 a.m.–9 p.m., first-class passengers can choose from the fruit and cheese tray or a turkey and Havarti sandwich.
Attendants will serve all drinks, including alcohol, by request only and offer complimentary fresh snacks in addition to the snack bag passengers receive upon boarding. With these new changes in place, American Airlines will continue to listen to feedback from customers and work closely with flight attendants and catering partners to meet demands for in-flight food and beverage services in this ever-changing landscape.
Along with dining changes, American Airlines takes comfort to the next level with Flagship First, only available on Boeing 777-300 aircraft, and Flagship Business. These cabins give passengers access to the most comfort and exclusive, personalized amenities and services on transcontinental and international flights between the United States, Asia, Europe, Australia and South America.
American isn’t the only airline making changes to keep up with demand; earlier this year Delta Air Lines introduced new domestic first- class seats for its Airbus A321neo fleet. The new Airbus is set to arrive late this year. The seats, designed with passengers’ comfort and experience in mind, include a new headrest that allows more privacy and better sleep without compromising seat space. Power outlets and memory foam cushions provide convenience and added comfort.
“As an industry leader in innovation, we are always looking for new ways to improve the overall customer experience,” said Mauricio Parise, managing director of product development, Delta. “Customer insights were instrumental to the new design, and we spent hundreds of hours listening to customers so that we could respond with thoughtful improvements. We’ve completely customized every feature on the seat to create a truly unique, premium seating product for domestic first class.”
Speaking of new, British Airways recently unveiled its highly anticipated business- class seat. The airline’s newly branded Club Suite offers direct access to the aisle, more privacy and luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Amenities include an in-flight entertainment screen, more storage, a vanity unit with a mirror, WiFi and more.
Club Suite is now available on select Dubai (DXB) and Toronto (YYZ) services on the Airbus A350 aircraft and select New York ( JFK) services on the Boeing 777 aircraft, as well as select Tel Aviv (TLV) and Bangalore (BLR) flights and across the London Heathrow (LHR) long-haul fleet. Travelers flying in the Club Suite enjoy faster check-in and boarding, room for extra bags, a space to relax before the flight and delicious cuisine.
All airlines constantly redesign first and business class cabins with customer comfort in mind. Travelers flying business class on Turkish Airlines experience top-notch comfort with a fully lie-flat bed; a seat control panel; an in-chair massage feature; and an amenity kit filled with an eye mask, earplugs and socks, perfect for rest during the flight.
It also seems more and more airlines enhance the onboard dining experience. Many carriers hire chefs to redesign their menus to cater to passenger needs and tastes. Turkish Airlines introduced Turkish dining into its business class cabins; depending on the flight and destination, passengers can choose dishes like shish kebap, karniyarik, manti and other traditional Turkish menu items. The in-flight dining on Turkish Airlines is a big reason passengers come back for more.
United takes comfort to the next level on international flights with United Polaris business class. The custom-designed United Polaris seat is perfect for passengers who want to sleep, work or relax throughout the flight; the seat features one-touch adjustability that lets you choose the perfect position and offers cabin lighting controls at your shoulder in case you need more or less light.
Not only does Air France keep passenger comfort in mind, it mainly focuses on the overall experience. From the moment you pull up to the airport to the second you step off the plane, Air France is at your service. Guests flying La Première from Paris can access a private driver, private check-in, priority boarding and more, while on the flight passengers can enjoy their own private suite/living space, personalized service and great entertainment.
Fiji Airways does not focus on in-flight dining but instead pre-flight, on-the-ground dining. Business-class guests will enjoy a hearty breakfast and dinner in the airline’s flagship Fiji Airways Premier Lounge before hopping on their mid-morning or late-evening flight. These meals include coffee, made-to-order breakfast items, a full bakery and a selection of fresh fruit juices. Passengers with a later flight enjoy hot meals designed by Fiji Airways’ executive in-house and guest chefs and can sip on delicious signature cocktails and mocktails at the full-service bar.
Fiji Airways hopes offering before-flight meals will take the pressure off feeling the need to eat in the air. If passengers still want an onboard dining experience, select flights offer full-course meals.
With technology constantly evolving and as demands from customers change, airlines will continue to bring new experiences and luxuries to their premium cabins. Given the new travel procedures and social distancing rules brought on by COVID-19, we may start to see airlines focusing on providing an even more private passenger experience; we can’t wait to see what comes in the future.
West Palm Beach, Florida, recently welcomed AKA West Palm, a hotel residence offering long-stay accommodations. As AKA’s second South Florida property, AKA West Palm features 215 hotel residences comprised of studios, one- and two-bedroom spaces, and Penthouse suites. The five-story hotel blends modern luxuries with comfort and simplicity, with sleek kitchens, washers and dryers, and private terraces. Room furnishings contrast with a backdrop of stone, metal and wood to create simple, clean lines with minimal contrast.
From 24-Hour Butler Service to a Sky Pool: Boutique Luxury Awaits at Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences in Los Cabos
Set on a seaside bluff overlooking Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences is a Baja paradise specializing in serene vistas and impeccable hospitality, offering a Pacific coast lifestyle with authentic Mexican touches. Guests can now earn a fourth night free at the stunning resort, plus a $100 resort credit, when booking through March 20, for travel through June 15.
Birmingham, Alabama, was named for the city in the English Midlands that kept the fires burning, warmed the homes and made much of the steel for the United Kingdom’s industrial revolution. Decades later, the American city also made steel, so much of it, in fact, it became known as the “Magic City” for steel production, and the moniker stuck. But today’s Magic City makes more than steel, taking the raw product a few more steps to become a major center for automobile parts manufacturing and more, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz and U.S. Steel. Thanks to local leadership and long-term planning, the magic still works for Birmingham, as evidenced by its role hosting The World Games 2022 last summer.
As New York City’s leading Latino cultural institution, El Museo del Barrio welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American cultures. El Museo’s wide-ranging collections and exhibitions represent these cultures’ richness, complemented by film, literary, visual and performing arts series, cultural celebrations and educational programs. Ranging from pre-Columbian to modern and contemporary art, the permanent collection totals more than 8,000 objects.
Experience the beauty of Alaska and save 60 percent off cruise fares on your second and fourth guests. Plus, drinks, WiFi and tips are all included.
Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown recently reopened its Fairmont Gold, introducing amenities, a contemporary new style in the Fairmont Gold Lounge and dedicated concierges. The 48-room, three-suite Fairmont Gold, positioned as an urban oasis, takes over the entire ninth floor of the hotel and delivers exceptional service to meet guests’ needs.
The results are in! For the 19th consecutive year, Global Traveler conducted its GT Tested Reader Survey, asking frequent luxury travelers to name the best in a variety of travel-related categories. More than 22,000 people responded. Global Traveler’s inaugural awards were celebrated in 2004.
Originally a thriving Colonial seaport, Newport became the summer playground for the Gilded Age’s elite in the late 1880s. Today their mansions dot the coast of Aquidneck Island, and their favorite pastimes — sailing and tennis — still dominate the city’s recreational offerings. In fact, Newport hosted the first U.S. Open tennis championship in 1881 and golf tourna- ment in 1895 and hosted the America’s Cup from 1930 to 1983. You can experience most of Newport on your own, including the mansions, but don’t rule out a guided tour or two when you visit.