Air travel can be a pain. With legroom in short supply, airlines charging mysterious fees for a standard carry-on and in-flight soft drinks and snacks that will now cost you on some flights, sometimes the stresses of travel can be alleviated by paying extra for first class. Of course, no one wants to break the bank on a two-hour flight from Chicago to Denver. But if you can afford the extra coin, first class travel on these airlines is sure to make your flying experience enjoyable.
Flying into Paris out of LAX? Well, if you’re a first class traveler, Air France is a superb way to go. It’s La Première service is one of the few first class services to separate its seats with curtains — just in case you need a little extra privacy during the long haul. The first class cabin also consists of a single row of seats, and as far as the in-flight meals are concerned, Air France gives its first class passengers the very best in French fine dining, with original recipes from esteemed chefs like Michel Roth, Emmanuel Renaut and Régis Marcon. And seeing as this is a French airline, what would it be without an expansive wine and Champagne list? Those offered to Air France’s first class travelers include libations from some of the very best French vineyards.
Any time you’re flying from Hawaii to the mainland, you’re looking at a long haul of at least six hours. Clearly, the good folks over at Hawaiian Airlines know this, which is why they’ve upped their first class game with — wait for it — iPad Pros. That’s right, every first class seat comes equipped with one of the Apple tablets, so you can watch movies, play some games or just unwind and listen to some soothing music. As an added bonus, every one of the first class seats on Hawaiian Airlines goes completely flat, meaning you can nap comfortably without having to constantly adjust your neck every five minutes.
If you love your privacy, then look to Emirates for your first class international travel. Most of the 777s in Emirates fleet feature first class suites that include floor-to-ceiling doors. That means you’ll practically be flying across the ocean in your own hotel room. The suites are also spacious and offer lighting and temperature control. You'll have a big screen TV, a comfortable bed and on-demand food and drink services that include caviar and all the Dom Perignon you can drink.
If you tend to get hungry while flying but prefer a meal that’s a little bit more exciting than a bagged turkey sandwich with mayo and mustard, your best bet is to “Fly the Friendly Skies” with United. For first class travelers, United Airlines offers a wide array of fine dining options that go above and beyond the typical airline fare. The meals aboard these flights are five courses, and include an appetizer, salad, entrée, an exotic cheese course, as well as one of their many delicious desserts.
The great thing about these first class cabins is their adaptability. The seats, for one, transform from extremely comfortable straight back chairs (which are perfect for reading) to a horizontal bed that will have you dozing off in no time. The amenity kits are another highlight, with each including specially designed pajamas and a gift bag filled with various lotions and other cool products by La Prairie. The La Prairie products alone will probably last you six months.
In addition to each first class traveler receiving a handwritten welcome note, JetBlue has one of the most extensive first class amenity kits of any domestic airline. It includes moisturizers, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a pen, eye mask, ear plugs — even a pair of super soft and comfortable socks. JetBlue also provides its first class travelers with headphones by Grado Labs. Oh yeah, and Wi-Fi is free.
If you fly first class on Virgin Atlantic, you’ll never worry about feeling overly tense before a six-hour transcontinental flight again. That’s because Virgin offers specialty Clubhouses at several airports throughout the country where first class passengers can grab a cocktail, relax with a deep tissue massage, get a manicure or spruce up with a nice shave. The Virgin Clubhouses are located at 10 locations throughout the world, including prime American destinations like New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Boston. As an added bonus, first class passengers on Virgin Atlantic can bring a guest to the clubhouse, just as long as he or she is on the same flight.