Friday, November 21, 2014

Flying First Class: New Luxury for the Rich!

In the last post about Ethiad Airways' luxury three-room suites I should have mentioned that there's a lot of other airlines that are getting into the game of catering to the super rich.

For decades we've all known about the spacious first class cabin up in the front of the plane - screened off from the riffraff by forbidding closed curtains. We know they have plenty of leg room and that their seats recline all the way into beds for overnight flights. We've heard about the sumptuous steak and lobster meals and the fine wines and champagne, served on real china with glass stemware, silverware, and linen napkins - compared to the casseroles in plastic trays that are shoveled out back in coach.

But now things are going to extreme. While most airlines can't compete with Ethiad in offering three-room suites, they're still going nuts in trying to lure and accommodate the rich. Some of them are installing what they refer to as 'suites' but in reality are just small cubicles with space enough for a narrow bed right beside the already-wide seats. Each cubicle has it's own big screen TV and the linens on the bed are of the highest quality. The meals are chef created and the wine list is not unlike a fine restaurant. Nevertheless, there's certainly no private toilets in these cubicles like in Ethiad, so rich people still have to stand on line to pee just like everyone else on the plane.

Whether or not this extraordinary accommodation for the rich has anything to do with why seats are squeezed so tightly together back in coach I haven't a clue although my suspicions are high.

If you have time this evening to indulge in sheer fantasy about how the rich travel, here's some fun YouTube links to a few airlines that are unashamedly promoting their groveling to the rich with their so-called suites. Personally I'm concerned about all the elaborate table settings and what happens when the plane hits turbulence - with all those wine glasses and china plates hitting you in the face or dumped in your lap. Maybe that's a risk the rich are willingly to take, so who am I to judge?

In any case, take a look at these airlines and see for yourself what they have to offer - provided you're rich and can afford it:

Air France- La Premiere Suite
British Air
Singapore Airlines

Thanks for dropping in this evening. I hope your holiday travels are as smooth and comfortable as possible. If for some amazing reason I do get to go home for the holidays, I'll be sitting way back there in coach with my knees squeezed up to my chin.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Etihad Airways: Luxury Travel for the Rich!

During this holiday time of year many of us are making travel plans to see our family, friends, and loved ones - although not necessarily in that order. I'm hoping and praying, of course, that my nutty employer will be making travel plans as well.

It's no big secret that the rich travel differently from the rest of us, is it? If they don't have their own jets and are forced to fly on commercial airlines, you can bet you won't see them sitting back there in coach along with the rest of us, with their legs going numb from crowded seats and crying babies all around.

Instead, they'll be up there in first class with plenty of space, peace and quiet, and seats that recline all the way into beds for overnight flights. Some airlines even have private cubicles for the rich and famous, and of course their crying babies are left at home with their nannies.

You won't see them in the airports either, huddled in the crowded waiting rooms at each gate. They have their own luxurious first-class lounges complete with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and when all the riffraff have boarded the plane they're escorted to their first class seats just moments before the plane takes off. Nice, right? Champagne and lobster will be on their dinner trays, complete with linen napkins and silverware, as opposed to plastic knives and forks back there in coach.

But now there's something quite extraordinary I want to tell you about - a whole new way for the super rich to travel. It seems that Etihad Airways from United Arab Emirates is installing private rooms on their Airbus A380 Superjumbos for the discerning traveler. Designed for only two people, it's called "The Residence" and consists of a private three-room suite.

The living room has a big flat-screen TV, a chilled-drink bar, luxurious leather furnishings and a dining table; the separate bedroom has a double bed with fine Egyptian cotton sheets; and the bathroom not only has a shower but also high-dollar toiletries and bathrobes like you might expect in any five-star hotel.

But it doesn't stop there. There's also an on-board gourmet chef available to them and a personal assistant from the Savoy Butler Academy to see after their needs - including their fancy dinner with vintage wine, hotel reservations, and a limousine to get them there.

At currents prices this private suite will cost between $43,000 to $48,000 round-trip to get you from here to there. Which is only about $24,000 per person after all, and considerably less than having your own private jet and pilot. In any case, no doubt you'll wake up refreshed with a nice shower before the plane lands.

Here's a link to "The Residence". See for yourself.

Thanks for dropping in tonight, and happy holiday travels,