Condé Nast Traveller readers recently voted Singapore Airlines as their favourite ‘Foreign Airline’. “In the premium cabin (business and first class) arms race, Singapore is by common consent the leader,” agrees Gary Walther in Forbes. “It has consistently raised the bar, and more than that, I think it’s tried to put the glamour back in flying.”
The 12 suites on its A380s offer “sliding doors, a 36-inch-wide seat, and a separate bed with full-sized pillows and Givenchy linens”. If you’re with a partner, adjacent suites can be “turned into a double room, in effect”. Some flights offer an ‘Air Sommelier’ to help you choose from the wine list. If it’s a very special occasion, then “sometimes (and only upon request) it’s possible to organise an impromptu Dom versus Krug tasting”.
For Walther, however, the key thing that makes Singapore Airlines stand out is the service. “I toured the Singapore Airlines training centre one afternoon and watched new recruits practice deportment, elocution, posture, and grace under pressure.” It pays off. On one flight,“in the middle of the night and well between meal services, a steward, doubtlessly informed that I hadn’t had dinner, asked if I wanted a sandwich. That was exactly what I wanted, but hadn’t even thought to ask. And isn’t that the essence of top-notch service?”
• Prices from around £6,240 for first- class return flights between London Heathrow and Singapore. For more, see www.singaporeair.com.
Middle Eastern airlines have a reputation for offering some of the world’s most luxurious flight experiences, but Emirates stands out even among its peers, says The Daily Telegraph. As a first-class traveller you can expect to be chauffeured from your front door to the airport, where you can “rest in private suites equipped with a sliding door, personal mini-bar, vanity table, wardrobe and mirror”.
Lisa Loverro in Forbes notes that first class on the company’s A380 offers “a new dimension in aviation”. As well as gourmet food and Dom Perignon champagne, you can even enjoy a spa treatment: the ‘Emirates’ Shower Spa’ is a 25-minute treatment that includes a five-minute hot shower with customised products and a heated floor. And for those with enough money, Emirates now offers a step above first class – a private-jet service. Emirates Executive will provide a private charter service for up to 19 passengers per flight.
• A first-class return flight with Emirates from London Heathrow to Dubai starts from £4,131.19. Find out more at www.emirates.com/uk/english/.
British Airways was named best long-haul airline in the world in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Reader Awards 2012. The first-class experience starts in the airport lounge, says Edward Schneider on HuffingtonPost.com. Rather than helping yourself from a buffet, or coffee machine, “waiters deliver anything you want”. You can also reserve a ‘cabana’ with “a day-bed, shower, toilet, TV and a bowl of fruit”.
On board were 14 seat-pods, each with “individual closets and plenty of elbow room, with deep shelves for the Anya Hindmarch toiletries bags and the junk we cannot travel without”. Leg room “was for all practical purposes infinite”. The food varied in quality (it’s still an aeroplane, after all). “My wife’s leek and potato soup with smoked salmon was delicious and fresh-tasting, but my full English breakfast was distressingly dry and overcooked.”
However, it’s convenient: “you can order from any part of the fairly diverse menu at any point in the flight”. As for the bed, six-foot tall Schneider had “three or four inches of clearance above my head, and my feet didn’t touch the end”.
• First-class return flights with BA between London Heathrow and JFK New York start from £6,211, including taxes (www.ba.com).
New to MoneyWeek?
Welcome, and thank you for visiting us.
Here at MoneyWeek, our aim is simple. To give you intelligent and enjoyable commentary on the most important financial stories of the week, and tell you how to profit from them.
If you've enjoyed what you've read so far, I've got something you'll definitely be interested in.
Every working day the MoneyWeek team sends out a hard-hitting email, 'Money Morning', giving you a rundown of the latest financial events, and revealing what you should do to maximise profits and head off losses…
And with your permission, I'd like to send you Money Morning for FREE.
To sign-up enter your email address below.
We hope you enjoy your stay on the site. Good luck with your investments!
Digital Managing Editor, MoneyWeek