Tag Archives: Air France

Luxurious first class cabins from Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad and more

Lufthansa First Class Cabin on A380 flights. Image Courtesy of Lufthansa Facebook Page

Lufthansa First Class Cabin on A380 flights. Image Courtesy of Lufthansa Facebook Page

Flying first class gives a whole new meaning to the term “on cloud nine”. Like one King Lear said, vile times make small things precious, or something like that. Flying long distances is vile. You’ll need your basic human rights like your shower and bed. And yes, since you are travelling first class, why not aim for the best service and comfort a flight can bring 35,000 feet in the air?Surrounded by luxury and style, it really is the best way to fly and if you have the miles, booking a cabin should be as easy as ABC. With an array of airlines to choose from, finding a suitable carrier to ferry you from destination to destination seems like the best kind of problem to have. From showers to a flatbed where you can rest your tired body, we check out the best first class cabins. While most of the amenities mentioned below are available, it would be wise to check with the airlines so as not to be left disappointed.

Singapore Airlines Suites

We like how the airline talks about its Suites: “How close is too close? You’ll never have to know.” Privacy a luxury on planes. Slide those doors, close up those window blinds. Stretch out and enjoy the space you should always have had in-flight. On your honeymoon? Connect two suites to make a double room. We hope you booked a chef at least a day before your flight, because you can enjoy a decadent, bespoke meal, served on bone china by Wedgwood specifically designed for Singapore Airlines.

The A380-exclusive Singapore Airlines Suite. Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

The A380-exclusive Singapore Airlines Suite. Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

Emirates First Class Suites

A380 Shower Spa. Just the three words alone make us want to use our miles (if we had them) to book these first class suites. Travel time totalling near or over 20 hours (we’re looking at you, Sydney to Dubai, then Dubai to Chicago) means you reach your final destination with frizzy hair, the clothes you had on from the day before, and a desire to enter into a hole in the ground, no matter which class you fly. Unless you happen to be Victoria Beckham who steps off long haul flights looking like a goddess. Sure, with Emirates First Class Suites, there’s mingling at the Lounge (on board) and the Bulgari amenities kit for long-haul overnight flights, which don’t hurt, but A380 Shower Spa is the key. If you’re still not convinced, learn more from Jennifer Aniston here:

Etihad Airways The Residence

Was there ever a time where Etihad was not upping the game for first class (and beyond)? Your chauffeur awaits, before you even step out of your house. He or she brings you to the airport, where the Porter and Concierge are ready to assist. After enjoying top-notch hospitality and a light, delicious meal at the Lounge, your cabin manager walks you to the plane. Then it’s welcome to the flight. We have no idea how the airline manages to give each of their most well-heeled traveller duos a living room with a reclining couch, a private en-suite bathroom, and a private double bedroom on their A380 flights, but they do. Well played, Etihad. Well played.

Lufthansa First Class

If a private jet with the airline is not your thing, there’s always the Lufthansa First Class. For the airline, it’s all in the details. Pampering with the wellness programme the spa at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, exploring a library of DuMont coffee-table books, and if you smoke, heading for the cigar lounge-within-the-lounge just some of the things you can do at the Frankfurt Airport. Ready to fly? At five airports including Frankfurt and Zurich, you might just board the flight in style with limousine service. Sound-cancelling curtains and Michelin-star-standard food (which includes caviar) on board complete the first class experience. Airline agreements means if you book first class for that (seemingly endless for coach) Sydney to New York flight with Lufthansa, one leg of the trip might be operated by Singapore Airlines, which works well for us.

Note: Frequent flyers between Bangkok and Frankfurt, rejoice! Lufthansa says that they will be rolling out A380 flights between the two cities, with First Class cabins starting October this year.

Lufthansa First Class Cabin on A380 flights. Image Courtesy of Lufthansa Facebook Page

Lufthansa First Class Cabin on A380 flights. Image Courtesy of Lufthansa Facebook Page

Qantas First Class

G’day mate. Two things are for sure in this world: we love Qantas and we love Australia. If you’ve watched the video where Ellen DeGeneres takes (or rather, “gives up taking”) first class on her Qantas flight home from Melbourne to Los Angeles, you would notice a couple of things: the bed in First Class is spacious enough for more than one (and you’d be the only one with all that space), there’s an ottoman for guests, and flying top-tier means too many pillows (which we welcome). Then there are the things the video doesn’t show, like a chauffeur to bring you to the airport, an eight-course dégustation menu courtesy of Neil Perry, and a Sommelier in the Skies so you know the right pairings for the exquisite food you’re tasting. First Class? Absolutely!

Air France La Première

There have been many videos in this article, we know. This one doesn’t have a celebrity, but we couldn’t resist showing it to you. It beckons you right in. Air France wasn’t kidding on their website when they mentioned how uber-comfortable the La Première beds are. After you watch the flight attendant lay out a futon mattress, a large pillow and a Sofitel MyBed™ duvet and tuck yourself into the two-metres long bed, you’re drifting off to sleep and hoping that you wouldn’t have to land so soon. Depending on how social you feel at any moment, you could close the curtains or open it up so it doesn’t feel claustrophobic. Sleep is important on a flight, we know but the airline shows that there’s more to being one of the best than a comfortable bed. Say you are departing from Paris. Would you like to have something from the menu crafted by the likes of Joël Robuchon? How about some Aquitaine Sturia caviar? Oui and oui, please. Oh, and just in case you prefer even more exclusivity, there’s always the option of private jet from Charles de Gaulle.

Asiana Airlines First Suite Class

Excuse us. We were just fascinated with the Seat Function Control Unit, from which we can control the universe! (Disclaimer: We have no actual dominion over the world, just our seat.) Besides conveniently adjusting your seat, you can also enjoy the 32-and-a-half-inch LCD screen on which your entertainment plays. You would know that there are more important things than movies, especially on long-haul flights. Besides lying flat (the joy!) on the 2.1 metres bed, and a shower, which Asiana sadly does not offer, nutritious and delectable food is your other priority to stay refreshed and upbeat on the flight. If you’re flying the airline’s First Suite Class from Seoul to the United States or Europe, you can choose between 10 royal Korean menus simply reserve in advance.

Asiana Airlines First Suite Class. Image courtesy of Asiana Airlines

Asiana Airlines First Suite Class. Image courtesy of Asiana Airlines

British Airways First Suite

Picture this: if Ritz-Carlton came to us saying that flat beds are a reason to stay, we would stare at them blankly. With air travel, however, we cannot overstate the importance of the two words that sound like music to our ears: “flat bed”. Besides being home to a 1.98 metre flat bed, the First Class suite infused with British design looks aesthetically pleasing. Add to that essentials (we gave up using the word “luxurious” because so many things on the flight are vital, as we previously mentioned) like a quilted mattress, white cotton duvet and yes the pillow. If like us, you appreciate fine amenities, the Liberty London amenity kit (currently available on flights from London’s Heathrow Airport and Los Angeles only) on board might bring a smile. The airline’s First Suite only comes on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner planes flying to selected locations like Kuala Lumpur and Abu Dhabi, but never fear — there’s First Class on other planes.

British Airways First Cabin on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flights. Image courtesy of British Airways

British Airways First Cabin on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flights. Image courtesy of British Airways

Cathay Pacific First Class Suites

If you’ve seen articles deliberating whether Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific is America’s Next Top Model (we mean the World’s Next Top Airline for First Class), you’ll know this airline means business when it comes to first class experience. Pretend your flight is a Hollywood film. First it starts with someone greeting you by name, then there’s a close-up shot of 500-thread-count cotton duvet, pillow and cushions. If you think that escalated pretty quickly, then here’s the climatic point of the narrative in-flight in-chair massages — this is as relaxing as it gets. Did you find all that underwhelming? Here’s an Aesop amenity kit, award-winning wine, fine cheeses and freshly-brewed coffee to make it all right. And now, excuse us while we curl up in our private suite to pursue that flighty temptress known as sleep.

Cathay Pacific Airways First Class. Image Courtesy of Cathay Pacific Airways

Cathay Pacific Airways First Class. Image Courtesy of Cathay Pacific Airways


World’s Best Loyalty Reward Programs 2016

Frequent fliers have spoken and voted Marriott, Southwest and Air France/KLM among the best travel brands for their loyalty programs at this year’s edition of the Freddie Awards. On the elite rewards program front, Hyatt dominated, along with American Airlines and El Al.

Winners of the awards were announced out of Las Vegas Thursday and are based on the results of three million ballots that are cast annually.

For the 26th edition, Air France/KLM and Le Club Accorhotels emerged as the big winners, taking home five Freddie Awards each for Europe and Africa.

a350_900airfran.4b21b104942.h0

Awards are divided by regions – Americas; Europe and Africa; and Middle East, Asia and Oceania.

This year, Southwest broke American Airlines’ four-year winning streak, taking the award for Program of the Year for the Americas.

Marriott took the title of loyalty program of the year for the ninth consecutive year.

The awards are named after Sir Freddie Laker, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1978 for his contribution to commercial aviation and the British economy.

Laker’s long list of accomplishments includes the founding of Britain’s first all-jet air carrier Laker Airways Ltd. in 1966, which eventually became the largest individually and privately owned airline in the world.

He is also credited with founding the world’s first no-frills transatlantic service dubbed “Skytrain,” which flew between London and New York in the late 1970s.

Here is the full list of winners:

AMERICAS

Airlines

Program of the Year: Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

Best Elite Program: American Airlines – AAdvantage

Best Promotion: Avianca – LifeMiles

Best Customer Service: Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

Best Redemption Ability: Avianca – LifeMiles

210 AWARD: Avianca – LifeMiles

Hotels

Program of the Year: Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards

Best Elite Program: Hyatt – Gold Passport

Best Promotion: MGM – M life

Best Customer Service: Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards

Best Redemption Ability: Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards

210 AWARD: MGM – M life

EUROPE & AFRICA

Airlines

Program of the Year: Air France/KLM – Flying Blue

Best Elite Program: Lufthansa – Miles & More

Best Promotion: Air France/KLM – Flying Blue

Best Customer Service: Air France/KLM – Flying Blue

Best Redemption Ability: Air France/KLM – Flying Blue

210 AWARD (which honors an up-and-coming program among smaller operators): Norwegian Air – Norwegian Reward

Hotels

Program of the Year: Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels

Best Elite Program: Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Promotion: Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels

Best Customer Service: Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels

Best Redemption Ability: IHG – IHG Rewards Club

210 AWARD: IHG – IHG Rewards Club

MIDDLE EAST & OCEANIA

Airlines

Program of the Year: Virgin Australia – Velocity

Best Elite Program: El Al – Matmid Club

Best Promotion: El Al – Matmid Club

Best Customer Service: Virgin Australia – Velocity

Best Redemption Ability: Virgin Australia – Velocity

210 AWARD: Jet Airways – JetPrivilege

Hotel

Program of the Year: Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels

Best Elite Program: Hyatt – Gold Passport

Best Promotion: Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels

Best Customer Service: IHG – IHG Rewards Club

Best Redemption Ability: IHG – IHG Rewards Club

210 AWARD: ITC Hotels – Club ITC

Air France continues its revamp with fun in-flight video

Air France new in-flight safety demonstration video

French national carrier Air France has continued its revamp with the release of a fresh in-flight safety demonstration video, with a twist.

Following the launch of the new advertising film ‘France is in the air’, Air France has confirmed it will debut a new in-flight safety demonstration video across its flights from April.

AIR FRANCE ROLLS OUT PRIVATE JET SERVICE

The revised style of the video attempts to offer its customers a humorous take on its in-flight safety measures, with safety instructions narrated by an Air France hostess and played out by five female ‘passengers’, dressed in Air France colors.

Despite its light side, Air France confirmed the video meets regulatory requirements and has been designed in cooperation with the Air France flight safety division and the French Civil Aviation Authority.

The video now also features a section aimed at increasing awareness of the fire risk involved in transporting lithium batteries.

The video will be progressively integrated onto all long-haul and some medium-haul flights from next month.

Air France private jet line

Air France rolls out private jet service

Air France private jet line

Air France has teamed with the charter flight operator Wijet to offer a new service to clients flying in its top-of-the-range La Première class.

From the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport or another location in Europe, passengers have the option of continuing their journey aboard a private jet.

Each  private jet has an intimate cabin furnished with just four roomy leather club chairs. Two of them can recline to 140° to allow passengers to fully relax during the flight.

Personal storage space, folding tables and spacious luggage ensure the utmost comfort level for high-end clients, who can enjoy alcoholic beverages, pastries or boxed lunches aboard the flight regardless of the time of day.

The private jets will serve 1,200 airports located within a range of two and a half hours from Paris, both in France and elsewhere in Europe.

Clients of the service are free to choose their own departure time and can take advantage of simplified pre-flight procedures.

There is no need to go through the check-in process, and boarding takes place as soon as the passengers arrive. Upon reaching their final destination, clients can step off the plane with their luggage without delays.

This new service is available starting at €2,400, including taxes and fees to reserve the entire jet for a round trip to or from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. The return flight must be made within two days after the outgoing trip.

Travelers can book their trip using the standard reservation methods or through the dedicated La Première customer hotline.

Air France luxury first class seat 2014

Air France, France is in the Air

A new “Air France, France is in the Air” exhibition just arrived in New York City and is open for free to the public beginning Thursday, June 26 through Saturday, June 28.

The exhibition is designed as a journey, providing consumers an opportunity to discover Air France’s new luxury French travel and lifestyle experiences.

The exhibit also aims to promote the airline’s newly revamped cabins including La Premiere, four suites that can be curtained off for privacy and feature lie-flat beds and extra storage.

The newest cabin rolls out on intercontinental flights beginning in September.

Air France luxury first class seat 2014

The carrier has also unveiled a new premium economy class cabin that features seats with 40% more space than regular economy class seating.

Aside from the Air France travel event, visitors to the expo at Center548 in Manhattan can also partake in free French lessons, wine tastings, and indulge in free Laduree macarons, champagne and ice cream.

SEE ALSO: AIR FRANCE UNVEILS LUXURY FIRST-CLASS SEAT

Air France luxury first class seat 2014

Air France unveils luxury first-class seat

Air France luxury first class seat 2014

 has unveiled its new first-class section in Shanghai, fuelling an international luxury-seating race to win over Asia’s rising number of high fliers

The airline’s “haute couture” suite will feature a seat that reclines into a bed stretching 2.01 metres long and 77 centimetres across (6 ft 7 ins and 30 inches) — one of the most spacious in the world.

A total of 76 of the seats will be fitted into the airline’s 19 Boeing 777-300 jets at a cost of 50 million euros, the company said as it showed off the new offering in an expenses-paid trip for journalists to China’s commercial hub.

Air travel in Asia is set to take off as growing middle classes take to the skies, prompting increasing competition for well-heeled passengers, and industry expert Didier Brechemier, of the Roland Berger Strategy consultancy, said that “first class is a tool in terms of image”.

The Residence living area Etihad A380

The launch came days after the Emirati airline Etihad revealed a first-class sofa that converts into a bed extending 2.04 metres long and 66 centimetres wide, which will go into Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 planes.

Singapore Airlines currently boasts the most spacious first-class seat, which it revealed in July last year at 2.08 metres by 90 centimetres.

Singapore Airlines First Class bed

First class occupies just a sliver of the air-travel market, with Air France’s 52,000 such customers a year representing an occupancy rate of 38%, 0.3% of total long-haul passengers and 1.8% of long-haul revenue, said Bruno Matheu, head of Air France’s passenger business.

But with return ticket prices averaging $12,500 across the company’s network the luxury seats are highly profitable and they “generate more revenue than if we filled that space with economy or business-class seats”.

Etihad first class meal

6 Airlines With Celebrity Chefs Onboard

Etihad Airway First Class Chef

If you’re getting ready for a long-haul flight to your vacation destination, you may not be looking forward to the on-board meal. Between soggy sandwiches and microwaved chicken cutlets, airplane food often leaves a lot to be desired. But there are exceptions: these airlines have called upon master chefs for in-flight cuisine that’s a cut above the rest.

Etihad Airways

The UAE airline took home the honors for “Best First Class Meals” in the 2013 Skytrax World Airline Awards. Over the past two years, Etihad has recruited chefs from the world’s top restaurants. On board for select international flights, master chefs offer gourmet fare rivaling that of fine dining restaurants.

Fresh and organic ingredients take center stage. The eggs and honey used in the kitchen, for example, come straight from an organic farm in Abu Dhabi.

Air France

For its business class, Air France calls upon a new master chef every eight months to create gourmet fare for its long-haul flights from Paris. Through October 2013, travelers can enjoy the cuisine of Michel Roth, chef at “L’Espadon,” the restaurant of the Ritz in Paris. In first class, the menus are created by Michelin-starred chefs including Joël Robuchon and Guy Martin.

Qatar Airways

Last year, Qatar Airways recruited a gourmet all-star team to create a transnational menu. Starred chefs Nobu Matsuhisa (Japan) and Tom Aikens (United Kingdom), as well as Lebanese chef Ramzi Choueiri and  Indian chef Vineet Bathia have created dishes inspired by their home countries.

The cuisine has been prepared with two particular challenges in mind: limited preparation methods available and the possibility of an altered sense of taste in high altitudes. This globe-trotting gastronomy can be found in first and business class on international flights.

Lufthansa

The German airline’s first class service also includes a high-end culinary experience. On long-haul flights from German cities, master chefs take turns offering well-crafted and creative menus. This summer, Joachim Wissler, who holds three Michelin stars and was voted “Chef of Chefs” by his German colleagues, offers among other delicacies a green pea mousse with mozzarella and tomato basil sauce.

Flights to Germany also feature the cuisine of gourmet chefs, chosen from the best restaurants in the countries of departure. Next October and November, for example, passengers will savor the creations of French chef Marc Haeberlin of L’Auberge de l’Ill in the Alsace region.

Singapore Airlines

For several years now, the Singaporean airline has relied on a panel of nine internationally renowned chefs for its in-flight meals. The dishes served in premium and business class were created by French chef George Blanc, whose restaurant in Vonnas holds three Michelin stars, Italian chef Carlo Craco (two Michelin stars) and Alfred Portale of New York.

Delta Air Lines

Delta recently announced that it was giving its in-flight menu a TV twist, by creating a competitive culinary show that will see four top US chefs — Hugh Acheson, Linton Hopkins, Kelly English, and George Mendes — go up against one another for the prize of developing the dish ideas for passengers.

Air France Bilum travel kit

Air France life jackets turned into travel kits

Air France Bilum travel kit

Since life jackets have an expiration date, French carrier Air France has decided to recycle its old ones into an exclusive collection of toiletry cases through a partnership with bilum, a company specialized in the transformation of used material.

The first 400 cases will be launched at noon, on Shopping.airfrance.com and Bilumstore.fr, at the price of €19 for the flat case and €24 for the tube toiletry case.

The collection will be available December 7. Bilum has been recycling unwanted material into bags and accessories since 2005.

airfrance iphone app

Air France KLM to offer in-flight wifi

airfrance iphone app

Starting in 2013 Air France- KLM plans to test, in partnership with Panasonic Avionics, a program that brings on-board connectivity to the airlines’ long-haul flights.

The experimental project will allow passengers to connect to the internet, send emails and SMS text messages, and, eventually, watch TV shows on their computer.
Continue reading

qantas plane

Top airline wines found on board Qantas, ANA

qantas plane

Qantas has kept its reputation sky high in the annual competition to determine the best wines served aboard the world’s airlines.

The Cellars in the Sky Awards, organized by Business Traveller Magazine UK, were announced at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Monday, with Qantas triumphing in no fewer than six categories. Delta, Jetstar, LAN, Qatar Airways, TAM, Emirates, Air France and Cathay Pacific also won awards.

Some 250 wines were entered by a total of 32 carriers, with the awards recognizing excellence in wines served in business and first class.
Continue reading

Delta plane

Delta tops the world’s most admired airlines

Delta plane

Delta Air Lines has been voted the world’s most admired airline by Fortune magazine, managing to push Singapore Airlines into second place.

The award means that Delta came out top in a string of assessments including social responsibility and quality of product, as well as business-related criteria such as quality of management and global competitiveness.

Delta has moved steadily up the ranks over the past four years to reach top spot, which was awarded to Singapore Airlines last year — the airline’s boss Richard Anderson described the award as a “remarkable achievement” in a note to staff.
Continue reading

The world’s best-dressed cabin crew

Qatar Airways has topped a list of “best-dressed” airlines conducted by airfare comparison site Skyscanner.

The airline’s “retro-look” uniforms won the votes of 33 percent of respondents to Skyscanner poll, which was timed to coincide with London Fashion Week last week.

Air France‘s uniforms, designed by Christian Lacroix, came second place with 17 percent, while British Airways came in third with 15 percent.
Continue reading

Air France unveils new business class

Air France has unveiled its new business class cabin, saying that the new two-meter bed is one of the longest on the market.

The airline, which is investing some €110 million in its business class cabin, will offer the new seat on long-haul services from the end of this year.

The lie-flat seat bed uses a footrest to extend its length to over two meters in the bed position and is 61 centimeters wide.

Continue reading

Delta’s New Heathrow Lounge

If you’re traveling from London’s Heathrow Airport aboard Delta Air Lines or one of its SkyTeam partners, you’ll soon be able to take advantage of this futuristic and luxurious new lounge.

The lounge is open to international first and business class passengers as well as SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers.

The two-level minimalist styled lounge features a spa, restaurant, wine bar, oxygen bar and entertainment hub.
Continue reading

“Le Monde de Vendome” – The refined glitter of the Place Vendome

Place Vendôme is a jewelry case for all the jewels of the world.

What is more symbolic to a tourist in search of French expertise than this Parisian square, where high-end jewelry brands intermingle?

For travelers, we present Le monde de Vendôme (The World of Vendôme), a documentary film with the “actors” of Place Vendôme, that will be broadcasted on all AirFrance long-haul flights beginning the 1st of April 2009.

Here is, exclusively for LUXUO readers, the preview to this superb film:

[vimeo 3294946 468 350]
Continue reading

World’s Ten Most Amazing Airport Lounges

Looking for the perfect way to relax or work before a flight? Here is a list of world’s top them most amazing airport lounges that not only offer comfortable seating and beverages but much more!

In today’s day and age, along with plasma screens and WI-FI connectivity, these lounges are offering amenities like full-fledged spas, private nap rooms, and meals catered by celebrity chefs.


1/ Air France l’Espace Premiere lounge, Paris
(Charles de Gaulle Airport, Terminal 2E)

Airport_lounges_1.jpg

Continue reading