Whether you just won the lottery, saved up, or are simply looking for a better way to fly, choosing a luxury airline can make every trip more comfortable. Commercial airlines can go beyond the standard travel experience and offer premium perks and upgrades for flyers who are willing to spend a bit more. While things like legroom and in-flight amenities are quantifiable, but many things like staff training and air quality are not so easily measured, but become immediately apparent on these five best luxury commercial airlines.
- Travelers who are comfortable paying more for flights may choose to fly with commercial airlines that prioritize luxury.
- Luxury perks can include enhanced privacy, upscale food and beverage service, access to premium entertainment and private transportation to and from the airport.
- Earning travel miles or points with a travel rewards credit card can help to offset some of the cost of luxury fares, while also offering additional perks and benefits.
- When booking luxury travel, be sure to compare the amenities offered for First Class and Business Class fares to determine which one offers the best travel experience.
Perhaps the tightest luxury seats, Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class offers a fold-out bed/seat combo and half-partition walls. In addition to the finest foods and beverages served at your seat, you also have access to bars and social areas that offer refreshments and relations. Upper Class passengers are among the first to disembark and pick up luggage, saving you time at the terminal. Guests can enjoy private chauffeured cars that drop them off at the airport and a private security area at London Heathrow. Richard Branson's airline company has a standing reputation for treating their employees well, and many flyers—and workers alike—report excellent treatment from the British airline.
Take time to compare fares for Business and First Class flights as you may pay more for one versus the other, depending on whether you're flying domestically or internationally.
When it comes to luxury travel, no detail is overlooked for Qatar Airways' first-class passengers. The signature caviar service is one of the airline's highlights along with Bric's amenity kits and designer loungewear by The White Company. Qatar Airways offers the standard seat that folds into a bed along with in-flight cell phone service, a bar, privacy wall and room for a friend to join you in your “cabin.” If you need a way to pass the time, you have more than 4,000 entertainment options to choose from through the airline's innovative entertainment system. Wooden trim and purple tones make first-class seem all the more luxurious. Flying with Qatar feels like having your own private booth.
Emirates is the first on this list to offer first-class travelers a real private cabin on Boeing 777 and Emirates A380 flights. The airline was voted the World's Best First Class in 2020 in the TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Awards. The private cabin has a mini-bar (in case you didn’t want to get up to visit the common bar), a seat that turns into a bed and food presented on fine china. The first-class bathroom has a shower and, like Virgin Atlantic, travelers can arrive at the airport in style in a private chauffeur-driven car. Emirates is consistently one of the most expensive first-class options, but the details make the flight not only enjoyable but an absolute pleasure.
When booking luxury travel, take time to compare First Class and Business Class amenities to see which offers the most perks at the best price.
Singapore Airline suites allow for complete privacy in an enclosed cabin. For traveling couples, the privacy wall can be retracted and the two seats folded out into a double bed. Travelers are treated to private check-in and luxury lounge services as well as on-demand meals and beverages. Want to enjoy breakfast in bed at 3 a.m.? No problem. Someone is always on-call to assist you at any time, with whatever you may need to enjoy your first-class flight in comfort. While the bathrooms leave much to be desired when compared to Emirates’, a ticket is also significantly less.
A trip aboard Etihad Airways is sure to be one luxury travelers will remember. When you fly first class, an Etihad chauffeur will drive you to the airport. Following the Priority Check-in process you can relax in the First Lounge as you prepare to board. Once you're on board, you can enjoy a private suite that offers a la carte dining, boutique wines and seats that transform into a fully reclining bed. Each flight includes an Aqua Di Parma amenity kit and Etihad's team of Wellness Ambassadors are on-hand to ensure that you have a relaxing flight.
Looking for ways to save money on luxury flights? Consider applying for a travel rewards credit card that allows you to accumulate miles or points toward First Class and Business Class flights.
The Bottom Line
Today’s airlines are hoping to bring the rich back to the glamorous days of air travel. And while not everyone needs to fly to and from the Gulf States or Singapore, the cost of flying in a private apartment or first-class suite is perhaps worth it in order to have an incredible experience. When booking luxury travel, consider which amenities or features are most important to have. This can help you choose the flights that offer what you need at a price that's reasonable for your travel budget.