When Jess Kimball boards Flight 12 from JFK to Rome, she’s traveling coach. On the Hunt for Jack Reacher, Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar fly coach, too. I would venture to guess that for most of us, air travel means a tight seat with very little leg room in Economy class, similar to the British Airways flights I took last week to and from the London Book Fair. Cramped, indeed!
Whether they’re called First or Business class (the lines between the two are blurring), the seats in the front part of the plane seem like some sort of exclusive club, don’t they? What’s up with that? So I put on my Investigation Cap that I often use when writing mysteries, and did some research for us to reveal just what the hell is going on up there that’s so dang special, right?
It varies by airline and by flight, but if you’re made of money and you’re willing to use it for a plane ticket, these are some of the extra amenities often offered in First or Business Class:
- Extra leg room (couldda used that last week)
- Extra arm room (wouldda been nice, too)
- Cushier seats (now you’re talkin’)
- Lie-flat seats (oh, boy! for the red eye on the way over, a place to sleep would have been great)
- Early boarding (meh)
- Gourmet meals (yeah, right. Nothing about airplane food is gourmet unless you bring it with you)
- Free cocktails (getting’ closer to nirvana now)
- More movie options (I’d rather read, thanks)
- Tables that extend to create a work desk (wouldda been nice on the way back when I was working)
- Entry to exclusive airport lounges (nah. I don’t wanna hang around inside an airport long enough to use ’em)
- Comfort kits with toiletries, eye masks, skincare products, etc. (nah, I’ve got my own)
So six of these are features I’d like, but they’re still probably not enough to make me pay a bundle of bitcoins or wish for an even longer flight. Eight hours over to London and ten hours back was plenty for me.
That’s where luxury suites come in. When I win the lotto or discover oil in the back yard, I just might go for these babies.
Several commercial airlines are now offering private suites or cabins in the sky, so luxurious they make flying First Class look like steerage.
Again, these are suites on commercial flights. Not on private jets.
Now… take a look:
On Etihad Airways’ Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jets, for about $20,000, you can book a trip in The Residence. In addition to the amenities pictured above, you get a chef and a butler, plus a living room with a 32-inch flat screen TV.
Singapore Airlines has an offering similarly private and luxurious on the Airbus A380. For up to $23,000, the Singapore Airlines Suites offer private cabins with a bed, 23-inch TV, hand-stitched armchairs, and exquisite custom dining.
Traveling in one of these suites is more than a little out of my price range. But using one of these suites as a setting in an upcoming thriller novel. Hmmmm…..
What are the most lavish accommodations you’ve ever encountered?