Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky

Post originally Published December 17, 2023 || Last Updated December 17, 2023

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Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - The Suite Life - First Class Cabins That Rival 5-Star Hotels

For those seeking the ultimate in luxurious air travel, there's nothing quite like flying first class. Top tier carriers are raising the bar with ever more lavish offerings that make spending time in the air feel like an indulgent escape. We're talking fully enclosed suites, plush lie-flat seats, designer linens, and attentive cabin crew that cater to your every need.

Emirates has long been an innovator when it comes to onboard opulence. Their latest first class suites are the stuff of legends, with floor to ceiling doors that close to create a cozy private cocoon. Sink into buttery leather seats that convert into 6'6" flat beds. Then relax as flight attendants adorn your suite with plush pillows, soft blankets, and luxury Bulgari amenity kits. Your seat even has a mini-bar and ample storage for personal belongings.

Singapore Airlines is another standout, offering what some consider the most spacious first class cabins in the sky. Their Super Suites feature genuine Poltrona Frau leather, hand-stitched finishes, and separate recliner and bed seating. Plus a hi-tech entertainment system and swiveling 32" inflight monitor. With just 6 suites per cabin, the experience feels exclusive and personalized.

Some airlines team up with celebrity chefs and Michelin starred restaurants for onboard dining that rivals the world's best eateries. Air France La Premiere serves up cuisine curated by Chef Arnaud Lallement from L'Assiette Champenoise, a 3-Michelin-star restaurant in France. And Austrian Airlines collaborated with Do & Co - famous for catering the Oscars and Emmys - for updated menus with locally inspired Austrian dishes.
When it comes to amenities, many airlines pull out all the stops in first class. Besides luxurious bedding and designer toiletries, expect designer pajamas to lounge in, onboard showers to refresh in, and snooze-inducing mattresses for unparalleled comfort.

Some carriers offer unique perks like Etihad Airways' Flying Nanny program. With this service, families can request a nanny to entertain kids, assist with meals, and ensure your whole family enjoys the flight. Lufthansa First Class provides a private limousine ride from the airport to your final destination - the epitome of door-to-door service.

What else is in this post?

  1. Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - The Suite Life - First Class Cabins That Rival 5-Star Hotels
  2. Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Let's Get Physical - Onboard Gym and Wellness Areas
  3. Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Celebrity Chef Creations - Gourmet Dining in the Sky
  4. Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Cocktails Above the Clouds - Crafting Mile-High Libations
  5. Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Entertain Me - Live Music, Arts and Exhibitions
  6. Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Space to Spread Out - Rooms With A View For Working or Relaxing
  7. Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Shower Power - Stay Fresh and Renewed During Long Flights
  8. Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - For Kids Only - Play Areas and Family-Friendly Perks

Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Let's Get Physical - Onboard Gym and Wellness Areas

For fitness fanatics who don't want to miss workouts while in the air, some airlines are stepping up with state-of-the-art gym facilities. Emirates offers one of the most impressive setups, with a full workout room on their A380s complete with treadmills, exercise bikes, and weight machines. Run a few miles at 30,000 feet or lift some dumbbells while gazing out the window at clouds. The gym is open to business and first class passengers whenever they need to get their sweat on.

Qatar Airways has also invested in getting flyers moving with their Oryx One fitness program. Accessible to premium cabin guests, it includes guided yoga flow classes and custom workouts from personal trainers. Stretch it out in a group class or take advantage of resistance bands, yoga mats, and other equipment for DIY exercise sessions. The airline even provides specially designed athleisure-wear from their luxe QSuite collection.
Etihad Airways thinks beyond just physical fitness with their Reborn on Board wellness initiative. Developed in partnership with alternative medicine expert Dr. Garik Asatryan, Reborn on Board offers techniques to restore balance between mind, body and spirit. Treatments like acupressure facials, self-hypnosis, and guided meditation aim to counter the stresses of travel. For long haul journeys, wellness rituals can help passengers arrive at destinations feeling refreshed.

Some health-conscious flyers appreciate the chance to continue their wellness routines at 35,000 feet. Frequent traveler Jessica R. told us, "I always make sure to pack yoga pants and my exercise bands in my carry-on. Being able to maintain my fitness regimen helps me avoid jet lag and fatigue from long flights."

Business travelers often seek to maximize productivity and performance while in the air. As Mark F., a management consultant shares, "I try to work out on long haul flights whenever possible. Getting my blood pumping with some cardio makes me feel sharp and focused for client meetings right after landing."

For those managing chronic conditions like blood pressure, having access to onboard exercise can provide important health benefits. As cardiac nurse Lucas C. explains, "We always advise patients to keep moving, even during travel days. In-flight gyms allow them to sustain vital physical activity."

Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Celebrity Chef Creations - Gourmet Dining in the Sky

For foodies who love to dine in style, many premium airlines are collaborating with celebrity chefs and Michelin-starred restaurants to create restaurant-quality cuisine in the sky. We're talking multicourse tasting menus, fine wines, and white tablecloth service - all at 35,000 feet.

Air France has long been a pioneer in luxury inflight dining. Their La Première first class service partners with acclaimed French chef Arnaud Lallement to design menus for long-haul flights. Lallement holds the rare honor of maintaining a 3-star Michelin restaurant, L’Assiette Champenoise, for over 20 years. His artful dishes combine technical precision with seasonal ingredients, resulting in cuisine Air France describes as "a sky-high gastronomic experience."

Travelers can delight in dishes like Lallement's signature pan-seared scallops with Jerusalem artichoke and black truffle vinaigrette. Or savor lamb medallions in a thyme-infused jus, alongside facets of root vegetables. Complex flavors and elegant presentation rival Lallement's own flagship restaurant. As Sofia P., a self-described "food snob", shared, "I was stunned to be served such beautifully composed plates at 30,000 feet - complete with printed menus and tableside wine recommendations."

Austrian Airlines has also tapped culinary star power, partnering with DO & CO to craft inspired onboard dining. This Austria-based catering company is renowned for its work feeding Hollywood's elite at events like the Academy Awards. Their Executive Chef, Attila Dogudan, aims to "bring restaurant flair to the skies." The menus showcase updated Austrian classics, like schnitzel with parsley potatoes or Vienna sausage salad with pretzel crisps. Dishes celebrate regional flavors with local ingredients like mountain trout or Austrian chard.
As Matteo S., an influencer who reviews luxury travel experiences, described, "DO & CO takes familiar favorites and elevates them with artistic touches for an incredible tasting experience. I felt immersed in Austrian food culture from cruising altitude." For special occasions like Mother's Day or Christmas, limited edition menus feature holiday dishes and sparkling wine. Thoughtful touches delight passengers traveling on these popular dates.

Singapore Airlines also partners with acclaimed chefs to design rotational menus for Suites and First Class. Their International Culinary Panel comprises chefs like San Francisco-based Matt Moran and Carlo Cracco from Milan. Dishes reflect global influences from Peruvian ceviche to Japanese wagyu teppanyaki. Selections change seasonally based on sourcing top seasonal ingredients. Travelers can voyage around the world through innovative flavors at 35,000 feet.

Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Cocktails Above the Clouds - Crafting Mile-High Libations

Carriers like Virgin Atlantic understand that flavorful, innovative cocktails are essential for an indulgent inflight experience. Their expert mixologists concoct unique creations you won't find anywhere else - drinks are even served in real glassware, not plastic cups. Flagship offerings include a 'Mile High Mojito' with Bacardi rum and minty explosion, or the refreshing 'Atlantic Aperol Spritz' with bitters and orange. For whisky fans, there's the 'Marshmallow Old Fashioned' blending bourbon and torched marshmallows. Seasonal rotating cocktails feature creative combinations like raspberry and sherry or gin with blackberry shrub.
As self-proclaimed "cocktail snob" James D. told us, "I'm thrilled that Virgin Atlantic makes proper drinks onboard. Their bartenders really know what they're doing. I've discovered new favorite cocktails thanks to their rotating selections."

A few carriers offer super premium brands to appeal to luxury travelers. Singapore Airlines stocks Dom Pérignon champagne along with a Reserva de la Familia sherries. Emirates offers Hennessy Paradis cognac, a prestige blend with floral notes. Lufthansa serves Johnny Walker Blue Label whisky, aged for decades in oak casks for velvety smoothness. For connoisseurs, savoring fine spirits enhances the overall experience.

Some airlines allow you to pre-select cocktails before boarding. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines' Delight Dining service lets First Class passengers choose drinks and cuisine in advance through an online portal or app. Besides classic mixes, you can order unique options like an elderflower gin and tonic or espresso martini with vodka and coffee liqueur. This personalized approach makes for a more curated, intimate experience.
Carrier lounges are also upping their beverage game. American Express Centurion Lounges craft bespoke cocktails only available airside. Their Jimador Margarita features a smoky mezcal for a bracing kick. And Alaska Airlines Lounges shake up an Aviation with floral crème de violette. Sipping these avant garde mixes enhances your pre-flight routine.

Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Entertain Me - Live Music, Arts and Exhibitions

For art aficionados and culture vultures, nothing completes an indulgent inflight experience quite like live entertainment and exhibitions. Some leading carriers are investing in performances and showcases that stimulate the senses and spark imagination. When you're jetting across the globe, a dose of music, theater or visual art invites you to sit back, relax and escape.
Emirates is pioneering live inflight entertainment, particularly on their giant A380 aircraft. As Torsten told us, "I was amazed to experience an operatic performance at 35,000 feet!" Select flights feature unaccompanied cabaret singers belting out Broadway numbers or arias. On routes timed to big sporting events, passengers may be treated to impromptu stadium chant songs. Emirates also spotlights local talent like a Balinese dance troop or musicians strumming the oud. Exposing passengers to global cultures through live acts makes for a multisensory journey.

The talent isn't just found in the aisles - musicians sometimes pilot the planes too! Virgin Atlantic's Rockstar Pilots program showcases pilots with musical prowess. Some perform inflight concerts in Virgin signature red and play genres from pop to country. Rockstar pilots also visit schools and community centers with their instruments when not flying. Travelers get a kick out of jam sessions with the cockpit crew. It just enhances Virgin's one-of-a-kind inflight vibe.
Art exhibitions at 35,000 feet allow passengers to ponder provocative pieces during their journey. Swiss International Air Lines offers a rotating gallery program entitled SWISS Universe. Curators choose impactful fine art photographs or graphic designs to display on cabin walls and partitions. Works challenge perceptions and spark introspection with bold imagery. As photographer Claude F. shared, "Having my liminal desert photos exhibited inflight made travelers see the world differently, even if just for a moment." SWISS Universe brings the enveloping experience of museums and galleries into the airplane cabin.

Etihad Airways takes inflight art even further, with their unique Flying Nanny program. Besides assisting young travelers, Flying Nannies engage kids with immersive arts and crafts workshops in the sky. Activities range from painting pottery to designing old-fashioned spinning tops. As mom Melanie L. told us, "My daughters loved expressing their creativity with the arts and crafts. It kept them engaged for hours on our long flight." Young flyers can flex their imagination and develop new skills on board.

Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Space to Spread Out - Rooms With A View For Working or Relaxing

For road warriors and globetrotters, the ability to plug in and be productive during flights is essential. Some leading carriers now offer enclosed suites and spacious seating configurations so passengers can work and decompress in comfort. With seating privacy, inflight wifi, universal power outlets, and flatbed seating, you can labor or lounge while soaring the skies.
One pioneer of onboard suites is Singapore Airlines, whose First Class cabins provide the ultimate space to spread out. Their luxe enclosures create a cozy office in the sky, with a leather swivel chair and ottoman plus a separate full-length bed. High-speed wifi enables video calls or streaming your favorite shows on the 32” hi-def monitor. Multiple power outlets charge devices so you stay connected. Close the suite doors to create a tranquil cocoon immune from cabin noise. As consultant Henry V. describes, "I can be just as productive inflight as on the ground thanks to Singapore's well-appointed suites. Being able to spread out makes long haul flights feel effortless."

For flyers craving maximum personal space, many Asian and Middle Eastern carriers offer fully enclosed first class suites with floor to ceiling walls. Privacy partitions block out light and sound from the cabin for uninterrupted rest. Emirates provides a mini-bar, vanity, and wardrobe within the suite - like having a personal hotel room at cruising altitude. The cozy seating converts into a long flat bed heaped in soft linens. Flyer Clara H. said, "Emirates' lavish suites are my haven in the sky. I can nap, binge watch movies, and videochat unbothered." With up to 40 square feet, there's ample room to fully unwind.

In business class, Thomson Aero Seating's Vantage XL seats maximize both productivity and relaxation. These staggered seats are configured at an angle to ensure each flyer has direct aisle access without climbing over a neighbor. There's ample personal space thanks to a fixed shell enclosing the head and shoulder area. Seats extend to a 6'6" fully flat bed, ideal for sleeping soundly on overnight flights. As developer Lucas F. explained, "Our Vantage XL design allows flyers their own zone to work or rest undisturbed, which enhances the inflight experience."

For family travelers, Emirates offers inflight "multi-purpose rooms" on A380s that provide spacious seating plus a changing table, bar/refreshments and television. Kids can play without disturbing others, while parents enjoy a quiet respite. Flyers like mom Sandra C. appreciate having "a dedicated place my toddler can expend energy and I can recharge in peace." Dedicated family relaxation spaces meet the needs of travelers big and small.

Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - Shower Power - Stay Fresh and Renewed During Long Flights

For road warriors and frequent flyers, the ability to shower and refresh during lengthy journeys is a game changer. Today, select carriers offer inflight bathrooms with showers so passengers can wash off the grime and reinvigorate mid-flight. After all, stepping off a 12+ hour haul feeling fresh and renewed makes navigating time zones and jet lag far easier.

Emirates has pioneered onboard showers, installing them across its flagship A380 fleet. Their shower spas feature wood paneled walls, heated floors, and spa lighting to make you feel ensconced in a luxury escape. Enjoy invigorating rainshower heads, plush towels, and soothing toiletries from brands like Bulgari. There are even heated floors to keep your toes toasty. After a long haul flight, nothing beats washing that stale plane air right out of your hair.
As spa owner Angela D. shared, "I arrive at my Dubai salon ready to work after using Emirates' showers. They let me freshen up after the flight without needing to head to a hotel." Other globetrotters appreciate the convenience too. As student Marissa A. told us, "I can hop off a long flight from New York and head straight to classes in Milan thanks to the onboard showers." Arriving anywhere feeling revived and ready makes navigating time zones far easier.

Singapore Airlines also provides pampering showers on their A380 aircraft. Designed for ultimate privacy, the grooming suites feature oak and marble finishes with delicate orchid motifs. Raise the fog-free mirror to reveal toiletries from Lalique and pamper yourself in the soothing ambiance.

Besides keeping passengers fresh, inflight showers also provide much welcomed hydration. As cardiologist Steven F. explains, "Pressurized cabins zap moisture from the skin, which can lead to fatigue and jet lag. A hot shower re-hydrates flyers to arrive recharged." The air at cruising altitudes dries out skin and hair, so a steamy rinse makes a big difference.
Access to onboard showers really enhances the inflight experience, according to the jet set. Andrew R., who logs over 150k miles yearly, says Emirates' shower spas are a highlight of his long haul journeys. "I arrive ready to explore my destination or conduct business rather than craving my hotel bed." For him, starting a trip energized and refreshed is priceless.

Of course, with limited shower suites available, usage must be carefully managed. Most airlines restrict access to first and select business class passengers flying over a set minimum of hours. Flight attendants keep lists to fairly distribute slots based on the length of each journey. So while showers are a coveted amenity, they remain a special treat for long hauls rather than a daily onboard perk.

Lounge Lizards: 6 Airlines With Plush Pampering in the Sky - For Kids Only - Play Areas and Family-Friendly Perks

For globe-trotting families, keeping little ones content and engaged during lengthy flights is a perpetual challenge. Thankfully, some airlines are stepping up with dedicated play spaces where kids can fully expend energy, imaginations, and maybe even burn off some sugar highs from one too many sodas. While playrooms in the sky are still a rarity, carriers like Emirates, Etihad, and Singapore Airlines aim to make flying with kids more bearable for both parents and pint-sized passengers.

Emirates has devoted entire floors on its A380 fleet to family friendly areas. Their colorfully decorated playrooms keep kids entertained for hours with games, toys, books and movies. Young flyers can crawl through tunnel tubes, enjoy storytime sessions, or embark on virtual journeys using Oculus VR goggles. For parents, nearby lounge seating provides a quiet zone to recharge while kids play. As mom Melanie L. explains, “On our 14 hour trip to Dubai, the playroom was a godsend. My daughters had a blast and even made friends with other kids while my husband and I relaxed."

Etihad Airways also scores points with families via their Flying Nannies program. These experienced caregivers engage kids in activities like crafts, games, and storytelling. Flying Nannies can even accompany children to restrooms or meals, giving parents a break. For longer journeys, kids get VIP backpacks stocked with toys, puzzles and art supplies curated for different age groups. Activities keep young flyers happily occupied so parents avoid the dreaded "are we there yet?"

Singapore Airlines appeals to families by serving up kid-friendly inflight meals. Their Book the Cook service allows pre-ordering children’s meals like pan fried fish, chicken rice, or junior bento boxes. Options bypass cliché kid food in favor of dishes that provide cultural exposure. For fussy eaters, extensive snacks like jelly cookies or potato chips prevent mid-flight hunger meltdowns. Thoughtful culinary offerings make mealtimes less stressful for the whole family.
For exhausted parents, lie-flat seats allowing families to sleep together are a game changer. Air New Zealand’s Economy Skynest features pod-style lie flats where parents can snuggle up with toddlers. Japanese carrier ANA offers inflight Family Couch seats with mattresses wide enough to fit two adults and a child. Family-oriented sleep furnishings help ensure the whole clan arrives well-rested.
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