Above and Beyond
Global Traveler|Class Act 2021
Airlines elevate the premium travel experience in the air and on the ground.
KELLY MAGYARICS

Airplane travel evokes a lot of emotions these days: excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and nervousness, just to name a few. But when you do take to the skies again, the giddiness of getting pampered at 35,000 feet can most certainly wash away the surrealness of the past year and a half — at least for the duration of a long-haul flight — as you sip Champagne and slip your feet into plush slippers. While some global airlines have paused or pushed back plans for upgrades and refreshes to their premium cabins, others have introduced exciting changes that await in your pod or lie-flat bed in first and business classes.

What’s more, amenities like privacy screens, sliding suite doors and space to spread out all serve a dual purpose as methods to luxuriate in the air while keeping social distance. Here are some niceties to expect now and in the near future, from retrofitted seat configurations to updated décor to Michelin-starred meals:

EMIRATES

This past year, U.A.E.’s flagship carrier debuted the latest version of the Airbus A380 aircraft, whose 14 first-class private suites are slightly wider with taller doors than the original. Cabin details and finishes have been refreshed with the new Ghaf tree motifs and a champagne color scheme, as well as wood paneling and bronze accents. The aircraft also includes a newly refreshed OnBoard lounge. The 76 seats in the A380’s business-class cabins have been updated with champagne-colored leather covers and wood finishing inspired by executive jets. The airline, which just reopened the first- and business-class lounge at LAX and its dedicated First Class Lounge at Dubai International’s Concourse B, hopes to continue reopening lounges around the world as travel returns.

FROM JULY THROUGH OCTOBER 2021, PASSENGERS IN LA PREMIÈRE CLASS WHO EMBARK FROM CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT WILL ENJOY A CURATED MENU CREATED BY LEGENDARY TRIPLE MICHELIN-STARRED FRENCH CHEF ARNAUD DONCKELE.

AIR FRANCE

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