Luxury in the clouds as seen by a former flight attendant: three exclusive airline companies from the Middle East
The golden era of travel in the 1970s, when aircraft were equipped with bars, pianos and even ashtrays for smokers (not to mention beautiful stewardesses in sexy uniforms) showed us how glamourous air travel can be. Nowadays, travelling reminds us more of long hours of waiting, cramped leg room and nasty looking food that we often prefer to skip. Nonetheless, flying is again become a luxurious and unforgettable experience. You can spend an entire flight being pampered by the crew, indulge in superior meals served on fine china dishware and enjoy surprisingly large spaces on board, such as a lobby for shared meetups or a suite with absolute privacy. Based on my own experience, I can recommend first class by three airline companies that will never disappoint.
Emirates Airlines: flight at the bar
The best-known airline company from the Middle East is undoubtedly Emirates with its hub in Dubai and flights to more than 140 other destinations. During long-haul flights in first class, you can enjoy fully reclining seats with unlimited amounts of excellent champagne and a gourmet five-course meal served on Chinese porcelain. For a cocktail, you can head to the onboard lounge with a large bar, or find a refreshing drink in the mini bar right next to your seat. You can also immerse yourself into watching one of 2000 channels on your private wide-screen television. Once you decide to get some rest, you will find everything you need for a peaceful slumber and cosmetic products in a pouch by luxury brand Bvlgari.
Qatar Airways: a private chef is a matter of course
Qatar Airways is definitely catching up to its Dubai competitor. The elegant design and workmanship of the cabin creates a feeling of spaciousness. You can indulge in countless options to make your travel an exclusive experience. The flight attendants will fulfil your every desire in superior quality with a personalised and friendly attitude. Gourmet meals will be served by a private chef. The bedding on your fully reclining seat is designed by world-class designers and the contents of your convenience package come from Giorgio Armani.
Etihad Airways: utmost privacy, socialising lobby and personal butler
The Etihad national airline based in Abu Dhabi is the only airline whose first class offers a specious lobby and bar, private suites or a full-scale residence with a private shower and personal butler to make your bed, set atmospheric lighting, serve you the five-course menu of your choice and recommend wine or champagne pairings. Etihad is the only carrier that guarantees unbeatable comfort and privacy. It often carries celebrities who remain concealed even from the rest of the crew, and whose luxury trip does not end once the aircraft comes to a halt. Upon arrival, guests are picked up first by private limousine with a dedicated driver.
Only airlines from the Middle East allow the transport of hawks, popular pets among inhabitants of the emirates, whose value mounts into the millions of crowns. They are the only animals permitted to travel onboard, but only in first class and under the condition that they have their own ticket. Your trip can thus become an unforgettable experience thanks to an unusual fellow passenger.