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Nobody’s perfect, and I don’t think any single First Class offering is either. But what if you could take the best bits from multiple airlines to build the ultimate First Class experience? I build up my perfect First Class from getting to the airport to arriving at your destination! What would make up your perfect First Class? Leave a comment below!
Singapore Airlines Book The Cook
Part of the enjoyment of travel for me is the excitement of the lead up to the day of departure! I love being able to book and reserve elements of my journey ahead of time. When flying British Airways First Class in August 2019 I appreciated being able to reserve my in-flight meal 30 days in advance and also reserving an Elemis Spa appointment 28 days in advance. So why doesn’t British Airways take this spot? Because Singapore Airlines’ Book The Cook is insane.
Flying First Class (or Business, or Premium Economy even!) with Singapore Airlines allows you to book your main meal in advance. If you are flying from Singapore, the choice on Book The Cook is crazy! Booking with British Airways, I had a couple of main course options to choose from, which were no different than what was part of the menu on the day. But with Singapore Airlines there are over 60 dishes! That’s more choice than in a restaurant.
Getting to (and from) the Airport
I wish all airlines took care of their First Class customers getting to the airport as well as Emirates. In fact, they do it for their Business Class passengers too. As long as you book a Saver, Flex or Flex Plus fare, Emirates will pick you up from your door up in most cities up to a certain amount of miles away (for London it is 70 miles). In Dubai, you will get a Mercedes S Class 450 if flying in First (elsewhere in the world, Emirates use a partner such as Addison Lee). You can book your chauffeur up to 12 hours before departure here or on their app. They will also pick you up from the airport and take you to your destination.
I used this service when flying from Milan to New York. On all occasions, the chauffeurs arrived early and were super friendly and professional.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)
Many airlines offer a premium check-in experience for their First Class customers, with British Airways’ First Wing at London Heathrow getting an honourable mention, but Lufthansa went a step further at Frankfurt with a whole terminal!
You will never come into contact with the main airport, getting dropped off at the terminal, you will go through check-in, security and through to the lounge seamlessly!
Air France La Premiere Lounge (Charles De Gaulle)
Air France remains at the top of my wish list for First Class, because I’m a foodie and Air France are famous for their amazing dining both on the ground and in the sky. La Premiere Lounge at CDG offers a la carte fine dining, a free 30-minute spa treatment (rather than the typical 15 minutes offered by many airlines), day beds, private rest rooms AND a WHISKY BAR! I love whisky. This lounge WILL happen at some point for me!
And to top it all off, when your flight is boarding, a chauffeur comes and picks you up and takes you straight to the plane. Yep.
Cabin & Seat
Etihad The Residence (A380)
Ok. Technically it is higher than First Class, which I flew with Etihad in October 2019. But I’m counting it as First Class, because it isn’t a Private Jet, is it?
The Residence by Etihad Airways is an ingenious use of the A380, converting one of the front row First Class suites and space that other airlines typically use for bathrooms or social areas into a massive THREE ROOM suite for two people.
You get a ‘living room’ with a big sofa style seat for two people and massive screen, then you own PRIVATE bathroom and a separate bedroom with an actual bed and mattress. No converting seats or benches here!
If that isn’t enough, you have your own private butler for the flight and you can request exactly what you would like to eat and drink on board. The only setback is the price, over $30,000 each way (for two people though!)
I am a sucker for beauty samples and the British Airways First Class amenity kit goes all out, providing so many Elemis products in one little bag: Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Matrix Moisturiser and Eye Cream, Pro-Collagen Rose Mist, Hydra-Nourish Lip Balm, Cleansing Micellar Facial Wipe, Soothing Apricot Facial Wipe, Fortitude Deodorant and finally Sea Lavender & Samphire Hand Cream. Ok, the bag itself isn’t as fancy as some of the other airlines, but it’s what inside that counts!
I was giddy with excitement when I flew Emirates First Class for the drinks menu alone. It was incredible.
Dom Perignon is free-flowing costing around £137 a bottle (or more if you are lucky and get a better vintage), their wines typically retail at about £30 a bottle, but you can check out your wine list ahead of time here and see if there is anything extra special. Then, to top it off, Hennessy Paradis, a £1,000 cognac is served on all First Class flights. Sigh – take me back!
Air France (from CDG)
I am going on speculation here, as I am yet to fly La Premiere (Air France’s First Class product), but I am yet to be absolutely wowed by the food on any of my First Class experiences. Air France are renowned for their fine dining in the air, with menus rotating every 10 days and Michelin Star chef-created menus. The most impressive menus are flown from Paris.
Arrival and Onward Connection
Swiss Airlines (connecting through Zurich)
Flight connections can be a bit of a drag, especially when they are for hours and hours. But if connecting through Zurich with Swiss in First Class, it’s a joy. If arriving on a long-haul flight, you will get a meet and greet service from the plane, with a chauffeur drive to immigration onto the lounge.
Then, Swiss offer probably the most unique lounge feature across all airlines. It is basically your own private hotel room with amazing airside views. You will get your own proper double bed and bathroom. Two rooms are available on a first-come-first-served basis.