The Good Life

Flight of fancy

Take a trip on the luxury aircraft from Qatar Airways’ or Singapore Airlines’ stables, and you will wish to stay on in the clouds

If George Cayley, the father of aviation, or the Wright brother-duo were alive, they would have been blown away by the flights that cross the skies today.

The Skytrax’ World Airline Awards list of Best Airlines that was released in June this year catalogues the luxury that is available up in the air. Around 21.65 million customers evaluated various airlines on their efficiency, comfort and service staff, and the best were picked.

Qatar Airways emerges the most gilded of them all. Tickets for its most premium, Business Flexi seats, are priced Rs.150,000 on an average depending on the distance and seasonal demand. It is a pretty, shiny penny you have to part with. But, you do get the extra-wide seats that can recline to fully flat beds, eat from a premium selection of gourmet dishes that are created by celebrity chefs Nobu Matsuhisa, Tom Aikens and Vineet Bhatia and refresh yourself with the luxury amenity kit that contains a range of skin care products and in-flight necessities of the two Italian luxury brands BRIC’s and Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio. The airline’s B777 Business Class is high ceilinged, so that you do not feel crowded in, and has a personal 17-inch screen with up to 4,000 entertainment options. You never know how many channels you will need to surf through to hit the right one. The airline also has a personalised meet-and-greet service where a hostess welcomes you at the Hamad International Airport to assist you with arrival, departure and baggage. This comes at an additional cost of Rs.7,200 per person.

If you splurge enough with the airlines, and earn your Qpoints, you are invited to be a member of its Privilege Club. One of the privileges offered is access to the exclusive lounge at the Hamad Airport. The Al Safwa Lounge, which is inspired by Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art, has à la carte dining, a luxury spa, a full business centre, a cinematic media room and an exclusive family area. No wonder then that Qatar Airways was awarded Airline of the Year (for the fifth consecutive year).

The airline, which is also the World’s Best Business Class, offers the Qatar Exclusive service to corporates. The brand has a fleet of 18 modern, ultra-long-range business jets, which have fitted beds, if you wish to catch up on your beauty sleep and a private monitor with satellite communication, if you want to prepare for that meeting.

While this airline gives you more headspace, what if you wanted to be left alone? What if you feel murderous when a co-passenger turns chatty? Then you choose the winner of the World’s Second Best Airline of the Year, which is Singapore Airlines. It also won in the World’s Best Cabin Crew category. “Singapore Airlines is the world’s most award-winning airline,” says David Lim, general manager of Singapore Airlines in India.

The airline offers a varied range of suites. Its newly launched A380 suites is where you have a personal divider that spans the length of the seat. The divider can be raised all the way up or lowered completely to create a double bed. You can lie down and watch any show you like on the 32’’ touch screen, after putting on the noise-cancelling headphones. And, don’t worry about being stuck with the rerun of a show from the eighties. The entertainment content is renewed every month.

All of this sounds good, you say, but what about jet lag? Try its New First Class which has mood lighting to minimise that. It also has extra-wide seats in hand-stitched leather and dining created by notable chefs from the International Culinary Panel. A ticket will set you back by Rs.226,328 (the price may vary depending on demand).

There are plenty of indulgences to pick from. So next time when you fly, choose to be seated on hand-crafted art and be served a deconstructed sandwich from a celeb chef’s kitchen.