We all like to treat ourselves once in a while, whether its with luxury fur coats, $300 gastrogasm dinners at Noma or Momofuku or the Presidential Suite at the DC Mandarin Oriental. For the brass over at Gadling Labs, we like to fly in international First or Business class. And there are a few, very special routes that rank among our favorites ever taken. Curious? Ever taken one yourself? Read below for the best of the best.
6. Open Skies, All Business Class 757: Washington DC or New York to Paris
Flying on OpenSkies is like staying at a bed and breakfast. Instead of dealing with massive, hulking name brands and wrestling the mass of humanity at the airport, OpenSkies caters a boutique, luxury experience flying single-aisle, personal aircraft from the nation’s capitol or New York City directly into Paris Orly, the smaller airport on the south side of the city. Single rows of luscious, business class seats flank each side of the generously appointed aircraft, and if you’re in the mood you can even fly facing backwards while gloating at the quickly dissolving American coast. The best part of OpenSkies, however, is the oustanding prices. With frequent fare sales and an agressive marketing campaign it’s often easy to find tickets on this aircraft for just slightly more than a regular coach ticket on other airlines — and for that price it’s a steal. [Price at booking: $1981 for a Biz Seat,$4062 for a Biz Bed, www.flyopenskies.com]
5. Air New Zealand, Business Class on a 777: Los Angeles to Auckland
Private, lie-flat beds are a rarity on transoceanic flights out of the United States, and Air New Zealand does it right. The nose of this 777 hosts eleven rows of lie flat beds, all angled such that each person gets his or her own privacy, such that each person can get the best possible service and can relax and rest up on the 13 hour journey to the corner of the world. Add to that a fun loving group of friendly staff and a delightful destination and you’ve got a winning combination. [Price at booking: $7868, www.airnewzealand.com]
4. Singapore Airlines, All Business Class A340: New York City or Los Angeles to Singapore.
Most journeys from the east coast of the US to southeast Asia require a stopover somewhere on the west coast or in Japan. And almost all of the rest of the flights are in two or three class service aircraft, where four hundred people are jammed into a cramped, dank aluminum tube for the eight thousand mile journey. But not on Singapore’s all-business-class service. Consistently rated as top carrier on the planet, Singapore has taken an extra step with a portion of their NYC-SIN and LAX-SIN flights: they’re on full business class aircraft: 100 seats of 30″ wide seats, top notch catering and world class in flight service. In these digs, your 18 hour flight will go by in a flash. [Price at booking: $7400, www.singaporeair.com]
3. V Australia, Business Class on a 777: Los Angeles to Sydney
V Australia brings all of the swankness of the Virgin brand to the transpacific route, from colorful, inflight cabins to inspiring, world class catering to a posh checkin and lounge experience. For the best experience, book seats 5H and K as a couple, where you can pull a series of curtains shut to create your own private cabin. Take in a movie or two on departure from Los Angeles and then get a full eight hours of sleep in a fully flat bed before you pull into Sydney — and did we mention that you get to keep the pajamas? [Price at booking: $5208, www.vaustralia.com]
2. British Airways, First Class 747: Chicago or New York to London
The upper deck of a 747 is a special place to reside, but on the British Airways 747, you actually want to set up camp in the first floor nose — right under the pilot. That’s the section of the aircraft where first class passengers ride, where the full effect of in-flight pampering can be felt and where the stress of your London business trip can melt away. BA is in the process of rebuliding their first class service this year, but you can bet that it’ll remain the industry leader on this route either way. [Price at booking from Chicago: $8351, www.britishairways.com]
1. Emirates, First Class A380: New York to Dubai (pictured above)
The Emirates A380 has a mixed history with New York’s JFK, but when the service is running, it’s running hot. Emirates’ First Class service features a full host of over-the-top amenities, from private suites for each passenger to onboard showers to a bumpin onboard lounge. You’re going to pay dearly for the pleasure of flying though. [Price at booking: $17918, www.flyemirates.com]
[Editor’s note: We know that the G6 isn’t an airplane. It’s a reference to the Far East Movement Song. Gangster? Get it?]