Airlines are getting fancy in the war to woo business- and first-class passengers, who make up just 15 percent of long-haul purchases but account for almost a quarter of revenue. Here are the newest ways carriers are fighting to win your expense account.
Photograph by JetBlue Airways via PRNewsFoto
Airlines are getting fancy in the war to woo business- and first-class passengers, who make up just
15 percent of long-haul purchases but account for almost a quarter of revenue. Here are the newest ways
carriers are fighting to win your expense account.
Coming in June, Mint business class will include the longest and widest lie-flat seats on a domestic airline—with adjustable firmness and a massage function. A new cabin configuration will allow four guests to enclose their seats behind doors for privacy. Other perks include Birchbox kits with a selection of beauty and grooming products and a tapas-style menu by New York’s Saxon + Parole restaurant.
United started a transportation service in Chicago and Houston last year using Mercedes-Benz sedans to chauffeur passengers across the tarmac to their connecting flights. It was created for those with tight connections but is also helpful when the gate is on the other side of the airport. The program expanded to Newark in the beginning of 2014, and more cities will be added throughout the year.
Photograph by Christian Hansen/The New York Times via Redux
Delta began serving meals from Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke barbecue restaurants last year on its New York-to-London flights. To make first class seem more hotel-like, there’s moisturizer by Malin + Goetz and Westin Heavenly in-flight comforters and lumbar-support pillows for international flights longer than 12 hours.
Pictured, Danny Meyer.
Last year Etihad launched a sensory-based sleep program developed with the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology in Abu Dhabi. Top guests are given gray sleep suits and lay their heads on temperature-regulating, sustainable Coco-Mat mattresses and bedding. First class offers hot chocolate, herbal tea, malt drinks, pillow mist, and a selection of bergamot-scented Le Labo toiletries.
(Center trio, from left) Paul Efmorfidis, founder of Coco-Mat; Anna Brownell, Etihad Airways’ head of product development and innovation; and Dr. Yousef Abou Allaban, managing director of the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology.
Courtesy Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific recently unveiled amenity kits for business-class travelers with products from Jurlique, an Australian natural skin-care brand, packed in a pouch created by French designer Agnès B. Cathay also installed hand-painted sculptural pieces made of copper and steel by artists Maria Lobo and Linda Leviton in first class.
Courtesy LATAM Airlines
LATAM, recently merged South American carriers LAN and TAM, announced in March that a uniform cabin design, inspired by wood from the Amazon, will make its debut in 2015. This year, a sommelier selected 30 regional varietals to pair with six distinct business-class menus. The bottles were chosen with air travel in mind, because high altitude and cabin pressure change passengers’ taste perceptions.
Courtesy American Airlines
American’s flights on new routes between New York and California stand out among those of the other four transcontinental carriers—Delta, United, Virgin America, and JetBlue—as the only ones that offer three classes of service, with fully lie-flat first- and business-class seats. Before takeoff, premium-class travelers may reserve meals such as pumpkin-seed-encrusted chicken with brown butter sauce, while first-class passengers can borrow Bose noise-canceling headsets.
Photograph by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Qantas is expanding the Chauffeur Drive program available in Australia and the U.S., which takes reservations from passengers to be picked up by a luxury vehicle and driven to their departing flight. When travelers land at their destination, another chauffeur will take them anywhere, no questions asked.