A number of frequent flyers bemoan the loss of the luxury plane trips that proved so popular during the early to mid 20th century. At this time, flying was still a risky and expensive proposition, thus limited to those of means.
Today, the wealthy enjoy traveling in private or corporate jets; however, some long for the pleasant social experience of a traditional luxury flight. Etihad Airways is eager to offer up such a novelty; USA Today reports that the United Arab Emirates based airline plans to unveil luxury accommodations above and beyond first class.
The Residence: Etihad’s Luxury Suites
Travelers who prefer a greater level of privacy than is available in first class will soon be able to book their own suites through Etihad Airways. According to CNN, the VIP accommodations will be referred to as The Residence.
Each suite will feature a bedroom, a private bathroom and, perhaps most notably, the services of a dedicated butler. Other unique features reserved for The Residence include mini bars, large television monitors and personal vanities.
Passengers staying in The Residence can forget about dealing with tasteless airline food; they enjoy access to gourmet chefs. Amenities such as chefs, butlers and private rooms are intended to make otherwise uncomfortable international flights more enjoyable – that is, for passengers willing to pay far more than they would for even first class seats.
Business Class Studios
The vast majority of passengers purchasing tickets through Etihad Airways will not be able to afford the incredibly high cost of The Residence. Although Etihad has, thus far, kept quiet about the exact price tag, estimates from the Daily Mail suggest that the cost of a one-way flight could be as high as $25,000.
For those eager to enjoy a taste of luxury without paying such massive fares, Etihad has also unveiled a series of special business class studios. All seats in the business class studios can be converted into 80.5 inch beds, with easy access to the aisles. Additionally, those staying in these business class studios on Airbus 380 will be offered access to The Lobby, a serviced lounge accessible to luxury passengers.
The Future Of Luxury Accommodations
Based on Etihad’s unveiling of The Residence and its business class studios, the world of flight may be set to return to a model similar to that enjoyed by the wealthy during the early and mid 20th century. The new accommodations are the result of exhaustive consumer research carried out in Abu Dhabi, New York, Sydney and London, all in hopes of determining the perfect airline experience.
Of course, while consumers are happy to share the details of their dream flights, they may not be as enthused about paying tens of thousands for a single flight. However, leaders at Etihad are firmly convinced that the future of profitability in airlines lies in the relatively unexplored realm of luxury flights.
Etihad and other airlines with dreams of luxury accommodations could be taking a huge gamble; as the Huffington Post points out, the luxury flight market is already occupied by private jets. However, if this gamble does pay off, consumers may once again be able to enjoy touches of luxury without investing in their own jets.