With the pandemic halting demand for travel, many people found themselves slowly accumulating thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of various loyalty program points. Frequent flier points were near impossible to use due to shutdowns of air travel around the world.
With travel coming back at full swing, with many countries now open to tourism, many people have found themselves with a surplus of frequent flier points.
While that may seem like a great thing to have, frequent flier points are known to be depreciating assets and often are devalued over time. In particular, due to increased prices for everyday goods such as gas, airlines have ramped up devaluations and many have seen redemptions increase in price throughout the pandemic.
Redeeming your points for an aspiration first class trip is a must do to check off your bucket list before prices continue to soar. With travel demand picking up faster than ever, it's best to redeem your points now rather than later.
In this article, we'll go through some of the unique features of first class cabins found in airlines around the world. By knowing which features you want to experience, you can tend to utilize your frequent flier points toward a redemption of that airline.
What are Some Unique Features of First Class Experiences On Airlines?
Shower and Spa Rooms
Imagine taking a shower 40,000 feet in the air. You'll be able to enjoy this luxury on two airlines: aboard Emirates first class Airbus A380 and Etihad's A380. Those seated in first class have access to large shower rooms that are larger than even business class suites.
Emirates has two different shower suites onboard where you'll have approximately 5-15 minutes to shower, depending on the number of people in first class. What's unique about the spa room onboard Emirates' A380 is that it has heated floors, allowing for pure comfort.
Onboard Etihad's A380, you'll find only a single shower spa room for its 9 first class passengers. The first class cabin is dubbed 'The Apartments' whereas there is an even higher class - the 'Residence' on the plane that is relatively unobtainable via frequent flier points. The 'Residence' includes its own private shower room.
Popular in several countries, bidets can be found on a multiple of airlines, particularly in first class cabins. Due to the added weight from additional water for the bidets, most airlines are reluctant to install bidets in most airplanes, leaving them available only for a select few in first class.
Bidets usually come in two forms depending on which country you are from, a hand bidet or one already installed as part of the seat. On airlines, you'll find the ones installed into the toilet seat.
You can find bidets on first class airlines such as Air Nippon Airlines (ANA)'s first class cabin, Cathay Pacific first class cabin, and Oman Air first class cabin.
A plane environment is generally communal in nature - you're sharing tight spaces with hundreds of other passengers trying to get to your destination. For most things, like the oxygen and temperature, you'll have very little control over.
On Emirates Boeing 777 first class suites, you'll have complete privacy with a locked-in suite with your own private door. However, one of the unique features it has that no other first class seats on other airlines have is temperature control.
Using the touchpad controls found in the room, you'll be able to set how cold or hot you want your suite to be without impacting other passengers. Every person is different when it comes to how hot or cold, they need their environment when sleeping and Emirates has provided the ultimate comfort in the air - similar to a hotel room in the air.
Various airlines provide short free massages on the ground before departure for first class passengers. These massages are all part of the total experience flying on first class as they want their passengers to feel relaxed before their flight.
Air France first class and Oman Air first class all provide massages for about 15 to 20 minutes. You usually have a menu of options including head, neck, foot, or neck massages.
For those looking for the best massage possible, consider flying Thai Airways first class. You'll be treated to two experiences Thai Airways is known for in their first class - being driven around the whole airport on a golf cart and the hour-long included massage with your ticket.
For a country that is well-known for its excellent massages, you'll be sure to be fully relaxed before your Thai Airways first class flight.
Expensive Alcohol and Food Options easily worth over $100 USD
What elevates the business class experience to first class experience on airlines is the food you're provided with every step of the way on your first class ticket.
Business class passengers have access to lounges before the flight that serve restaurant quality food - nothing extraordinary as its similar to going out for dinner on the weekend. This also includes the food and drink found on the plane as well. You'll find lower priced included alcohol beverages as well (usually under $50 USD).
In first class, you'll find menu options rivaling high-end restaurants. This includes menu options such as having caviar on your flight, easily costing over $200 for the single tin of caviar.
Alcoholic drinks is what really sets first class apart as you may find certain alcoholic bottles easily worth over $100 USD like Dom Perignon 2008 ($300 USD) on Singapore Airlines first class, Glenmorangie 25 ($1,000+ USD) on Oman Air, and rare impossible-to-find drinks like Hibiki 17 or 21 on ANA first class.
With travel demand roaring back faster than anyone had previously predicted, airports around the world are experiencing chaos trying to keep up with the number of daily passengers. This, as well as travel becoming much more expensive thanks to elevated oil prices globally, have caused airlines to increase redemptions costs for their most premium cabins.
With increases in prices, it is only a matter of time before your points are devalued. Now is the best time to redeem your frequent flier points to experience some of the most unique first class experiences you can ever have at 40,000 feet in the air.