11 Super Expensive Airline Routes
Sorry, there won't be any free upgrades to these first-class cabins: By heading to the airline websites, or calling the airlines directly, you can unveil a realm of commercial air travel only the multi-millionaires and above can afford. Now close your eyes and dream you're a billionaire (who is traveling from June 20 to 28).
11. China Southern Airlines: $11,000+ Beijing to Amsterdam (via OneWorld.com)
When you fly first class on this airline, you'll choose between Western or Chinese cuisines served on fine china and paired with fine wines for your in-flight meal. Kick back in a lush armchair that turns into a 77-inch bed, and call your mom to brag on the satellite phone. Now take a minute and count around you—yes, that’s right, there are only three other first-class people as high-rolling as you.
10. Qantas Airlines: $13,000+ L.A. to Melbourne (via Qantas.com.au)
Forget the economy-class flip-out footrest—this suite offers a fully flat extra-wide sheepskin mattress bed with down pillows and duvet. Of course, if you want to sit up during your flight, your bed turns into a chair that features an ottoman. Dining options include an eight-course tasting menu or made-to-order a la carte menu with a sommelier on hand for wine pairing options. When you’re done sleeping and dining, you can watch hours of TV shows and movies or play interactive games on your 17-inch touch screen monitor (on A380 planes only) with noise-cancelling headphones and on-demand controls.
9. Singapore Airlines: $15,000+ New York JFK to Singapore (via Singapore Airline Reservation Line)
Singapore installed a limited number of double-sized beds into the first-class suites on their A380 airplanes. (They also have the option of an armchair/pull-out bed if you desire.) You can pick from over 60 dishes served with only the finest Givenchy tableware and coupled with some of the finest wines and champagnes available. There's also a Book the Cook service that enables you to pre-order and have your gourmet main course specially prepared for you.
8. Swiss International Air Lines: $17,000+ NYC JFK to Singapore, connecting through Zurich (via Swiss Air's PR Department)
Feeling the competition, Swiss introduced its new first class in 2009 on the A330 airline with partitioned-off suites that include widescreen televisions and armchairs that transform into 80-inch full-length beds. The airline also doles out luxury amenities like La Prairie hand cream, moisturizing body lotion, and facial sprays, along with comfy pajamas and slippers from Zimmerli of Switzerland.
7. Virgin Atlantic: $21,000+ (with chauffeur) JFK to Singapore (via Virgin Atlantic PR)
When you fly first class on Virgin Atlantic, it's all about fun. That tray at your seat isn't for work; it's a flip-down “cocktail table.” Take photos of the plane and send them via texts to your friends from your complimentary mobile phone, grab a drink at the 8-foot bar and meet new friends, or head back to your seat and sprawl out on your full-length leather chair that turns into an 87-inch flat bed surrounded by Swarovski crystals and a 12-inch touchscreen monitor.
6. Etihad Airways: $23,000 from San Fran to Abu Dhabi (via Etihad.com)
While your own personal chef whips up a Mezoon Grille or Taste of Arabia dish, you can relax and watch your 23-inch widescreen TV or slip on your personal loungewear in the changing room and pull out the mini-desk to play cards on. The over 6-foot chair-bed got you achey? Just turn on the massage settings and curl up with a bottle from your personal mini-bar, because this is one ride you’re gonna want to take full advantage of.
5. Japan Airlines: $24,000+ LAX to Paris (via OneWorld.com)
The newest Japan Airlines first-class suites on Boeing 777 and A380 airplanes are covered in old-school wood paneling to help you feel right at home. Fliers also get a 23-inch TV screen, a choice between a Western or Asian-styled menu plan, and a Tempur 26-inch-wide armchair that pulls out to a six-foot-plus full-length bed. If you need a good leg rub, a portable air massager can be provided for you; if you forgot your laptop battery, don’t worry—they will gladly lend you one of theirs. The airline also provides pain relievers and nasal sprays to help you breathe a little easier.
4. Cathay Pacific: $25,000+ Hong Kong to JFK (via CathayPacific.com)
Unveiled just last June, these upgraded exclusive pods on the B777 offer the usual soft armchair that pulls into a bed, but also an amenity bag from Ermenegildo Zegna for the men and Trussardi for the ladies, along with Aesop skincare products, shoe bags and pjs from Shanghai Tang, Bose noise-cancelling headsets, and a new 4.3” LCD touchscreen controller to enjoy hours of endless entertainment.
3. Korean Air: $27,000+ NYC JFK to Beijing (via KoreanAir.com)
These 26.5-inch Korean Air Kosmo seamless seats turn into beds in their own private, wood-trimmed, walled-in suites, which boast the biggest LCD screens in the sky—23 inches—and Bose nose-isolation headsets.
2. Lufthansa: $27,000+ JFK to Hong Kong (via Lufthansa.com)
Not to be outdone, Germany’s national carrier won’t make you choose between a bed and an armchair—they give you both. With no real walls around the suites, Lufthansa’s not quite as private as the other first-class suites, but the A380 airplanes are outfitted with air humidifiers pumping loads of moisturizing oxygen onto their first-class passengers so you don’t land looking like a prune. A warm duvet, amenity kit, and fine-dining courses with selections like curried reindeer make the trip memorable.
1. Emirates: $30,000+ L.A. to Dubai (via Emirates.com/us)
Topping off the list, is, naturally, the United Arab Emirates’ lavish A380 airline suite. With private three-wall suites (plus closeable door) and two lounges on the plane, Emirates takes it one step further and offers their highest-paying customers two classic walnut and marble state-of-the-art shower systems complete with shower kits and fine linens. Also available: relaxing chair-massages and mini-bar parties.