DestinAsian - - GOOD TO GO AIRLINE NEWS - —David Tse

The num­ber of first-class seats may be dwin­dling across air­lines world­wide, but that doesn’t mean the ser­vice is on its last legs. Far from it, to judge from Novem­ber’s un­veil­ing of se­ri­ously re­vamped first-class cab­ins by both Emi­rates and Sin­ga­pore Air­lines.

Emi­rates is in­tro­duc­ing its lat­est-gen­er­a­tion “suites” on­board two new Boe­ing 777-300ER jets on flights from the car­rier’s Dubai hub to Brus­sels and Geneva. In­spired by the Mercedes Benz S-Class, the cab­ins are fully en­closed by floor-to­ceil­ing slid­ing doors, adding a level of pri­vacy not avail­able in their coun­ter­parts on Sin­ga­pore Air­lines’ re­designed Air­bus A380s. Apart from sheer in­dul­gence— pas­sen­gers can look for­ward to al­most four square me­ters of per­sonal space, kelp-in­fused mois­tur­iz­ing pa­ja­mas, and Bul­gari amenity kits—it’s the gad­getry that sets these suites apart from the com­pe­ti­tion. Food can be or­dered from an iPad, light­ing and tem­per­a­ture can be ad­justed via high-tech con­trol pan­els, and for those oc­cu­py­ing a mid­dle-row cabin (the new con­fig­u­ra­tion is 1-1-1), “vir­tual win­dows” project the view from out­side the air­craft us­ing real time cam­era tech­nol­ogy. An­other well-con­ceived fea­ture is a slid­ing ser­vice win­dow through which drinks, food, and other items can be passed with minimal dis­tur­bance.

As for Sin­ga­pore Air­lines, its re­vamped suites are all about space, es­pe­cially the first two in each aisle, which can be con­verted to form a dou­ble bed. Their de­but is part of a US$850 mil­lion in­vest­ment by the air­line that has also seen a re­design of busi­ness- and econ­omy-class cab­ins aboard its A380s, five of which will be ready for ser­vice by De­cem­ber 18. Other first-class niceties in­clude Ital­ian-leather seats up­hol­stered by Poltrona Frau, big swivel-mounted TVs, mood light­ing, Lalique toi­letries, and ac­cess to two stylishly fur­nished lava­to­ries.

So while it’s still too early to tell which of the two air­lines’ suites will prove su­pe­rior, one thing is for sure: lux­ury has reached new heights, lit­er­ally.

Some of Sin­ga­pore Air­lines’ first-class suites can be con­verted into a dou­ble bed. Be­low: Emi­rates’ suites are fully en­closed.

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