Ultimate First-Class Airline Offerings

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 9/17/2014, 12:17 p.m.
Passengers in Etihad's Residence Class have a butler, concierge, chauffeur and chef.
Japan Airline suites feature wood grain interiors and air-weave pillows. The airline has partnered with Michelin-starred chef Seiji Yamamoto to create its first-class menu. Japan Airlines

By Daisy Carrington

Sure, first class sounds swank, but when you're paying a premium of several thousand dollars a ticket, it can be hard to justify the added expense.

In an effort to really make it "worth it," airlines have started offering passengers everything from on-board apartments (yes, really) to post-boarding limo rentals and private jet access.

We've broken down the top first-class perks to see which carriers offer the best value.

Etihad

Come December, the Abu Dhabi-based airline is taking luxury a step further with the launch of Residence Class on its Airbus A380 and Boeing B787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Lie-flat seats?

So passe.

Wealthy customers can enjoy three-room apartments while in the air.

These suites -- clocking in at around $40,000 for a round-trip flight from Abu Dhabi to London -- will feature a private bedroom, a living room and en suite shower.

Passengers looking for a slightly scaled down experience can book a First Apartment -- a private suite with a full-length bed, separate reclining ottoman and access to a bathroom with shower.

All suites will come with a private minibar.

What really sells "The Residence" is the service.

Passengers will get their own Savoy Academy-trained butler, concierge, a chauffeur to get them to and from the airport and a private chef.

While guests can order off the a la carte menu, they can also request personalized dishes anytime.

Emirates

Emirates has announced similar plans to launch a private, on-board residence, though the details have yet to be released.

Still, the Dubai airline has long been at the forefront of in-flight luxury.

In 2008, Emirates was the first carrier to install first-class cabins with sliding doors for privacy on their Airbus A380s, A340-500s and on most Boeing 777s.

Cabins come with a personal minibar, adjustable lighting, private vanity table, mirror and wardrobe.

Guests can avail themselves of a 25-minute "shower spa" treatment (though actual shower time is limited to five minutes).

There's also turndown service, where cabin crew convert the seat into a bed with a real mattress.

And of course there's the award-winning food.

In first class, Emirates focuses on regional menus.

Passengers can expect items like Iranian caviar or stir-fried lobster in black bean sauce.

Air France

Passengers craving an extra level of comfort can book Air France's new La Premiere cabin.

These mini-suites -- available on the carrier's long-haul Boeing 777-300 aircraft -- feature lie-flat seats that adapt to each passenger's morphology, a 24-inch HD screen (one of the largest available on board), a private wardrobe and an adjustable privacy curtain.

There's a reclining ottoman, so guests from other parts of the cabin can visit.

Come nighttime, cabin crew will outfit the seat with a mattress and linens from the Sofitel range.

Air France has also teamed with an army of Michelin-rated chefs to design its new La Premiere menu. It features gourmet touches from Joël Robuchon, Régis Marcon, Guy Martin, Anne-Sophie Pic and Michel Roth.

Qantas