The airline industry has changed a lot since the glorious sixties and seventies, when luxury was not compromised by fuel economy and the need for extra seats. Still, Jalopnik readers know that if you got the dough, airlines can still put on a show.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Before we start, let me share with you Kate's Dirty Sister's story about the last flight of the Concorde. It was perhaps the single greatest airline perk in history. It'll never happen again, but it was glorious.
October 24th, 2003
The final transatlantic flight is BA002 on G-BOAG and is packed with famous faces.
One of the New York bound Concordes was over the Atlantic when the young man rose from his seat and eased through the narrow door to the flight deck. A few minutes later passengers in the front cabin heard singing – a familiar song by a voice they recognised: “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…” They lowered their papers and magazines to listen with broadening smiles as Paul McCartney, perched on the cockpit jump-seat, picked away at his guitar. Now that’s what you call in-flight entertainment, the passengers thought. Only on Concorde! The Beatle’s impromptu concert, at 60,000ft and 1,350mph - it was one of those special interludes that made flying in Concorde a lifetime experience rather than just a journey.
Now let's see what sort of luxury can you get after taking a step back from supersonic speed:
Photo Credit: SevenStarsAndStripes
10.) Over $1,000 In Dom Perignon
Reader jonf shared a great story with us about Mr. Macabus, a passenger who drank eight bottles of Dom Perignon on his way from Los Angeles to Bangkok. When they offer you the best France can offer, you just go for it.
Suggested By: jonf, Photo Credit: Getty Images
9.) Emirates and Singapore Airlines First Class Suites with Showers
Emirates provides a nicer bathroom with its first class suits on the A380 than what most of us have at home. Luxury expert jbh explains how the system works:
I think the way it works you schedule your shower time at the beginning of the flight, then when it's your turn you get 30 min in the bathroom/shower room and 10 minutes of hot water. Not bad.
I flew Emirates 13 hours to Dubai a few years ago and was upgraded to Business, which was quite possibly the best flying experience I've ever had!
8.) Lifetime unlimited travel pass from American
American Airlines made a massive mistake from 1980 to 1994 by offering a coveted AAirpass that could let you fly anywhere in the world first class for a hefty $500K, plus $150K if you wanted a companion ticket. Apparently, frequent fliers flew too much...
Suggested By: OneFastPuertoRican, Photo Credit: Getty Images
7.) Chasing the Concorde
Mailbox Cancer likes speed, and says "the biggest luxury is to get to your destination in the shortest amount of time humanly possible."
The Concorde is gone, but "for the $12-20k ticket: you get to sail over the Atlantic in a MERE THREE HOURS AND THIRTY MINUTES."
Punch it Chewie!
Suggested By: Mailbox Cancer, Photo Credit: Getty Images
6.) A Porsche or Bentley for transportation
According to Erzhik Tem, you don't need to worry about dodgy taxis if you belong to Lufthansa's inner circle:
Lufthansa HON Circle members get their own terminal and a free Bentley/Porsche service up to the plane. This is true only on planes that don't leave from terminal.
Fun fact: Normal passengers are not allowed on the plane until HON members exit their cars and board the aircraft.
Lufthansa senator members get free food, booze and shower in their lounges.
5.) Private space travel
Since NASA has slowed down a bit, it's now up to Richard Branson and his friends to send other very rich folks up to space. It might not be as comfortable than first class, but there's more to tell after it over a bottle of complementary champagne.
Suggested By: Super Kiwi Zero, Photo Credit: Getty Images
4.) Your Own Jet
If you're filthy rich, private jets are essential. The one above belongs to Oprah. Reader f86sabre would use Delta:
Delta Air Lines owns a subsidiary that operates private jets. You buy in for a yearly fee and you can use those funds for either private jet time or standard tickets.
3.) Proper Ramen noodles
This might surprise you, but noodles are important in Asia. Still, making proper ramen in the air is almost as challenging as desinging the Concorde was. Econoboxy explains:
Asians love noodles along with hot soup. They love it so much that they carry their addiction to miles above in the sky. I assure you, if they are offered ramen noodle and chicken teriyaki, most of them will choose ramen noodle. No, I'm not talking about those cheap noodles in a foam cup that you cook in a microwave — most Asians consider it a junk. I'm talking about the ramen that can only be properly cooked at 95'C or higher. In a recent news, a CFO of an Asian steel company slapped a stewardess's face for bringing an undercooked ramen while on plane: So it's that important.
When I say 95'C or higher, it's the temperature of boiling water on ground level, and it's the temperature that you can't reach when you're miles above the ground. So how do they even cook it? Use a pressurized cooker (carrying a cooker on plane is a big waste of space and weight). But aren't there like hundreds of Asians to feed ramen especially on Asian airlines? Then offer ramen only to the business and first class passengers. Isn't it a safety concern since ramen consists of a bowl full of boiling water? Serve them in bigger bowls so that it is less likely to be spilled (again, waste of space and weight).
So if you ask me what the most extravagant airplane perk is, I'd say ramen. While as cheap as a bag of Doritos on the ground, as it boards on an airplane, it becomes a glorified, top of luxury airline meal.
2.) A week on a private island
It's also great to be a shareholder in Virgin, as Kit 'Hadaken' Iwamatsu's case demonstrates:
I have been offered a fully paid 1 week stay at Necker Island, Richard Branson's private island...I'm a shareholder anyway, so it's partly my money.
1.) A private terminal for Google founders
You would have never guessed, but it turns out it's great to be one of Google's founders. Especially if you're a frequent flier. Wired has the story.
Suggested By: Segador, Photo Credit: Salim Virji