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Reigning the skies

25 Apr 2020 by Business Traveller India
Reigning the skies

Over the years, we’ve travelled around the world on various airlines and have come to realise the primary reasons to select certain carriers. Depending on your preferences, these are the airlines you should select when travel opens up again.

Inflight food: Air India

onboard Indian meal

Even though our flag carrier is going through a major turmoil right now, its saving grace in our opinion is the inflight food experience. Air India prides itself in serving the flavoursome Indian cuisine that transcends borders and educates international travellers about the intricacies and layers of homegrown food. From featuring local refreshers like aam panna (raw mango juice and jal jeera (summer drink made with cumin powder, mint leaves and coriander) to home-made pickles and tomato chutney on its menu, the airline celebrates indigenous recipes of India with great aplomb. Their thoughtful bifurcation of meals as per religious, dietary and age requirements of passengers is commendable. airindia.in

First class: British Airways 

British Airways

British Airways First seats do not fail to impress even the elitist of the travellers with its uber comfortable seats, fine-dining and on-ground service. Pamper yourself with inflight kits featuring the likes of Elemis products. The 77-inch (length) seat converts into a fully-flat bed and is complemented by the luxurious quilted mattress, crisp white cotton duvets and soft pillows. Other features include a large personal screen, free wifi service and high-end inflight entertainment equipment such as state-of-the-art noise-cancelling headphones. Onboard meal services showcase British tradition with a new signature afternoon tea service. Other First perks include dedicated check-in desks at most airports, priority boarding and access to the Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5 among others. britishairways.com

Onboard lounge: Emirates

Emirates onboard lounge

While Emirates’ connectivity and services are reason enough to pick this carrier, we quite fancy its Onboard Lounge on its A380 aircraft that makes it stand out from the rest of the airlines. First released in 2008, the A380 Onboard Lounge has seen many facelifts over the years. While retaining the trademark horseshoe-shaped bar, Emirates’ latest A380 Onboard Lounge offers more seating space with a new arrangement along the windows on both sides of the bar. Inspired by private yacht cabins, each seating area has a table and window view. Overall, the lounge can comfortably accommodate up to 26 passengers at a time, including eight seated. At the lounge, we recommend the gourmet canapés, handpicked wines from around the world and limited edition fine spirits, as well as signature cocktails prepared by the bartender. emirates.com

International network: Goair 

Indian low-cost carrier, Goair’s international network expansion has seen a tremendous upsurge in the last one year. The airline’s global portfolio comprises nine destinations namely Phuket, Male, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bangkok, Kuwait, Dammam and the recently added Colombo. In order to enhance call and network connectivity for its international flight passengers, the Indian carrier has partnered with Matrix Cellular, a mobile and data solutions provider in India, to offer international sim card. Travellers can also avail mobile wireless communication (mifi) through Matrix Cellular — this device acts as a wifi router and can connect up to five devices at a time. goair.in

Wine: Japan Airlines 

Inflight F&B service

Japan’s flag carrier is known for its sophisticated wine selection across all classes. However, the picks for first class deserve a special mention and may even be the reason for you to pick this airline for your flights to the Land of the Rising Sun. Globally renowned wine director and tasters Kenichi Ohashi (Master of Wine) and Motohiro Okoshi are on the wine jury for the airline. Giving some examples —  premium quality Champagne “Salon” (first vintage released in 1921), Louis Roederer Cristal 2009, one of the world’s oldest prestige cuvées, produced with quintessential Louis Roederer winemaking techniques and a broad selection of Japanese sake including Hakurakusei founded in 1873 are on offer in first class onboard Japan Airlines (select flights). jal.co.jp/en

Qsuite: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways unveiled its signature business class product, Qsuite in March 2017. Since then, the Gulf carrier has fitted this product in 1-2-1 configuration aboard many of its long-haul aircraft including some Boeing 777-200LRs and 777-300ERs, Airbus A350-900s, and all its A350-1000s. Assuring absolute comfort and privacy, the Qsuite comes with sliding doors, a flatbed, in-suite accent, wide storage spaces and bespoke services. Cabin interiors are designed in their patented burgundy and grey colour, enhanced with elegant and warm rose gold detailing. While the centre suites are perfect for coworkers looking to conduct high-altitude meetings, suites on the sides are best for solo travellers. The carrier has also added Qsuite, to several Indian routes namely New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. qatarairways.com

Suites: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines

A carrier that’s taken luxury to the next level with its Suites class is Singapore Airlines. Available exclusively on the Airbus A380–800 aircraft, which flies to Paris, Sydney, London and more, Suites redefine personal space in the air. Individual cabins have their own sliding door and window blinds; and a standalone bed, completely separate from your seat is on offer. A chaise lounge and large table transform the space in the cabin into a discussion or dining area. Designed by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, the Suites are finished in cream and brown, elevated with leather and wood. Dining onboard the Suites is also a discerning experience as acclaimed chefs bring fine dining onboard with creations inspired by cuisines and cultures from around the world. singaporeair.com

Chef onboard: Turkish Airlines

An onboard chef

Travellers looking to fly via Turkish Airlines are in for a unique culinary experience. The Flying Chefs work alongside cabin crew to serve a menu that includes the finest international and Turkish-inspired cuisine prepared using fresh ingredients resented on stylish porcelain tableware. Turkish Airlines entered a joint venture with gourmet catering company Turkish Do&Co introducing Flying Chefs. The aim of this concept is to offer personal face-to-face service allowing more interaction between guests and the chef. turkishairlines.com

Premium economy: Vistara

Vistara Premium Economy

Vistara boasts being the only India airline to offer a premium economy (PEY) product. The PEY cabin on the airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft comes with 33-inch seat pitch offering 20 per cent more leg room than regular economy class; 4-inch seat recline; specially designed seat with improved seat cushion and adjustable winged headrests. Whereas, on the newly inducted Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, you get 37-inch seat pitch, personal entertainment screen, six-way headrest; calf rest and footrest and USB power outlet in the cabin. As a PEY customer on Vistara you also get priority check-in, boarding, and baggage handling; increased baggage allowance and a complimentary selection of food and beverages including Starbucks coffee. airvistara.com

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