If you are going to splurge on business class, there's no better time to do it than on a long-haul international flight. To make the experience even sweeter, airlines have added more perks to the upgraded service.
On a recent Turkish Airlines flight to Cairo, by way of Istanbul, this is exactly what I did. I knew I would be able to sleep during my 12-hour flight and be able to disembark first, but what I didn't know was all the other innovative services the airline offers.
Even before takeoff I saw men in white double- breasted jackets and toque blanches tending to things in the galley. They are part of the in-flight chef program known as "Flying Chefs." Food in business class is always a step above economy, but I wondered whether these professionals would make a difference in my meal.
The meal setup included a cloth tablecloth, porcelain dishes, and a flickering votive candle — battery-operated; no flames allowed, of course. I must have looked surprised when the candle was placed on my table because the flight attendant said the intentions were to convey "the feeling of dining at a restaurant high above the clouds."
After my appetizer, a cart came around to each passenger laden with salads and soups. Then my main course of sea bass was served. This was no ordinary meal; every course is exceptional. Last a dessert tray was wheeled by with delicious cakes and confections before coffee and tea was served.
After dinner a flight attendant made my bed, and I settled in to watch two Oscar-award-winning movies with noise-canceling headphones before tucking in for several hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Like Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines is a highly respected airline with excellent business class amenities and a codeshare partner in the Star Alliance network. Star Alliance benefits include flight redemption and upgrade redemption awards on most member carriers.
Singapore Airlines passengers can reserve their meals with Book the Cook and enjoy uninterrupted sleep on fully-flat beds. Passengers arrive ready for business or sightseeing the first day.
Cathay Pacific, a oneworld codeshare partner, is high on many preferred business class airline lists. Like Turkish Airlines and Singapore Airlines, check in is smooth with generous luggage allowances and priority boarding. The menu incorporates locally sourced, sustainable ingredients that are in season as well as lighter and healthy dining options.
Cathay Pacific offers a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system and seats designed for productivity with expansive tables, power outlets, and adjustable lighting.