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The Best Beds in the Skies

Oct. 07, 2017
11 min read
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Three-room suites. Personal butlers. Glasses of Dom Perignon. Made-to-order meals crafted by award-winning chefs. This isn’t a dream, nor is it the plot of a drama series about rich prep-school students. It’s what life can be like on a long-haul trip through the clouds — that is, for the right price. The idea of sleeping on a plane often elicits a wince, a groan and a weary roll of the eyes — which is perhaps why the most impressive part of these ultra-high-end tickets is the luxury beds that come with them. We’re talking memory foam mattresses, Italian linens and designer pajamas that leave no need for counting sheep. Here are 10 of the fanciest places to sleep in the air.

The Residence (Etihad Airways)

Cost: From $31,000 or 3,424,000 miles round-trip

Suite size: 125 square feet

Bed size: 82 by 47.5 inches

Features: A three-room suite — the first of its kind via commercial airline — the experience begins with staff contacting you ahead of time about your preferred in-flight meals and dietary requirements. If you fly through New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), you’ll have access to the first- and business-class lounge, plus be taken through a hidden door to an area designated for Residence passengers only — can this get any more exclusive?

As for the suite itself, the living room has a leather love seat, dining tables, a personal cabinet for chilled drinks and a 32-inch television screen. Down the hallway is your own private shower room, complete with bathrobes, shower products and Christian Lacroix loungewear. In the bedroom is another television — 27 inches — as well as a double bed with Italian linens.

In terms of food, guests are offered an à la carte menu and made-to-order meals, which are served on 24-karat-gold-plated porcelain dishes. Wine comes from the onboard reserve and is served in crystal glasses. To top it all off, customers flying in The Residence are constantly seen to by a discerning, trained butler, who stays in contact with the Etihad Lifestyle Concierge team on the ground should guests need to purchase high-end dinner reservations, theater tickets or — just in case — a rare blue diamond.

Where you'll find it: On Etihad A380s, but in the US, only on its twice-daily flights between JFK and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

The Residence's bed.
The Residence really does feel like home. Image by The Points Guy.

First Apartment (Etihad Airways)

Cost: From $22,000 or 235,120 miles round-trip

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Suite size: 39 square feet

Bed size: 80.5 by 26 inches

Features: The First Apartment experience starts before you set foot on the plane itself. Customers are offered complimentary door-to-door chauffeur service in over 40 cities around the world, and if you’re traveling through AUH, you’ll get a concierge and porter, plus access to the first-class lounge and spa — besides spa treatments, this means a shower and shave if you need it.

Once you're in the air, the in-flight chef will create a personalized menu for you at your convenience, or you can opt for the seven-course tasting menu. In addition, there's a private refreshments cabinet in your suite. You’ll also get a flat screen television of up to 24 inches, pillow mist and pulse-point oil in case of trouble hitting the hay, access to the Flying Nanny service if you’ve got kids and, perhaps best of all, a first-class bathroom with a full-height shower.

Where you'll find it: On Etihad A380s, but in the US, only on its twice-daily flights between JFK and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

First Apartment is about the size of your first New York City apartment, so the name checks out.
First Apartment is about the size of your first New York City apartment, so the name checks out. Image by Eric Rosen / The Points Guy.

Emirates First

Cost: From about $25,500 or 217,500 miles round-trip from JFK to Dubai International Airport (DXB)

Suite size: 82 inches long

Bed size: 79 by 27.35 inches (29.4 inches on Boeing 777s)

Features: An Emirates first-class ticket means a suite with a leather seat that has, most notably, massage capabilities and can convert into a flat bed. Also in the suite is a dining table, 32-inch television screen, built-in mirrored vanity, personal mini-bar and a line to request room service. À la carte multi-course meals are available to order and if you’re flying on an A380, there’s an exclusive onboard lounge with a fully stocked bar, cold canapés and snacks, two sofas and a 42-inch television screen. Plus, you’ll have access to two shower spas with heated flooring, hair dryers and full-length mirrors. First-class passengers also have access to 39 of Emirates’ airport lounges around the globe.

Where you'll find it: On most Emirates A380s and Boeing 777s.

Let Emirates First's seat's magic fingers do the talking. Image by The Points Guy.

Asiana First Suite Class

Cost: From $8,500 (160,000 miles) round-trip from the US, Oceania or Europe to South Korea

Suite/bed size: 84 by 25.2 inches

Features: Upon arrival at the airport, you’ll be assisted by a concierge through check-in and security and — if you’re flying through South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (ICN), Gimpo International Airport (GMP) or Gimhae International Airport (PUS) — escorted to the Asiana Airlines Lounge, which features a shower room, sleeping room and massage machine.

The first-class suites are, notably, the first ones with two sliding privacy doors to be offered by a Korean airline. Other perks include a 32-inch television screen, personal mini-bar, an extra seat for a travel companion and touch screen seat controls. 10 of the royal Korean menus available in advance include dishes like bibimbap (steamed rice mixed with vegetables and sautéed beef) and eundaegu gui (grilled silver cod with soy sauce).

Perhaps most unique is each suite’s mood lighting, which changes during takeoff, meals, sleeping and rest, plus a nifty projector that paints a night sky onto your ceiling. If you’re flying into Incheon, a chauffeur will pick you up and take you to your next destination.

Where you'll find it: On Asiana Airlines' A380s between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or JFK and Incheon.

In its lie-flat position, the seat seems almost as wide as a twin-size bed.
In its lie-flat position, the seat seems almost as wide as a twin-size bed. Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

Singapore Airlines Suites

Cost: From $10,000 (450,000 miles) round-trip from JFK to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)

Suite size: 4 by 7 feet

Bed size: 78 by 27 inches (4 inches thick)

Features: Sliding doors and window blinds give more privacy than simple curtains in these suites, which were drawn up by French yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste. For working or dining, the suite includes a chaise lounge and table, and, notably, the bed is separate, not converted from your seat. Also included is a 23-inch television screen with 1,000 choices for entertainment and the option to reserve your main dining course up to 24 hours before flying — including dishes dreamed up by Singapore Airlines’ international lineup of chefs.

Where you'll find it: On Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380-800s, but in the US, only on the daily flight from JFK to Singapore via Frankfurt (FRA).

Singapore Suites A380
Welcome to Singapore Suites, one of the best ways to fly. Image by The Points Guy.

Air France La Première

Cost: From $6,500 or 400,000 miles

Suite size: 6.5 by 30 inches

Bed size: 6.5 by 30 inches

Features: Passengers with this ticket are greeted at the airport by a porter, then invited into the La Première lounge and spa treatment center at Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). One notable difference here is that going through security is followed by private transport to the aircraft in a high-end vehicle.

On board, your cabin is decorated in leather and suede, and comes with privacy curtains. It consists of a table, ottoman and reclining chair, which converts into a flat bed with a memory-foam mattress and fluffy duvet. The 24-inch television screen offers 1,000 hours of on-demand entertainment, and you’ll also have access to an individual cloakroom, a private bar and a buffet. Chef-designed meals and the wine list change every two months, while à la carte menu options are also available.

Where you'll find it: On Air France Boeing 777-200s and 777-300s flying routes including Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Washington, Mexico, Sâo Paulo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Abidjan, Johannesburg, Libreville, Luanda, Yaoundé, Beirut and Dubai.

A more civilized way to travel.
A more civilized way to travel. Image by The Points Guy.

Qantas International First

Cost: From about $18,000 (384,000 miles) round-trip from JFK to Adelaide Airport (ADL)

Suite/bed size: 83.46 inches long on A380s and 78.74 inches long on Boeing 747s

Features: A Qantas International First ticket starts off with a complimentary chauffeur trip from your location to the airport and, if you’re traveling through Sydney (SYD) or Melbourne (MEL), access to the Qantas First Lounge — with private business suites for work, a menu designed by Australian restaurateur Neil Perry and free day-spa services.

On board, suites feature fully flat beds with sheepskin mattresses, 17-inch (A380) or 10.4-inch (Boeing 747) entertainment touch screens and ottomans to host companions. Passengers can choose from an eight-course tasting menu or dishes à la carte, and can ask for pairing advice from the Sommelier in the Sky service. Upon arrival, if you’re flying into select airports, a complimentary chauffeur will take you to your destination.

Where you'll find it: On Qantas A380s and 747s between destinations like Sydney, Melbourne, London (LHR), Singapore, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and Los Angeles.

Sleep easy on Qantas. Image by Pascal Parrot / Getty Images.

Cathay Pacific First Class

Cost: From $15,750 or 180,000 miles round-trip

Suite/bed size: 81 by 36 inches

Features: First-class passengers flying out of Hong Kong get their own check-in area, along with access to Cathay Pacific’s First Class or Global Lounge in select airports in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Manila, Taipei and Tokyo.

On board, seats have massage capabilities and convert into flat beds with 500-thread-count duvets. Guests have their own 17-inch television screens and can order off Asian-inspired menus — there are rice cookers on board — or à la carte.

Where you'll find this product: On most Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ERs between Charles de Gaulle Airport, Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Milan-Malpensa Airport (MXP), Zürich Airport (ZRH), Heathrow Airport, Vancouver International Airport (YVR), JFK, Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), LAX, O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Cathay's bed is among the most comfortable in the sky.
Cathay's bed is among the most comfortable in the sky. Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

JAL First Class Sky Suites

Cost: From $15,500 or 140,000 miles

Suite/bed size: 78.5 by 33 inches

Features: Each private first-class cabin has a wood-grain interior that evokes a home office or library, plus a 23-inch television screen and Airweave pillows for support. Menus change by the month and route, but if you’re flying from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) to JFK, previous options have included Hamburg steak, jambalaya and swordfish cutlet and egg sauce on steamed rice.

Where you'll find this product: On routes including JFK, O'Hare, LAX, San Francisco Haneda and Narita.

Now where's my Hamburg steak? Image by The Points Guy.

Which do you think is the best bed in the skies? Sound off, below.

Featured image by The Residence's bed.