By and large, most people have probably never flown business class or first class, or have only ever done so rarely - to say nothing of high-end luxury options increasingly available on major airlines. Yet that's predicted to change in the near future, with brands like British Airways and others continuing to look for ways to make seats more appealing and customers more comfortable in the air (first class or not).
If indeed, as some predict, we're heading for a future in which luxury air travel is made more mainstream, it's worth wondering what that might entail beyond just comfortable seats, better service, and a greater degree of privacy. To that end, we've come up with some fun perks and extras that could - hypothetically - help take modern luxury air travel to new heights.
Exclusive Spa Features
You already know that travelers can find pop-up spas just walking through terminals. Yet no matter how hard they try to be zen-like and relaxing, most of these places can't quite take you out of the buzz of the surrounding airport. Instead, they end up being more of a second-class attempt at a relaxing massage or facial, but ultimately falling short of relaxing you - which of course begs the question of why you should spend money on their services.
If a luxury airline could harness the ambiance of a real spa visit, it could attract many travelers who value restorative experiences or even just need help relaxing on flights. From open-air hot tubs (swimsuits provided, of course, because it's unlikely yours is in your carry-on suitcase) in first class lounges, to world-class massage therapists and aestheticians, any services in this vein could cause the draw of luxury air travel to skyrocket. And while it may all sound unlikely, keep in mind that some airlines already do offer showers!
If you think about luxury air travel in relation to cruise travel, casino activity is one of the clear things that's missing. To some extent, this is something people are actually looking less and less to specific locations for. Because of tight U.S. gambling laws, Americans have long taken to the seas or foreign countries to gamble. Yet now, new online casinos in New Jersey are opening the door to more U.S.-based gambling. Elsewhere around the world, meanwhile, the pure quality and scope of online gaming is simply making physical venues less sought after, save for the major resorts.
Going by the cruise example though, there's something to be said for a physical casino being available as a means of passing the time, and finding some entertainment when one might otherwise just hang out. Whether we're talking about a screen on the seat in front of you offering video poker, or an actual, lounge-like area where dealers run casino games at cruising altitude, more casino activity could certainly add something to modern air travel.
When you're traveling, chances are you're choosing to ignore the Muzak of the airport speakers, and listening to something on your phone instead. But eventually, you can of course get sick of your headphones and the music you have, even if you're streaming. Even Pandora stations and Spotify playlists can get old after a while, and add to the monotony or boredom that you can settle into while traveling.
Ambitious and innovative airlines could consider using recognizable figures in the music industry - or even cover artists - to influence travelers to purchase luxury tickets. If they could catch an in-person set while in an airport terminal, frequent fliers might just be more likely to spend a bit more for a high-end ticket (and still not pay what it might cost to attend the same artist's concert). Plus the show would almost inherently be more valuable, with a smaller, more exclusive audience and intimate space essentially making for a VIP experience. It's a bit of an out-there idea, to be sure, but just imagine how much fun it would be to book a layover if you had access to a limited-audience show from your favorite artist during the wait!
Whether or not these specific ideas come to fruition, we should all look forward to a different sort of air travel in the near future. Basic luxury may just become more affordable, and in the process, airlines could offer more and more perks for passengers.