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Over the Top Luxury Air Travel: How the One Percent Fly

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Is class warfare about to take over the skies? Airlines are eliminating basic comforts in the cheap seats, while making the experience up front even more inviting for passengers who are willing to pay the price.

For major legacy carriers, about 70 percent of their revenue comes from the top 20 percent of their customers. So, it makes sense that the airlines would invest in their high-yield passengers, and some of the perks of luxury air travel are mind-blowing. A first-class ticket can get you a private cabin, gourmet meals served on bone china—paired with wine, even mile-high showers, and a spin in a Porsche. Keep reading to find out how to travel like the one percent.

Heathrow lounge (2)

London’s biggest airport, Heathrow, has a VIP suite that once catered exclusively to the royal family, heads of state, and visiting dignitaries. To enter, you had to be on a carefully selected list held by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. But, as of last summer, the Windsor Suite is now open to the public—that is, anyone holding a first or business-class ticket who is willing to pay a minimum fee of £1500 (plus VAT). As you enter through the unassuming doors, you’ll be personally greeted and attended to by staff. All your security and check-in procedures will take place in that private space and, when it’s time to depart, you’ll be transported in one of several BMW 7-series limousines to the aircraft door.

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