Courtesy of Etihad Airlines, travelers with deep pockets can enjoy flying hotel rooms, ensuite bathrooms and butlers for the bargain price of $43,000 a flight.
As competition heats up and more people catch flights than ever, airlines have begun focusing in two distinct areas: catering for no-frills fliers at low prices, or luxury travel designed to make a company stand out from the crowd. In the second camp, we've seen the emergence of cocktail bars, double beds, a' la carte menus and personal chauffeur services to make flying seem as luxurious as possible -- despite the fact you are in a metal tube with hundreds of other passengers.
However, Etihad has pushed the boundaries in luxury travel. Not content with the services mentioned above, the airline has launched "The Residence" -- a three-room, first-class suite designed to mimic a hotel room.
The 125-square-foot Residence includes a double bed, ensuite bathroom, minibar, wardrobe, television and the personal services of a chef and butler. Etihad's luxury suites will take to the skies in late December on the United Arab Emirates to London route, undertaken by 10 A380s owned by the airline.
The promotional video below, showing a grinning Dannii Minogue is pretty nauseating -- just as the mustard yellow decor may not suit everyone's tastes -- but the launch of such a service reveals that airlines believe there is a market for luxury travel experiences. Within the vast space offered by the A380 superjumbos, such VIP travel services can be established -- although whether they are willing to pay such prices remains to be seen.