First-Class Travel

by Mark Ellwood


Your jet: Airbus A330 and A340

Killer app: The changing room where you can slip into pajamas in privacy

Amenity you'll want to steal: The snooze-inducing silk cushions that plump up each bed

Ultimate itinerary: A beachy week without a BlackBerry on one of the less populated of Bahrain's 30 or so islands

Life up front: Bahrain-based Gulf Air was the region's first flag carrier, established long before upstart luxury rivals Emirates, Etihad, or Qatar airlines, and it has long won industry awards for best in-flight catering. Maybe it's because of the free-flowing supply of crisp, chilled Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque. Or could it be the delicate quail on sweet-potato cakes? Best of all, dinner's served, on demand, within 15 minutes. But before the eight first-class passengers on each flight (snugly ensconced in a 1-2-1 configuration) can even nibble those award-winning morsels, they've been pampered by personal pick-up—in a BMW 7 Series limousine—plus VIP line-free check-in. After dinner, as the cabin crew makes up the fully flat beds with silk cushions and oversized pillows, passengers can slip into something more comfortable in that changing room. The only downside? No Stateside routes—but it's an ideal interim connection for globe-trotters hopping from Europe to Asia.

Platinum card–smashing price: London to Bahrain from $5,367 round-trip

Gulf Air
Tel: 888 359 4853

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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