The Sybaritic Single admires luxury hotels on the ground and misses them in the air. The only European airline that keeps impressing him is Air France. Some might be surprised. But, honestly, the French did get it absolutely right in La Première. For this, their truly exclusive first class, they have imported the best elements of the luxury hotel universe.
While most their competitors, including the Middle Eastern trio, focus on cutting cost and enhancing away luxury, Air France chiefs continue investing heavily into their most premium cabin. They have recently upgraded the kitchen of the La Première lounge at Paris CDG – see the image, above. This is continuously voted the best in the world by Skytrax, so that Alain Ducasse and his team enjoy a complete freedom of cuisine that rivals Parisian palace hotels.
First class baggage, wheeled into the terminal on golden trolleys normally seen at luxury hotels, is wrapped in plastic and loaded onboard with utmost care. The same chauffeur who had brought the Sybaritic Single from the lounge to the airplane in a gleaming Jaguar informed him that his 200 macarons had boarded the cargo hold safely, in a container filled with dry ice, while he was enjoying a flûte of blanc de blancs.
The Sofitel bedding is still there but the onboard cuisine is now signed by Michelin-starred Michel Roth, previously with Ritz Paris and currently with Hotel President Wilson in Geneva. Chilled Aquitaine Sturia caviar replaced warm nuts. Spa invitations to Carita on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré were presented to each passenger planning to return to the City of Lights.
Also coming in the near future are 3D immersive virtual reality headsets, currently being tested on the Paris – St. Martin route. If that innovation does take off, then the Sybaritic Single might actually spend more time in the air than staying in luxury hotels!