While economy class isn't as cozy as business or first, airlines are starting to offer more luxe amenities to the everyday traveler (probably to help us forget outrageous luggage fees or the fact our pretzels are no longer free, but I digress). In many instances, economy class is becoming a lifestyle experience in the sky.
For example, take Etihad Airways new couture uniforms launched in late December, designed by Milan-based couturier Ettore Bilotta. Featuring tones of chocolate brown, deep purple and burnt orange, the uniforms are made from 100% Italian wool and are meant to give a nod to a time when flying was glamorous.
Photo courtesy of Virgin America
If poorly poured well drinks and cheap wine in plastic cups aren't your thing, Virgin America is now offering craft bottle cocktails from Austin Cocktails. As the airline is a San Francisco company, it always focuses on showcasing local businesses through its food and beverage program, featuring the likes of Philz Coffee, 479° Popcorn, Krave Jerky, and 21st Amendment and Anchor Steam Breweries.
On Air France, everyone gets a taste of first class. Even economy passengers get a glass of bubbly (Lombard & Cie Brut Reference brut, to be exact), from the airline’s wine and Champagne list, which is hand-curated by Paolo Basso, named the world’s top sommelier in 2013.
Aeroflot brings the usually first-class amenity travel kits — including eyes masks, slippers and do-not-disturb stickers — to economy on flights longer than 8 hours.
Photo courtesy of EL AL Israel Airlines
And while it’s nothing new for airlines to incorporate chef-created menus into their dining programs, it’s typically reserved for higher-class passengers. However, on EL AL Israel Airlines all passengers are served dishes by celebrity chef Moshe Segev, who owns three Israeli restaurants and hosts a television cooking show, Segev Comes to Cook. Think meals like truffled sweet potato soup or a healthy salmon fillet with steamed rice and green beans served with boutique Israeli wines.
“Mai Tais” in economy provide a sip of Hawaiian culture. Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines also features a chef-led program for economy class, with Chef Chai Chaowasaree’s pan-Asian menu featuring dishes like Hawaiian-style BBQ chicken with fresh mango salsa and fried rice.