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How Fliers Can Snare Swankier Service

December 6, 2006 By: Dan Butcher Travel Agent

International travelers frustrated by years of airline
stinginess and the disappearance of everything from hot meals to free booze can
increasingly turn to a little-known corner of the sky: rapidly growing foreign
carriers—especially those from Asia and the Middle East—that are known for
their swanky service, the Wall Street Journal reports. Plush Middle Eastern
carriers such as Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline are adding routes at a
dizzying pace. First- and business-class customers on Emirates' New York-to-Hamburg, Germany route get a five-course
dinner at a Ritz-Carlton hotel and a chauffeured ride to the airport. On
Etihad—which plans to grow from 35 destinations now to 70 by 2010—each
first-class seat has a built-in massage unit. While the most luxurious
amenities are saved for those in first and business class, coach customers
enjoy additional perks, too. Etihad says it has the biggest personal
touch-screen monitor (10.4 inches) in coach class. Singapore Airlines, an Asian
carrier known for its service, is introducing a redesigned in-flight
entertainment system in all classes, which has the flexibility for passengers
to rewind and fast-forward movies as if they were at home.

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