How Fliers Can Snare Swankier Service

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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