An arms race is heating up among airlines battling to lure passengers with a taste for luxury.
Etihad Airways fired a volley in the war recently when it announced that it is offering the services of nannies and onboard chefs on long-haul flights from Los Angeles.
The chefs will serve made-to-order meals only for customers in the “diamond first class” seats, but the “Flying Nannies” will help clean, pamper and entertain children throughout the plane.
“It’s all about how to differentiate yourself for regular travelers,” Etihad president and chief executive James Hogan said about the new services.
The nannies were unveiled shortly after Jetblue introduced its new premium-class service, dubbed Mint.
The new class offered on JetBlue’s Airbus A321s will have 16 lay-flat seats, including four suites with doors that close for privacy. The seats will have a massage feature and guests can order free drinks and tapas designed by renowned New York restaurant Saxon + Parole.
But the pinnacle of in-flight luxury may have been reached several years ago when Dubai-based Emirates unveiled several opulent amenities for its A380 jets. First-class passengers get access to two on-board lounges, staffed by bartenders, plus two shower-spas.
The luxury comes with a price: A first-class round trip from New York to Dubai on the A380 now sells for about $22,000.