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First class… and then some

Flying can be tough, but it's nice to know there are little luxuries along the way to make it easier. Take Aussie designer Marc Newson's new First Class Lounge for Qantas at Sydney Airport. Far from being a place to crash out between flights, it's a thing of great beauty.

Seriously first class

The lounge, plus its smaller counterpart in Melbourne Airport, is kitted out like a five-star hotel. Check out this list of features: a Payot Paris day spa offering complimentary treatments; a restaurant with menus by Australian chef Neil Perry; chair-side waiters; a library full of newspapers, magazines, books and board games; an entertainment zone with plasma screens showing local and international news, as well as Sony Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable entertainment systems; marble-lined shower suites with stereo and lighting controls; and a business center with PCs and wifi.

Seriously first class

On the design front, there's a stunning Vertical Garden (ie a wall covered in plants) designed by artist-botanist Patrick Blanc. It boasts over 8,400 individual plants – and isn't something you usually associate with the hard lines of an airport. The furniture and accessories also suit the international nature of the departure lounge: chairs, recliners and sofas by Italy's Poltrona Frau, dining sets by Cappellini, Tai Ping wool carpets from Hong Kong, marble from Carrara, Italy, and quartzite from Switzerland.

Seriously first class

Now we just have to persuade Mr Newson to design a cool lounge for us Economy flyers. I don't want to sound all bitter and twisted… but it would be great to get the same design sensibility without the exorbitant ticket price. Or maybe, sadly, it's true – you get what you pay for. RM


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