Humor those who pine for TWA’s style and Pan Am’s elegance – a quick taxi through the past two decades proves there’s never been a better time to fly. Take the Concorde, says Jack Ezon, a Virtuoso travel agency founder. “It certainly got you there in a jiffy, but, truth be told, it was a claustrophobic cabin with upgraded premium economy seats.” During the Concorde’s final years, he notes, British Airways
rolled out lie-flat seats, and the battle for the front of the plane was on. Celebrity-chef-planned menus, Wi-Fi, flat-screens, designer amenity kits, in-flight showers, Emirates
’ in-flight suites – the sky is no longer the limit.
With today’s lighter, more-fuel-efficient aircraft, distance proves less of a barrier as well. Singapore Airlines
’ new 18.5- hour NYC-to-Singapore flight currently holds the ultra-long-haul record. But last October, Qantas
tested a nearly 10,000-mile, 19.5-hour New York-to-Sydney route that it’s looking to launch in 2022. And with Boom Supersonic’s announcement of Virgin Group
and Japan Airlines
’ orders for its 55- to 75-passenger jet, Mach-2 is even back in the wings, shrinking a New York-to-London hop to a proposed three hours and 15 minutes.
“Just going to the airport was a traumatic experience,” Ezon says, recalling the post-9/11 security lines before Global Entry, PreCheck, and Clear. Now, with new lounge terminals such as The Private Suite at LAX, travelers can skip the departures area (and paparazzi), relaxing with a meal before a private security screening and chauffeured drive to the jetway. Wheels up, please.