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Executive Travel

New Heights of Comfort

June 12, 1996|CHARLES LOCKWOOD

First-class airline travel has always meant better food and wider seats, but competition among airlines as well as improvements in business class have encouraged further enhancements recently. Here is a look at special services, some only on certain airlines or on international flights.

* A few days before the flight, the airline calls to confirm, wish you a pleasant journey and inquire about any special meal requirements.

* A chauffeur-driven car takes you to the airport.

* A special check-in counter is available, and you can take more baggage than in coach.

* A special waiting lounge with a concierge, who will escort you to plane, is available. These can be plush, offering small buffets and free phone calls.

* Flight attendants hang up your jacket, serve drinks immediately and hand out amenity kits, often including toothbrushes, eyeshades and a moisturizing facial spray.

* The pilot may come out to talk during the flight.

* Meals are served when you want them.

* Sleeper seats and, increasingly, special equipment such as "noise-canceling headphones," large lavatories, stretching areas and massage chairs are available.

* Upon arrival, you receive an escort to express immigration lines, followed by a ride into town.

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