Planes carrying more business or first class passengers could be given priority to land in the future.
Richard Deakin, chief executive of National Air Traffic Services (Nats), told The Sunday Times (£) the new plans would see air traffic controllers prioritise flights carrying "high-value customers".
Airlines would be able to request priority to allow them to jump the queue, but Deakin added that airlines would not be able to land before other carriers and flights could only land earlier than others within the same airline.
Doug Maclean, a former Nats manager told The Times that the move would change the "whole philosophy of air traffic control".
He said: "At the moment it is first come, first served. Whether or not you are flying with easyJet or [as] a premium passenger in a first-class cabin of a new shiny Airbus A380 doesn't make the slightest bit of difference. Air traffic control are not involved in commercial decisions."
The number of luxury air passengers is increasing, with airlines adding more premium economy cabins, first class suites and business class only flights.
Airlines with more first-class passengers 'to land first at airports'
We all want to feel refreshed after a long flight and Emirates has just the answer. If having your own personal Private Suite with siding doors wasn't enough, First Class passengers aboard the A380 can take a break and relax in a state-of-the-art Shower Spa at 43,000 feet. The luxury inflight shower, designed in classic walnut and marble, ensures travellers enjoy a complete spa experience, with signature Timeless Spa shower kits made from fine natural ingredients and green tea and fruit awaiting you in your cabin as a post-spa treat.
It really is the small things that count and who doesn't love receiving an amenity kit on a flight. First Class passengers flying with British Airways can pack their beauty products in their checked luggage as the airline has introduced cute wash bags with products from luxury British beauty brand Aromatherapy Associates. The kit includes a soft bag with the 'To fly. To Serve.' coat of arms and contains essentials tailored for men and women. The women's wash bag is filled with a Firming Eye Serum, Triple Rose Renewing Moisturiser, Orange Flower Hand Lotion, Hydrating Renewing Rose Cleanser, deodorant, lip balm, cotton wool, toothbrush, toothpaste and a combined hairbrush and mirror. The men's bag contains a Revitalising Moisturiser, Eye Gel, Shave Gel, lip balm, deodorant, razor, brush and comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and pen.
If you appreciate the wines of South America, you'll love the rich selection on-board LAN Airlines' flights. The wines, from Chile and Argentina, are handpicked by Master Sommelier Hector Vergara, who is one of just 158 people in the world with the title and the only person in Latin America. Both Economy and Business Class passengers can enjoy the award-winning tipple, which includes a Casa Marin Sauvignon Blanc from the San Antonio Valley in Chile and the Q Clay Crazy Rows blend from Chile's Colchagua Valley.
We love it when an airline goes all out to treat its Economy Class passengers too. Air New Zealand's Economy Skycouch is just what any traveller needs for a long-haul flight. Whether you're a couple who'd like the extra leg room or a family with restless young children, the innovative Skycouch is a row of three Economy seats that can be turned into your very own couch on a plane. With a touch of a button, a footrest comes out from under the seat to create a flat space for you to lie back, read and stretch your legs, while the armrests disappear into the back of the seats.
Planes can be pretty social spaces, with all that free time to catch up with friends and even meet new people. So what better place to have a chat over a drink than at an in-flight bar? Virgin Atlantic's futuristic on-board bar in the Upper Class Suite claims to be the longest in the sky, stretching eight feet with space for eight passengers. It is separate from the cabin, giving you somewhere different to sit and socialise with fellow passengers while sipping Champagne or a cocktail.
If the in-flight meal is something you look forward to, you'll love Qantas' Select on Q-Eat for Business and Premium Economy passengers. Select on Q-Eat allows you to pre-order your meal, designed by renowned Australian chef Neil Perry, with a wider range of dishes and the option of choosing at what stage during the flight you would like to eat. Dishes include Fish Cakes with Nuoc Cham, Pan Fried Blue Eye Fillet with Black Bean and Chilli, Fragrant Rice and Gai Lan and Lasagne of Roasted Pumpkin and Spinach with Tomato Sauce. In Business, you can also select the 'No Meal - maximise my rest option' via Select on Q-Eat and your bed will be made up directly after take-off instead.
Virgin Atlantic's innovative new mood lighting system, designed by architectural lighting experts DHA, changes the cabin's colour throughout the flight to help you relax and unwind, fall asleep and even adjust time zones. It's available in all cabins and creates up to eight separate atmospheres throughout the flight: the soft 'rose champagne' de-stresses passengers while encouraging relaxation, the 'purple haze' created a cosy, comfortable ambiance, and the 'amber warmth' is for a candlelight environment as you dine. There's also the 'silver moonlight' to help you drift into a deep sleep, while reflecting a starry night sky. Cool, huh?
Fancy a good night's sleep on your next flight? Singapore Airlines is the only carrier to offer the potential to create a double bed on a flight. The First Class Suites fit up to two double beds on each flight if you purchase four individual cabins. The comfortable beds are perfect for couples and have sliding doors with shades for added privacy - although getting too intimate during the flight is discouraged! The single beds in First Class Suites are also standalone beds and do not convert from the seat - another rare inflight treat.
British Airways's First Class passengers can enjoy the quintessential British ritual of afternoon tea but in five-star hotel style. The carrier's afternoon tea is inspired by the indulgent treats served at the iconic Palm Court at The Langham, London, which is the famed birthplace of afternoon tea over 140 years ago. Travellers can sample delicate sandwiches, artisan pastries and warm homemade scones - complete with tea and Champagne, of course!
Forget browsing the in-flight shopping brochure. Korean Air knows just how to treat its shopaholic passengers with its world-first on-board Duty Free Showcase on the A380. Located at the back of the first floor near the stairs to the second floor, the in-flight boutique is where you can browse and buy around 60 duty free items including cosmetics, perfume, alcohol and accessories. The cabin crew are also on hand to assist and advise you with your shopping.
It's won awards for its entertainment system and Emirates' ice Digital Widescreen offers over 1,400 channels of on-demand entertainment, over 300 movies from around the world, more than 150 TV channels, over 100 video games and around 800 music and podcast channels, so you'll never be board on a flight. Great for kids, the ice system has over 10 newly-releases children's films, 40 Disney classics, over 30 kids TV channels and games. Live BBC text news and sport headlines are updated via satellite, and there are in-seat laptop charging points, plus HD movies and TV programmes on selected planes.
Foodies taking to the skies with Qatar Airways can enjoy the finest dining imaginable, as four Michelin-starred chefs have overseen the airline's in-flight menu, creating signature dishes for discerning passengers. Tom Aikens, Nobu Matsuhisa, Vineet Bhatia and Ramzi Choueiri spent months adapting and testing their specialty dishes, taking into account the flavours and spices, as well as how taste buds are altered at 30,000 feet. Oven roasted mustard and dill salmon, Classic Arab mezze and Thyme roasted chicken breast with supreme sauce are some of the tempting dishes to try.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could find out who you'll be sat next to on a flight? Well now you can! KLM's Meet and Seat app allows you to find out who will be on your flight before you fly, so you can view their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles and even get to know them before you meet them on the plane. Ideal for making your journey more friendly and sociable, the app lets you choose a seat next to someone with similar interests (so you don't have to be stuck talking about the weather!). You can share as much or as little profile details and change your seat as often as you like.
Airlines with more first-class passengers 'to land first at airports'
As well as priority check-in and arrival, flying Premium Economy with Qantas means you can relax in a private cabin of 32 to 40 seats, sit comfortably in a seat designed by the acclaimed Marc Newson with an ergonomic design, multi-way adjustable headrest and wide space, and put on your noise-cancelling headset to enjoy on-demand, inflight entertainment on an adjustable touch screen. When it comes to dining, the Neil Perry Rockpool-inspired menu is complemented by premium Australian wines and Premium Economy passengers can pre-order their in-flight meal with Q-Eat, a service typically offered to business and first class passengers by most airlines. Amenity kits, large cotton pillows and power outlets are also offered to Premium Economy flyers.
For a more comfortable, relaxing flight on longer routes, British Airways offers wider seats and more legroom in smaller, more intimate cabins with World Traveller Plus. Passengers can take advantage of the personal entertainment system with noise-reducing headphones and benefit from a larger free baggage allowance of two checked bags. The World Traveller Plus cabin features a smaller number of rows for the intimate and exclusive experience, with a wider seat providing a greater recline, lumbar support, head rest and foot rest. Premium economy passengers receive a cushion, blanket and amenity kit, and are offered three-course meals. For the lunch or dinner main course travellers have a choice of two of the meals featured on the business class menu. Afternoon tea is also an option.
Not only do Virgin Atlantic's Premium Economy passengers enjoy leather seats, increased seat width of 21 inches (equivalent to some other airlines' business class), adjustable headrest and laptop power, but the airline also offers priority boarding, a pre-departure drink, priority baggage reclaim and an enhanced dinner service with china and stainless steel cutlery. The best features are saved for Premium Economy passengers flying on the 787: the luxury espresso leather seats to complement the cabin mood lighting, increased seatback screen to 11.1 inches and social space the Wander Wall at the front galley for passengers to stretch their legs and mingle with other passengers and crew while helping themselves to snacks from the mini fridge.
Air France’s Premium Economy cabin offers seats with 40 per cent more space than Economy class, softer seat cushions, a HD screen and a multi-position foot rest. The latest generation HD screen is significantly larger: 12 inches versus the 10 inches previously in Premium Economy. Eugeni Quitllet, the Catalan designer and former student of Philippe Starck, designed the new contemporary range of aesthetic and practical tableware, and the glass, cutlery and fabric napkin provide an elegant and refined table service. Premium Economy has been such a success for Air France that the airline is adding 1,100 seats to 44 long-haul aircrafts before July 2016.
Voted the best premium economy cabin in the skies at the World Airline Awards, it's not hard to see why travellers love Air New Zealand's Premium Economy service. The revolutionary Spaceseat is its best feature, designed to create ample space and privacy for all. It was made in a way that the person sitting in front of you cannot recline into your personal space. Additionally, the seats running through the centre of the cabin were made for couples to relax together or turn to face each other to share a meal. The seats on the sides of the cabin were designed with solo travellers in mind, positioned to offer privacy and comfort for those wanting to work in-flight or enjoy the entertainment. The dining promises to be delicious and interesting, complemented by premium New Zealand wines and snacks are available to order from the screens in between meals. The entertainment consists of 580 hours of the latest films, TV box sets, video games and a kids' section.
Lufthansa's new Premium Economy Class gives you double free baggage allowance, a welcome drink, a water bottle at your seat and a high-quality amenity kit, plus meals presented in menus and served on china tableware. The 11- or 12-inch touchscreen monitor, handset to control the in-flight entertainment and generous range of magazines provide entertainment, and the central console between seats with sturdy table and power outlet at every seat allows for working on board. The seats are up to three centimetres wider than in Economy Class and the head rests can be set to the exact height desired and folded at the sides for added support.
EVA Air was the first airline to introduce premium economy class in 1992. Its Elite Class is simple yet stylishly laid out with an elegant colour palette. The private space boasts modern seating, a 19.5-inch-wide seat with ample leg room and a Mood Light system to ensure passengers enjoy good quality sleep with ultimate comfort. The noise-cancelling headphones deliver a high-quality entertainment experience and travellers are provided with travel-sized toiletries from Canadian aromatherapy brand ESCENTS, as well as power outlets. The dining is fresh, healthy and seasonal, and food is served with select wines, prestigious beers and non-alcoholic drinks.
The Comfort Class cabins by Turkish Airlines offer a larger space between seats and a seat pitch of 46 inches, compared to the 32 inches in economy. Passengers in Comfort receive an upgraded menu, welcome drinks and restaurant-quality service, with hot meals from Turkish and World Cuisine served in porcelain dishes. With the individual 10.6-inch display screens embedded on each seat, you can watch as many films, TV shows, documentaries and cartoons as you wish, and passengers can access their own digital archives by simply using their personal USB device or iPod.
Cathay Pacific's Premium Economy experience features a quieter, more spacious cabin than the traditional Economy Class, with between 26 and 34 seats per aircraft. The seat pitch is 38 inches – six inches more than Economy – and the seat is wider with a bigger recline. The large meal table, cocktail table, footrest, 10.6-inch personal television and in-seat power outlet are a few of the benefits of flying Premium Economy, as well as the priority check-in and bigger baggage allowance - 25kg instead of 20kg in Economy. Passengers receive an environmentally friendly amenity kit, larger pillows and noise-cancelling headsets. Premium Economy travellers are welcomed on board with juice and champagne, and enjoy an enhanced meal selection - even the eggs are prepared freshly on board.
Japan's five-star airline ANA offers a luxury service in its Premium Economy cabin. Passengers have lounge access at Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Haneda and Narita Airports, as well as priority check-in and luggage handling at all departing airports. At 19.3 inches, the Premium Economy seat has a 17 per cent larger width than Economy Class, with a laptop power point, USB port and 210 programmes of the latest audio and video on demand. Extra amenities from the usual kit, such as slippers and tissues, are offered, and the dining and drinks options include mini ramen noodles, hot soups and a choice of selected Business Class desserts, sake and wines.