Airplane bars are the one sanity-saving part of flying. What with dismal leg room, expensive bag checks and hordes of crying babies, everyone (who’s of age) can use a drink or two — just so long as no one gets to the point where they see a colonial woman in traditional garb churning butter on the wing.
That said, it’s hard to get a proper drink when it has to come from one of the industrial rolling bar carts. And those rolling carts are about all you’re going to get when you’re flying on a domestic flight. Get out of the United States, however, and you could be in for a whole different experience.
Here are the six airlines to take for the best air-bar experience.
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Qatar Airways A380
Just behind the business class cabin sits a plush, inviting and relaxing bar that can make any flight-fearing person feel like she is on solid ground. You have to buy a first- or business-class ticket to access it, so loosen the wallet a little.
What the onboard bar on Qatar Airways has in exclusivity, the Emirates bar has in fun. The way the bar is located, business-class flight attendants have to walk through to get from galley to cabin, so there’s a constant stream of people coming in and out. After a few drinks, you may be feeling a little more social yourself.
Korean Air A380
Korean Air’s onboard bar wins in the category of straight naming rights: The Celestial Bar. Celestial, which means “positioned in or relating to the sky,” or “belonging or relating to heaven,” is an appropriate title. The bar is sponsored by Absolut Vodka and features some specialty themed cocktails (all flight-themed, of course).
Etihad Airways A380
Etihad Airways went the path of Qatar with a bar situated between first- and business-class cabins. This bar, however, is a tad different. Known as “The Lobby,” the circular bar has six seats and no bartender, though flight attendants should pass through regularly.
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Bar
When it comes to unbeatable bars and class, look to the British. Virgin Atlantic famously has a bar for all business class passengers, but it’s the new onboard bars that are truly eye-catching. The redesigned “Upper Class” features a futuristic eight-foot bar — the longest bar in the air.
Virgin Australia Business-Class Bar
Virgin Australia knows how to let its business-class passengers lounge in style. There are four seats at the bar and two leather pews to stretch out on and enjoy a drink while flying the 14 hours from Sydney to Los Angeles. And by enjoy, we really mean enjoy. Fine wine, beer and even a 12-year-old single malt can be ordered at the bar.