From caviar and Champagne to Michelin-starred chefs and vintage wines, fine dining in First Class is all about the details. That’s what makes the difference at 30,000 feet

In today’s luxury market, air passengers expect nothing but the best, and the world’s leading airlines are all striving to give it to them. On-board suites are now a feature of many top airline’s First Class cabins, not to mention on-board bars, showers and three-room apartments.

But it’s not just infrastructure that has improved. The level of service in First Class is more refined and comfortable than ever before. Add to that state-of-the-art seats, innovative meal choices and better preparation methods and dining in the skies becomes a sophisticated, relaxed and enjoyable experience.

The best airlines consider every last detail; not only what you eat, but what you eat from and with. From fine china to gold-plated cutlery, it’s these touches that make the difference between good on-board dining experience and great one.

KLM's Business Class tableware by Marcel Wanders

KLM’s Business Class tableware by Marcel Wanders

Photo: KLM

KLM is one of the leaders in the field of designer collaborations. The airline has worked with a number of the Netherlands’ best designers, including Marcel Wanders, the artistic mind behind the its stylish tableware.

Marc Newson's china for Qantas

Marc Newson’s china for Qantas

Photo: Qantas

For a number of years, Qantas First Class travellers have received their fare upon this sleek collection of premium-quality fine bone china from world-acclaimed Australian designer Marc Newson. The simple pieces, characterised by Newson’s contemporary fluid forms, look smart and let the food take centre stage.

EVA Air serves Noritake tableware

EVA Air serves Noritake tableware

Photo: EVA Air

Business Class passengers travelling with Taiwan’s leading independent airline EVA Air enjoy in-flight dining rivalling the best restaurants, with cuisine served on Noritake tableware – the same that is used by the Japanese Royal Family, no less, according to EVA.

“miyabi” tableware also from Japan's Noritake

“miyabi” tableware also from Japan’s Noritake

Photo: Emirates

Emirates provides premium passengers with a range of white fine bone china from Royal Doulton,along with Robert Welch cutlery. However, fly between Dubai and Japan and experience Emirates’ regionally-inspired Japanese menu and “miyabi” tableware – a result of a collaboration with renowned Japanese tableware maker Noritake to develop a collection for the menu that reflects authentic traditional Japanese design.

Nikko's First Class china

Nikko’s First Class china

Photo: Etihad

Singapore Airlines’ already exquisite in-flight cuisine is enhanced by its service on classy and well-liked Givenchy tableware, while showstopper Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, blows nearly all others out of the water when it comes to luxury. The Residence, a three-room suite featuring a living room, a separate bedroom with a double bed, and a private bathroom complete with an en-suite shower, also comes with a personal chef and butler, with meals served on 24-karat gold-plated tableware. Also used is bone china by Japanese designer Nikko, ‘Royal Oak’ cutlery by British brand Studio William, and crystal glassware designed by Vera Wang for Wedgwood, each of which are also used in regular First and Business.

Marimekko's Finnish design for Business Class

Marimekko’s Finnish design for Business Class

Photo: Finnair

The Finns are synonymous with good design. And there’s no need to look further than their national airline to find a healthy splash of it. Fly in Finnair’s Business Class cabin aboard its A350 and you’ll eat off authentic Nordic tableware designed by iconic Finnish design house Marimekko.

Tableware designed by Jean-Marie Massaud

Tableware designed by Jean-Marie Massaud

Photo: Air France

Meals in Air France’s La Première (First) and Business cabins are served on tableware designed by Jean-Marie Massaud, who also designed both cabins. The cutlery, made of stainless steel, is created by Christofle, a manufacturing silversmiths based in Normandy, France.