It's hard on the ultra-rich when they're forced to fly commercial. In consideration of their delicate sensibilities, airlines are increasingly pampering first and business-class passengers on international flights. The new hotness: Keeping them far, far away from the wretched, seething crowds of coach.

The AP reports on the experience of flying first-class, which often runs $15,000 for a ticket:

"First class has become a way for a traveler to have an almost private jet-like experience," says Henry Harteveldt, an airline analyst with Hudson Crossing. Airlines "will do everything but sing a lullaby."

That includes all manner of catering. In the U.S., American and United often offer "private rooms" where the creme de la creme can check in faster; some airlines will shuttle Richie Rich to tight connections via luxury cars. If you're flying fancy out of Heathrow (which already feels like a top-tier mall), two and a half Gs gets you access to a lounge "designed for the royal family and heads of state." Emirates Airlines designed a new Dubai concourse so business and first-class passengers are literally on another level than the dirty-faced denizens of coach.

Lufthansa passengers in Frankfurt get their own terminal, with a cigar lounge. Oh, and: "The private restrooms come with their own rubber ducky ‚ÄĒ an exclusive plastic souvenir for the international jet set." Because the 1% are a bunch of damn babies.

One more reason you could be forgiven for whistling "Can You Hear the People Sing" as you board a plane.


Photo via AP Images.