SAN DIEGO ( TheStreet) -- When was the last time you walked off a commercial flight with a free Gucci bag, Givenchy pajamas or Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit? If the answer is never, you're not flying the right airlines and not buying the right tickets. There's a growing hyper-competitiveness in the airline industry when it comes to luring customers for ultra-expensive business and first-class seats on international routes, industry experts say, and it's leading airlines to offer increasingly more luxurious flight amenities and gifts for fliers. "On international routes, airlines are really becoming competitive, because that's where the revenue is," says Oliver McGee, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of transportation during the Clinton administration. "And the luxury amenities and giveaways are designed to attract the high-end revenue streams that come from business and first class. When an airline fills up the business section or first-class section of its plane, 25% to 50% of the cost of that flight is paid for." Providing luxury goodies for well-heeled fliers is not exactly a new idea. But it is one making a robust resurgence in the post 9/11 airline industry after a decade of lost profits, constant reshuffling, mergers and bankruptcies. AAR) started giving iPad cases to its high-paying fliers, Sloan says. Turkish Airlines has been known to hand out the cases as well.
Singapore Airlines is another airline known for its over-the-top onboard amenities and luxurious take-home gifts. The airline provides Givenchy sleep suits and Ferragamo amenity kits to attract fliers, Murphy says. But when you're talking about first-class and business class, it's not just about what you take home. It's about the overall experience, from beginning to end, the experts say. And to that end on Emirates Airlines, first-class passengers get their own private, enclosed cabin, Murphy says.