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Airlines Compete For Premium Customers With Crazy Perks From in-flight showers, to airport spas and hair salons, airlines' premium classes are exploding with perks. Meanwhile in economy, space is getting even tighter.

By Elaine Glusac

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Distancing the travel lords from the less-fortunate vassals by the fares they pay, airlines have stratified the flying experience in a class war--now raging greater than ever--over premium customers.

Basic economy services like bag checks and meals were unbundled during the recession to generate revenue. Now, with the economy's uptick, premium classes are exploding with perks such as first-class showers and stand-up bars, business-class lie-flat seats and extra legroom in premium economy. "With consolidation, there are fewer airlines, and they have to differentiate themselves to compete," says founder George Hobica.

The competition for top-tier customers starts on the ground. Delta joined with Architectural Digest to develop outdoor terraces for its lounges at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse lounges at London's Heathrow have spas where you can get your hair cut by a Bumble and bumble stylist. Qantas has a service that ferries first-class passengers booked on flights of at least 12 hours to and from the airport in a luxury car.

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