Mood Lighting, Gadgets and More New In-Flight Amenities

But when it comes to new planes the biggest deal in terms of passenger perks for most of us is more overhead bin space; sure, it's great for the carry-on contingent but even those who check a bag will appreciate how much faster it is to get on an aircraft and settled in your seat thanks to roomier bins. It might even translate into a few extra minutes of sleep on day of departure.

Other cool things: Many new planes have ambient or mood lighting that you can change according to whim, and it helps that many newer planes are designed to optically "look bigger" which gets you off on the right psychological foot. Plus there are personal TV screens and all the electronic connections a gadget junkie could ask for; now if only we weren't still forced to turn those devices off we might be getting somewhere. As for the Dreamliner, it has bigger windows without those clunky, view-obscuring shades. Instead, you press a dimmer switch that darkens the window to your specifications (I like it, but I've heard some Japan Airlines customers don't think it gets dark enough).

Sometimes, it's how an airline customizes a plane that makes all the difference. Etihad Airways is probably the leader in this field and if you've never heard of the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, it's time you did since they're always winning prestigious awards.

Etihad's first class comes with a seat that will massage you then turns into a 6'8" long lie-flat bed, complete with sheets, blankets, duvet, full size pillow, all in your own suite. Of course there's the obligatory flat screen TV, personal mini-bar not to mention a dedicated changing room with full length mirror. The icing on the cake: Seats with leather from Poltrona Frau, the same folks that supply interiors for Ferrari. What's it cost? First class from New York to Abu Dhabi in October runs close to $15,000 round-trip.

Maybe your next flight won't resemble a five-star hotel, but take heart. Designs in the front of the cabin tend to drive designs in the back over time, in the same way luxury car features eventually make their way into the economy models. In the meantime, we can dream.

The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.

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