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UAE airline brings the bling to first-class travel

We’ve all been there. After milling around the gate for what seems like forever, you trudge down the jetway and board the plane, only to stand there in the aisle in first class like some redheaded stepchild while the privileged few relax in their oversized seats, peruse their multiple-choice menus and sip their complimentary beverages.

If that sort of scene bugs you, you may want to avoid booking a seat on Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. Already known for its over-the-top luxury that includes lie-flat beds, personal loungewear and sliding privacy screens, the carrier is now upping the first-class stakes even higher.

Recently, the airline began offering new amenity kits for female passengers that include a cosmetics purse detailed with Swarovski crystals. Sorry, guys, but you’ll have to make do with a black-leather cufflink box, which comes with a Schick Xtreme 3 razor and shaving cream.

But, wait, there’s more.

In October, the airline will start providing an onboard chef for its first-class passengers. Promising “five-star” service, the carrier is recruiting 100 chefs who will cook meals to order and tailor dishes based on passengers’ particular tastes and preferences.

Of course, such service doesn’t come cheap. A roundtrip “Diamond First” ticket between New York and Abu Dhabi in mid-July will run you a cool $15,070.

Considering a comparable economy-class ticket costs just $2,106, you might want to consider packing a lunch, a bag of crystals and your own Elmer’s Glue.

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Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him at Twitter.