(Granthshala) – International first class suites – like the double-bed-in-the-sky experiences that have been the stuff of travel dreams for decades – have been out for a while.
With the Covid-driven retirement of many older aircraft, and airlines abandoning first class on newer planes in favor of better business class mini-suites, there are very few places left where such luxury can still be found.
But something similar is changing with an increasing number of new airplanes.
The next time you board a large passenger airplane, take a look as you pass through the first row of business class seats.
You can just see the hallmarks of a new kind of seat – the front-row Business-Plus.
These hidden first class seats will often have a slightly upgraded and more luxurious look and feel.
It’s truly a kind of secret first class, tucked away quietly on the business front, but with more room, more hidden features, and more luxurious touches.
Anthony Harkup, a senior director at design house Teague, explains where the space for these seats comes from.
“Business class seats get their density capability by staggering or nesting passenger enclosures—often a passenger’s feet nestled under the front passenger’s furniture,” he says. “The front row seat is free of any forward nesting passenger.”
This space, adjacent to the wall in front of the cabin, is often lost or left empty, or has something like a magazine rack on top, or a cupboard for a galley kitchen on top.
“Reusing that space for premium amenities and creating more living space turns it into prime aircraft real estate,” Harkup says.
prime real estate
The new venues replace the traditional first-class offerings.
Available space can exceed many airlines’ first class, which means designers can get creative: adding a side sofa to allow your partner or kids to curl up with you and watch movies on the large inflight entertainment screen that’s That provides all the space of the wall.
Other options include mini-wardrobe so you can step out of your suit and slip into your airline-proposed pajamas, leaving your clothes clean and uncluttered when you arrive.
All this extra space, says Harkup, “is especially important now that first class seating is fading away in exchange for more efficient business class seat products. In this sense it is important to keep the first class feeling and differentiation alive.” It’s a ray of light.”
Designers and seatmakers (the Collins Aerospace Elements seat here) can go wild with the space ahead of the first-row passenger.
One example is JetBlue’s latest Mint Studio, offered on its latest Longhaul-outfitted aircraft. Teague’s Harcup (in a previous role) and Acumen Design Associates senior designer Daniel Klukas were both involved with this fresh new space, which combines a suite with private doors with wraparound sofas that also increase the size of the on-board bed .
Here, Klukas says, “we managed to provide not only a larger and more comfortable bed, but also a larger monitor, second seat, and more workspace.”
There are many options open to airlines, seatmakers and their design partners, depending on what the airline wants and needs.
If it is a business-focused airline, it may offer “meeting seating” on an enlarged “business table” with additional power sockets and charging equipment.
Perhaps it could offer some of the added benefits of what’s known as the “soft product” space of services and perks: a meeting-focused tea and coffee service, for example, or how about brain-food snacks?
‘beyond first class’
Concealed first class seats take advantage of overlapping between rows of nested, staggered or herringbone-pattern seat maps.
But for the more leisure-focused carrier, the same seating can be presented as “dining a deux,” in which the “business table” is transformed into an extended romantic dining space, perhaps with low-light options, flowers, and more. Even with an electronic candle.
Family-oriented airlines, meanwhile, may sell it as a table for board games, additional color-in space, a bassinet with a fitting for a crib and stuffed animals for Mr. Fluffy, too, some kid-friendly. With snacks and drinks. .
So how do you see these new seats? Well, the airline may be selling them as “Business Plus” or “Business Suites,” or something less direct, so keep that in mind when booking the back seats of the bus as well.
When you’re on board, take a look at the front row and see if it has more room than the back row, especially next to the seat, or if it has extra pillows and blankets. There might also be a little extra privacy divider.
Check clothing and hard surfaces. Does it feel like a little extra luxury has been added? Any additional wood-effect paneling, a different look and feel for any part of it than in Row 2?
“When it comes to the front row, passengers will want to see features that go above and beyond the rest of the business class cabin,” explains Acumen Klukas.
“Just having more space to sleep, lounge or work isn’t enough – so in our designs we also included things like personal closets, vanity areas, mini bars and additional mood lighting.
“The extra space combined with these added features really pushes the seat into and often beyond traditional first class offerings.”
Credit : www.cnn.com