THE executive class is becoming more and more luxurious, spacious and private. Whether it’s custom seats and bedding pillows, bespoke accessories or co-branding with some of the biggest names in luxury, business is truly the new first class aboard many planes.
This is demonstrated by the business class mini suites with doors, which were launched nearly 10 years ago aboard Mint’s premium planes. JetBlue and are now found on about a dozen airlines, including Delta, All Nippon Airways, British Airways and China Eastern .
Doors make the business-class experience better in two ways: first, they add privacy, and second, they prevent what airline seat designers call a “brush past” when a passenger or crew member walking down the aisle bumps into someone. a seated passenger.
If you’ve traveled in business class, you may already be thinking about some of the seats where doing so would be particularly beneficial.
Depending on the layout of the plane, for example, some seats face the aisle, and the passenger ends up having to avoid eye contact with the person on the opposite side throughout the flight.
Doors obviously help to prevent this. But while these mini-suites with doors are more private than many first-class seats, the word “mini” is in their name for a reason: the space for each passenger is, while huge compared to economy class, even smaller than economy class. first class.
Adding an inch or two to incorporate a door can really affect the amount of space available for your seat.
That sure is “a good problem” just thinking about our narrow 17-inch seat in row 54. But every fraction of an inch of cabin width is used, and on some mid-size planes, it can make a real difference in feeling. of space for a seat.
So why do airlines choose ports, even on some of these mid-size planes?
“There is undoubtedly a move towards increased privacy on aircraft, moving down from first class, where the Emirates full-height suite has set a new standard, for business class,” said the vice president of sales and marketing. of Collins Aerospace aircraft seats, Alastair Hamilton, to CNN .
“Most business class seats have had privacy shells for several years now, which take other passengers out of the eye line when everyone is seated. The addition of doors further enhances that sense of seclusion by closing you off from the hallway, especially when you’re lying in the bed position.
“Are doors also necessary? Obviously not. But they are a passenger benefit that improves privacy and, critically, rest and sleep on a long flight.”
Weight and space vs. revenue
Hamilton adds that doors can add cost, weight and complexity to a seat, but they can generate more revenue.
“From a passenger’s perspective, the ability to close the door and have ‘my space’ will always be perceived as a benefit,” he says.
“The more the aisle is in line with the eyes, the greater the benefit, especially while the passenger sleeps. Airlines are leaning towards doors and greater privacy in general as they continue to improve the passenger experience.”
However, some airlines are saying no.
Quentin Munier, executive vice president of strategy and innovation at Safran Seats, told CNN that demand for doors will usually be on a case-by-case basis depending on comfort requirements or seating layout.
Jean-Christophe Gaudeau, a colleague of Munier’s vice president of marketing, says demand appears to be increasing.
“Doors launched a few years ago and year after year we have seen a steady increase in the share of airlines asking for doors in our surveys or in actual requests for quotes – to the point where the vast majority of airlines are now asking .
“The question will be less and less about whether or not to have a door, but more about how to deliver intelligently and effectively.”
The question will also be whether doorless options can meet the need for privacy while also saving weight and space.
Safran has an option which is a thick, horizontal, magnetically attached, spring loaded blind that extends across the door space.
Other options include a curtain like Air France uses on its first-class seats, dividers that expand and retract like a hand fan, or sliding panels that don’t entirely replicate the door but add substantial privacy.
Time to travel?
All of this has downsides, which is why Chris Brady, an industry veteran and founder of seat maker Unum, says airlines are divided on the issue.
“Everyone recognizes that doors are heavy and complex,” he says.
“I think it’s fair to say that the doors can improve the passenger experience, but for herringbone facing out at 40 degrees more, where you have your back to the aisle, the contribution is marginal.”
“I’m a little conflicted,” Brady admits. “As a passenger, I like a door. I find flying a wonderfully insular experience and I delight in being alone, and a door helps. As a citizen, I know they are heavy”, which also means more carbon emissions.
He adds that doors, “in my personal opinion, should be avoided on the basis that perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.”
The door issue will continue as more airlines and more seat manufacturers weigh the benefits.
Source: CNN Brasil