Travel: Is Airbus' sofa-style seat the future of business class travel? - PressFrom - US
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TravelIs Airbus' sofa-style seat the future of business class travel?

08:57  09 april  2019
08:57  09 april  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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A travel class is a quality of accommodation on public transport. The accommodation could be a seat or a cabin for example. Higher travel classes are designed to be more comfortable and are typically more expensive.

Business Class is found mostly on international routes and planes that are configured for long-haul travel . This class of service offers significantly more comfort and amenities than standard Economy, Premium Economy, and Domestic First Class , which usually include: Double the seat pitch (legroom)


On a long-haul flight, passengers spend the time working, eating, sleeping, relaxing -- and all in the same seat.

Even in the swankiest business class situation cabin fever can set in.

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The future of business class seating might include king-size beds, a 42-inch TV screen, and the most privacy you can get while traveling with dozens Since the cabins are still at least three years away from debuting, it's unclear how much a room would cost. Until then, draft your travel bucket list and

Aircraft seatingThe future of business class . JetBlue is introducing lie-flat business - class seats . JETBLUE, an American discount airline, announced at the Global Business Travel Association JetBlue is reconfiguring the front of the Airbus A321s that service those routes to accommodate the

That's where Airbus' new "Settee Corner" chair comes in, offering couch-style airplane seating, alongside all the usual business class features.

The new airplane seat premiered at the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019 (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany, attracting buzz from passengers and airlines alike.

On these new seats, fliers can recline, lounge-style, just like on a couch at home. They can be joined by a traveling partner for an aperitif and to enjoy the in-flight entertainment.

And when it's time to sleep, they just lie down on the seat, no mechanisms needed.

It's part of a wider trend visible at AIX -- aircraft and seat manufacturers looking to make radical changes to the airplane seat.

Transforming the traditional

The "Settee Corner" concept was designed by Airbus in collaboration with seat manufacturer Geven.

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Business class is a travel class available on many commercial airlines and rail lines, known by brand names which vary, by airline or rail company.

Know your business class seat . These days, business class seats can come in various forms, sizes and configurations. A European exception is Air France which generally has angled-flat seats in its business class Delta One Business Class Seat Airbus A350 – Photo credit: Delta News Hub/flickr.

The team based the concept on an economy class three-seater configuration -- transforming this recognizable, budget option into a lightweight and luxurious business class concept.

"Airbus is promoting the 321 long range -- now, the 321 is going to fly seven--to-eight hours, so we need to have the comfort in business class, a lie-flat surface, but with very competitive weight," Amalia Martinez Martin, business line leader for tailored equipment, tells CNN Travel at AIX.

Martinez Martin says the seat is 30-50% lighter than a traditional business class seat. Plus, because it uses a configuration that's already familiar to airlines, it could go from concept to reality pretty speedily.

"We've got all features that you would find in a business class seat," she adds.

There's the TV screen, a spot to stow belongings, a roomy overhead locker and tray table for dining -- and, of course, the additional couch-like experience.

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TAP A320 – business class . Old and broken seat . I changed quickly before take off to row 1C and finally I have The space between the seats are the same as in economy. So if you intend to get work done with a laptop be Airlines, hotels, destinations, venues, tips and tricks and luxury travel reviews.

Here's a rundown of the worst that business class has to offer. Don't get stuck in one if you can help it. There are a lot of great pictures of decadent business - class cabins and their seats circulating the United’s Dormitory- Style Business Class . American Airlines is installing premium economy

On one end of the "settee" there's a seat equipped with a safety belt to use during take-off and landing. Another safety belt will be installed further down the couch for use in the sleep position.

Testing out the seat

CNN Travel tested out the seat at AIX. It uses the economy-style structure, so there's not a lot of leg-room in the take-off position.

But the roomy sofa-style space is very inviting. It's easy to imagine reclining with a book or tucking yourself under a blanket to watch a movie.

It'd also be super sociable if you were traveling with someone else.

As for sleeping, the mock-ups at AIX are the same overall length -- 185 centimeters -- as Airbus's traditional business class seat.

Martinez Martin says there's the potential to make it a bit longer, up to 195 centimeters. They're going to test drive both lengths.

Because the seat curves, it feels relatively private -- but there's also the option for airlines to add a curtain or screen.

There are other advantages.

"Each passenger has direct access to the aisle, each cabin crew has direct access to the passenger, easily, not like in some of the staggered configurations," explains Martinez Martin.

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Second, the seats in business class are getting innovative updates—both technological and ergonomic— that should impact the flight experience in large and small ways. And since airlines typically fly just a handful of aircraft types, you’ll see similar-looking seat styles across brands.

Features include an all-new first class suite, business class seat , as well as new premium economy, and economy products. The new interior for its 19 superjumbos will cost the On Thursday, Singapore Airlines unveiled the all-new cabins that will be installed on its fleet of Airbus A380 Superjumbos.

Airbus also thinks it'll be appealing to airlines who fly the same aircraft on both long-haul and short-haul flights:

"It could also be a possibility to certify the two positions for taxi, take-off and landing," explains Martinez Martin. That means they could use the seat for two people, as well as one person.

Passenger feedback

So what's the feedback been like at AIX?

"Some of the airlines are crazy about it because, as I said, they are always looking for how to make a better business of their aircraft," says Martinez Martin.

"If you tell them you are going to carry on less weight, they [work out the] fuel consumption that they can save."

Meanwhile prospective passengers like the variety the seat offers.

"You feel like being at home in your own lounge," says Martinez Martin.

Airbus thinks the concept could really take flight.

Big trend

Airbus aren't the only company exploring mechanism-free, lounge-style business class seating.

French company Safran has also designed a seat that doesn't use mechanisms. Instead, Safran Essential Business Class uses cushioning in innovative ways.

It's not quite a sofa, but it's a similar vibe.

Speaking at AIX, Quentin Munier, strategy and innovation director at Safran, tells CNN Travel that this couch-style trend is the natural next step, after business class seats progressed to full flat designs.

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Second, the seats in business class are getting innovative updates—both technological and ergonomic— that should impact the flight experience in large and small ways. And since airlines typically fly just a handful of aircraft types, you’ll see similar-looking seat styles across brands.

But don’t call this Business Class . In JetBlue parlance, these seats are known as Mint. Travelers will be able to experience Mint on JetBlue’s new Airbus Fortunately for those not interested in buying into the new JetBlue hierarchy, the sleek, back-of-the-plane seats will be outfitted with power outlets

"The sofa principle is something that is interesting to explore," says Munier.

Munier echoes Martinez Martin's comments about this kind of seat being more sociable. He also explains that having the ability to move around is important to passengers' well-being on the flight.

Also on display at AIX is French company Style and Design Group's innovative approach to business class.

Style and Design's vice president of design, Romain Chareyre, shows CNN Travel the company's "Moments" model.

First off, it looks like a swanky armchair, not something you'd expect to see on an airline.

Provocative velvet

Kitted out in on-trend green velvet, with monochrome floral cushioning for the headrest, it's eye-catching.

It also doesn't use any complicated mechanisms -- it's got a back rest that folds down and foot rest that folds up, turning into a full bed.

Sitting on the lightweight seat, it's easy to maneuver into different positions.

Chareyre claims the use of velvet was deliberately provocative. "We want to ask questions," he says.

It's worked.

"We have good feedback from airlines, from seat vendors," says Chareyre. "They like the geometry, the philosophy behind it, the simplicity."

Passengers, meanwhile, like the idea of space.

"You're not stuck between units, or constrained," says Chareyre. "The idea is to be very versatile and open a lot of opportunities for the passenger."

The Moments chair will also have the so-called "Honeymoon" configuration, where two seats could be positioned next to one another.

So will couch-style seats coexist or replace the traditional business class seat?

Both Safran and Style and Design's concepts were shortlisted for the Crystal Cabin Awards 2019, so the aviation industry's clearly taking notice.

"I think it's replacing it," says Martinez Martin. "I think it's more the future of the cabin."

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