Will we ever have, on a plane, our cozy little individual cabin or on the contrary, the supersonic flights that cross the planet in an instant will not leave us time to watch a movie? The experts do not completely agree on the version of our future airline, and the competition in refining the business class still has a bright future ahead of it. Born in the 1970s, launched by Air France, the “J” class, as regular customers call it, has undergone various cycles. European companies that had long focused on the United States fell rapidly behind those in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, imposing an extraordinary level. Names like Qatar, Emirates, ANA or Singapore have shaken up the habits as they move up to the top of the Skytrax rankings. Today, the race is closer, and passengers who have the privilege of traveling in the “front” classes have become accustomed to receiving noise-canceling helmets and pajamas and to tasting fine wines. We can process them: According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this segment of the customer base represents less than 10% of the tickets, but generates 30% of the revenue! Sometimes even more: Korean Air, which has decided to dedicate the entire top deck of its A380s to business class, attributes 50% of its revenue to it. While the economy class makes the cabin profitable by shrinking the seats, the front of the plane unfolds and attention is doubled. Especially since participation in this class also develops by 5% per year on average. It all starts at the airport as the business traveler, who is increasingly busy, no longer wants to wait for three hours. What is called the “customer journey” is therefore simplified as much as possible. The waiting rooms then pull everything out to make time go faster. Atmosphere “at home” at Korean Airlines; ultra-luxury assumed for Finnair, Qatar and Singapore … Emirates goes so far as to offer Formula 1 simulators and Xbox consoles to forget the wait.
Brands fly away
On board, we obey the “3 F” rule: “flat bed, full privacy, full access.» Understand horizontal bed, privacy and free access to the corridor. The seats are renewed faster than smartphones. Heart mussels are at the very top right now – Air Canada calls their “Distinction Lodge” Air France has invested almost 100,000 euros for each of its 2,000 new business seats, Lufthansa mentions an investment of 1 billion euros spread over three years.The price of business tickets (3 to 4 times as high as for economy class) reflects these repeated investments and justify covering the passenger with little attention … OpenSkies, a subsidiary of British Airways, equips the staff on board with iPads, allowing him to know each passenger’s preferences and even wish them their birthday! To connect with the luxury image, companies go so far as to launch partnerships with brands: Finnair has service and cases designed by the Finnish designer Marimekko, Qatar Airways slips with Armani cosmetics, Air France offers Clarins products, La Compagnie prefers Caudalie treatments. Cathay Pacific serves you Illy coffee, while Singapore Airlines has opted for Givenchy’s table service.
It is also through pampering that we build passenger loyalty: Pampering them with menus composed of chefs has become commonplace. Air France regularly calls for big names such as Joël Robuchon, Régis Marcon or Anne-Sophie Picq, ANA has called for Pierre Gagnaire and Toru Okuda, Qatar Airways has called Nobu … Latest news? Low cost airlines also position themselves as players in business travel. Easyjet and Ryanair now offer services to upgrade their travel.
What other innovations are the airlines ready to pull off the hat? Already we are talking about 3D on the screens as well as a massage chair … So see you soon for new adventures … amazing!
A bed worthy of the first
The Gulf Company serves 152 destinations departing from Paris thanks to excellent connecting times via the new Doha terminal with its peaceful and refined lounge. It has just decorated the intimate cabin of its new A380 with only 48 seats, remaining true to its emblematic burgundy mouse gray palette, highlighted with lacquered wooden marquetry. In a comfortable 1-2-1 distribution, the seats have dimensions that are a first-class value: 2 meters long and 76 cm wide. The LCD screen allows you to pamper yourself with a real cure for the cinema, with no less than 155 movies in French! And when we saw his james bond preferred and tasted a dinner signed Nobu or Tom Aikens, we treat ourselves to a drink in the central bar. What could be better than tasting an old cognac in heaven?
A very cocoon bed
The Japanese company All Nippon Airways (ANA), which has just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Paris-Tokyo route, has taken special care of the business cabin of its brand new 787-9s. Its armchair beds, arranged in 1-2-1, are real cocoons. We fall asleep in homemade pajamas on a soft top mattress, noise-canceling headphones and an eye mask with aromatherapy. The feet do not protrude from the duvet thanks to its “onesie” shape, and the lungs do not dry out as the air is kept at an ideal moisture level. Meals are especially catered for by 2- and 3-star chefs, while the lounge on the floor offers hot dishes served à la carte. Thanks to its joint venture with Lufthansa, ANA now offers an increased offer on departures from major French cities.
Cold colors, warm atmosphere
Based on the principle that the route via the north is the shortest, the Finnish company has resolutely turned to Asia and made a specialty of connections designed to never exceed 45 minutes. We almost regret it, as Helsinki Airport’s lounge, which has showers and a sauna, is attractive with its Scandinavian design. On board the very quiet and brand new A350, a European premiere that is currently flying to Shanghai, and soon to Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York, the shell seats are arranged on the flask glacier white. The polar blue welcome light develops during the flight and simulates a northern light or a sunrise depending on the time zone. Marimekko has sprinkled her green dots on the pencil case, on the slippers and on the rug that you slip under to enjoy a Blue Sky cocktail. Long live Nordic hospitality!
It is better !
Air France was named “the most improved company in the world” in 2015 by Skytrax, and Air France has reworked its business cabin down to the smallest detail, drawing inspiration from the hotel industry in particular: It’s about feeling like in its bed. The shell seat of the Boeing 777 (while waiting for the Airbus A330 and A380 to follow, before 2018), dubbed “a cocoon in the sky”, meets the criterion of excellence for the “3 F’s”. French chic atmosphere, blue leather, red storage box: we stay in the style of the company. The softness is achieved by curved lines, a (very) soft pillow and a down duvet. For even more comfort, the gastronomy on board is currently handed over to chef François Adamski. As for the superkits, whose graphics are reminiscent of those from Concorde, they are already collectors.
The Korean airline is the first in the world to boldly dedicate the entire top deck of its A380s to a single travel class. The 94 Prestige Sleeper seats offer an experience comparable to a 100% business class aircraft. Passengers are overwhelmed by the comfort of the sky-blue leather seats, the configuration of which is designed to give passengers in the window side access to the hallway without disturbing their neighbor. An excellent Prestige Class Bar Lounge in front, and a Celestial Bar aft, invite you to relax and enjoy
cocktails with exclusive recipes. Duty Free Showcase, a veritable mini-store, offers a shopping break. Finally, on the set, the meal promises “farm-to-fly” quality. Convenient for business travelers, the flight to Seoul at. 21:00, departing from Paris, allows you to preserve your working day.
The first airline to order the Airbus A380 in 2000, Emirates has continued to improve comfort aboard its fleet, the youngest in the world (complemented by the Boeing 777). It all starts with the driver, who graciously picks you up to take you to the airport. On board, intimacy is prioritized with a massaging hull seat equipped with movable partitions for privacy and a large table to put your glasses, files and computer from you. Half of the devices are currently connected to wi-fi. If you prefer to socialize, the bar offers canapés, soft lighting, drinks and snacks. Back in his cocoon to watch a movie or zap between 2,186 entertainment channels while digging into his personal minibar. All that remains is to let yourself be cuddled in your 1.98 m long bed by an international and multilingual crew, the company’s signature.
Communicate or isolate
Known for its particularly comfortable and user-friendly waiting lounges, such as those that have just been renewed in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the Chinese company also takes care of
passengers on board. Its seat, in white and champagne tones, is one of the longest and widest available. The herringbone event in particular offers a highly valued private space
that an extension on the side is automatically triggered when switching to bed mode, which increases its width. The central seats (in 1-2-1 configuration) can maintain their privacy or orient themselves towards each other at the touch of a button if you prefer to chat when traveling with two people and sharing a meal composed of one of the great chefs from the Mandarin Oriental group, a treat.
Great restaurant atmosphere
The German company, which has just strengthened its presence in French airports, has renovated its cabins and changed 7,000 seats to Business Class, which offers a fully reclined bed of 1.98 meters long, with an original V-shape that provides true privacy . A box signed Samsonite has slipped in, full of products from the famous Greek brand Korres. Thanks to the FlyNet system, passengers can access the internet via wi-fi and watch online content, the latest information or follow sporting events … While having their meal served on individual tables set up by the staff on board, clad in white , while dishes and drinks are served directly from the kitchen, a magnificent restaurant atmosphere. The German company puts the small dishes in the big ones.