Cathay Pacific have recently been injecting time and effort into ensuring their cabin products stay at the forefront of people’s minds. The award winning first class suite, first seen onboard in 2007 wasn’t in need of a redesign, instead, a refresh was all that was needed to keep the cabin a premium product in almost all respects. The airline invested in Foster + Partners, the same architectural company that brought us ‘The Wing‘, to look at the suite and see how it could be smartened up.
Lucky (and ones that can afford) travellers on the 777-300ER may have already experienced the difference onboard, as the first flights took to the skies just over a week ago. The seats themselves whilst looking smarter, also offer a wealth of changes at the request of Marco Polo members that took part in helping research and develop the product that should be rolled out across their 777 and 747 fleet by third quarter 2014.
On the outside of each seat, expect a highly glossy dark grey textured material, while warm-tone natural leather is used extensively on most interior surfaces for a luxurious feel and soft touch. The new side console and the interior of the suite are all wrapped in natural leather, with subtle linings, refined stitching and fewer panels for a more clean and sophisticated look. Leather pads with subtle stitching are also introduced on latches to provide a softer touch. The seat fabric is custom-made with a specially selected combination of materials that is soft and smooth to touch. These fabric enhancements is the kind of music to the ears of travellers who spend thousands on a luxurious experience, and expect this kind of attention to detail.
Also, focussing on the airlines commitment to the arts and cultural projects, (something at the very core of the airline’s ethos) hand-crafted sculptural artworks have been installed. These individual artworks, made of copper and steel and created by Maria Lobo and Linda Leviton, have been individually etched and painted by hand, with a harmonious colour palette.
Input from Marco Polo Club members was also incorporated to improve certain details of the product, not just the brand new Bose noise cancelling headphones, or the 500 thread count cotton sheets and thicker mattresses, but also including a more adjustable meal table, more room in the personal closet and additional space inside the console compartment for personal items such as phones and glasses. A drink holder is introduced on the new side console top to prevent cups and glasses slipping during turbulence. The attention goes further than the suites, in the lavatory, a specially designed new wash basin and counter top have been installed that will provide a ‘refreshing’ environment.
Sometimes overlooked, but the lasting memory of an airline experience for most, the humble amenity kit, for male passengers an Ermenegildo Zegna black pouch, whilst female passengers will be provided with a new Trussardi amenity bag in complementary colours, featuring Aesop as the exclusive skincare and toiletries brand for the First Class cabin.
Other new and enhanced features of the rejuvenated suites include a new 4.3” LCD touch screen controller, which allows passengers to easily recline the seat, adjust lumbar support and turn lights on or off with just a simple touch. New reading lights have been tailor-made to enhance their utility, with brightness adjustable to five levels via the controller along with an independent on/off switch. The rotation of the lights is more flexible with a wider angle. These factors combine to ensure that passengers can enjoy more comfortable lighting with fewer shadows cast when reading, writing and dining in any seating position.
All in all, Cathay Pacific haven’t needed to fix something that isn’t broken. Instead, they have listened to their travellers needs, and adapted their product to be as intuitive and responsive to even their most discerning guest, and that is something that we have to salute.