2017 will bring three much talked about products to the skies. While all eyes are currently on Qatar Airways new ‘super business class’ seat that will be revealed in a matter of weeks, two other carriers, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are jostling for the attention of the First Class passenger.
Qatar Airways has very firmly set its stall at a high-end business class for the airline and while the carrier does offer First Class on their A380, the rest of the fleet will only feature business class at the very front of the plane.
With this in mind, CEO Al Baker has invested heavily into a new business class seat that will offer ‘double-beds’ in business class. While this is nothing new – with the Sogerma Solstys seats found on many carriers business class perhaps being able to tout the same claim – its pretty obvious Qatar will want to bring a game-changer of a hard product to the market to compete with the middle eastern three (both of which use versions of the Solstys seat)
Qatar has already installed the reverse-herringbone seats on the 787, A350 and A380 fleet, which offer increased comfort and privacy on the now ageing 777 fleet that according to reports, will see the retrofit first.
Meanwhile, Emirates has been telling press since 2015 that it will be creating a brand new First Class product that will be more akin to a first class luxury train cabin than airline cabin. This claim came shortly after Etihad launched its award winning First Class product.
Emirates was the first airlines to have showers, private suites and a bar on their A380’s, something still only paralleled truly by one other carrier, Etihad. Emirates has a First Class product on almost every route, meaning it’s one of the world’s most accessible products, so an investment into a new hard product will pay dividends considering the product is already established on so many long haul international routes.
While the new seat will allegedly appear on the A380 and the 777, it does raise the question if the carrier will maintain to have two showers onboard the aircraft, when carriers such as Etihad, effectively only have one (although the Residence does have it’s own dedicated shower too)
Singapore Airlines has also recently announced that it will be bringing its once-lauded First Class Suites on their A380 to a whole new level with a refresh of the product. Not shying away from the First Class product, and dismissing an apparent decline in the most luxurious cabin class, the carrier is improving the product to fight off competition from the Middle East.
One thing is for sure, with new seats such as the Waterfront from Panasonic, B/E Aerospace, Teague and Formation Design Group, and cabin designers such as Priestmangoode, Factorydesign, paulwylde and Acumen at the top of their game in producing world-leading cabin products, whatever should be revealed this year will be the very best in the skies.
Stay tuned to TheDesignAir to keep up to date on each of these product releases.