Changes in Business Class Travel

Business class, while a little more roomy than coach is still not as luxurious as first class. But all of that may be changing. With more and more business taking place on the global level we’re seeing an increase in global business travel and with that the need to improve on business class accommodations. As a global entity ourselves, VAIO knows a thing or two about getting from one timezone to the next. So what is changing in business class travel and who in this stage of the game is doing it best?

What Is Standard?

Full flat-bed seats, of course. Currently the benchmark standard for long business class air travel are fully extending flat-bed seats. The Angled-flat seats are still provided by many airlines and while they claim that in flight the seats won’t feel angled, the reality of the situation is they’re very uncomfortable and don’t allow for proper rest when traveling.

Delta business class
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So What’s Next?

It should come as no surprise that in today’s world of HD displays and tablets, phones with large screens and touch screen PC’s that the tiny video displays on planes just aren’t cutting it anymore. Panasonic Avionics, a player in aviation technology is spearheading a new kind of airline entertainment and is reworking our flying experience. They may have found the answer for consumer’s demand for better in-flight entertainment.

Side Note on Economy

In economy class, Panasonic is building a 13-inch ultra-thin touch screen that will span the entire back of the seat in front of you. Going beyond the traditional movie watching, these touch screens can also charge your phone. You’ll be able to adjust brightness of your reading light and even set mood lighting. You’ll also be able to call a flight attendant through your screen, it will flash different colors when you need something or when you’d rather be left alone.

One of the best features Panasonic has configured is the ability to fit all of the electronics for the entertainment system into the chair legs. This will get rid of the boxes beneath the seat that prevent you from stretching out and/or stowing your carry-on all the way under the seat.

Currently Panasonic has deployed the new seatback screens in the economy class sections of Emirates Airlines and they say more customers have shown interest in putting them on their planes this year.

As for Business Class

While no one is feeling all too bad for people who fly business class, Panasonic feels like it can do better when it comes to making their higher-paying customers feel more comfortable in the air. The company introduced Waterfront, a new kind of business class seat solution. It was developed in conjunction with B/E Aerospace, Teague Design Consultancy and Formation Design group. Together they are building more than just a seat.  

The seat will feature a 24-inch 4K touchscreen monitor, full-spectrum LED lighting, a connected remote control tablet, charging ports for every device on the market and even a sliding door for when business class travelers just want a space for themselves.

Panasonic Business Class seat
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Panasonic is building an executive suite for the sky. And they’re doing it in a very conservative manner. Airlines are always trying to reduce power consumption and weight, which is why Panasonic built their seat from lightweight carbon fiber materials and engineered it to sip power compared to some of the current entertainment systems set up on airlines. While the new business class seats aren’t ready for takeoff quite yet they’re lining up future customers. But if you are wondering when you’ll be able to book one of these innovative seats, check back in 2019, Panasonic is hoping to time this with the next-gen Boeing 777X launch.   

They’re Not Alone

Air France has their hand in the game as well. They’ve got a new business class experience on some of their intercontinental flights. The new business cabin serves as an office, restaurant, entertainment lounge and bedroom. Passengers decide how to use their cabin to best suit their needs.

Air France Business Class seat
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Where Does 2016 Stand?

The SKYTRAX World Airline Awards are the most coveted quality accolades in the world airline industry. Travellers across the world take part each year in an international airline passenger survey to decide the winners. The survey covers full-service and low-cost airlines, and measures standards across 41 key performance indicators of front-line product and service.

The best business class airline seats in 2016 are as follows:

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Etihad Airways
  4. Japan Airlines
  5. EVA Air
  6. ANA All Nippon Airways
  7. Cathay Pacific
  8. Oman Air
  9. Air France
  10. Swiss

There is no doubt we will continue to see changes in aviation. Personal jets, commercial airlines, you name it. It wouldn’t be too far fetched to imagine a world where technological advancements begin to merge mid air. What the end product or result will be no one can say, but the future will be bright. As always VAIO will continue to look towards the future, acknowledge the innovative and keep a solid ear to the ground.