Will we ever, on airplanes, our cozy little individual cabin or, on the contrary, won’t the supersonic flights that cross the planet in the blink of an eye give us time to watch a movie? The experts are not quite in agreement on the version of our future airline and the competition in business class sophistication has a bright future ahead of it. Born in the 1970s, launched by Air France, the “J” class, as the regulars call it, has gone through several cycles. European companies, long focused on the United States, soon lagged behind those of the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, which imposed an extraordinary level. Rising to the top of the Skytrax rankings, names like Qatar, Emirates, ANA or Singapore have shaken habits. Today, the race is tighter, and passengers privileged to travel in the “front” classes have become accustomed to receiving noise-dampening helmets and pyjamas and tasting fine wines. We can handle them: according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this customer segment represents less than 10% of tickets, but generates 30% of sales! Sometimes even more: Korean Air, which has decided to use the entire upper deck of its A380s for business class, attributes 50% of its turnover to it. While the economy class makes the cabin profitable by reducing the seats, at the front of the plane the space unfolds and the focus is doubled. Especially because the attendance of this class is also increasing, at an average of 5% per year. It all starts at the airport, because the business traveler, who is increasingly in a hurry, no longer wants to wait three hours. What is called the ‘customer journey’ has therefore been simplified as much as possible. The waiting rooms then pull out all the stops to make the time pass more quickly. Atmosphere “like home” at Korean Airlines; ultra-luxury supposed 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 adhere to the “3 F” rule: “flat bed, full privacy, full access. » Understand horizontal bed, privacy and free access to the hallway. The seats are renewed faster than smartphones. Cockles are currently a craze – Air Canada calls their “Distinction Lodge” Air France has invested nearly 100,000 euros for each of its 2,000 new business seats, Lufthansa cites an investment of 1 billion euros over three years The price of business tickets (3 to 4 times that of economy class) reflects these repeated investments and justifies covering the passenger with small gifts… OpenSkies, a subsidiary of British Airways, equips the flight crew with iPads so that they know each passenger’s preferences and even to To associate with the image of luxury, the companies even go so far as to partner with brands: Finnair has tableware and suitcases designed by the F Inse designer Marimekko, Qatar Airways slips into Armani cosmetics, Air France offers Clarins products, La Compagnie prefers Caudalie treatments. Cathay Pacific serves you Illy coffee, while Singapore Airlines has opted for table service by Givenchy.
It’s also through pampering that we build customer loyalty: Pampering them with menus concocted by chefs has become commonplace. Air France regularly calls on big names such as Joël Robuchon, Régis Marcon or Anne-Sophie Picq, ANA called on Pierre Gagnaire and Toru Okuda, Qatar Airways called on Nobu… Latest news? Low-cost airlines are also positioning themselves as players in the field of business travel. Easyjet and Ryanair now offer services to upgrade their journeys.
What other innovations are the airlines planning to pull out of their hat? We’re already talking about 3D on the screens and about 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 connection times via the new Doha terminal, with its quiet and sophisticated lounge. He has just furnished the intimate cabin of his new A380, with only 48 seats, true to his emblematic burgundy-mouse gray palette, accentuated with lacquered wood inlays. In a pleasant 1-2-1 distribution, the seats have dimensions that are worthy of first class: 2 meters long and 76 cm wide. The LCD screen allows you to treat yourself to a real cure for cinema, with no less than 155 films in French! And when we saw his James Bond preferably having tasted a dinner from Nobu or Tom Aikens, we treat ourselves to a drink at the central bar. What could be better than tasting an old cognac in the air?
A whole cocoon bed
The Japanese company All Nippon Airways (ANA), which has just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Paris – Tokyo line, has taken particular care of the business cabin of its brand-new 787-9s. The armchair beds, arranged in 1-2-1, are real cocoons. We fall asleep in homemade pyjamas on a soft mattress topper, noise-reducing earphones and an aromatherapy-infused eye mask. The feet do not protrude from the duvet thanks to the “onesie” shape and the lungs do not dry out, because the air is kept at an ideal humidity. Meals are mainly provided by 2- and 3-star chefs, while the lounge on the first floor offers hot dishes à la carte. Thanks to the joint venture with Lufthansa, ANA now offers an increased offer when departing 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 moved towards Asia, making a specialty of connections that never last more than 45 minutes. We almost regret it, because Helsinki’s airport lounge, where there are showers and saunas, is attractive with its Scandinavian design. Aboard the ultra-quiet and brand-new A350, a European premiere, currently flying to Shanghai, and soon to Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York, the butt-stock bucket seats are glacier white. The arctic blue welcome light evolves during flight, simulating an aurora borealis or a sunrise, depending on the time zone. Marimekko has sprinkled his green dots on the pencil case, on the slippers and on the blanket under which you slide to enjoy a Blue Sky cocktail. Long live Nordic hospitality!
It’s better !
Air France was voted “the most improved company in the world” by Skytrax in 2015 and has redesigned its business cabin down to the last detail, inspired in particular by the hotel industry: it’s about feeling like in her bed. The shell seat of the Boeing 777 (in anticipation of the Airbus A330 and A380 to follow in 2018), christened “a cocoon in the sky”, meets the criterion of excellence of the “3 Fs”. French chic atmosphere, blue leather, red storage box: we stay in the style of the company. Softness is provided by curved lines, a (very) soft pillow and a down comforter. For even more comfort, the gastronomy on board is currently entrusted to Chef François Adamski. As for the superkits, whose graphics are reminiscent of the 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 class of travel. The 94 Prestige Sleeper seats provide an experience comparable to a 100% business class aircraft. Passengers are won over by the comfort of the sky-blue leather seats, the configuration of which is designed to allow window-side passengers to access the aisle without disturbing their neighbours. An excellent Prestige Class Bar Lounge, in the front and a Celestial Bar, in the back invite you to relax and enjoy
cocktails with exclusive recipes. The Duty Free Showcase, a real mini-boutique, offers a shopping break. Finally, the on-set meal promises “farm-to-table” quality. Convenient for business travelers, the flight to Seoul at 9:00 PM, departure from Paris, allows you to keep your working day.
Emirates was the first airline to order the Airbus A380. In 2000, Emirates continued to improve the comfort on board its fleet, the youngest in the world (supplemented by Boeing 777). It all starts with the driver, who will kindly pick you up to take you to the airport. Onboard intimacy is prioritized, with a massaging hull seat fitted with movable dividers for privacy and a large table to put your glasses, files and computer. Half of the devices are currently connected to WiFi. 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 he digs into his personal minibar. All you have to do is let yourself be tucked away in your 1.98 m long bed by an international and multilingual crew, the hallmark of the company.
Communicate or isolate
The Chinese company is known for its particularly comfortable and user-friendly waiting lounges, such as those recently renovated in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
passengers on board. The seat, in white and champagne tones, is one of the longest and widest available. Above all, the herringbone arrangement offers a much-appreciated private space
that a side extension is automatically activated when switching to bed mode, increasing the width. The central seats (in 1-2-1 configuration) can keep their privacy or orient themselves to each other at the touch of a button, if you prefer to have a chat when traveling with two people and prepare a meal prepared by a from the great chefs of the Mandarin Oriental group, a treat.
Great restaurant atmosphere
The German company, which has just strengthened its presence at French airports, has renovated its cabins and changed 7,000 seats to Business Class, with a fully adjustable bed measuring 1.98 meters in length, with an original V-shape that offers real privacy. A suitcase signed Samsonite is slid in, full of products from the well-known Greek brand Korres. Thanks to the FlyNet system, passengers can access the internet via Wi-Fi and consult online content, the latest information or follow sporting events… dishes and drinks served directly from the kitchen, a grand restaurant atmosphere. The German company puts the small dishes into the big ones.