Aviation

Are first class suites replacing seats?

There’s a war waging, and it’s up in the pointy end of the plane, as First Class slowly transitions into the suite life.

According to a report from the Independent UK, the airline battle to recruit big spenders in First Class has left the likes of Emirates gifting passengers with up to 40 square feet “suites”.

While passengers up the back of the plane get stuck with 10 people across, First Class is roomy as all hell with Emirates, who offer just six seats – sorry, suites – configured to run three across, with privacy from floor to ceiling thanks to sliding doors and walls.

Per Independent, Emirates has promised passengers each having window views, while middle suites get “virtual windows which project the view from outside the aircraft”.

Passengers with an actual window also score a pair of Steiner safari binoculars to study the scenery outside. This approach, Emirates claims, is “inspired by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class”.

“This is the first time an Emirates product has been so influenced by another luxury brand, but it is a natural fit as both Emirates and Mercedes-Benz have the same unwavering commitment to fine detail, uncompromising quality, and a drive to push the boundaries,” Emirates’ President, Sir Tim Clark, said, per the Independent.

Passengers use video link to order food and beverages, which arrives via a little hatch, and get to check in as much as 70kg of luggage, more than three times the industry standard for those stuck back in Economy.

The First Class fares on Emirates start at £7,220, or AU$12,388. Meanwhile 10 economy passengers fly Australia to London via Dubai – return – for less than the cheapest First Class fare.

 

It’s an interesting time for First Class, with other airlines making the decision to ditch First Class altogether, upping their game in Business Class with lie-flat seats and premium service, basically rendering First Class unnecessary.

Qatar Airways in March this year unveiled their fresh Business Class offering, with CEO Akbar Al Baker declaring it gives passengers “a First Class experience in Business Class”.

It was to become the first airline to offer couples seated in Business a double bed on its Boeing 777s and A350s as well.

While some carriers have cut first class completely, Skift reports others have only given it the chop on poorly performing routes. Several have even cut the size of cabins to less than six seats.

Speaking to Skift, president of passenger airlines for Air Canada, Ben Smith, said, “With these suites that you see on some luxury carriers, the demand for that is pretty limited.

“There’s a very small market that sits between business class and a private jet that wants to fly in first class. From the biggest financial centres, perhaps.”

“In the context of business class becoming so good, the incremental reason for most travellers to travel first class rather than business is not as compelling as it perhaps used to be before full lie-flat beds, before very, very wide seats, before the privacy and all of the other attributes that now come with our business class,” Campbell Wilson, Singapore’s Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing, told Skift.

But not everyone is opting for Business only, as the Independent writes, with Singapore Airlines recently unveiling the upgraded First Class cabin aboard its Airbus A380 “Superjumbo” jets.

It described its suites as “a personal oasis complete with lavish furnishing and finishes”, and offers couples travelling together the option of a double bed.

Meanwhile, just six First Class passengers share two toilets, with one of them boasting a “sit-down vanity counter”.

And as the British Airways Chief Executive, Alex Cruz, vowed, “First Class is here to stay.”

But, per the Independent, he did indicate that First Class will be reserved for high-performing routes so as to not waste the opportunity for profit.

“There are a number of markets that do not need 14 seats in First Class every single day,” Cruz said, per The Independent.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Cruise

Uniworld sues MSC over $18.5m in damages from Venice ship collision

by Christian Fleetwood

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has levelled a lawsuit against MSC Cruises over massive damages sustained in a Venice ship collision last year.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent Wrap: Registrations open for RWC 2023, Counselling for agents impacted by bushfires + MORE!

This week’s Agent Wrap is full of everything you need on a Friday: news of agents on voyages around the world, plenty of pictures and, most importantly, a short word count.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wholesaler launches flexible European coach-touring brand

The new brand combines the convenience of escorted tours and the independence of FIT, with guaranteed departures on all tours, regardless of their size.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aussie influencer slammed after tricking airline into free business-class upgrade

by Huntley Mitchell

An Australian influencer has copped a swathe of criticism after wearing a moon boot to successfully con airline staff into a free business-class upgrade.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

South Australian Tourism Commission warned ‘Old mate’ ads weren’t “child-friendly” months before launch

Just released documents have shown that the SATC was warned its now infamous ‘Old mate’ ads were inappropriate months before the campaign even launched.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Ex-Liberals leader named Boeing’s new regional boss, CMV’s team expansion + MORE!

If this edition of Flavour of the Week was a marine animal, it would be a blue whale. In other words, this wrap is an absolute whopper.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

PHOTOS: Coco the very good rabbit scores a seat in business class

Nobody freak out, but we’ve got some very important news: this very cute bunny rabbit wearing a bowtie just scored its own seat in business class, and the photos are SO CUTE!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Coronavirus poses bigger threat to Aussie airports than SARS: analyst

Meanwhile, China has placed more than 18 million people in lockdown overnight as the number of those infected climbs to 650, with 18 confirmed deaths.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu Tours’ Aussie boss exits after less than three months

Troy Ackerman’s sudden departure follows that of Wendy Wu Tours global CEO Joe Karbo in July last year.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas, Virgin Australia update pet travel policies following dog deaths

by Christian Fleetwood

Australia’s leading carriers will introduce further precautions on their pet policies, in association with the RSPCA.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Canberra Airport closed as fire services use airfield to fight “out of control” bushfire

Canberra Airport has cancelled departures and arrivals as its airfield is used by aviation fire services to facilitate aerial firefighting efforts.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Wrap: Accor’s new rideshare partner, Melia Hotels International opens first Thai hotel + MORE!

Welcome to the Hotel Wrap. This week’s addition features some gobsmackingly wonderful properties which we warn could cause a severe case of FOMO.

Share

CommentComments