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Posts from the ‘Seats’ Category

“Premium economy” should be the new norm?

October 7th, 2014

Kinny Cheng

Mike Carrivick, writing for Aviation Week:

Profitability will always be a prime challenge for airlines, but jamming more and more passengers into smaller and smaller spaces for hours on end is counter-productive. Time for a re-think!

If airline management had any ethical sensibility, there would most certainly be a more-positive level of innovation in the passenger experience space.

A good read to put the current state of affairs into perspective.

Sometimes, traditions hold strength…

September 3rd, 2014

Kinny Cheng

Also from Aircraft Cabin Management, Helen Massy-Beresford presents the much-tradition, less-ridiculous case:

Tim Manson, Design Director at JPA Design, says: “High quality surfaces and materials are increasingly in demand. Successful luxury hospitality interiors often demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, warmth and tactility. Luxury travellers are discerning and their expectations are high. The bar is continually being raised in this area and finishes are now becoming more bespoke and considered.”

The global market is leading the move towards innovation. “Middle Eastern airlines are young, ambitious and hungry to be the best. They have an appetite for innovation. The Asian market is very different in that it has well-established premium airlines who continue to be voted the best year after year,” Manson adds.

Etihad’s stunt, in offering something very different to the traditional premium air travel experience, may go towards upsetting the balance maintained by others that have defined the market thus far.

While I am all for innovation, efforts by many of the established airlines, particularly those with the experience, are embracing improvements in the form of enhancements to existing product designs. Offering a new seat product isn’t the hard part — but getting the formula right, or the micro-level changes and improvements in design, is.

Being “hungry to be the best” only partly describes what Etihad is attempting with The Residence. Creating a niche upmarket passenger experience, with a price tag three times that of traditional first class travel, is not the kind of innovation that the greater market seeks.

Niche

September 3rd, 2014

Kinny Cheng

Ian Harbison, writing for Aircraft Cabin Management:

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said at the launch of the new interiors that the airline benchmarked its services not only against its competitors, but also luxury hotels and restaurants. In addition, he said the design vision sought to present the individuality and exclusivity of a luxury boutique hotel experience in a way that embraced Arabian Modernism, an aesthetic that combines the traditions of the region with contemporary design.

The “benchmarked” bit was probably used to gauge just how far Etihad needed to go in order to brand their premium cabin products a true “niche” of the commercial airline industry.

A good piece if you are curious about just how far this Middle Eastern airline has gone to outrun its competitors.

Albeit the article is only focused on the premium aspects, there was absolutely no mention of the new seating product in good ol’ cattle class, which occupies the entirely of the main deck.

Moving on, towards the end of the piece…

All this comes at a price, of course, with Hogan saying The Residence can be booked for three times the standard First Class fare which, to London, currently costs around $20,000. He added that, for arguably a lesser experience, it would be over $100,000 to charter a business jet for the same sector.

Three times more than you’d pay for first class. Only a fifth of what it would cost than chartering a biz-jet.

I’m sold.

Airbus A350 gets additional premium economy seat option

April 18th, 2013

Kinny Cheng

Business Traveller:

Airbus has confirmed that seat manufacturer EADS-Sogerma will offer an A350-optimised premium economy seat, offering an “innovative cradle seat”, with “a high level of comfort at an efficient pitch”.

The Celeste seat will be offered to carriers as part of the A350 XWB Catalogue, which also includes a premium economy seat manufactured by Zodiac Seats.

According to Airbus, EADS-Sogerma has optimised its Celeste seats for the forthcoming long-haul aircraft, offering “an innovative cradle seat which provides premium economy passengers with a high level of comfort at an efficient pitch”.

Not sure about the “high level of comfort” on this cradle seat design, or how the “at an efficient pitch” comes into play.

Doesn’t look as comfy as what we’d normally see from seat manufacturers.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves — choice is always good!

A long-haul seat with only 29 inches of pitch? Yep.

April 17th, 2013

Kinny Cheng

The APEX Editor’s Blog’s Lori Ranson, reporting from the Aircraft Interiors Expo:

Recaro is debuting a new long-haul economy class seat at the show and is pursuing certification for pitch of 29in, the first time the company has aimed to gain approval for offering a pitch in that range.

Company CEO Mark Hiller tells the APEX editor’s blog that customers are not pushing for the smaller pitch, but Recaro opted to gain certification for a pitch ranging from 29in to 36in.

I don’t doubt the seat will be as-comfortable after all the necessary comfort modifications have been applied by Recaro.

But for the CEO to say they’re not “pushing for the smaller pitch”, while opting to gain the certification, is like saying “we didn’t really want to, but we had to do it…”.

Translation: Airlines want more choice.

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