The concept and idea of the airline business class cabin will turn 35 next year. The debate between Qantas and British Airways continues on which airline created the upper class selection for those wanting to travel between coach and first class. In 1978 British Airways introduced Club Class which they say was the first business class. In 1979 Qantas coined the term “business class” Either way, today business class is the premium choice among upper class fliers and many airlines are doing away with first class.
Boeing reports that most of their 787 orders come with the request to have only a business class cabin and not a first class cabin. Many airlines are also renovating their first class cabins to be more like business class cabins, offering all the amenities included in business class such as lie flat seating and high-tech gadgetry.
Business class has come a long way since the late 70s. The earlier designs featured a cubical style set up giving the passenger a privacy option. Today, more business class cabins are more open. The expensive on having privacy has been put to innovating on the latest technologies. It’s become an extremely competitive adjustment to many of the world’s major carriers. Cathay Pacific and Qantas are among the larger, long-haul carriers continuously updating their fleet’s business class cabins with the latest and greatest offerings.
New layouts to compete for upper class customers are well on the way for many carriers. While some airlines keep with the more traditional business class layouts, many are looking to the future. One of the most sought after trends are designs allowing business class passengers direct aisle access in order to avoid having to step over their business class seat mates. These new seats are designed to angle diagonally away from the windows and to be staggered throughout the business class cabin.
These new designs can be expected on new airplanes such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliners and its up and coming competitor, the Airbus A350. Some of the designs are already featured on many of the jumbo Airbus A380 aircraft.