Cabin Fever: Premium Air Travel Review

  • Lufthansa’s fully flat seats are angled toward each other in pairs.

    Lufthansa’s fully flat seats are angled toward each other in pairs.

  • The premium cabin aboard one of All Nippon Airways’ long-haul Boeing 787s.

    The premium cabin aboard one of All Nippon Airways’ long-haul Boeing 787s.

  • A new Cathay Pacific business-class seat.

    A new Cathay Pacific business-class seat.

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All Nippon Airways (ANA)

ANA’s “Business Staggered” product represents another benchmark for business-class quality and innovation. As opposed to the herringbone layout, in which seats are placed at an angle, ANA’s staggered setup has seats facing directly forward, but arranged in such a way that every passenger has direct access to an aisle without having to clamber over anyone. Seats recline into a fully flat bed by having the foot of the bed extend under the side-table of the seat in front. Seat pods are placed closer together in this configuration, which can give a more cramped feel to the cabin, but high sidewalls and screens afford a good amount of privacy. These new seats are now available on a number of ANA’s Boeing 777-300ERs, as well as the new Boeing 787—long-haul routes only.

EVA Air

Taiwanese carrier EVA Air tends to get less coverage than its larger regional rivals, but over the past few years it has been quietly developing into a very respectable airline. It took the significant step earlier this year of introducing a new flatbed business-class seat for its Royal Laurel Class. The seat is nearly identical in structure to Cathay Pacific’s new seat—a reverse herringbone layout fitted in gray, white, and silver. EVA doesn’t have a first class, so this is now their flagship product, and one that should serve them well. The seats have been introduced on select Taipei-New York flights and will be deployed on a growing list of U.S. routes in the months to come.

Singapore Airlines

Although Singapore Airlines’ premium cabins are already a few years old, the carrier merits a mention, nevertheless, because it has remained a leader in increasing passenger space, especially in business class. Its business seats are the widest in the industry. Fitted in sumptuous beige and brown leather, and with an enormous TV screen, they’re arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration to provide direct aisle access for every seat. It should also be noted that Singapore is currently the only airline offering a class of service considered to be one step above first class. Its Suites Class, available on the Airbus A380, offers fully private suites, sealed by an outer door. The middle pair of seats can be converted to a double bed.

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