Premium class passengers might only have accounted for 5.1% of total international traffic in 2018 but they generated 29.8% of total passenger revenues. No wonder that all airlines are making efforts to attract guests to their premium class. For the last decade, comfort in business class has reached new heights, often surpassing first- class. With seats turning into lie-flat beds, interactive wifi , live TV and superb cuisine, the days of first seem to be over.
FACTS & FIGURES
According to IATA, premium-class yields were holding up better than those in the economy cabin in 2018. The largest increase in premium yields were recorded between Europe and the Middle East at 6%, followed by Europe-Southern Africa at around 3% and Europe-Asia around 2%.
80 ins/203 cm This is the largest pitch for some business class seats while the average on long- haul is around 188/192 cm (74/75.5 inch).
3 KEY TRENDS TO LOOK FOR AT ITB BERLIN
A LOUNGE WITH CULINARY DELIGHTS
Lounges are part of the Business Class Experience and food plays an increasingly important role. In Istanbul, Turkish Airlines claims to have the biggest lounge in the world with seating on three oors. But, the most amazing is certainly its food stations with specialties prepared in front of passengers, from Turkish ravioli and pizzas to foreign foods, soups and home-baked cakes – a true culinary experience. And the international lounges at the new Istanbul Airport are likely to surpass those at Ataturk Airport.
FREE WIFI ON BOARD FOR BUSINESS-CLASS PASSENGERS
From Finnair to Gulf Air, from Oman Air to Singapore Airlines, from Turkish Airlines to Qatar Airways, more airlines are offering free internet connection to premium passengers. China Southern offers free wi-fi in business-class on most of its intercontinental ights, while Air France provides a basic internet service free of charge. Other airlines, including Lufthansa and American Airlines, charge a nominal fee for wifi.
CHOOSING A MEAL BEFORE YOU FLY
First introduced by Singapore Airlines, a number of airlines offer premium passengers up to 20 options on their in- ight menus. Several Asian carriers now offer similar choices, for example Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and China Southern. In Europe, airlines including British Airways and Air France propose special meals in advance while passengers on Lufthansa can consult their menu
A-la-carte seating is likely to be introduced in the years to come with the possibility of being able to buy from a range of choices: comfortable reclining, full-bed, seats that turn into a large double-size bed for couples. Business class cabins with such choices are the future, with Qatar Airways’ Q-Suite an early example.