SighMN From Australia, joined Sep 2011, 19 posts, RR: 0 Posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4104 times:
I've been a lurker on these forums for about 10 years now, but have finally decided to post! I've been travelling since 1995 quite regularly and fortunately in the premium cabins. As I write this I just left a Air New Zealand flight from LAX in their new business class 777 product. I slept ok (I never sleep that well on airplanes), but I found just sitting in the seats to be quite uncomfortable. Air New Zealand even does the smart move and makes it so their new business class seats fold forward so you aren't sleeping on the same surface as you are sitting. Still despite this, I felt the seat was still a bit hard, narrow and it didn't feel like I was slipping into a really comfortable seat to relax, but more like a leather office chair.
A lot of first class chairs have this same problem but even worse, as they usually use the seat surface to convert into a bed. I've never flown Lufthansa's near 747 with the separate bed in first class, but that actually sounds like a really good idea, but at the expense of fewer seats and probably more expensive tickets. The only first class cabin where the seat was actually comfortable was Etihad's new first class suite product. That leather chair reminded me of the yesteryears of first class flying before the arms race of beds, suites, and super huge lcd screens. Some of the most comfortable old-style first class seats I remember were Thai. That luxurious royal purple velvet with an ultra wide seat was so luxurious. I remember that from some flights LAX-BKK I actually slept the best I have in years. So was Air New Zealand's first class seat. It was similar to Thai's. United's first seat never really impressed me before they introduced the suite.
The other problem these new beds/suites have is they seem to wear much faster. There are so many exposed parts and things not only to break and wear down, but to actually show their age. I don't fly United anymore (long story), but even when they first introduced their first suite product after about 6 months it looked so worn and scruffy. Definitively not something first class passengers want to see in their cabin. It seems as a result of this Airlines tend to upgrade their planes continuously not only in an effort to further the arms race of first/business class but also to replace worn out equipment. The problem is that they rarely ever do it over a timely period and passengers usually see the shiny new product on the website and commercials, but when they enter they cabin they are met with a foreign product that looks extremely worm. There are many times when I have to do a lot of detective work to find out what type of first class cabin I will be getting, and then even then its still sometimes not 100%. Back in the late 90's it wasn't that big of a deal because the seats were generally all comfortable, large and spacious and they never seemed to show their age as much as the suites/beds do now.
How many other people that are lucky enough to experience the first class cabin or even business class want the previous first/class products of the 90's early 2000s? I may be in a minority but I really look back and think how wonderful some of the older seats were to sit and relax in.
Sorry bud, don't think you're gonna get many folks to pony up the big bucks for anything less than a full-flat anymore. Enclosed suites are the new thing, LH bucks the trend with an open design... but it's still a flat-bed.
As for J-class, I don't like angled lie-flat much at all, and I'm not alone... but more airlines are using full-flats even in J now, they're just less spacious than F-suites. As for your NZ example, don't forget that you were actually in J-class, not F.
SighMN From Australia, joined Sep 2011, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4045 times:
Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 1): As for your NZ example, don't forget that you were actually in J-class, not F.
Yes I know NZ only flies J/Y class now, but that seat which has been heavily promoted just made me think about which seats I really liked, and the first class NZ seat was one of them (despite the fact it was not a suite or a bed).
I haven't tried Singpore Airlines' newest first class product (not their suites) that is also like Air NZ and uses the back side of the seat as the sleeping surface. I just feel airlines are conning everyone into thinking they should get a quality night's sleep when in actual fact you are never going to get a great sleep on an airline, and in my opinion it is more important to have a great seat and service.
I guess I'm also a bit sad that it is harder and harder to find 747's flying on routes now. I loved flying in the first class section on the 747. No other cabin feels as exclusive, quiet (besides the landing gear noises), and private. Most of the flights I'm on nowadays are either on 777, A330/340s, and A380's.
That Thai first class cabin gives me such fond memories. Those purple seats even though really simple by today's standard were just so good. Here is a really good shot of the seat:
RamblinMan From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 1138 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (4 years 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3985 times:
Quoting SighMN (Reply 2): Those purple seats even though really simple by today's standard were just so good.
Well to each his own but you definitely won't catch me shelling out for an upgrade if all I'm gonna get is a recliner. Well, I take that back, I would pay extra for it, but I wouldn't pay an actual J or F class fare for it. Not even close.
RoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 10496 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (4 years 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3880 times:
I've flown the old NZ F, old NZ J and the new Business Premier. I slept the best in the newest seats. The old F seats were not fully flat. You feel like you are in a reclining chair. That's good if you want to be in a recliner, but for me, I want a flat bed. I felt like I was sliding in the NZ F recliner. I woke up 6-8 times during the flight. When flying the fully flat bed, I did not wake up more than 1 or 2 times. That's a big difference to me. The old J was not great at all. It was ok to sleep in, but certainly not good for it. In general if I want to sleep through the entire flight and not wake up cramped and be sore the next day, I'll always choose flat, even if it is angled.
I tend to like the latest and greatest. Some of the business seats nowadays are getting very creative. For the most part they're great, but seat width and storage have disappeared. I personally still always perfer the latest generation of seats.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
OA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 29052 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (4 years 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3849 times:
I can see the argument. I guess it depends on the type and quality of a flatbed. The best First Class recliner I had was on a B747-200 in First Class of Kuwait Airways LHR-JFK. Id take that over some of these flatbeds especially the ones that are angled and you slide down.