leelaw
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To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:23 pm

WSJ 07/17/06 (Fair Use Excerpt):

The airline industry's battle for affluent posteriors is heating up.

Today, the world's largest air carrier, AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, fires the latest shot in the seat wars when it unveils a revamped business-class seat it hopes will help it win back former customers, keep current ones and take a stand against aggressive discounting of fares. UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and U.K.-based British Airways PLC, among others, also are working on business-class seat improvements.

American is taking a gamble with a new, almost-flat seat design. Unlike seats that recline into "fully flat" beds, which British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and others have introduced in business class in recent years, American's gadget-filled seat doesn't quite get there. The reason: It would have had to lose a lucrative row in business class to make room for fully-flat seats there.

The fully flat/almost-flat obsession highlights the airline industry's current predicament: Even as U.S. carriers dig their way out of an unprecedented financial slump, they are under constant pressure to improve the flying experience of high-end business travelers, who demand ever more comfort, flexibility and souped-up entertainment devices...


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115310518091708380.html

AA will begin installing the new seats on its 763s in September, and its 777s early next year.
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ehho
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:45 pm

I don't understand this obsession with flatness. I've recently flown old style WBC with KL and Club World with BA, and I must say that I prefer the former even though the latter is flat and considered more cool. KLMs seat is cushier and wider (which is a very important argument!).

Just my  twocents 
"Get your facts first. Then you may distort them as much as you please" -- Mark Twain
 
DLPMMM
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:58 pm

Quoting EHHO (Reply 1):
don't understand this obsession with flatness. I've recently flown old style WBC with KL and Club World with BA, and I must say that I prefer the former even though the latter is flat and considered more cool. KLMs seat is cushier and wider (which is a very important argument!).

A major factor in the debate is whether you sleep on your back or on your side. Those who sleep on their back tend to not like the flat and almost flat while the side sleepers do not like the "cradle" type seats for sleeping.
 
ozglobal
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:12 am

Quoting Leelaw (Thread starter):
AA will begin installing the new seats on its 763s in September, and its 777s early next year.

Don't see what the fuss is about with AA. Lie flat is essential for very long haul and kind of superfluous for domestic flights, ie less than 8hrs. The new AA seat from what I've seen is below average for long haul J and unnecessary for domestic US flights.

More importantly, most people DO sleep on their side (so called fetal sleepers) and therefore cannot sleep in old fashioned C seats.

I regularly fly 12hr+ sectors and often Kangaroo and RTW routes. I sleep adequately on decent lie flat, very well on horizontal lie flat, and not at all on old style C class seats. On regional Asian, European or domestic Oz or US, distances are too short to be bothered. It's more a question of efficent work environment and service.
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
ehho
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:45 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 2):
A major factor in the debate is whether you sleep on your back or on your side

I actually do sleep on my back, so that explains it probably. Thanks!
"Get your facts first. Then you may distort them as much as you please" -- Mark Twain
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:50 am

Use these seats and have the best of both worlds. Little to no loss of capacity and completely flat seats.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
LHR777
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:05 am

Quoting Boeing nut (Reply 5):
Use these seats and have the best of both worlds. Little to no loss of capacity and completely flat seats

Very interesting product - but is the 'Benz' seating product actually onboard any commercial aircraft at this time?
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:20 am

Quoting LHR777 (Reply 6):

Not that I know of, but I believe there is an unnamed airline about to put them into service. No idea of the time frame though, sorry.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
roseflyer
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:21 am

Quoting EHHO (Reply 1):
I don't understand this obsession with flatness. I've recently flown old style WBC with KL and Club World with BA, and I must say that I prefer the former even though the latter is flat and considered more cool. KLMs seat is cushier and wider (which is a very important argument!).

Lie flat seats make a huge difference to me. Yes I have been on some with less cushoning, but overall I really appreciate the flat surface even if it is at an angle. I know some complain about sliding off, but as long as you are not wearing loose fitting clothing, it isn't too much of a problem (fully flat is always better though).

The biggest benefit in my opinion is that a lie flat angled seat can still be used as an old fashion cradle seat. They are flexible enough and usually allow you to choose a position, so you can sit in a reclined position and have a level seat surface so that you don't slide down if you want. I have flown on SQ's Spacebed and the new Lufthansa business class seat and have found that I sleep much better than on a more traditional cradle seats offered by US airlines.

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 3):
Don't see what the fuss is about with AA. Lie flat is essential for very long haul and kind of superfluous for domestic flights, ie less than 8hrs. The new AA seat from what I've seen is below average for long haul J and unnecessary for domestic US flights.

I'm not sure what your point is. AA uses the 767s on many transatlantic and flights to South America which are red-eye flights. They might be a lot shorter than transpacific or flights across Asia, but passengers reallly want to sleep when flying from the United States to Europe. High quality seats make a difference. You can't get your normal 8 hours of sleep anyway on these flights since they aren't long enough (when you include meal time and climb/descent). Any sleep that you can get is really desired, so there is a lot of competition for the best seats.

AA does use the 767-300s on some domestic routes. In particular flights to Hawaii since AA does not maintain a separate subfleet of lower quality first/business class for these flights like United does. But yes the seats are not necessary for these routes or the flights between hubs that the 767s might operate on. But for fleet commonality, the seats will be on all the 767-300ERs and eventually the 777s too.

As far as the seats being below average, I don't think they are. I haven't seen them in person, but they look to be just about average. BA and VS have better seats. AF and LH have about the same type of seats. UA has worse seats.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
LAXintl
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:15 pm

AA hosted a media event on Monday to roll out the seats.

You can watch several different videos showing the new cabin, plus an interview with AA exec regarding their new product.

http://www.postasylum.com/approval/aabiz.htm
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
haggis79
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:16 pm

Quoting Boeing nut (Reply 5):
Use these seats and have the best of both worlds.

actually, looking at the homepage I was wondering if they have installed these slightly diagonal seating config for econ that was proposed a few years ago on any carrier's planes yet...?
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BA380
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:08 pm

Quoting Haggis79 (Reply 10):
actually, looking at the homepage I was wondering if they have installed these slightly diagonal seating config for econ that was proposed a few years ago on any carrier's planes yet...?

no-one has introduced them, but I think they are a great idea. I don't understand why no-one has gone for these.
cabin crew: doors to automatic and cross-check...
 
787kq
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:55 pm

The Benz seats are similar to the new Etihad Pearl Class seats, with the feet under the space next to the seat.

http://www.airliners.net/open.file?i...=1051927&next_id=1037921&tbl=CABIN
 
avi8tir
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:09 am

I just flew AF's new product SFO-CDG 2 weeks ago. I was really looking forward to it, as I usually fly DL BizElite and havent flown AF since the introduction of the new seats. The service was incredible and the seats were very comfortable - to a point. The whole "lie flat "at an angle"" just doesnt work for me. I dont sleep on my back, and thats the only way to do it unless you are a small person. I am 6'3" and 230 lbs, so I need space. I felt like I was going to slide off of the seat! I honestly can get more comfortable in the old style AF seat or DL BizElite seat. I would definitely fly the AF product again. It wasnt uncomfortable, just not as comfortable as I had thought it would be.
*Long live the Widget*
 
BoomBoom
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:26 am

Quoting Boeing nut (Reply 5):
Use these seats and have the best of both worlds. Little to no loss of capacity and completely flat seats.

How would you like to have somebody's smelly feet next to you?  yuck 
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AirSpare
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:30 am

Lie flat at angle, sucks, period. If you get to sleep, you end up sliding and jammed at the bottom.

BA Business class lie flat is a dud. You have no personal space to store a newspaper or a book, the IFE control is located behind your right elbow which is difficult to reach, almost impossible during chow time, oh yea, with the tray table open, you have even less room, and the IFE screen jammed into your face. A place to put reading glasses? Not even.

I really BAD feature is the space between resting your feet on the stool and the seat. There is now support for your knees.

I do like the soon to be discontinued Lay-Z-Boy recliners in AA Business. A few beers, some AA warmed nuts, an old "Everyone Loves Raymond" show, I'm out. Lay-Z-Boy type recliners are awesome for 8 hour flights.
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haggis79
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:55 am

Quoting BA380 (Reply 11):
Quoting Haggis79 (Reply 10):actually, looking at the homepage I was wondering if they have installed these slightly diagonal seating config for econ that was proposed a few years ago on any carrier's planes yet...?
no-one has introduced them, but I think they are a great idea. I don't understand why no-one has gone for these.

mhm, what I could imagine: those seats suffer from the same problem as the forementioned Benz-Seats (imho): you don't have an immediate neighbour anymore... with the Benz-Seats there are someone else's feet in between, in economy the wall from the next seat... while this might be nice when travelling alone, I prefer the good ol' next-to-each-other-style anytime when I'm travelling with friends or my girlfriend...  Wink

Besides, I think it may feel weird when sitting not directly in the direction the plane moves.... plus, it gets more difficult to look out of the window...
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787kq
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:15 am

The same article mentioned that American will pay about $25,000 for each of the 3,500 seats it is buying. That is ridiculous! There is not that much technology here. There has to be a better way. Since the airline manufacturers figured out standardization, you would think someone would come up with a reasonably standardized seat that could be covered to the airline's spec.

Explain this nonsense. Seems like a business opportunity for someone to do better.

A seat for $25,000!!!
 
ContnlEliteCMH
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:24 am

Quoting Haggis79 (Reply 16):
Besides, I think it may feel weird when sitting not directly in the direction the plane moves....

The Beetle seat faces directly forward just as any other seat. Download the PowerPoint presentation on the website and you'll see this.
Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
 
sr117
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:50 am

I guess it's a matter of personal choice..

I've tried UA's old style C class seats on the 777 or 747 for example, and I've found them to be perfect for a good night's sleep.. yes the F suite is much better as it's a true lie flat, but not by much.

On the other hand, I managed to sample the much touted SQ Spacebed on the PS 757 service, and honestly could not see what the big fuss about angled lie flats was about. I sleep on my side, and move quite a bit, so while I did manage to get a good night's sleep, I did notice an annoying tendency to slide down while sleeping and moving. I honestly found the old style J class seats in business class more comfortable for sleeping than the fussy angled lie flat in F. Yes lie flat is nice, but.. if you move a lot while sleeping, you may find yourself sliding a bit, that and sleeping at an angle can be annoying. I rather have good recline and lots of legroom.
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:56 am

Quoting BoomBoom (Reply 14):
How would you like to have somebody's smelly feet next to you?

It's an enclosed space.  Yeah sure

Quoting Haggis79 (Reply 16):
I prefer the good ol' next-to-each-other-style anytime when I'm travelling with friends or my girlfriend...

Actually, I wonder about anybody that wants to talk to someone for up to 14 hours!!  crazy 
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
Gasman
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:04 am

I recently flew Air NZs lie flat business class from LAX-AKL. I thought it was fantastic. A decent pillow, a proper duvet........ really, the thing was a bed. The only downside is that sleeping becomes such a reality, you don't have time to fully explore the IFE!

One thing I discovered is that you notice turbulence much more when lying flat. I woke up with it over the pacific, thought "wow, this is impressive", then put my bed into the seat position and realised it wasn't all that bad at all.
 
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alaskaqantas
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:21 am

Quoting Boeing nut (Reply 5):
Use these seats and have the best of both worlds. Little to no loss of capacity and completely flat seats.

they look like a great idea!

Quoting AirSpare (Reply 15):
Lie flat at angle, sucks, period. If you get to sleep, you end up sliding and jammed at the bottom.

two things to solve that... number one, if you don't like it lying flat, then don't have it lying flat, you can put it in a cradle posistion... some airline already have a cradle position put in as an button to push. or if you still want to be flat with out sliding down just mak the legrest shorter... I mean most airlines have a flap that comes up at the end of the chair that you can rest your feet against. so just make the leg rest shorter and you can rest your feet against the flap!

look at the problem and see how you can fix it!

alright, well I wasn't to excited about what the new AA business class seat looked liked, but its an improvment and that is good. all the same I will stick with my non-american carriers for internetional travel.  Wink
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fbgdavidson
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:08 am

I've not tried lie flat at an angle but have done lie horizontal (BA Club World) and a few cradle types (BA Old Club World, AA Flagship First & United Int. Business) and for sleeping there is no doubt lie flat wins. But for lounging (even in BA NCW where you can set the seat to a variation of angles) I rather enjoyed UA C (shocker!) and AA AFS. Usually though I have too much to drink and require sleep. Ain't gonna happen on a cradle seat!

Quoting AirSpare (Reply 15):
BA Business class lie flat is a dud. You have no personal space to store a newspaper or a book, the IFE control is located behind your right elbow which is difficult to reach, almost impossible during chow time, oh yea, with the tray table open, you have even less room, and the IFE screen jammed into your face. A place to put reading glasses? Not even.

Try upper deck window on 747. You'll change your mind very fast.

As for IFE, well it is removable! There is certainly a place to put reading glasses, the drinks table for one, the small inlet between the two seats near the waist level and of course the shelf in upper deck window seats. Of course CW suffers compared to First when it comes to personal space but I'm always satisfied in a window seat, whether it be 777 (yuck!) or 747.

Quoting AirSpare (Reply 15):
I do like the soon to be discontinued Lay-Z-Boy recliners in AA Business. A few beers, some AA warmed nuts, an old "Everyone Loves Raymond" show, I'm out. Lay-Z-Boy type recliners are awesome for 8 hour flights.

 thumbsup 
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haggis79
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:42 am

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 18):
The Beetle seat faces directly forward just as any other seat. Download the PowerPoint presentation on the website and you'll see this.

ok, you're right, I got something wrong here... thanks!

well, then I beleive it comes down to people wanting to sit next to each other and maybe easier access to the seats for both pax and crew...
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jaysit
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:25 am

An Ambien and 2 scotches will knock me out in any Business Class seat.

Try it, and you won't be whining and complaining so much.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
Markhkg
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:13 pm

Jaysit, forgive me for asking-- I'm not trying to be an ass by asking this-- but should there be an emergency landing, or situation requiring the use of drop-down oxygen-- how confident would you be in terms of waking up/responding appropriately? I've never taken Ambien before so I wouldn't know.

This has always been the biggest concern for me when I consider taking a sedative or sleeping pill.

Then again, after a restless 14 hour flight, I doubt I would be in a proper state of mind to open an exit properly.  Wink
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jaysit
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RE: To Be Flat, Or Almost Flat, In Business Class

Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:42 pm

Quoting MarkHKG (Reply 26):
Jaysit, forgive me for asking-- I'm not trying to be an ass by asking this-- but should there be an emergency landing, or situation requiring the use of drop-down oxygen-- how confident would you be in terms of waking up/responding appropriately? I've never taken Ambien before so I wouldn't know.

AMbien doesnt make you unconscious. It just allows you to rapidly move into REM sleep, so that when you wake up, you feel like you've had a good nights rest. Many physicians recommend that you abstain from alcohol when taking Ambien, but 2 drinks don't affect me. On a transatlantic flight, as soon as the breakfast service begins and the cabin lights come on, I wake up, Ambien or not, but when I do, I feel like Ive had a decent nights rest.

Of course, we're still talking about a decent Business Class seat with a minimum pitch of 50" (for example, Lufthansa's old style seats) to 80"+ on Virgin. If you're seated in Coach, no Ambien in the world will help !
Atheism is Myth Understood.

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