I was lucky enough take a flight the Inaugural Virgin Australia Business Class A330 service from Sydney to Perth on 26 May 2011. This Sydney to Perth service is Virgin Australia’s first of many domestic business class services that the airline plans to implement this year and which the airline promises will put competition back into the Australian domestic business class market. Virgin Australia Premium Lounge Entry & Check-in Virgin Australia’s new Premium Lounge Entry is a breeze and a dream come true for business travellers, my driver dropped me off with-in a few meters of the check-in counter then at the counter there was no queue. After checking in I headed thru Virgin Australia’s dedicated security check, which took around 3 minutes to clear, and this was only due to the fact that I had to pack and re-pack my laptop for scanning, and then I was the lucky person selected for the dreaded explosives swab test. Time from Kerb to Lounge: From being dropped off I had cleared check-in and security and was in the Virgin Australia lounge in a record time for me of around 5 minutes. The Lounge and Boarding Virgin Australia’s Sydney lounge is modern and inviting and has all the features you would expect from an airline lounge, including meeting rooms, workstation benches, sit down lounge areas, showers, and food/beverage service areas (including barista service). The features I found that set this lounge apart from your other lounges were: Barista service – Nothing beats a freshly brewed late before an early morning flight so the fact that the lounge had a Barista service was a plus added to this the quality of the coffee was outstanding. Sit down lounge areas – Another feature I loved about the Virgin Australia Sydney Lounge is that it was divided into several different/distinct areas, for example the area that I sat in (small area just to the left of the lounge entry) is a quiet and secluded area with only a few tables and chairs it was the perfect place to catch up for a quiet chat, read a book or get some work done. After several announcements that DJ 553 to Perth was ready for boarding I departed The Lounge heading for gate 40 where the inaugural Virgin Australia A330 service to was departing from. Arriving at the gate our group heads straight for the Priority boarding lane and we are on our aircraft within minutes. Pre-take off I was allocated seat 4J in Business Class which is a last row, aisle seat. Putting my two carry-on bags in the overhead locker the first thing I noticed was the extremely generous storage space in the overhead locker, well when your seat has a pitch of 60 inch (152 cm) this translates a huge amount of overhead storage. Not long after getting settled into my seat I am offered a Champagne, orange juice or sparkling water; even though it is only 8 am this was the inaugural flight so opted for the Champagne (a 1999 Lanson Gold Label Brut) then not long later I was offered the breakfast menu to look over, the menu the menu consisted of: Bakery – Croissant, wholemeal roll or sourdough roll services with a selection of […]
As reported in back in February the new Virgin Australia Business will be put into service with two Airbus A330-200 from 26 May 2011 between Sydney and Perth. Today we got a firsthand look at this new cabin and seats. Virgin Australia Business Class Seats In total there 27 business class seats across 4 rows in a 2-2-2 seating configuration for the 1st row and a 2-3-2 seating configuration in the remaining 3 rows. The Virgin Australia Business Class seat on their Airbus A330-200 aircraft First row center aisle in Business Class on the Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200 Virgin Australia Business Class seat in a full reclined sleeping position These seats are reclined rather than lie flat and they are very comfortable, personally I would find it more acceptable on a 5 hour flight from Sydney to Perth, for someone like myself that has trouble sleeping in on most flights I am sure I could more than a few hours shuteye on a 5 hour flight to Perth with the help of Virgin Australia’s noise cancelling headphones that are provided for the flight. In-flight Entertainment SystemVirgin Australia’s In-flight entertainment system in Business Class is a multi-channel system seat back LCD display system, I did put the question how many channels the system supports but the product manager was unable to reveal this, however as these aircraft have been leased from Emirates the In-flight system is the same that is found on other Emirates Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which is a Panasonic Avionics system that supports up to 40 movies, 15 TV, 22 Audio and 18 interactive games. Size wise the IFE screen measures 16.5cm (6.5 Inch) Luke Mangan Business Class in-flight dining Luke Mangan’s philosophy behind the new menu was to source the finest, freshest local and Australian ingredients and showcase them with a clean and contemporary twist. Renowned for his modern creations, the new designer menu across economy and business class also highlights his French classical training and Asian influences, married with simple, fresh and clean flavors. Overall Virgin Australia have done a great job in Business however final judgment should be reserved until after it goes into service as the cabin and seats are only one half of a great Business Class experience. More coverage of Virgin Australia launch day can be found here with: Virgin Australia is Officially Launched Watch out Qantas Virgin Australia Launch Photos Virgin Australia TV Commercial
Air France’s new Business Class Seat that was put into service last December between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and New York’s Newark is reportedly receiving high praise from passengers. Air France is reporting that 95% Business Class of passengers surveyed would recommend the new Air France Business Class seat. These passengers reported a good to excellent sleep experience, and also made special note of the horizontal positioning of the seat along with the leg room. The new Business Class cabin that is being gradually implemented across the Air France network features: New seat structure which reclines into a two meter-long seat bed a new fixed footrest Seat controls which are easier to use New storage space A 15-inch (38 cm) wide video screen in 16:9 format. At present the new Air France Business Class Seat can be found on flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Pointe Noire, Brazzaville and New York Newark, and will be available soon on flights to Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Guangzhou, Osaka, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh, New York (JFK) and Santiago de Chile. By summer 2011 Air France expect 26 aircraft will be retrofitted with the new Business Class and by summer 2012 63 Aircraft are expected to be retrofitted. It should be noted that the new Air France Business Class seat is not a true lie flat seat, so the team here at the Business Travel Guru are a little skeptical on the sleep experience! granted it might be superior to the previous business class seat, having said that we have not flown on Air France’s new Business Class yet so final judgement will be reserved until after our first flight.
The introduction of the Airbus A380 into several carriers’ fleets has allowed business class seats on A380 aircraft to improve in both the amount of real estate a passenger enjoys as well as the comfort and features of the seat, which is why I put together this fairly comprehensive Airbus A380 Business Class Comparison. In the past airlines uptake of lie flat seating in business was limited due to cabin floor space, this is where the A380 is a game changer, its 478 square meter (5,145.1 sq ft) floor space, airlines now have more room to play with in all classes. For the same comparison that I wrote for first class click on the following link it will open the article in separate window so you can finish reading this article Airbus A380 First Class Comparison Airbus A380 Business Class Comparison The below table lists all current A380 operators and their business class seat details, note the green bold text indicates that airline is the largest/widest/longest for seat pitch, width or fully reclined bed length. Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines was the first airline to introduce the Airbus A380 into commercial service, at its time of introduction Singapore Airlines brought out a business product that was superior to all any other in the air and today it is still up there with the best sharing the honor of the widest business seat in the sky (honor shared with Air the France seat with a width of 34 inch or 87 cm) Singapore Airlines also features a massive 55 inch or 140 cm seat pitch. As expected Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Business Class seat is a full lie flat seat, other features of the Singapore Airlines Business Class seat includes a wide range of recline positions, a 15 Inch LCD In-Flight Entertainment Screen. Emirates Emirates the second airline to introduce the A380 into commercial service and implemented a business seat that is 18.5 inch or 47 cm wide along with a pitch 39-48” 99-121 cm seat pitch depending which seat you have been allocated. Window Seats have the larger 48” (121 cm) pitch and inside seats have the smaller 39” (99 cm) pitch. The Emirates seat is fully lie flat and highly adjustable, allowing the individual passengers most comfortable position to be found and set. In addition you are a regular flyer with Emirates you can save your seat position and other settings to a memory key for use on future flights. In-flight entertainment is delivered via a massive 17” LCD In-flight entertainment screen with over 1200 programming options via the ICE (Information Communications and Entertainment) System. Each seat is equipped with a personal bar, which holds several cans of soft drinks, water and snacks. Most Emirates A380 flyers either love or hate this. Personally for me I find it provides some additional privacy along with a great place to rest your laptop while eating a meal or reading. The big draw card is the large combined first/business Class Bar and lounge at the rear upper deck of the aircraft behind Business Class. Qantas The Qantas Airbus A380 Business Class seat sets the standard for fully extended seat/bed length and seat pitch, at 81.5 (207 cm) long when in the lie flat position […]
Lufthansa recently unveiled details of its new Business Class cabin and seats aboard its new Airbus A380 Superjumbo, and like any new aircraft and cabin product launch plenty of details to share with you. However before I get into the details of Lufthansa A380 Business Class cabin and seat need to point out one of the stand out features that is available in all classes (not just Business and First Class) and that is the world air humidification system which increases air humidity from the normal aircraft average of 5% humidity up to 25%. This is sure to be a great feature, which will ensure passengers feel better on-board and also arrive at their destination more refreshed than ever before. Lufthansa A380 Business Class Seat Located on the upper deck behind first class the new business class cabin features 98 business class seats configured in a 2-2-2 seating arrangement, each seat measures 67 cm (26.3 inch) wide and 145-152cm long (57-59.8 inch) long (Seat and Bed configuration). These numbers look great but there is one catch, the Lufthansa A380 Business Class Seat does not convert into a true lie-flat bed, in fact the maxim inclination is only 168° rather than the 180° you get on a lie flat bed. In-flight Entertainment & Communication Options All Lufthansa A380 Business Class Seats are equipped with the following entertainment options: 10.6 inch LCD Screen that has programming in 10 different languages, and includes In-Seat USB Port for charging USB devices such as iPods In-flight power compatible with all international 30 Current Feature Films 20 Video Channels 75 TV Series/Documentaries 30 Radio Channels 200 on-demand music CDs 10 multi-player Games Niceview Moving Map/Airshow that includes flight information and video from the aircrafts 3 external cameras Satellite Phone in each seat Armed with only the above details one cannot get the full feel of how good Business Class on Lufthansa’s A380 is going to be, however going by the details we have the experience should be very good, especially with the new air humidification system. This page will be updated as more information comes to hand, also expect a flight review very soon. If you would like to know the second this page is updated or we publish more Lufthansa A380 articles, you can subscribe to the Business Travel Email List and Business Travel RSS Feed. What do you think about Business Class on Lufthansa’s Airbus A380? Also if you have flown on this aircraft how good is it? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.
V Australia has been awarded best in-flight entertainment in the small airline category at this year’s World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) Avion Awards & best Business Class in the e-Travel Black Board 2009 Readers Choice Awards. The full media release from V Australia can be read below: After only seven months in the air, V Australia’s stellar in-flight entertainment (IFE) system and Business Class product have been voted BEST in their categories in two separate consumer driven awards surveys. The trans-Pacific airline won BEST OVERALL in the small airlines category from a line-up of 38 commercial airlines from around the globe at the 21st Annual World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) Avion Awards in Palm Springs California. In the same awards V Australia’s code-share partner, Emirates, was also voted ‘Best Overall’ for large airlines and ‘Best in Region – Middle East and Africa’ with sister airlines Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic receiving ‘Best in Region – Americas’ and ‘Best in Region – Europe. The WAEA awards honour excellence in in-flight entertainment with categories voted on by 60,000 travellers from around the world. Winners are ranked highest by airline passengers in opinion polls administered online in 11 languages by Skytrax over a two month period. Closer to home, V Australia also won ‘Best Business Class’ in the e-Travel Blackboard 2009 Readers Choice Awards with sister airline Virgin Blue taking out Best Domestic Airline in the same awards. Brett Godfrey, Virgin Blue Airlines Group Chief Executive, extended a hearty congratulations to the entire V Australia team for their achievements. “For V Australia to achieve not one but two awards only seven months since launch, as voted by travellers from around the world, is a phenomenal effort and a credit to the hard work, attention to detail and dedication of the entire V Australia team. “We always knew our product was second to none and our Guests obviously think the same, which makes us even more determined to continue to develop and refine our product so we continue to not only meet, but exceed the expectations of our Guests.” V Australia’s on demand IFE features more than 100 movies and TV shows, over 200 music CDs and 15 radio channels as well as seat-to-seat connectivity and interactive games from individual seat back screens offering 9in-wide screen in International Economy, 10.6in-wide screens in International Premium Economy and 12.1in screens in International Business. For more information about WAEA Avion Awards or the in-flight entertainment industry, visit www.awea.org. For more information on the e-Travel Blackboard 2009 Readers Choice Awards visit www.etravelblackboard.com. For V Australia bookings visit www.vaustralia.com.au.
After the launch of Singapore Airlines A380 in October 2007, Emirates were the second Airline put into service an Airbus A380, and since my first Singapore Airlines A380 review and subsequent Qantas A380 Premium economy flight review you can imagine my eagerness to experience the Emirates A380 first hand. 21 May 2009 was the date for my Emirates A380 Business Class flight, and having flowing Emirates business class in the past (not the A380) and having read most of what other sites have had to say about their A380 I kind of half knew the treat I would be in for! Limo Pickup from home When you fly Business or First Class on Emirates the experience doesn’t begin when you arrive at the airport it begins at your house, with a Limo pickup at your current location (home, office, and hotel) the same goes after landing at your destination. With my Limo pickup booked in several days prior to departure, I received a follow up call, the morning prior to my flight and again the night before from my Chauffer confirming my pickup address and pickup time. My flight EK 412 was scheduled to depart at 7:50am so I booking in a 5:15am pickup. Spot on 5:15am I had a call from my Emirates chauffer Stephen saying he was waiting downstairs, ready to take me to the airport. I have to say the whole experience with Emirates Chauffer Company Brunel Worldwide Chauffer Drive was exceptional, making the lead up to my flight both worry and hassle free. Emirates Check-in Just less than 30 minutes after leaving home on Sydney’s north shore I arrive at Kingsford Smith International Airport (Terminal 1) and make my way to the check-in counter. Using the Business Class checking lane I am checked in within no time at all, and given an eExpress ticket that allowed me to beat the crowds and utilize the eExpress customs queue. The Emirates Lounge The Emirates Lounge in Sydney is located on the arrivals level (level 1) near the transfer security check point, Note you need follow the signs to the lounge then come down an elevator to level 1 Picture 1: The Emirates Lounge in Sydney The first thing I noted when entering was how quite and spacious the lounge was! Being an early morning flight the lounge catered a full breakfast, with the food you would expect from a good quality hotel, which beats many other airlines airline lounges I have been in over the past few years. The Emirates Lounge at Sydney is a combined First Class, Business Class and elite Skywards members lounge, which is great for those travelling Business as The Emirates Lounge is a true First Class lounge in every aspect. Boarding Emirates A380 At the Emirates gate, as you would normally expect there was a dedicated lane for Business, First Class and Skyward elite members, so we cleared the boarding gate fairly quickly and routed to an aerobridge that took us to first and business class on the upper deck. Emirates A380 Business Class Cabin & Seat For this flight I was allocated seat 23K which is a window seat in the last business section before the end of the aircraft and the Business […]
For the second year running, Virgin Atlantic has won the Best Business Class Lounge Award in the SkyTrax World Airline Awards 2008, for its flagship Clubhouse at Heathrow Airport. The World Airline Awards are based on the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax and are recognised around the world. The awards are renowned for being the only truly global independent passenger survey of airline standards. Virgin Atlantic beat off BA’s new T5 lounge, Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong Business Class lounge and Qatar Airways’ Business Class lounge to win the prestigious award. Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic said, “We’re thrilled that our Heathrow Clubhouse has been chosen as the world’s best haven for business travellers for the second year running. This confirms that our Clubhouse is a real winner with our Upper Class passengers and with our new private security corridor they can now get through to it in record time! Thank you to everyone who voted for us.” The airline’s Clubhouse at Heathrow provides the ultimate pre-flight experience for every passenger with an array of exciting and unique areas. Passengers can enjoy a stylish haircut in the salon from Bumble and bumble; relax in the spa pool or sauna; choose from a range of Cowshed treatments; enjoy a game of pool in the Den; a blockbuster film in the Cinema; enjoy a delicious cocktail at the 14 metre long bar; and choose from the extensive Brasserie menu for a richer dining experience before their flight. The £11m flagship lounge, which is over 2,500 square metres in total, was created by the Virgin Atlantic design team and the London based architectural practice Softroom, who created the interior’ design to feel like a private members’ club. Virgin Atlantic has recently unveiled a brand new Clubhouse for its Upper Class passengers in Boston. The new £1m Clubhouse at Logan International Airport was created by Boston based architectural practice Bergmeyer Architects, in collaboration with the Virgin Atlantic in-house design team and W1 Studio. The Boston Clubhouse is divided into four zones; the Library and Business centre, the Lounge, the Brasserie and the Deli. Accommodating up to 75 passengers, it allows Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class passengers to relax in quiet comfort, surf the Internet, lounge in private banquettes or dine in bistro style. Virgin Atlantic has industry leading Clubhouses in the following destinations worldwide: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Newark, JFK New York, Washington, San Francisco, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Johannesburg.
Travel to Asia is getting more enjoyable and relaxing with United’s international, lie-flat first and business class seats, taking off today for the first flight to the region with a newly configured Boeing 747. The aircraft will also feature iPod connectivity, enabling customers in the front cabins to enjoy their own videos on a 15.4-inch personal television screen. United flight #869 from San Francisco is scheduled to depart today at 1:12 p.m. PDT for a 13 hour and 48 minute flight to Hong Kong, arriving at 6 p.m. local time Friday. The aircraft will continue on as United flight #895 with a scheduled departure at 8 p.m. on August 15 and arrival in Singapore at 11:35 p.m. The plane will primarily fly between San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Singapore. United Airlines Lie-Flat Business Class Cabin United Airlines First Class Suite Lie-flat seat United Airlines First Class Suite cabin lie-flat seat “Trans-Pacific travel just got even better for United customers, who will now have more ways to relax on long flights,” says Graham Atkinson, United Airlines – executive vice president and Chief Customer Officer. “Today’s flight marks another milestone in United’s continuing commitment to invest in products and services that provide our customers with a more enjoyable travel experience.” Customers in United First and United Business on the newly reconfigured aircraft may enjoy more than 150 hours of movies and television shows on-demand; relax with fully lie-flat seats; and dine on appetizers and entrees designed by world-renowned chef Charlie Trotter on outbound U.S. flights. United’s entire fleet of international, wide body aircraft are being reconfigured over the next two years and will include iPod connectivity in first and business class. United Airlines Ipod and Iphone connectivity United was the first major U.S. carrier to introduce lie-flat business class seats in November 2007. More information about these seats – and the United Airlines International Premium Travel Experience
Singapore Airlines have just started flying an all Business class service from Singapore to Los Angeles, and is the second all business destination for Singapore Airlines, three months after first introducing their all business Singapore to New York route. The configured 100 seat Airbus A340-500s feature lie flat Business Class seats measuring 76cm wide in a forward facing 1-2-1 configuration that give all seats direct access to the aisle. Other mod cons include the KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system with over 1000 on demand entertainment choices, and the ability to listen and view personal audio and video content from an iPod or iPhone thru the KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system. SIAs all business service from Singapore to Los Angeles will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with daily services commencing from 21 September 2008