Business Traveler (USA)
BUSINESS CLASS SEAT GUIDE
They may look different, but beneath the surface business class seats share some common characteristics – in fact, they may even be the same design
A look at six seats airlines use in their business class cabins
It’s a fascinating game to compare and contrast the wide range of business class seats which are available these days. There are forward-facing ones, a forward/backward-facing “yin-yang” configuration (hello, British Airways) and various forms of “herringbone” – taking its name from the appearance of the seating when viewed on a plan from above. All are trying to achieve a fully-flat bed in the smallest amount of space. The fully-flat bed is deemed essential by travelers who want to sleep on night flights and maximize productivity so they can hit the ground running at their destination. Direct aisle access is also preferred, to avoid an awkward climb over your neighbor. At the same time, airlines want to strip out as much weight as possible from the design, since every extra pound adds to the fuel bill.
Rather than design the seat from scratch, most airlines adapt the off-theshelf products of the major seat manufacturers – of course, the exact specifications change not only from one carrier to another, but from one aircraft type to another.
To complicate things, some airlines have different types of seats across their fleet of aircraft. Nevertheless, it’s possible to identify the main designs and the carriers you will find them on. Here is a look at the six seats
that are commonly used by airlines on their long-haul aircraft.
Owned by Collins Aerospace, the Super Diamond seat has proven successful for airlines around the world, offering direct aisle access in a herringbone configuration. The seat features a comfortable 78-inch fully-flat bed (on most airlines) with fully customizable positions.
This is the seat chosen by British Airways for its new Club Suite, and it has been “customized” with the addition of doors (the first time the Super Diamond has had doors attached, at least to our knowledge). On the other side of the Atlantic, Canadian carrier Westjet’s version is set to debut on the airline’s 787-9 Dreamliner. The cabin, designed by Priestmangoode, has only 16 of the seats laid out in the Super Diamond’s 1-2-1 configuration, with adjustable privacy screens separating the two center seats.
Passengers will also be offered a turndown service when they wish to sleep – and Westjet had a reputation for being a budget carrier!
Air China, British Airways, China Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Qatar Airways, Westjet.