IN­TRO­DUC­TION

The an­nual Busi­ness Trav­eller Air­line Sur­vey gives you the in­for­ma­tion you need to choose the best air­line, class and seat for your jour­ney and bud­get

Business Traveller - - CONTENTS -

1 AIR­CRAFT TYPE AND CLASS We have ar­ranged the sur­vey by air­craft type to al­low you to com­pare prod­ucts across the whole fleet in each class. We have also high­lighted those planes that are new to the fleet so you know where to find the most cut­ting-edge in-flight ex­pe­ri­ences. 2 SEAT CON­FIG­U­RA­TION This is the way seats are ar­ranged through­out the plane. The lay­out is im­por­tant to know as some air­lines are squeez­ing more seats into their twin-aisle jets by con­fig­ur­ing them 3-4-3 as op­posed to 3-3-3, for ex­am­ple, mean­ing you have less space. 3 SEAT PITCH This is the dis­tance be­tween seats, mea­sured from a fixed point on one seat to the same point on the one in front. The mea­sure­ment dif­fers be­tween air­lines, but it in­di­cates how much legroom you will get. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant in econ­omy and pre­mium econ­omy, but when it comes to fully-flat seats in busi­ness and first, there tends to be so much space that this mea­sure­ment be­comes ir­rel­e­vant. 4 SEAT WIDTH Air­lines ob­tain the seat width ei­ther by mea­sur­ing the cush­ion, the dis­tance be­tween the arm­rests or from the out­side of one arm­rest to the out­side of the other. 5 BED LENGTH A mea­sure­ment for fully-flat seats only. This is when the pitch be­comes re­dun­dant – the length of your bed is what mat­ters. Last year, a busi­ness class prod­uct was launched with the world’s first dou­ble bed (Qatar Air­ways). 6 SEAT RE­CLINE This can be mea­sured from ei­ther a hor­i­zon­tal, a 90-de­gree or take-off po­si­tion, and is in­di­cated in ei­ther de­grees or inches. 7 SEAT TYPE This mainly de­pends on a seat’s re­cline. We have iden­ti­fied five main types: stan­dard (ST), cra­dle-style (CS), fixed shell (FS), an­gled lie-flat (AF) and fully-flat (FF). 8 SEAT-BACK SCREEN AND SIZE Most air­lines have in­stalled per­sonal seat­back screens in ev­ery cabin but some still have over­head screens or pro­vide tablets. The sur­vey pro­vides screen di­men­sions. 9 AU­DIO-VIDEO ON-DE­MAND AVOD in-flight en­ter­tain­ment (IFE) – the abil­ity to stop, start, rewind and pause movies, mu­sic and TV shows – is a musthave fea­ture across all cabin classes. It has largely re­placed the old-fash­ioned sys­tem of play­ing a se­lec­tion of movies on a loop. Live TV is also mak­ing an ap­pear­ance on some air­lines. 10 POWER SOURCE Many planes have in-seat power, be it through UK, EU, US/Ja­panese (Ja­pan), South African (SA), USB or uni­ver­sal (UNI) sock­ets. Many car­ri­ers are now ei­ther al­low­ing pas­sen­gers to con­nect in­flight to the in­ter­net through GPRS (charged via net­work providers at in­ter­na­tional roam­ing rates) or, more com­monly, by in­stalling on­board wifi. Of­ten you have to pay but some­times it’s free.

WHY NO MARK OUT OF TEN?

WE FLY ON DOZENS of dif­fer­ent air­craft and air­lines each year, in dif­fer­ent cabin classes, and on dif­fer­ent routes – so why couldn’t we have awarded a mark out of ten?

There are a num­ber of rea­sons but, most sig­nif­i­cantly, it’s be­cause the re­sults would have been so sub­jec­tive as to be use­less. The size you are makes a dif­fer­ence to ev­ery­thing – how much legroom you have, the com­fort of the seat width and the length of the bed.

It also af­fects the way you re­spond to the re­cline of the seat, par­tic­u­larly in busi­ness class – some pas­sen­gers can sleep on an­gled lie-flat seats, while oth­ers need a fully-flat bed to get a good night’s rest. It de­pends so much on per­sonal shape and pref­er­ence. For this rea­son, we have sim­ply pre­sented you with the fig­ures to let you make up your own mind.

WHO’S THE BEST?

THAT’S FOR YOU TO DE­CIDE – but we are here to help. If you want deeper in­sights into the on­board ex­pe­ri­ence (from the ser­vice to the food, the en­ter­tain­ment and the amenity kits), you’ll find flight re­views from the Busi­ness

Trav­eller ed­i­to­rial team at busi­nesstrav­eller. com/tried-and-tested. We also pub­lish a wide ar­ray of air­port lounge re­views so you can get a sense of the end-to-end jour­ney.

CON­TACT US

YOU CAN SHARE YOUR STO­RIES, opin­ions and ad­vice with fel­low fly­ers on our on­line fo­rum at busi­nesstrav­eller.com/fo­rum. If you have any feed­back on this year’s sur­vey, send us an email at talk­[email protected]­nesstrav­eller.com.

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