Flying business class is much-needed upgrade from the crowded, painful seats in economy, and U.S. legacy airlines are finally starting to expand this lucrative market. Recently, American Airlines, United, and Delta all announced new perks to their business cabins.
These airlines have struggled to compete with international luxury airlines before, but gone are the dated seating and unappealing amenities. Soon, flying business class to Rome, Cairo, Tokyo, Melbourne, and a number of other top business destinations can be as luxurious as it seems in the movies.
But what will these new upgrades to business class flights actually look like?
American has been testing out a number of different upgrades since 2013, so if you manage to land a seat in one of their business cabins, you might not see the exact same amenities as you would in a different aircraft.
But in the coming months, all business class cabins should be equipped with the same luxury seating, measuring 27.7 inches wide and 79 inches long when reclined to a lie-flat bed. During long business class flights to Paris, a comfortable rest can really make a world of difference.
These planes also have 18-inch television screens with a choice of nearly 300 films. AC will keep your private seat at a comfortable temperature, and USB plugs are available for your electronic needs.
The menus are designed by a number of James Beard Award-winning chefs, so don’t worry about any notoriously bad airline food.
Delta announced this year that it will be launching the first suites-only business elite seating in the entire industry by fall 2017. This means that passengers can shut a door to their suite to give themselves extra privacy. The airline will also refit existing aircraft with similar suites by fall 2018.
These suites will only be available on 20% of Delta’s fleet, but those that do have these perks will also have access to the same 18-inch television screens that American has, with 300 movies, HBO, Showtime, access to podcasts, over 2,500 songs and games, as well as live satellite TV on some flights.
USB ports and universal power outlets are available with each seat. Bedding from Westin, Tumi amenities, Kiehl’s products, and sleep suits on some transpacific flights are also included.
If that wasn’t enough, a five-course dinner and wine pairing from Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson is also included.
United’s new business cabins will be available as soon as next month, with 16-inch entertainment centers with 150 channels and 185 television shows.
In lieu of doors, United will have “do not disturb” lights on each passenger’s suite for privacy, as well as wide seats that convert to lie-flat beds, equipped with bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue and matching pajamas.
Food will be provided by Chicago chef Bill Kim, and wines will be hand-selected by Doug Frost, United’s on-staff Master Sommelier.
Unfortunately, not all of these new amenities have been unveiled to the public yet, but we can anticipate the new options within the next couple years.
While flying business class to Paris, London, Rome, and other international destinations can be expensive, business class airfare makes the journey feel like a stay in an unusually small but still luxurious hotel. In 2014, more than 30 million Americans traveled overseas for both business and leisure. On such long flights, business class is often worth it.
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