2020’s business class — what’s next?

Written by Staff Writer

The revival of airplane business class is here. But what will be the state of the art when these gilded planes take to the skies in 2025?

Business class has been making a comeback since 2014 when Delta Airlines raised the speed of its ultra-luxurious configuration on Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

United Airlines, which operates the 747, joined Delta a year later.

Travelers on North American-based flights will get the experience within weeks, with the first fully configured aircraft landing in the summer of 2019.

Why take up this ritual of lazing on your side on a red leather cushion when there’s already something significantly better out there?

Take a look at our prediction for business class in 2025.

CNN spoke to Michael Rapaport, the chief creative officer of aircraft interior design firm BBDO Aviation, who spoke to Travel + Leisure about what will be common features.

The concept

The look of the future business class is effortless. CNN’s Janet DiGiacomo

Rapaport thinks the future has a touch of Fortnite – the hit game by Epic Games, a video game company in California.

“A lot of research we’re doing and we don’t actually have the final answer,” he said. “But if we do our due diligence and look around at what we see today, we definitely see an incredible amount of bright, white, crisp screens and white light everywhere.”

We also saw a concept by U.K.-based studio, Polymerslab. The design generated an electric buzz on the T+L website with the words “future classics” plastered across the decals.

“We want to enter a new era of ultraluxury,” the studio says in its announcement.

The furniture

But where’s the table?

You’ll want to put down your laptop when you sit down on a chair. The leather chair in the latest Delta flight will sport rosewood armrests.

United is also designing cushions to go in this arena.

United Airlines claims its new lumbar chairs in Business Select seats will allow passengers to “drink a little luxury while flying.”

The bright green seats cover passengers from the sun in the middle and don’t eliminate the space between your knees and ankles. No straps or buckles for you.

Another seat design is by Australian outfit Four Pillars. Two distinct yellow and violet seats sit smack in the middle of a rounded panel which forms the window.

The seat in the new Delta business class needs your cellphone and your wallet because of two USB ports. Courtesy Delta Air Lines

Mental shortcuts

“There’s lots of things you would love to do when you get a seat back,” Rapaport says. “Something like watching your kids dance around, or reading the paper, or watching TV at night, all those things you want to do when you sit back are only possible if you get a really comfortable, slinky seat. So all the advances made for first class haven’t been made for business class — yet.”

CNN’s Elinor Mills unveils business class’s features

The comfort

What’s more comfortable than a massage chair? It’s what a fleet of custom-built suites will offer for ultra-luxurious travelers.

Business Select seats in the new United aircraft will be the first upscale business class to launch in the US market. Courtesy United Airlines

The seat will combine a recline-retract design and flat mattresses with USB ports for charging devices.

The movies

Drones are just one example of emerging high-tech tools for monitoring your cabin experience.

United will use #SeeUs360 to monitor its aircraft. From their iOS and Android smartphones, customers will be able to track their plane remotely, including locating themselves if they have to use the restroom.

A turntable you can drink from?

The bauble of the future

This GlamFinder cocktail menu mimics the amuse bouche on the current aeroplane menu. Courtesy Delta Air Lines

Rather than just boast seat lights and power outlets, future business class cabin designs will include mini bar experiences where passengers can order different cocktails from a touchscreen.

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