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Cubicle Class April 4, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Show and Tell, Up and Away.

Here’s a picture of the neo-Business class cabin configuration I encountered on this most recent overseas trip. It’s not the best of photos, taken discreetly from my seat using a camera phone, but it’s good enough for illustrative purposes.

Obviously, the seats are arranged at an angle to the aisle (including the seats by the cabin walls). Effectively, this kills at the very least an entire column of seats for the airline, which is why I’m not overly surprised if these aircraft are only used for short-haul flights where the revenue impact isn’t as severe. Objectively, the seats themselves are really something: they’re comfortable, have a set footrest that “merges” with the extendable legrest, and come with a relatively large stowable table and a pull-out widescreen 16:9 video monitor. However, they are designed to give each passenger their privacy, which can be alienating (or problematic) for those traveling with others. This much I’ve seen firsthand, as on my flight there was a group traveling with an elderly family member that required continued assistance, which would have been much easier to arrange with more conventional seating.

Of course, the obvious objection to be raised in terms of the aesthetics is that these seats more and more resemble office cubicles, albeit relatively luxurious ones. Could this be a case of taking the “business class” label a little bit too far?



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