Etihad Airways Business Class

The carriers from the Middle East are setting global standards for the rest of the world’s airlines to keep up with, Etihad Airways is no exception.

Etihad Airways is a very young airline based out of Abu Dhabi, having launched in February 2003 and established as the national airline of the United Arab Emirates by a royal decree issued by Sheikh Khalifa.

The airline is world acclaimed and has picked up awards from: Skytrax, World Travel Awards, Business Travel Awards, Business Traveller, Inside Flyer and Aviation Business Awards.

Pearl Business Class is the name of their Business Class product and they have two variations between their long-haul (fully flat seat) and short-haul flights (recliner seat).


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V Australia Business Class

V Australia is the long-haul international airline for Virgin Blue, they launched in 2007 with their first flight in early 2009. The business class product is ‘International Business’.

The airline utilises a fleet of modern Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for their operations. They are based out of Sydney, Australia with initial flights being between Sydney and Los Angeles.

It was clear that V Australia needed to convince the market that even though they are the long-haul airline for Virgin Blue, they certainly do not want to be perceived as a low cost carrier flying to international destinations. They are without a doubt a full service carrier with great on-board products, especially in the International Business cabin.


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Qantas Business Class

Qantas International Business Class features the Qantas ‘Skybed’, originally introduced in 2003 on long haul flights, the product had further enhancements made to it with the introduction of Airbus A380 services in 2008.

In 1979, Qantas was the world’s first airline to introduce Business Class seats. The airline is an industry pioneer, currently the oldest continuously operating airline and every year is one of the most profitable.

The Skybed has been designed by Marc Newson and developed with B/E Aerospace. In 2004 the Skybed received the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum Museum Good Design Award.

Qantas International Business, image credit: Qantas Qantas International Business, image credit: Qantas

Seat functionality is controlled electronically, passengers can adjust the seat into any position to ensure they are most comfortable for relaxing, working, eating or sleeping. There is an in-seat back massage function, cocoon style design with screen for added privacy, night light, LED reading light and ample storage areas.

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US Airways Envoy Class (Int)

US Airways Envoy Class is their international Business Class cabin. They have recently also introduced a new cabin product to be fitted into their Airbus A330 aircraft.

There are three variations of Envoy Class on their current fleet, US Airways is moving towards the latest generation of products as many of the major North American carriers are. Though US Airways has also had an angled lie-flat product for some time on a number of aircraft, they are now introducing fully flat seats in this next phase.

The innovative cabin layout and thoughtful design of the Envoy Suite allows for greater comfort and functionality for our international travelers.

– Andrew Nocella, US Airways


Airbus A350 aircraft are also on order and expected to join the fleet in 2014, expect these to either have new Envoy Suites or an even more advanced product as in-flight cabin products continue to advance with the latest features.

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Thai Airways Royal Silk Class (Int)

Thai Airways has a Business Class product called Royal Silk Class, this was introduced in 2005 with the launch of new Airbus A340-500 aircraft.

Royal Silk Class is an Angled Lie-Flat seat, designed by B/E Aerospace and is their ‘Minipod’ product also seen on some other carriers.

The product was a much needed upgrade from a cradle seat, given the region that Thai Airways operates in, it is vital they can compete with other carriers with lie-flat products from Asia as well as those flying into Thailand from Australia, Europe and Middle East.


Thai Airways has been one of the world’s leading airlines when it comes to service, they have been awarded many accolades for the in-flight services in their premium cabins.

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Lufthansa Business Class

Lufthansa has had a strong Business Class product for their long-haul flights for some time now. When initially launched it was among the best products in the sky in the Business Class cabin. Though now that in-flight products are advancing to the next generation, many passenger talk about ‘fully flat’ and come to expect it on long-haul flights.

The Lufthansa Business Class is an angled lie-flat seat, it was launched in 2003 and still challenges in regards to quality and design against many other of the worlds airlines. Take the North American airlines for instance, they are now only beginning to catch up against the rest of the world with in-flight products. Lufthansa has been in the leading group of airlines and in a position where they offer a consistent product across their fleet.

As the Airbus A380 comes into the fleet, it will be interesting to see if Lufthansa makes any upgrades to their current Business Class product. It may be similar to Qantas on their A380’s, where they look at making an already strong product even better, Qantas kept the SkyBed and transformed it into a fully flat seat rather than angled lie-flat. Lufthansa could take their lead. The A380 is a closely guarded secret, so it will be a matter of watching this space.

With the new Business Class design we are opening up a new dimension for our customers. We offer maximum comfort, more space, more peace and quiet, a diverse information and entertainment program and excellent service on board.

– Wolfgang Mayruhuber, Lufthansa

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Air Canada Executive First

Air Canada has introduced the next generation of Business Class seats into their international fleet. The airline totally skipped a ‘product range’ (angle lie-flat or ‘z-shape’ in design), going from cradle design straight to 180 degree flat.

In 2008 the Executive First Suite was listed by The Times newspaper in the United Kingdom as being amongst the world’s top 10 Business Class products.

The new product is a part of Air Canada’s complete transformation, where we have seen new branding, new aircraft and new in-flight products across the entire fleet in all cabins. They are placing great emphasis on customer service; it’s great to finally see that a North American carrier has identified this as a key to success.


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