The battle for Business Class is heating up
It’s laptops at 20 paces, as Qantas and Virgin Australia (VA) both throw their considerable resources behind luring the lucrative business class traveller. With the frequent travel undertaken by this segment of the market, the airlines are increasingly keen to secure their loyalty on both long and short haul flights. As a result, airlines are constantly looking for ways to up their offering including features like fully flat beds, electronically controlled seats, more space, direct aisle access, better catering, larger personal entertainment screens, and even designer amenity kits.
VA recently announced the introduction of its new premium business class product, which is designed to entice business travellers and to offer a viable alternative to the new Qantas Business Suite offering which is set to launch towards the end of the year. The VA offering will be premium including a new fully-flat bed, an enhanced inflight entertainment system, more room for storing carry-on luggage and it’s expected to offer direct aisle access.
The VA business class seats will launch in September 2014 on both domestic Australia and international routes on their Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 flights. The routes will include A330s flying from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Perth, and 777s from Sydney and Brisbane to Los Angeles and also Sydney to Abu Dhabi flights.
VA will also offer business class between Australia and New Zealand on its 737 aircraft starting in March 2015. This move will match the offering of rival Qantas, on the Sydney - Auckland route initially, with Brisbane and Melbourne to Auckland to follow.
Not to be left behind, Qantas is launching its highly anticipated Business Suite in or around November 2014 on domestic Australia and international Airbus A330s routes. It is expected that the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Perth routes will be the first to get the service, with others to follow as the aircraft are upgraded.
Arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration to provide direct aisle access, the Qantas Business Suite will boast a fully flat bed (which is totally straight), plenty of personal space in the deep console for your phone/book/laptop, a coat hook, a fold out storage compartment, a swing in/swing out meal table, 16 inch screen for inflight entertainment, an AC power socket and a USB port.
Whatever way you look at it, business class is clearly big business and having more choice will be great news for travellers.