How will business class look in a decade? As airlines and carmakers expand into ultra-luxury and upmarket segments, new gadgets and services will be introduced to cater to an elite clientele.
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We combed through the documents, designs and reports, and analysed the information to find out what the next-generation premium class will look like.
The style: The aircraft interior designer Wolff Olins has released its interiors of the future, and Airbus is set to follow with its own design.
The idea: The only thing more luxurious than a private jet? The one you can use to go to the gym and do your laundry. The Aeris subcompact jet has a full-length shower, and a seat that converts into a workout stand or bench to get your heart rate up.
Worldspace’s plane, the Zeromos, features high-end features such as a treadmill and exercise machines. Photograph: Boeing
What it will cost: Like its private jet counterparts, and like the average private jet ticket, business class will be aimed at a high-net-worth buyer.
The offer: A Boeing 787-9. Approx. 15,000km (9,498 miles) from London to Hong Kong, 17 hours and 30 minutes. The seats come with massaging seats, sleeping compartments and full-length showers and toilets. The minimum price per passenger is $90,000, but a top-of-the-range 787-9 offers nearly one year’s worth of frequent flyer miles.
Business class in a five-star hotel
The style: The project architect Paul Humphreys, formerly of architectural giant Terry Farrell, is working with airlines to reveal their travel ideas. His top picks:
His favoured airline: Lufthansa, where the concept is currently in development.
His preferred airline: Lufthansa, where the concept is currently in development. How we got the idea: Lufthansa experimented with a “Bunsen Burner” area, the same as the unusual mini-bar in its Nightworld entertainment zones in airports. Meanwhile, McDonald’s is testing out seats where the storage space has been fitted with a minibar.
Bar Italia’s offerings include 16 different cocktails – think champagne cocktails and rum, apple, pickle and elderflower – a range of nibbles and coffee and tea stations. Photograph: Bar Italia
What it will cost: A minimum spend of €450 (£386) for a flight between Barcelona and Paris.
The offer: Bar Italia has created 16 different cocktails – think champagne cocktails and rum, apple, pickle and elderflower – a range of nibbles and coffee and tea stations.
Business class in a boutique hotel
The style: Following the no-frills route, boutique hotels and travel brand Hotel Indigo offers its business class lounge equipped with futons and oversized sofas.
Hotel Indigo’s business class lounge. Photograph: Hotel Indigo
His favoured airline: Virgin Atlantic.
His preferred airline: Virgin Atlantic. How we got the idea: Hotel Indigo tried this at London’s swanky Edition hotel, so an extended offer was rolled out across the rest of its leisure hotels.
Who it will be worth: WestJet’s Vancouver-headquartered WestJet has launched an upmarket Business Elite premium class, including private suites in its planes and in lounges and its own private jet. Meanwhile, airlines such as Air Asia and Jetstar, combined with Alitalia, are rolling out premium areas to compete with business class.
The offer: Room 19. Made up of three spa-quality couches and a full-size tub with a mirror, this is the ultimate portable business class.
Hotel Indigo’s own lounges in its hotels, designed by L Squared. Photograph: Hotel Indigo
What it will cost: A poolside bungalow at the San Francisco Edition, with lounge equipment such as a video-game console and a laptop server. The cheapest villa is £585 a night, so if you want a private poolside bubble, a bed and personal hair stylist, you’re looking at an upward of £14,000.