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Swiss Installing Aerobeds in Business Class

Ok, so maybe it’s not actually an Aerobed, but it’s close enough. Anyone get a chance to see Swiss’s new business class product yet? It’s an interesting concept, but I have to wonder if it’s actually as comfortable as they say.

For those who didn’t see it, you can see the press release and a flash demonstration on the Swiss site. What’s unique about it? First of all, check out the layout.
Swiss Business Class
The seat goes flat, but to save valuable floor space, each person’s feet go underneath the seat in front of it. Instead of actually going under the seat, however, they go under the wide arm rest. I believe that’s similar to what United is doing and others as well, but this is different in that each row has a different number of seats. On the Airbus widebodies that Swiss flies, that means one row will have 1-2-2 configuration while the next will have 1-2-1. That provides plenty of opportunities for single travelers to be alone, but it also allows people traveling together to sit together. Nice.

What else is cool? Well, the Aerobed, of course. Yeah, it sounds weird, I know. These seats have no foam and instead just have a big air cushion (or two). It has a pneumatic air system that allows you to adjust how much air goes into the seat. That means you pick the firmness level, and it can change when you’re sitting versus when you’re sleeping. They say there are all kinds of additional benefits such as weight-savings and lack of flammable materials.

Apparently, this is already on Eurofly’s long haul aircraft, so I have to assume that Swiss did a lot of testing before opting for this one. That being said, I’ll have to reserve judgment until I have a chance to see for myself.

Installation begins next Spring and it will finish by 2011. It’s interesting to see Swiss trying to differentiate itself from Papa Lufthansa, which owns the airline. Maybe Lufthansa is using Swiss as a testing ground for its own future fleet plans.

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