NBTA: Qantas and Singapore’s Battle of the Suites

It’s Friday, so let’s just forget about reality and move into the world of the super rich and famous. The hot trend these days? Private suites doubling as First Class. Emirates, Qantas, and Singapore are all entering the ring as are others, and it’s just ridiculously awesome, to say the least.

Now I didn’t get the chance to see Emirates’ stuff because I ran out of time. Since I’ll be on their A380 demo flight next week, I figured I could put them last. I did, however, get to see Qantas and Singapore show off their stuff. Which one wins? Well, they both do. Singapore has fantastic privacy while Qantas has some pretty cool uses of space. I’d be happy to take either one on my next trip.

Let’s start with Qantas, since that’s the one I saw first. Qantas First Class SuiteThese suites will be going into the A380 aircraft that begin flying for the airline soon. When you enter the suite, you can see that it appears to be open on the far side. This will usually be the side of the aircraft, but if you’re in the one in the middle, it may still be open to the aisle. I didn’t get clarification on that.

From the picture at left, you can see the floorspace to the left of the center of the seat. Qantas SuiteThat’s where your TV is, and it’s where your tray table rolls out as well as your bed. The seat turns left and goes flat that way to avoid taking up so much room on the plane.

At right, you see the friendly flight attendant presenter sitting at what would be the foot end of your bed. When you’re not laying down, that becomes a seat and the tray table rolls out in between you so you can share a meal. It’s quite nice. That metal thing at the right of the picture? That’s your TV screen folded up.

The coolest part of this? Qantas First Class RemoteThe remote control. Check out this bad boy at left. It’s actually pretty heavy, but it’s impressive what it can do. Watch videos, listen to music, turn on your massager, dim your lighting, and electronically shade your windows if you’d like. It’s so cool. Hopefully it doesn’t break with so much complexity.

Now let’s talk about Singapore. They’ve gone for a different style of suite. The view at right is from the door. Singapore First Class SeatYou look right and you see the very plush seat. If you looked left, you’d see the TV. Straight ahead of you is where the tray table rolls out. There is no angle here at all.

The bed is completely separate from the seat here. In fact, it took a couple minutes to set up and it’s a fairly complex procedure. Since this is Singapore, the flight attendants do it for you, and will of course be at your beck and call. The bed itself lies in the wall behind the seat. Singapore First Class BedThe seat folds down and the bed unfolds over it. You can see this (sort of) at left. You can also see that the attention to detail is phenomenal. They’ve even put a place for you to hang your headphones when you’re in bed. All of the suites here (and on Qantas, for that matter) have multiple locations for entertainment controls so that regardless of your position, the controls are always within reach.

This last shot (at right) shows me sitting down with spokesperson James Boyd. He is where my feet would lie in flat bed position. And you can see the screen behind his head. The table was very big and seemingly sturdy. Singapore First Class TableIt was a very comfortable place to be.

Though the walls of the suite don’t go all the way up, you have plenty of privacy here. There are shades over two open air holes looking to the aisle, and when you pull them down, only the bottom is see-through. This is, of course, for flight attendants to perform their duties.

As you can see, these are incredible and ridiculous all at the same time. It’s amazing to think how quickly First Class has gone upmarket. As long as there is enough demand for these seats, we can expect to continue to see more and more innovation in this area. Though I may not have the chance to fly it, it’s still fun to drool over.

Get Posts via Email When They Go Live or in a Weekly Digest

There are 19 comments Comments


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please enter an e-mail address