Once the exclusive domain of luxury first class suites, sliding privacy doors are steadily pushing beyond the curtain into the business class cabin.
Since the debut of Delta Air Lines’ doored Delta One suite and Qatar Airways’ superb Qsuite across 2016-2017, just about every new business class cabin to take to the international skies is now framed by a door between the passenger and the aisle.
This year alone has seen Air India, Hawaiian Airlines and Starlux join a growing cohort includes forthcoming business class suites from the likes of American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qantas – with Japan Airlines and United Airlines expected to add their names to the list them in the near future.
Even some airlines where doors are not found on every business class seat are adding them to those seats in the front row to create a more premium – and yes, more expensive – ‘business plus’ experience, as is the case with Air New Zealand and Lufthansa.
To date, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are among the heavyweight holdouts, although this will probably change with the reveal of their next-gen Boeing 777-9 business class products.
Meanwhile, the companies which create, design and manufacture seats for airlines – among them Adient, Collins, Jamco, Recaro, Safran, Stelia and Thompson – now include at least one business class platform with doors in their catalogues: bait for carriers looking to not just catch up to but leap ahead of their competitors.
But now that many high flyers have sampled those doored suites, is a door really a deal-breaker?
They have obvious benefits when snatching some sleep on long international flights. Blocking out the distractions of noise and aisle movement helps transform your seat into a cosy snooze-inducing cocoon.
A closed door can also be a boon for those who need to work above the clouds: given enough personal space and fast inflight WiFi, a private business class seat becomes an office above the clouds.
However, many travellers tell us that the ‘novelty’ of a door quickly disappears and after a few flights, they find themselves generally keeping the door open for most of the trip.
So this week, we’re asking Executive Traveller readers who’ve flown in suites with doors: what’s your preference?
When do you keep the doors open, when do you close them, and does a door make that much of a difference to the overall experience? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.