Delta puts Cathay's business seats in BusinessElite on Boeing 747

By John Walton, February 20 2012
Delta puts Cathay's business seats in BusinessElite on Boeing 747

US airline (and Virgin Australia partner) Delta is refurbishing its Boeing 747 business class with fully flat beds similar to Cathay Pacific's seats.

That's a big upgrade for the jumbos, which previously had an uncompetitive recliner-style seat on board as its top first-business offering, BusinessElite.

The new seats have all the advantages that Australian Business Traveller brought to you in our review of the Cathay Pacific seats, including direct aisle access, fully flat bed mode and a regular 110v power point.

(Check out our full gallery of Cathay's business class seats too.)

The seats are different (and probably superior) to the herringbone style that Delta uses on the Boeing 777-200LRs you'll find on its Australia flights.

Australian passengers are likely to encounter the new seats when travelling via Delta's trans-Pacific hub at Tokyo Narita (inherited along with the 747s from Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta) and across the Atlantic on extended business trips.

There's an upgrade in store for economy passengers on Delta's jumbos too, with new slimline seats giving up to two inches of extra legroom, an "economy-with-extra-legroom" Economy Comfort zone, USB power and a 9-inch touchscreen entertainment system.

"As modifications are completed throughout 2012, customers will increasingly see the upgraded aircraft on various routes across the Pacific and Atlantic. Customers will experience the new interiors on each 747 flown by Delta by October, 2012," the airline said in a statement.

Delta's US competition -- and Qantas' oneworld partner -- American Airlines also chose the seats for its new business class this year. US Airways was the first airline to use this model of seat, the Sicma Aero Cirrus, in its own business-first international cabin.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 125

Sme seat as Cathay , but Cathay's looks far superior to this one even Cathay's economy class looks better.I was excpecting something good but got such a shock the seats look horrible.

Why do they try to make their seats look old and not even welcoming

Of course Cathay's soft product is far superior.

17 Nov 2011

Total posts 27

The angle of the seat is appauling!  To fit more seats in the 747, the seats look so angled, it's almost 45 degrees!!!

16 May 2011

Total posts 8

US airways is the airline that pioneered these seats, and Ausbt gives headline credit to CX, who is adopting it how many years later?

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 666

Ian, we took a decision to do that in our coverage of this particular Cirrus seat because Cathay is the airline where most of our readers will have experienced the seat.

As you're no doubt aware, US Airways doesn't fly to our shores, so referring to it as "the US Airways Envoy Suite" doesn't really help our readers figure it out.

I do try to include a reference to US Airways where that's useful, though -- credit where credit is due.

Agreed with IanMeyer. Not sure why CX is getting any praise here when it was US Airways who pioneered the "Cirrus" design through their Envoy Suite.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 666

Hi Nick — as I said to Ian above, it's not so much praise for Cathay as a useful reference point for Australian travellers who don't fly trans-Atlantic on US Airways.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Mar 2011

Total posts 3

The seats are manufactured by Sicma Aero seats and US Airways was first to adopt the seats but if you look at the CX version, it has different styling which was done by James Parker Associations (JPA) and this gives the CX J class product a classier look and feel than that of the US Airways and Delta seats.

If you factor the service delivery and Inflight Entertainment (IFE) contents, CX wins hands down with the overall product offering. Also CX has more aircraft available with the new J class product than US Airways so reference can be linked to CX for this matter.

AA will soon have the same seats with same CX styling for which Cathay has advised that they have worked with AA in providing the same product specifications (i.e. styling by JPA).

17 Nov 2011

Total posts 27

So do you mean that AA's new business class wil have the same 82" long bed and 21" seat width?  It appears to be somewhat less, given how AA plans to fit their 77W inside. 

As fore the above information, that is 100% correct – it was indeed first featured by Sicma Aero Seat (a subsiduary of Zodiac Aerospace).

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Mar 2011

Total posts 3

The new Business Class seat specifications on CX Boeing 777-300ER are:

Bed length (tip-to-tip): 82", Usable bed length: 75", Usable bed width: 26.6" (with bed extension), 29.5" (with armrest retraction), Inseat width: 21".

On the otherhand, the Airbus A330-300 specifications differ due to the fuselage size of the aircraft and the seat specifications are:

Bed length (tip-to-tip): 82", Usable bed length: 75", Usable bed width: 26.4" (with bed extension), 27.6" (with armrest retraction), Inseat width: 20.2".

As for AA's configuration and specifications, I am not aware of their specifications but if they are planning to fit more seats, then the tip-to-tip bed length would be smaller than what CX is offering. I think what CX has achieved with its execution for its business class product is a well balanced in terms of space and privacy - its probably the best business class product in the sky today (way ahead of Singapore Airlines where you need to get up to convert the seat into bed and not to mention the wear and tear that the leather is showing - SQ is not doing a great job with its maintenance of the seats).


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