Galaxy business class concept offers space for couples and solo flyers

This rethink of the business class cabin promises a sofa-style flat bed with shared window seats and room for an inflight bar.

By David Flynn, August 8 2019

The most expensive real estate is not always a skyscraper-topping penthouse or sprawling waterfront mansion. On a cost per square metre – or square foot, if Imperial is your measurement unit of choice – the premium cabin of a commercial jet can rank alongside the most luxurious land-locked abodes.

Airlines and design firms juggle the need to maximise that precious space while satisfying the expectations of high-paying passengers.

And those expectations are slowly rising. Lie-flat beds went from novelty to the norm, then privacy and direct aisle access became benchmarks. The latest flourish – seen in Qatar Airways’ Qsuite and Singapore Airlines’ latest business class – is the option for a double bed.

Now there’s a business class concept seat which aims to not only top the space-efficiency scorecard but even leave room for a cocktail bar.

AirGo's Galaxy business class cabin concept includes an inflight bar.

Singapore-based AirGo Design’s Galaxy business class sprang from the idea that one size doesn’t fit all.

Instead, the Galaxy concept incorporates two different seat designs: one for the windows, and another for the centre of the cabin.

The Galaxy business class has a modular design with two different types of seating.

It’s still a 1-2-1 layout, but in a counterpoint to conventional thinking, it’s the window seats which can be converted into a shared space – if not a completely double bed – while the middle seats are set aside for solo passengers.

A flat bed and a large-screen telly offer the comforts of home.

“The middle seats are ideal for business travellers,” explains AirGo co-founder Alireza Yaghoubi, as they deliver “a high level of privacy and at the same time, minimal human interactions.”

Galaxy's middle seat is a conventional design best suited to solo travellers.

“We thought families also travel in business class and that is one scenario you want to have human interactions, especially when you are with kids. In the end, we decided it is best to have two completely different designs in the cabin.”

Galaxy's steeply-raked window seats are reminiscent of Cathay Pacific's first flat-bed business class.

The angled sofa-style window seats can also be installed on single-aisle aircraft – a trait which may hold especially strong appeal to airlines adding the long-range Airbus A321LR and XLR to their fleets.

Fully lie-flat beds plus direct aisle access in a single-aisle jet? Job done.

“Strong interest in A321XLR suggests that we are going to see more and more long-haul flights on narrow body aircrafts,” Yaghoubi predicts. “We can maintain the same number of seats as regional business class seats, except that our seats are flat-bed.”

AirGo's galaxy layout for a single-aisle jet shows the different seating and sleeping positions available to passengers.

A long partition between each window seat can be lowered to create a shared space for couples and even families.

Galaxy's window seats are family-friendly.

However, while two very-well-acquainted travellers can sleep together, a wall containing the video screen and other controls is fixed in place so they won’t quite be ‘sleeping together’ per se.

Sleeping together without actually 'sleeping together'.

Travellers in both seats have to allow the wall to be lowered, using two-party authentication built into the inflight entertainment system.

The upper half of adjacent Galaxy business class window seats can become a shared space.

“You can send a request to lower the walls to the neighbouring passenger, and they have the option to refuse temporarily or for the duration of the flight,” Yaghoubi says.

“But if and when they accept, they have the choice of lowering only the top portion of the wall, or the whole dividing panel. Lowering the wall completely would essentially turn the adjacent seats into a queen bed for couples or even a larger shared area for families with children.” 

AirGo believes its Galaxy concept offers highly efficient use of limited cabin space.

The middle seats have a more traditional forward-facing design.

Galaxy's middle seats don't aim to reinvent the wheel.

A privacy panel between the paired middle seats which can be lowered or raised.

A privacy divider lets Galaxy's middle seatmates be social or keep to themselves.

AirGo’s Galaxy business class cabin design also features room for a cocktail bar towards the very front of the aircraft where the fuselage begins to taper.

Inflight bars are ideal for stretching your legs and whiling away the hours on long flights.

The rear of the cabin has been modified to include a closet for hanging jackets plus a self-serve area for drinks, snacks and reading material.

Hang your jacket, grab a drink and magazine, then head to your seat.

AirGo isn’t shy about comparing its Galaxy to other business class seats, including United’s Polaris.

Galaxy vs Polaris: more seats, less Tetris.

The company has filed a patent application for the Galaxy concept, although real-world lead times  mean it would be several years until the Galaxy could take wing.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

sunnybrae

sunnybrae

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 6

We've seen a very similar design before on NZ, VS, DL and CX. And they're all getting rid of it too. No surprises there. It's cramped, you can't easily peer out the window and lacks storage space. I'd be surprised if any major carrier takes up this obsolete design, no matter the tweaks they've engineered. It may work on a single aisle aircraft, but on a jumbo, I can't see any takers for it.

Joshb

Joshb

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

Agree, this could be an option for A321LR/XLR but I doubt we will see a regression in widebody's to this format.

parishiltons

parishiltons

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 62

And your feet will stick out into the aisle and get knocked by everyone passing....

JKH

JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 128

Some interesting ideas there and some that just are not. The pictures are rather strange as the way the seat numbering goes (in reverse) it looks like everything's rearward facing - which obviously isn't so. The window seats look like another herringbone coffin-class concept.

ashj

ashj

09 Aug 2019

Total posts 1

While it is an interesting attempt to 'shake up' the way we see the cabin, there are no real 'new' ideas that aren't already shared between other airlines. Paying a premium is meant to make you feel less like a sardine, but 'more seats, less Tetris' seems to be a more commercial approach, which deems an aircraft window in the luxury category now. As a regular solo/business traveler, I prefer the window, which seems to have been completely negated from view in this design, why not use a cargo plane? What is the market share for business class beyond award seats of 'families of 3+'? And the TV panel well and truly ensures that a 'Queen' size bed keeps the cabin family-friendly. We've seen better approaches to the respectable complexity of a proper Tetris design up front, which considers couple friendly layout, the window as standard not luxury, and privacy minus space-sacrifice. The logic may be better applied to shaking up the back half geography through a 'more seats, less Tetris' approach, which hasn't changed all that much since inception.

Libertyscott

Libertyscott

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 153

Like others have said, coffin class is on the way out, and this is even less appealing than the current NZ and VS(excluding latest) product, as it appears narrower with higher sidewalls, AND with sidewalls that appear thin enough that your neighbour could hit it and it would reverberate. The widely circulated BA patented sofa version of Club World (which did not proceed because of the time needed to develop and manufacture it in volume compared to the Club Suite recently launched) is a much better version.

The concept of having two different types of seats in business is intriguing and in principle might not be a bad idea, but this needs some rethink.

John C

John C

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

08 Aug 2014

Total posts 39

Oh no, I don't like this at all. Looks pokey and cramped. And why should solo travellers be bunged in the middle seats where they don't have a window view? I also think the decor looks "Cheena" - a term that many Singaporeans will know...

crosscourt

crosscourt

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 349

You can definitely count me out with these seats ie having the window behind me. Drove me crazy when Cathay had something similar in business. Felt cooped up and oh so uncomfortable, almost claustrophobic is what I felt. On Cathay they were known as "coffins". Awful positioning for a seat.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Galaxy business class concept offers space for couples and solo flyers