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Qantas won't be rolling out its next-generation Business Suite business class seat which is bound for its Airbus A330s and potentially the Boeing 787-9 until the end of this year.
But thanks to Irish design firm Thompson Aero Seating and Scandinavian airline SAS we're able to give you a better idea of what's in store for the Flying Kangaroo's latest lie-flat seat.
Thompson is the creator of the Vantage XL seat, which the Qantas Business Suite is based upon – indeed, Qantas was the first airline to choose the Vantage XL.
SAS happens to have been the second airline and has already conducted a public launch for its new international business class ahead of its debut in early 2015.
Neither the standard 'off the rack' Vantage XL or SAS business class seat is identical to the Qantas Business Suite, which is undergoing customisation by the Red Roo's resident designer Marc Newson.
They can, however, provide a few clues beyond what we've already gleaned based on the handful of PR images which Qantas has shared.
The Thompson Vantage XL
Founded in 2001 and with only a handful of seats in its portfolio, Thompson is a relative newcomer to the game, but its Vantage XL seat caught the attention of Qantas as the pointy end product on its domestic and international Airbus A330 fleet.
The Vantage XL is a upgraded version of the original Vantage seat, which JetBlue selected for its Mint premium class on trans-continental US flights.
Australian Business Traveller caught up with the Thompson team at this year's Aircraft Interiors Expo show in Hamburg, Germany for a closer look at the Vantage XL.
As we've previously detailed, the Vantage XL – and thus the Qantas Business Suite – uses a staggered 'dovetail' layout in which the footwell of one seat extends into the side table space of the seat in front, as shown on these diagrams for the Vantage XL in the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.
This also allows every passenger to enjoy direct access to the aisle without stepping over a seatmate.
Even the 'base' model Vantage XL can be dressed to good effect for airlines which want it ordered straight off the catalogue and fitted into their fleet.
The seats themselves range from 23 inches to 25 inches across, with plenty of elbow room either side of the cushion itself, and extend to a 79 inch (200 cm) lie-flat bed.
A trait which all business travellers will appreciate is the seat's ample storage for assorted personal items.
This includes a large side table workspace for each passenger.
HD video screens are mounted into the rear of each seat shell, with a clever pocket to the right of the screen for holding a magazine, tablet or slim laptop.
SAS international business class
Scandinavian Airlines – the common flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden – also adopted the Vantage XL for its new long-range business class.
This will include an upgrade to seven current Airbus A330 and A340 jets as well as factory installation on four new Airbus A330s from in 2015-2016 and SAS' eight new Airbus A350s due from 2018 onwards.
This concept artwork illustrates the staggered 'dovetail' nature of the seating in the same 1-2-1 layout as we'll see on Qantas' Airbus A330 fleet.
Scandinavian's seat is a more fully-formed and finished version of the Vantage XL.
The familiar shape and some hallmarks such as the recessed corner shelving remains.
As seen in this photo from the SAS launch, snapped by our colleagues at BusinessClass.se, AC and USB power ports and handily placed near the passenger.
There's also a small handheld controller for adjusting the LED lighting, activating the reading lamp and calling the flight attendant.
The seat adjustment panel reveals a massage function and the ability to vary the seat's 'firmness'.
In front of each passenger: a 15 inch HD video screen plus two storage nooks.
This PR shot from SAS shows how an iPad can sit snug in one of those nooks and even recharged, provided you've packed a USB cable long enough to reach back to your seat.
(If you're wondering about that stylish and comfy-looking bedding in SAS' new business class it's supplied by Hästens, Sweden's oldest bed manufacturer.)
The Qantas Business Suite
SAS' Vantage XL provides a hint as to just how good the Qantas Business Suite could be once the curtains are finally pulled back.
It should make good on Alan Joyce's promise to be "the world's best domestic business class seat" for those long east-west flights, although the lie-flat bed will be even more welcome on the overnights from Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok.
The mockups of the Marc Newson seat show a larger laptop stowage space plus a panel which we assume contains AC and USB power sockets.
Each Business Suite will be fitted with a 16 inch screen.
Qantas says it will launch the new Business Suite on both domestic and international routes by the end of 2014.
Sydney-Perth is tipped for the Business Suite’s domestic debut with the Sydney-Singapore A330 route be at the front of the starting grid.
For more details, read: Up close with the Qantas Business Suite
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