New business class seats put the emphasis on privacy

By David Flynn, July 8 2019
New business class seats put the emphasis on privacy

2019 has proven a busy year for business class as airlines continue to hone their focus on corporate high-flyers and well-heeled holidaymakers.

Most of the latest seat designs are warming up on the launchpad, while one remains parked out of sight, awaiting its own 'big bang' reveal – but across the board, there's an increased emphasis on privacy.

Here's our roundup of four fresh business class seats which will take wing in the second half of 2019.

British Airways Airbus A350 Club Suite

Arguably the biggest of the new business class launches is that of British Airways' Club Suite.

After more than a decade flying the current Club World cribs, the Club Suite replaces that cramped dorm-like layout with a spacious modern suite boasting a sliding door for total privacy.

Read more: British Airways' new business class is a suite with a privacy door

It's been a long road for British Airways, which weighed many concepts for its next-generation Club World – ranging from an updated Club World Mk III design to a radical 'sofa in the sky'.

Read: Here are the Club World business class concepts that BA rejected

The Club Suite will debut on BA's new Airbus A350 fleet, the first of which arrives in late July ahead of daily familiarisation flights between London and Madrid from early August through to late September.

From October the A350s will move to long-distance flying, beginning with Toronto and Dubai.

The Club Suite will also be fitted to most of BA's current fleet, from the stalwart Boeing 777s to the Airbus A380s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Also read: How British Airways created the world's first business class bed

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 Upper Class

Another airline giving business class a radical makeover is Virgin Atlantic. Its new Airbus A350 Upper Class swaps the steeply-raked 'herringbone' layout of the original Upper Class for a more conventional forward-facing seat.

And there'll be no more getting out of the seat to flip the back down into 'bed-mode': at the press of a button, the seats recline into an 82-inch fully flat bed.

Read more: We get up close with Virgin Atlantic's new Airbus A350 Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic will begin flying its new Airbus A350 – with its new suite-like Upper Class business class seats – between London and New York from September 10.

However, as this new seat was tailored specifically for the wide cabin dimensions of the A350, a different seat is being designed for Virgin's forthcoming Airbus A330neo  and Boeing 787-9 jets.

Read more: Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330neos to get new business class seats, bar

Turkish Airlines Boeing 787 business class

Turkish Airlines' impressive new business class seat promises to deliver a trio of traveller-friendly traits – "full flat, full access, full privacy" – for premium passengers.

It'll first take wing on the Star Alliance member's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, beginning with a new route from Istanbul to Bali on July 17. Also on the Dreamliner's dance card are London, Amsterdam, Dubai, New York, Atlanta, Washington DC, Panama and Mexico City.

This is the same business class seat as will feature on Turkish Airlines' Airbus 350 fleet, which follows the Dreamliners into the skies from April 2020.

While the seat won't be added to Turkish Airlines' Boeing 777 fleet, those long-legged jets will get their own bespoke business class which the airline says will offer direct aisle access for every passenger.

Read more: Turkish Airlines eyes new Boeing 777 business class seat

Qatar Airways A321neo, A321LR business class

Qatar Airways revolutionised business class with its highly-regarded Qsuite – can it bring the same game-changing attitude to single-aisle jets?

Qsuites on a single-aisle jet? Not quite, but if anybody could get close, it'd be Qatar Airways...
Qsuites on a single-aisle jet? Not quite, but if anybody could get close, it'd be Qatar Airways...

The Gulf carrier and Oneworld member has two new versions of the Airbus A320 headed into its hangars: the advanced Airbus A321neo, slated for delivery in the second half of this year, and the long-range Airbus A321LR, ten of which will arrive in Qatar strip from 2020.

Both will come with a fresh business class seat, of which Qatar Airways CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker says "there will be lots of privacy."

We're expecting to see a very well-dressed skew of an existing seat from one of the industry's leading designers and manufacturers.


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.