Up next is a super-wide business class seat which promises sofa-like comfort, especially for travellers flying with their partner.
The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace, is touted as one of the widest business class seats in the sky – and with backrests integrated into the seat’s rear shell, Stelia claims the Rendez-Vous “has been designed as a large and comfortable sofa… to offer passengers a unique feeling of freedom, as if they were at home, all along their flight.”
“When you're travelling far, thousands of miles from home, all you desire is to feel like you would at home,” explains Thierry Kanengieser, Stelia’s Vice-President of Cabin Interiors.
Stelia’s Rendez-Vous is intended for twin-aisle jets such as the Airbus A350 (so yes, in theory it could even end up as Qantas’ Project Sunrise A350 business class) but also rival Boeing’s delayed 777.
While Executive Traveller sampled the Rendez-Vous earlier this year in a private ‘behind closed doors’ demonstration at Hamburg’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, Stelia has only now gone public with its latest offering – and we understand an un-named Asian airline is already scoping out the Rendez-Vous for its future long-range fleet.
The middle seats in Rendez-Vous’ 1-2-1 layout alternate between seating travellers right next to one another in ‘honeymoon’ mode…
… or having them separated by the seat-adjacent shelf in what Stelia calls ‘solo’ seating (although many wags riff off the ‘honeymoon’ tag to call this ‘divorce’ mode).
And it’s in honeymoon mode that Stelia says the extra space is most noticeable, turning business class into cuddle class where the privacy doors transform the seat “into a wide and comfortable private suite.”
The central divider retracts flush into the seat’s housing, although the end result is more like twin beds side-by-side bed – although we’d suggest that with a custom-designed mattress topper, airlines could bring the experience closer to a true double bed.
During our backroom briefing at Hamburg, Stelia confirmed it is also developing on a front-row ‘business plus’ treatment with even more space and creature comforts, similar to the recently-unveilled Virgin Atlantic Retreat suite and Air New Zealand Business Premier Luxe.