This super-wide business class has an Asian airline in its sights

Introducing the extra-wide business class seat that’s best experienced as a private suite for two...

By David Flynn, September 30 2022
This super-wide business class has an Asian airline in its sights

From its invention in 1979 to the arrival of lie-flat beds in the year 2000 and sliding privacy doors in 2017, business class has continued to evolve – and it shows no sign of stopping.

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.”

The new Rendez-Vous business class seat from Airbus’ Stelia Aerospace.
The new Rendez-Vous business class seat from Airbus’ Stelia Aerospace.

“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.

The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.
The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.

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.

The new Rendez-Vous business class seat from Airbus’ Stelia Aerospace.
The new Rendez-Vous business class seat from Airbus’ Stelia Aerospace.

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 Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.
The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.

The middle seats in Rendez-Vous’ 1-2-1 layout alternate between seating travellers right next to one another in ‘honeymoon’ mode…

The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.
The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.

… 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 Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.
The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.

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.

The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.
The Rendez-Vous, from Airbus’ seating arm Stelia Aerospace.

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.

08 May 2020

Total posts 46

It looks very similar to Singapore Airlines regional seat?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 May 2019

Total posts 4

If you look at the width of the man’s shoulders compared to the seat, it actually looks as though he’d be quite cramped if he wasn’t travelling as part of a couple.   If the centre barrier was raised, he wouldn’t be anywhere near as comfortable.  It’s only because the woman is quite small framed that the seat looks spacious. 

bsb
bsb

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 91

Yes - that woman is wafer thin and he’s not your typical Aussie bloke either 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 684

@WeeGee - my thoughts exactly! I could not agree more.

While the business 'space' may be described as 'super-wide', I would describe the seat component as 'super-mean'. It is, as you've mentioned, super-miserable in seat / shoulder / waist width, whilst allocating a bunch of what could be useful SEAT space to the storage / arm rest components of the design. I would be fairly confident that while it looks great design-wise, there's a pretty obvious reason why no seat dimensions are mentioned.

Frankly, if I think of 'super-wide' seats, I am reminded of SQ's *old* style (both) Business and First on their A380's. Now, THAT was wide. You could almost consider it appropriate (or wide enough) for one and a half people! It's a shame that SQ chose to remove it and refit with a more modest version.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 867

Extra wide is good but being picky it's hard enough getting a good sleep let alone your partner hanging all over.

qf

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 8

No thank you. I much prefer the current QANTAS Business Seat. Having recently flown QANTAS Business, I am more than happy.

CorkWork Banned
CorkWork Banned

01 Oct 2022

Total posts 1

Seat designers must take into account more than just comfort for travelers. Privacy is also a key concern, especially for those traveling alone. This design would not be appropriate for such individuals.

That looks far too narrow! Why would I pay for business, when it’s that tight? 

I’ll make sure to never fly in this seat 

That’s also the same reason why I don’t fly Emirates, by the way….


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