The highly competitive world of business class just got a little edgier with the overnight launch of the DoveTail seat.
Aimed at the upper end of the business class market, the DoveTail is elbowing for attention among other newcomers including Zodiac Aerospace's Fusio and Thompson Aero's Vantage XL, which formed the basis for the Qantas Business Suite.
The all-new concept, created by Jamco and JPA Design, has already been showcased to airlines over the past three years in evolving iterative forms at the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg – but in invitation-only 'behind closed doors' sessions.
This week sees the DoveTail design making its formal debut, with a twist on the familiar 'reverse herringbone' seating layout seen in Cathay Pacific's and Qatar Airways' latest business class, Virgin Australia's upcoming business class and others.
Jamco and JPA Design have added a stagger to the rows to help balance privacy with what the boffins tag as a 'dense' design, meaning that airlines can fit more seats (and thus high-paying passengers) into the existing floorspace, even with the passenger-friendly 1-2-1 layout.
"DoveTail has been an exciting and at the same time a challenging product to design and develop" reflects Ben Orson, Managing Director at JPA Design.
"Throughout this process and to get the design absolutely right, we have built a series of mock-ups, honed the ergonomics with subjects from around the world, refining elements on feedback to ensure that the final product is right."
The DoveTail is built with twin-aisle jets in mind, ranging from the ever-popular Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 to the new A350 and Boeing 787 jetliners, and of course the big Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8I.
Jamco says the pitch will range from 43 inches to 46 inches depending on the aircraft type.
More importantly, however, is that the 21.5 inch (54.6cm) wide seat converts into a fully-flat bed with a usable length of 78 inches (1.98m).
The seat allows for a video screen up to 18.5 inches (47cm), with a touchscreen controller tucked into the centre console and a handy mirror inside the remote's door.
In addition to the now-mandatory AC and USB power sockets, there's the option for airlines to add an inductive charging pad so that devices like the new Samsung Galaxy S6 can be charged just by placing them onto the flat surface, while seating positions are adjusted using an intuitive touch control.
The ottoman at the foot of the seat allows space for one standard-sized cabin bag.
Headphones and tablets can be placed above the side console, with additional stowage at rear side of the seat's back shell.
Coloured privacy dividers slide up and down between the centre seats.
No airlines have yet signed up for the seat, and based on standard industry timelines it could be late 2017 before passengers step into the first DoveTail business class cabin.
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