Next-gen 'DoveTail' business class seat breaks cover

By David Flynn, April 28 2015
Next-gen 'DoveTail' business class seat breaks cover

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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David

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.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Looks nice, however I am not a fan of herringbone pattern and believe that staggered layout is better. Those who like to see what happens outside cannot do so with herringbone design even at window seat and those who traveling in pair cannot talk each to other comfortably enough.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

what about reverse herringbone (like CX)? do you like that? cos this is just pretty  much the same thing

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

It is pretty much the same and my personal preference would be staggered layout

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

Quick comment Do you mean S6 wireless charging

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 318

I'm sure the design guys at JPA Design want to hear this (we all know how precious "design types" can be).... BUT, it's the exact same reverse herringbone layout used by Zodiac for their excellent Cirrus seat.

Not exactly what you would call original boys.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Not a surprise given the Cirrus seat is also a JPA Design !

https://www.jpadesign.com/transport

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

So if I understand correctly, this is just staggered reverse herringbone? It doesn't seem that much more woopty doo (from passenger's point of view anyway) than regular reverse herringbone (ala CX).

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

It's Malibu Stacey! But she's got a new hat!

It would be interesting to figure out the exact densities of all these different configurations. This one looks pretty darn dense... which isn't a bad thing if it lowers cost (and hopefully price?) without lowering passenger comfort. But how does it compare to the other layouts out there? It's tricky to tell without tape-measuring various airlines' cabins. 

I'd rather fly facing forwards than at a slight angle. But then again, I'd rather arrive at my destination a thousand dollars richer.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

I like the new generation of SQ business currently only found on a few 77Ws.  It appears to have addressed the issues of the A380 business seat by reducing the width slightly and increasing the bed length and comfort.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2012

Total posts 54

It seems these seats are designed for the person travelling alone.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2014

Total posts 38

This does not look like an improvement from the passenger point of view.

It may be called reverse herringbone, but it looks more like business class sardines to me. Less space in real terms, and harder to communicate with your travelling companion.

It appears that airlines are starting to do to Business what they have been doing to Economy for years - make it worse. With the decline in availability of first class, I would have thought improved amenity for Business Class would have been the way to go.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

just a small note...paragraph 4...the reverse herringbone is NOT seen on QFs new Business Suite..QFs Suite is forward facing staggered layout

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

I noticed that...he must mean the new QR business seat

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 164

Having flown in the CX seat with my partner, I would say that it's a fantastic seat. This one however looks a bit narrow. How does 21.5" width compare to other J seat widths?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

Cathay A330 is 20inch, 77W is 21inch.  Singapore A380 is 30inch and new gen business in new 77Ws is 28inch.  Emirates business is a dismal 18inches (compared to singapore economy which is 19inches).

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 47

Air Canada's older herringbone seats, in 77W, 77L, 767 and A330, are 20.35". The newer seats on their 787-8 and 787-9 are 21".

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 164

Just realised - no inner soft armrest, just a narrow (hard?) shelf.

CX

31 Aug 2013

Total posts 12

Perhaps the actual pitch is shorter, or the seats are in fact pulled in closer compared to non-staggered reverse herringbone? They must be using stagger to justify less actual space for each seat.

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 164

Think you are right about the stagger - ingenious. Look at the angle at the end of the ottoman. This angle would allow the extra length of the other side to extend into the centre barrier. However, I doubt that 78" is available for both feet in this design.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

EMIRATES!!  watch and learn-should use this product on all of your 777 and 330's instead of the crappy 2-3-3 layout it's a disgrace!

Delta

22 Mar 2015

Total posts 13

Understanding the need of airlines to make more and more money, this makes a lot of sense.  As a business traveler, it looks like a new version of cattle class.    As mentioned in the comments, you are in isolation.  You cannot see out of the plane, you cannot talk to anyone else.  It is great that they squeeze a bed out of this.  It really is.  That is fantastic.  But at the expense of being a traveler, not a packaged good.

I would like to see them go back to the drawing board on this.  It is not a solution, just another problem.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 183

I have had the privelege of flying Business Class with a few different Airlines over the past few years. Without any doubt by far the best is SQ A380 / B777-300ER with it's 30 inch wide seats.Nearly all of the others have such narrow seats it makes it almost impossible for a large frame person to have any sleep whatever on their back. Emirates are by far the worst with a lousy 18.5 inches and are horrible to try to sleep in.

Even SQ A330 are wider than Emirates at 24.5 inches.

A lot of these new type seats have the arm rest on one side higher than the other which makes it difficult if not impossible to lay on ones back without having one arm much higher up on one side. If this arm rest could be lowered it would solve that problem. There's absolutelly no doubt in my opinion about who has by far the best and most comfortable Business class seat and that's SQ.

I reckon a lot of Pax would rather a few more inches in seat width instead of the large  storage shelves along side of the seats. Slightly Smaller storage would give much better seating width.  P.S . I have already posted this comment  in another review.!!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

I prefer the new seats in SQ's 77Ws delivered in the last 2 years.  The width is reduced to 28inch, which I prefer cos the old one was uncomfortable to sit cos the armrests are too far apart to be useful. The big issue with the A380 seat is the bed is uncomfortably short and hard, which they've addressed with the new seat.


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