A new year is here, and it's one which will see some welcome improvements for business travellers perched at the pointy end of the plane.
And it's true that the best of today's business class beats the previous generation of first class seats from as recently as the early 2000s.
Goosed by the GFC and rising fuel costs, many airlines began to wind back their investment in first class in favour of creating better business class seats and cabins.
So while there's still plenty of luxe being laid on in first class, business class has become the new battleground for high flyers and well-heeled corporate travellers.
Here are five new international business class seats you might end up flying next year.
Already darting east-west on domestic Airbus A330 routes, Virgin's 'The Business' seats are expected to make their international debut from Sydney and Brisbane to Los Angeles in the first quarter of 2016, having been pushed back from a slated late 2015 rollout due to certification issues.
(You'll also see them on Virgin's Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights, but on that route we'd suggest Etihad's Airbus A380 with its own Business Studio suites and inflight Lobby lounge.)
The wide, comfortable seats convert to fully flat beds and offer direct aisle access to every passenger – two must-haves for any modern long-haul business class.
Virgin's Boeing 777-300ER jets they will trump their domestic Airbus A330 cousins with an even larger 18-inch video screen.
Overall, these will be the seats to beat on the Sydney-Los Angeles route. They'll easily surpass the Skybed II seats on Qantas's flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo.
The closest competition will be American Airlines' own Boeing 777-300ER business class, which is modelled on the same seats as flown by Cathay Pacific – but with the added appeal of in-flight Internet in case you need to knock over some work en route.
Virgin Australia's extensive make-over for each Boeing 777 will also include a larger inflight bar, with face-to-face service for up to four seated guests and additional lounge seating behind the bar.
The Hong Kong carrier will unveil a revamped business class seat on board the first of its new Airbus A350 jets, which is expected to take wing in March.
It's an 'evolution, not revolution' strategy which sees refinements to the airline's current and highly-regarded business class (below).
All the same, with the seat being shaped by Porsche Design Group, expect some elegant touches to the finished product.
From April we'll see the first of Malaysia Airlines' new-look business class seats on the airline's Airbus A330 flights to Australia and Asia.
The 'sloping sleepers' of today's A330s will make way for fully flat 76-inch beds with 16-inch video screens, AC and USB power sockets and direct aisle access for most travellers.
And the seats will probably be familiar to many Aussies, as they're built on the same floorpan as the excellent Qantas Business Suite, although with far less customisation.
There will also be a better ride for Vancouver-bound business travellers with the debut of Air Canada's latest business class on flights from Sydney.
From May 17, the Canadian flag-carrier's daily direct service between Sydney and Vancouver will feature an upgraded Boeing 777-200LR jet sporting the same business class as its flagship Boeing 787 fleet (which will also begin daily Brisbane-Vancouver flights from June).
The pointy end of the plane will get 40 'Executive Pods' – next-generation lie-flat seats arranged in a 1-2-1 layout.
Each seat extends extends to an 80-inch fully flat bed dressed with a 100 per cent cotton duvet.
Creature comforts include an adjustable 'pneumatic cushion' headrest, 18-inch personal entertainment screen, and noise-cancelling headsets.
As is often the case, the punchy Gulf carrier looks set to be the wildcard.
Qatar Airways will begin daily flights to its Doha hub, with onwards connections to the UK and Europe, from Sydney on March 1 and Adelaide on May 2 (with the City of Churches enjoying the airline's new Airbus A350 business class).
But sometime this year the airline is due to unveil what it calls a 'business class bedroom', which the airline's outspoken CEO Akbar Al Baker says will be comparable to today's first class.
The all-new design will deliver "a double bed at a business class fare", he promises. "We are developing a new seat to which we will have proprietary rights, and one which will be unrivalled."
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