Middle East and Asia airlines claim supremacy in premium air travel
With the occasion of last week’s Paris Air Show, the 2011 World Airline Awards were announced, revealing that Asian and Middle Eastern airlines continue to be considered best in class at the luxury end. A few of the more notable awards included the World’s Best First Class Airline which was given to Etihad Airways, the World’s Best Business Class which was won by Singapore Airlines, the World’s Best First Class Airline Seat which went to Cathay Pacific, the World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge (Qatar Airways).
Oman Air and Korean Air made headlines at the Paris Air Show introducing innovative and expanded premium services and facilities in Business and First Class cabins. Oman Air was named winner of the World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat award. In addition to an ottoman which it refers to as a “buddy seat” large enough for a guest to sit and dine with another person at the single-piece table, other features of the cubicle include a main seat that “offers comfort and luxury within an 82-inch pitch, direct aisle access for every passenger and converts to a 77.5-inch long fully lie-flat bed.
Korean Air presented its First Class cabin on the Airbus A380, which includes 12 ‘Kosmo’ suites, each cubicle being equipped with a widescreen LCD display and Bose noise-cancelling headphones. The upper deck is the exclusive domain of 94 lie-flat ‘Prestige’ business class sleeper seats in a 2-2-2 layout, with a privacy divider between seats and a 15.4 inch personal LCD screen stowed in the armrest. Korean Air’s A380 also features the first in flight duty free shop on an aircraft, with a dedicated space and products displayed on wall shelves.