New advances in business class travel combine customizable touches with sociable settings, not unlike the spacious lounges and cozy couches of planes in the 1960s and ’70s.
The latest design concepts feature customizable group-seating pods, sleek lounge bars and, soon enough, co-working spaces — all at 35,000 feet.
These changes come with a trend toward experiential travel, in which “authenticity and personalized experiences” are key components of a fulfilling journey, according to a 2016 US Experiential Traveler Survey by travel industry intelligence platform Skift.
From Qatar Airways’ new QSuite group-seating arrangements to Airbus’ proposed adaptable modular planes, air travel is entering a new era of personalization and socialization.
“Beyond premium cabins, I see a continued trend of more opportunities for passengers to engage socially with others,” Ben Schlappig, travel consultant and founder of One Mile at a Time aviation blog, tells CNN.
“KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) took the first step towards that with [its] Meet & Seat concept — where you can pick out a seatmate based on their social profiles.”
“While I don’t exactly see that type of service growing, I think airlines will find more opportunities to let passengers engage with one another — but only when they choose to, of course.”