Asiana Airlines' oddly-named but highly-regarded 'OZ Quadra Smartium' seat will be introduced on the daily Sydney-Seoul service towards the end of next year.
The rolling refit of Asiana's Boeing 777-200ER fleet throughout 2011 will extend the availability of the unique seat from its current routes of Beijing, Shanghai and Los Angeles through to London, Paris and New York, followed by Sydney.
That said, some lucky Asiana passengers flying out of Sydney a few weeks back got a sneak preview of the seat when an equipment change directed one of the upgraded 777s on Sydney-Seoul route.
A substantial improvement from the current business class seats, the OZ Quadra Smartiums lie fully flat at the horizontal, with a 74 inch (just shy of 1.9 metre) length and a 15 inch pitch.
The larger and longer seats meant that as part of the refit, the number of business class seats in the 777 will be reduced from 32 to 24 to accommodate the Smartium and its 1-2-1 configuration, which also provides each passenger with direct access to the aisle.
Asiana uses the staggered layout that an increasing number of airlines are adopting to provide an extra degree of privacy and comfort, but there's a unique twist to this: alternate rows in the middle two-seat section have the seats either adjacent and angled slightly towards one another, or separate and angled slightly away. The former layout is of course ideal for couples or anybody travelling in pairs, while the later is for solo flyers.
In addition to the fold-out dining tables there are 'cocktail tables' situated next to each seat. There's also a foldable arm rest and moveable head rest, a shoe storage nook and of course PC power and a USB port for each passenger.
If you're wondering where the seat's whacky name comes from: 'OZ' is the flight code for Asiana Airlines, 'Quadra' indicates the seat's four key features (lie-flat design, more privacy, staggered layout and direct aisle access) and 'Smartium' is for, well, smart something or other.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.