TALKING POINT | All of a sudden, doors are the thing for business class. Four airlines already have them – most recently, British Airways with its new Club Suites – and little doubt that other airlines will tap this trend in the years to come.
Which brings us to Qantas’ next-generation business class seats, which will take wing on the Project Sunrise jets from 2022 as they soar non-stop from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York, with other routes also on the map.
Before this year is out, Qantas will announce if the prestigious Project Sunrise contract will land in the lap of Airbus (for the A350-1000) or Boeing (for the 777X), and the clock will start ticking towards delivery of that first globe-striding jet.
Part of that process is the design of the new seats which Qantas has promised from tip to tail – a process which Qantas has already begun, in order to meet the necessary lead times, with Alan Joyce earlier this year promising that "we’re looking at redefining business class, first class, premium economy and economy."
Which raises the question: should those business class seats actually be suites with doors?
Business travellers I speak with seem broadly split on the idea of doors, even in first class cabins.
Connected to this seems to be the size of the space: passengers can feel confined in smaller suites once the door is pulled shut.
And while doors can help create a quieter and more private environment when it’s time to sleep (which will be a major component of those marathon Project Sunrise flights), they’re a bit of a barrier to attentive crew service during the rest of the flight.
However, there’s no denying their popularity among those airlines who have them and the premium passengers who fly them.
So this week, we’re asking Australian Business Traveller readers to share their thoughts with Qantas (we know they’re reading!) on Project Sunrise business class: doors or no doors?