There is no doubt this is innovative stuff from Air NZ, and its commendable that they are trying something different. But I am not convinced it will actually improve the experience for passengers, especially when the increased cost of tickets is taken into account.
The three rows as a bed concept is impractical for all but the shortest pax, and will result in tighter seats for all other in economy.
The PE product does look great, but has a slide forward rather than proper recline, which has been criticised by regular Cathay travellers as uncomfortable.
The Business Class seat (a Virgin Atlantic licenced knock-off) is still clunky as you need to get out of your reclined seat to switch into bed mode.
Especially considering BAs size, it has a long reputation for innovation, and I would say that 2009 was actually one of BA’s most innovative years.
Far from there being “hardly any innovation at BA over the past ten years”, here is an (incomplete) list of worthy examples:
– Introduction of World Traveller Plus Cabin, fleetwide (the first four class airline)
– Introduction of longhaul Club World flat beds, fleetwide
– Introduction of shorthaul Club Europe convertible seating, fleetwide
– Introduction of onbusiness corporate rewards scheme (the first such scheme of its type)
– £14m upgrade to Concorde interior
– total redesign of T4 “Lounge Pavilion” First and Concorde Room (the latter by Terence Conran)
– ba.com becomes functional for online e-ticketing
– Investment of £17m in Concorde safety improvements sees her return to flight
– British Airways won the prestigious Grand Prix Award for International Design Effectiveness for the new Club World seat which turned into a six-foot fully flat bed. The award was given in recognition of how the product had revolutionised business travel. The seat also won the best consumer product award.
– removal of Saturday night stay restriction on most European fares
– further A321 orders for shorthaul
– Connexion on board internet trialled on a BA 747
– launch of codeshares across the pond with AA
– WiFi available in all BA Terraces lounges globally
– carbon offsetting introduced as an option for customers
– noise cancelling headphones in Club World
– Raid the larder in Club and Tuck Box introduced in World Traveller/WT+
– light touch Club World cabin refresh, with softer cushioning and newly designed interior
– AVOD Video on demand rolled out in all classes
– Worldwide “Galleries” Lounge concept premieres in Brussels
– BA announced their biggest $8billion order since 1998 by ordering 36 new long-haul aircraft. 12 A380s with options on a further seven, and 24 Boeing 787s with options on a further 18.
– Terminal 5 opens, with a £100m investment in BA Lounges
– http://www.newclubworld.com installed on all 57 747s
– ba.com online functionality now available in 11 languages
– Open Skies airline subsidiary launched between Paris and New York
– BA mobile check in launched at BA2go.com
– Club World London City, the first scheduled transatlantic A318, launched
– New services to Las Vegas, Maldives, Punta Cana, Sharm El Sheikh
– New 777 and airbus shorthaul fleet deliveries continue
– BAEC Sale Offer: All redemptions made 50% off for the first time ever
– T5B Gallleries and Elemis Spa open
– BA opens brand new First and Galleries lounges in T3, and new lounge facilities in Mumbai
– Winner of 2009 Globe Travel Award for Innovation (Travel Weekly/Associated Newspapers)
– First redesign launched at http://www.ba.com/first