BMW turns first class seating into "luxury islands"
By David Szondy
July 9, 2013
Flying coach may make one understand what life is like for a battery hen, but not everyone who travels by air has it so bad. If you have the ticket fare, from this September you’ll be able to enjoy Singapore Airlines' next-generation first class seats. These “luxury islands” with living-room ambiance were designed by the BMW Group DesignworksUSA and are being installed on the new Boeing 777-300ER for selected flights between Singapore and London.
The new seats are more like mini-lounges, measuring 35 in (88.9-cm) wide and folding forward to form a dedicated sleeping pad that has been extended from 80 to 82 in (203.2 to 208.2 cm) in length. This is covered with a special fabric that increases the tension of the material so that it looks fresh and pristine even after hours of use, while the extension of the outer walls of the seating area sees the passenger shielded both visually and acoustically.
According to BMW, the new seat uses aspects of automotive design to improve comfort and functionality and to provide an “aura of tranquillity.” Even the colors and materials used show an application of color psychology, with a selection of warm shades of brown with leather-lined seats and atmospheric lighting that are intended to create the atmosphere of a living room. This is contrasted with the grey and metallic colors outside the cubicle so as to divide the public and private spaces.
None of this would be of much use if the cubicle was filled with clutter, so there are lots of stowage areas for luggage and personal belongings. Additionally, the cubicle’s table extends rather than folds out and there is a vanity corner for freshening up. The infotainment system adds a high-tech touch with a 23-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, which BMW claims it the highest offered by an airline. This is topped off with surround sound and noise-cancelling headphones.
Naturally, all this comfort doesn't come cheap. A first class ticket from London to Singapore is in the area of £6,200 (US$9,100).
The video below explains the philosophy behind the new first class seats.