Qantas' first flight with the new A$385 million (HK$2.03 billion) International
Business Class touches Hong Kong soil on Tuesday. Freshly unveiled in Sydney last week, the new international business class features
the state-of-the-art sleeper seat, Skybed and a range of other product and
service enhancements that have set new standards for business travel.
Welcoming the flight, Freddy Li, General Manager of Qantas Airways Greater
China, said, "We are delighted that Hong Kong was chosen as one of the first
routes to install the new International Business Class with Skybed. Hong
Kong is a very important market within the Qantas network and this choice is
an indication of our continued commitment to our Hong Kong passengers."
Qantas New International Business Class will progressively serve passengers
on QF128 and QF127 flying between Hong Kong and Sydney.
Qantas Executive General Manager Sales and Marketing, John Borghetti, said
Skybed, designed by world-famous Australian industrial designer Marc Newson and developed by USA based manufacturer BE Aerospace in
association with Qantas engineering, was the best all round Business Class
seat in the sky.
"We undertook extensive market research and worked with an ergonomist to
ensure we were delivering what customers told us they wanted," he said.
"The result is definitely a departure from the traditional airline seat. Skybed
offers a sleek, contemporary design and a range of innovative features that
provide maximum comfort, convenience and flexibility for customers."
Skybed is 6 feet, 6.5 inches (199.4 cm) long and 23.5 inch (60 cm) wide when
fully reclined to 8 degrees. Its features include:
· A fixed cocoon-style seat surround to provide maximum
· A privacy screen between seats
· Extensive seat adjustment controls to ensure maximum comfort in any
position, with additional seat controls inside the cocoon surround
· Cushioned lumbar support
· A back massage feature
· A large 10.4 inch (26.4 cm) screen with multi-channel entertainment
· A PC power outlet that allows laptops to be plugged straight in without the
need for adaptor cables
· World first Short Message Service (SMS) accessed via the in-seat telephone
handset, with a inflight reply facility
· Clever storage options including a shoe cupboard and glove box for
spectacles and travel documents; and
· A water bottle holder.
Designer Marc Newson said his challenge as a designer was to create the best
in the market.
"Because I spend a lot of time on aircraft, I have had the opportunity to think
about improving the cabin environment by combining good design with seat
functionality. I wanted to design a seat that was private, high tech and above
all comfortable - creating your own personal space around you," Mr Newson
Marc Newson also designed new aircraft interiors featuring curtains, carpets,
pillows and blankets to complement the cabin enhancements.
Mr Borghetti said the new International Business Class included a range of
other product and service initiatives.
"We have recruited 1,200 dedicated First and Business Class Flight
Attendants and introduced specialised training for them that focuses on more
personalised service," he said.
"We have also introduced a new self-service Business bar, again designed by
Marc, that offers a range of premium snacks and beverages, in addition to the
regular meal services."
Other enhancements include:
· A new mood lighting system, designed exclusively for Qantas and the first of
its kind in the skies
· New catering options, designed by Australian chef Neil Perry, with healthy
and express meal options
· New wines
· A "silver service" style of meal delivery
· Room-service style breakfast ordering
· A range of refreshments available throughout the flight and prepared to order
· Premium quality noise cancelling headsets
· New luxurious amenity kits; and
· Distinctive new uniforms, designed by Australian fashion designer Peter
The new International Business Class cabin, including Skybed, is being
progressively introduced on all three-class Boeing 747-400s from this month.
These aircraft operate on routes between Australia and the United Kingdom
via Bangkok and Singapore, the USA and Hong Kong.
Skybed and the cabin enhancements will be introduced on two-class Boeing
747-400s from the end of 2004. These aircraft fly between Australia and Frankfurt, Paris, South Africa and Singapore, and on the airline's
Brisbane-Auckland-Los Angeles route.
The airline's nine new A330-300 aircraft, being delivered from mid-2004, will
also offer the new International Business Class cabin.
Mr Borghetti said First Class customers would also see improvements in food
and wine selections, cabin enhancements including new bathrooms and amenities, as well as new-style sleeper suits.