Editor’s Comment: Practical luxury

Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

William Morris, the English textile designer and driving force behind the British arts and crafts movement, believed that you should “have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

It’s an ethos some airlines are keen to stand by.

At the beginning of July, Delta’s first 777-200ER to be refreshed with a new interior took flight from Detroit to Beijing. All eight of Delta’s 777-200ERs and all 10 777-200LR aircraft will be retrofitted by the end of 2019. Each will feature 296 seats total, including seating for 28 in the award-winning Delta One suites, 48 in the popular Delta Premium Select cabin, and 220 in Main Cabin which offers 9-abreast seating versus the industry norm of 10 across. Across all cabins, seatback entertainment screens provide access to thousands of hours of free content, and there is also full-spectrum LED ambient lighting with customised lighting schemes depending on the phase of flight.

According to Delta, its Delta One Suites offer each customer a private space accessed by a sliding door with thoughtfully designed personal stowage areas and premium trim and finishes to create an unparalleled business class experience with a comfortable, residential feel.

Over in the Middle East and Emirates has been busy reconfiguring its fleet of 777-200LR aircraft. To date, two have been converted from three cabin classes to two, with the remaining eight to be progressively reconfigured by mid-2019.

As part of the US$150 million investment, the reconfigured aircraft features new, wider business class seats in a 2-2-2 format, a new social area in business class, as well as a fully refreshed economy class.

While three becomes two cabin classes for Emirates, Oman Air has gone the other way, introducing a new first class featuring eight fully enclosed private suites on its 787-9 Dreamliner. I was lucky enough to be among those welcoming the first flight from Muscat to London Heathrow last weekend.

A new exclusive collection of chinaware, cutlery, glassware, linens and bedding will be launched to provide Oman Air premium guests with a unique, bespoke experience. In economy class, a new meal service, amenities and comfort items will be introduced to ensure Oman Air consistently enhances its award-winning economy class product. For children, a new set of activity kits called Junior Sinbad will also be launched to keep the airline’s young passengers entertained.

All classes will feature ‘Aria’, a new state-of-the-art Thales Integrated In-Flight Entertainment System designed exclusively for Oman Air featuring an immersive cinematic interface design, showcasing the latest in on-demand blockbuster movies, TV programmes and audio selections. Exclusively curated content will be available for visitors to Oman, who will experience the very best of Oman culture from the moment they step on board.

For William Morris, the true secret of happiness came from taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. It seems that for passengers, it’s the finer details of both product and service that make for a happy and comfortable flight.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Inflight e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

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