First Class Now Includes A Private Cabin?

Nowadays it isn’t enough for first-class passengers to separate themselves from coach, they need to hide from each other.

Introducing individual private first-class cabins!

From ABC News:

“The first-class cabin should be designed like a private jet,” said Tim Clark, president of Dubai-based Emirates. The airline plans to spend about $10 million a plane to reconfigure the interiors of its 100 long-haul jets.

The first-class minisuites, in honey walnut and leather, have a door that can be closed for complete privacy, creating a small room. The suite includes a wide, flat seat that becomes a bed longer than six feet and includes a massage function. The entertainment system is shown on a 23-inch flat screen. There’s a minibar, basket of snacks, a vanity mirror and an extensive gourmet menu; the food is served on demand, whether it is caviar, steak or lobster.

“It’s a cabin within a cabin,” said Clark. “First-class passengers should have control over their own environment.”

Hey, it only costs $12,000!

Your Own Private Room … at 40,000 Feet [ABC News]

Comments

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  1. homerjay says:

    Its the perfect place to privately and quietly assemble your bomb, too.

  2. Buran says:

    If airlines would offer a compromise between business and coach and charge a sane price for it, I’d pay, but business, which I’d pay for if it weren’t so freakin’ overpriced, is out of my reach. Don’t even tell me about first.

    That’s why I’m considering Qantas for when I go to Australia when the “bend over if you want to go to Europe or Australia” mentality finally goes away — they’ll be introducing “premium economy” next year. Just what I’m looking for.

    Hey, US airlines, you might want to look at what non-US carriers are doing and get your asses in gear.

  3. supra606 says:

    @homerjay: I was kind of thinking the same thing. Also, I think that the people who have $12,000 to spend on one flight most likely have their own private jet already. I just can’t imagine this being successful.

  4. starrion says:

    For people able to afford first class, the smart airlines WILL offer this service or watch the customer get a fractional private jet. This is not an option for the airlines. If you’re paying 12k for first class it’s probably because you want privacy.

    Why is this on consumerist again?

  5. lestat730 says:

    wow, i don’t suppose we can get these as a free upgrade from time to time? =)

  6. Gamby says:

    I dont think that many people have private jets. There are alot of high income people who can afford to do that and dont have a private jet. Even to rent a private jet for one time would cost probably like 4 or 5 times that amount.

    This is pretty ridiculous though. I mean for that space you could probably cram in 3+ people and charge them 400+ and make more money and get more people from A-B and not spend 10 million for upgrades. Or maybe even turn to customer satisfaction and give those of us crammed in coach a little more breathing room so we can maybe turn away from the screaming baby or actually put our arms on an arm rest when stuck between the two large people.

  7. hypnotik_jello says:

    Paying for business class seats is for suckers, upgrade! upgrade! upgrade!

  8. Tonguetied says:

    Whatever the market will bear….

  9. mupethifi says:

    Joining the mile high club just became allot easier

  10. Esquire99 says:

    @Gamby: Private air travel can be insanely expensive. Charter rates for a small jet run $2000/hr or more. Plus you have to pay for the crews expenses, the wait time on the airplane (or for the empty return trip if you go one-way). A trip from Kansas City to Miami could easily run $20,000. International trips could easily get to $100k, in part because the aircraft needed to make the trip gets much more expensive per hour. A Gulfstream V, which would make the trip over the pond, can run upwards of $10,000 per hour. Fractional ownership is also incredibly expensive. You pay a fee to buy in, anywhere between $200k and a few million, plus monthly management fees that run from maybe $2,000 to $20,000 per month. And all that is before you even set foot in the airplane. You’re still going to pay a few thousand per occupied hour. Full ownership is even more. Debt service, insurance, hangar fee’s, maintenance, pilot salaries and benefits, chart services, ramp fee’s, gas, oil, etc. It adds up very, very quickly. You’ve got to be incredibly wealthy and making a lot of trips to be able to experience the luxury and convenience of private jet travel.

  11. Ass_Cobra says:

    Most private jets don’t have the range necessary for most flights that these carriers run. Most of the time the passengers are business travelers so they aren’t themselves footing the bill. It sucks but if you have to fly 15 hours for work and they’ll pay for it, then why not? I’ve advocated that my company offer to give you 30% of the difference between business and first class if you take business class but they have something about giving employees excess cash.

  12. Paul D says:

    On a recent flight to Europe, I was seated (in coach) next to a guy who was carrying a pilot’s manual for EOS Airlines. He had just gotten a job flying for them and was studying their rules & regs.

    We talked for a bit about EOS, since I’d never heard of them before. What he described is a similar setup. Private or semi-private seating, gourmet food, music and movies on demand, etc.

    Nice guy. Seemed very proud of his new job and was excited about the company. (It also helped that our flight attendant happened to be his fiancee. We got the royal treatment all the way to Rome.)

  13. Paul D says:

    On a recent flight to Europe, I was seated (in coach) next to a guy who was carrying a pilot’s manual for EOS Airlines. He had just gotten a job flying for them and was studying their rules & regs.

    We talked for a bit about EOS, since I’d never heard of them before. What he described is a similar setup. Private or semi-private seating, gourmet food, music and movies on demand, etc.

    Nice guy. Seemed very proud of his new job and was excited about the company. (It also helped that our flight attendant happened to be his fiancee. We got the royal treatment all the way to Rome.)

  14. Paul D says:

    WTF?

    Sorry about the double-post.
    I don’t really know how that happened, but I’ve been experiencing all kinds of weirdness with all the Gawker comment systems.

  15. 5cents says:

    Last year I worked on the Emirates super-first class cabins for the A380 as the materials engineer for flammability and as the trim and finish engineer. It was a fun project. I personally thought the design was a little garish initially, but it came out lush (typical of Arab luxury). I’ll likely not use them for the next five years, but they are incredible in person.

    We also worked on the Qantas super-first class cabins which weren’t nearly as nice.

    Finally, I like seeing some of my work around :p

  16. Sonnymooks says:

    This is awesome….I usually only fly first class, so this is something I know I would like.

  17. ooolam says:

    Spend $10 million a plane to reconfigure the interiors? I think they should spend that money on problems that can benefit the general passengers.

  18. Canadian Impostor says:

    @ooolam: They’re a business and think they’ll get a better return on spending that money on their first class cabin.

    They don’t care about the first class passengers and they don’t care about you, they care about return on investment.

    They’re not a charity, if you don’t like their decisions fly someone else.

  19. huadpe says:

    First class prices are insane, but they are paid for by business for a few reasons.
    1. It’s a perk for employees. If you’re going to send some highly skilled middle-upper manager overseas 6-8 times a year, she may quit if crammed into coach for 16 hours every time.
    2. It’s refundable. Business trips happen at the last minute often, and schedules change alot. It’s worth it to get a refundable business/first ticket in the long run.
    3. It’s not that much more expensive. Sure, looking 3 months out you can get a much cheaper seat flying coach, but look 2 days out and the prices are alot closer together.

  20. ooolam says:

    @Canadian Impostor: If that’s the case, I think their thinking is absolutely wrong. By providing better services to the general passengers, they will have a higher return and better company image, which will attract more customers. Most of the successful companies out there are focusing on the general public instead of a niche market. There are so many areas that US carriers should improve in order to compete with other carriers out there.

  21. ViperBorg says:

    @mupethifi: I was thinkin the same thing.

  22. rg says:

    As long as they continue to allow children in first class this is a great idea! Although, it might make it a little harder for me to trip the little rug rats when they’re running up and down the aisles.

  23. Canadian Impostor says:

    @ooolam: No offense, but I really doubt you know how to generate money from airline ticket sales better than the professionals whose livelihood depends on generating revenue from airline ticket sales.

    It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback.

  24. CoffeeAddict says:

    $12,000 for nice little private cabin would be nice if it was in the mountains or something but on a plane, are you crazy? Some people have way to much money to blow if this sounds like a good idea.

  25. MrEvil says:

    Looks like airlines are gaining one thing that makes me take the train everywhere, the private room. Not that I’ll stop taking the train though.

  26. pestie says:

    @supra606: Actually, last I knew, a private jet cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5000/hour to operate, and that’s after you’ve paid the $9M (for a used Citation/LearJet) – $45M (for a new Gulfstream V) for the plane itself. Being a millionaire ain’t what it used to be, that’s for sure.

  27. swalve says:

    “Nowadays?” Wasn’t first class invented on ocean liners and then on trains?

    Get some perspective.

  28. swalve says:

    @pestie: They have fractional ownership (as the original poster said) and al-la-carte planes that you rent by the hour. $2000 an hour was what I remembered hearing. Which gets really reasonable when you figure in the faster flying time and if you’re flying a few passengers, and that you can’t miss the plane because it’s waiting for you. First class to NYC is $1300 round trip. A jet starts looking like a good value very quickly.

  29. Anonymous says:

    @ooolam:

    First class doens’t represent a niche market. Premium seats account for 40-60% of airline revenue. As incredible as it sounds, airlines must cater to full-fare business and first-class passengers. Those in coach are merely there for the ride.

  30. FLConsumer says:

    This is old news…Emirates has had the private cabins in 1st class for at least 2 years now.

  31. Esquire99 says:

    @swalve: Yes, $2000 an hour (or more) but that doesn’t include the huge up front cost to buy in and the multiple thousands per month for management fee’s. Hell, you could make a few trips per month at $1300/ticket for the management fee’s alone.