Airlines are always looking for an edge on each other. Some offer super cheap prices, while others offer free streaming services. While most of us travel in economy, the hardest and most valuable customers for airlines to reach are definitely business class passengers. Airlines are continually seeking for ways to edge out the competition in search of these elusive customers. New research shows that perhaps the best way to reach them is by offering the best place to sleep.
We all sleep in airplanes, but the sleeping arrangements in first class are continually being improved on. A recent article studying airline industry trends says that in the last ten years, for seats at the front of the airplane, lie-flat seats are now the industry standard. So where do you go when it seems like you’ve topped out your options? To supreme comfort.
“The airlines are looking at everything they can that will give them a competitive advantage and help them attract the moneyed traveler,” said travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt, who is also founder of Atmosphere Research Group. “They realized you could only make the seat so flat. How do they improve on the comfort of that?”
Increasing the Quality of Amenities
All beds are not equal, and neither are all sleeping aids. American Airlines has been experimenting with adding custom-designed lines of blankets, pillows and mattress pads. These are all set to debut in American Airline’s premium cabins for long-haul flights on December fifth. The idea is to let business class passengers sleep in luxury so they can hit the ground running when they get to their destination.
“(Usually) these customers are heading to meetings when they arrive.The whole purpose of this broader strategy is so people can maximize their rest on board,” said Nick Richards, American Airline’s director of premium products.
AA isn’t the only one to upgrade their blankets and mattress pads, in the last few years both Delta and United have also made significant advances in the quality of their bedding for premium customers.
Coach Improvements Just Around the Corner
While these benefits are still just for business class travelers, many of the industry leaders have been brainstorming ways for this to get to coach class travelers as well. As the price for airline travel continues to grow, the demand for premium services for all passengers grows as well.
“Whether it’s in business class or in the main cabin, it’s making sure people feel like they have the option to make themselves as comfortable as possible,” said Brian Berry, One of Delta’s directors for on-board service strategic planning. “We upgraded the blankets. We added sleep kits. Now we’re going to be upgrading the pillows. It’s creating an experience that’s greater than the sum of its parts.”
So keep on the lookout for new advances in sleep comfort headed to a cabin near you. Pretty soon flying the friendly skies could mean sleeping easy among the clouds. It’s an exciting prospect, and guaranteed to make your travels just a little less hectic.