The resurgence of business aviation
Air travel principally has been considered a glamorous affair. Starting with the Wright brothers’ first flight back in 1903, the first commercial flight in 1914 and now the airbus models that line the skies today; it is now estimated that globally more than eight million people travel by plane each day.
Over recent years Ryanair and EasyJet have entered the market with their affordable air fares, encouraging us to disconnect from the glamour and excitement that air travel once held. A method that effortlessly connects us with far-flung destinations and cultures across corners of the globe, many deem that air travel is something today’s modern world should continue to cultivate in a qualitative manner. After all, each and every travel experience starts at check-in.
Allowing travellers to enjoy the journey to its absolute entirety, Business Class travel is an integral sector for the air travel industry, and it is relieving to know that it still remains one of the most popular methods that links passengers with some of the world’s finest metropolises. Some of the busiest Business Class routes, for example, hop between San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, over to London, Paris and Tel Aviv, as well as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and Singapore.
A study last year undertaken by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines across the globe, revealed that despite the popularity of these low-cost airlines, Business Class flyers are still some of the most valuable to international airlines. This boils down to our ‘Experience economy’. Today it is booming as we value creating memories and experiences over the tangible product more than we ever have done. Naturally, travel brands are cashing in on this rapid revolution – and in doing so airlines need to keep up. Part of this is evolving and upgrading their Business Class offerings, for more exciting, dynamic and often more luxurious offerings than previously.
With the exception of Emirates Group who are firmly focused on the First Class segment with 29,000 seats a week across its global network and a recently upgraded plush hardwood floors offering, other Business cabins are snapping at the toes of their First Class counterparts with their own private cabins, onboard showers and ‘safari binoculars’ for window gazing opportunities. These offerings extend into Business Class cabins more so than ever, with many of the finest airlines replacing their First-Class airline cabins with an improved and more competitive Business Class product, resulting in a product that is competitive with the experience economy, and for more of us to enjoy.
And with more than 95 million photos and videos posted on Instagram each day, gone are the days of the grainy holiday home video. Today, like it or not, we are documenting every step of our existence – particularly when travelling. This sharing culture is also part of the reason airline cabins standing to attention and upping their game in response to today’s passenger who is very much aware of how much they are paying for the ‘experience’ they are investing in – from the comfort and space of the seat and its partnering configurations, to the amount of privacy offered and attention to detail throughout design.
This isn’t even taking in consideration the food. City AM’s Luxury Travel Columnist Scarlett Winterberg recently wrote a whole article within the supplement on the innovation of as she put it – ‘plane food, not plain food’. She spoke on how airline food used to be something to endure – but now she actually looks forward to lowering her tray table, having delighted in a Business Class menu from seven Michelin-star Chef Anne-Sophie Pic on an Air France flight from Paris. The menu included pollock with creamy black rice, butternut squash and a coconut curry sauce, beautifully presented (as she describes) with a scattering of edible flowers. This it seems (in terms of Business Class flying) is the end of the solid, overcooked scrambled egg that often looks like it may have died inside. And it seems other Chefs are hopping onboard too, so to speak. From Arnauld Lallement to Guy Martin and Michel Roth – other ingredients to grace this particular Business Class cabin now include duck, truffle and potato puree gratin.
Skyclub.com understand this resurgence in Business Class flying. Describing themselves as the ‘First & Business Flight Company’ here is an online service which connects its clients with some of the finest 21st century travel experiences. Dedicated specialists with exceptional and extensive experience from a global standpoint, they also offer impartial and tailored advice for each of their clients with some of the best deals out there.