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Privacy Doors For Business Class On Airplanes: Cool Or Pointless?
The whole point of booking business or first class is to be as comfortable as one can expect at 37,000 feet in the air. Carriers are always trying to find ways to one-up their competition, and provide the most luxury for passengers who can afford it.
As noted by CNN, “whether it’s custom-designed seat cushions, bespoke fittings and fixtures, or co-branding with some of the biggest names in luxury; business really is the new first class aboard many planes.”
Several major carriers offer business class seating with doors, including Delta, JetBlue and British Airways. These appeal to some for two reasons: they provide privacy and shield you from other passengers and flight attendants walking past.Which, to be fair, can be a little annoying, especially if you’re in deep sleep.
In an interview with CNN, Alastair Hamilton, the vice president of aircraft seating, sales and marketing for Collins Aerospace, weighed in.
“Most business class seats have had privacy shells for a number of years now,” he said. “They take other passengers out of your eye line when everyone is seated. The addition of doors further enhances this sense of seclusion, closing you off the aisle, especially when lying flat in the bed position. There is undoubtedly a movement towards increased privacy on aircraft, flowing down from first class where the Emirates full height suite set a new standard, into business class.”
The presence of a door would of course increase the cost of the ticket. And for some passengers, it’s worth it, especially on long haul flights.
A representative at Safran Seats, Jean-Christophe Gaudeau, also chimed in. His company designs seats for private and commercial aircraft.
“Doors have been out for a few years now,” said Gaudeau. “And year after year we have seen a constant rise of the share of airlines asking for doors in our surveys or in actual requests for quotations. The question is increasingly going to be less about whether or not to have a door, but more about how to deliver in a smart and effective manner.”
All that aside, some believe the doors are gratuitous. In his article for Live and Let Fly, Matthew Klint dismissed them as “an unnecessary gimmick.”
He continued, “first of all, they are usually thin and flimsy. The door on my Delta A350 flight wobbled like it was about to fall off. Second, they only provide limited privacy, since they are not all that high and have an opening at the bottom. Third, they often do not stay shut; instead they roll back even when supposedly latched. Finally, they can be claustrophobic. The current generation of business class seats are fairly private without doors.”
If you’ve ever flown business class, would you say the presence of privacy doors bettered your experience?