Business Class beds visualised

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Disclaimer: These measurements were gathered by me from official airline press releases, some third party websites, as well as publicly available photos and videos. Some of these drawings are very good estimates while others, because of their unique designs, are much more complex. These unofficial drawings are made by me and are the closest representations of the actual seats as seen by myself.

Business Class, to me, is the most fascinating airline seat category. Top airlines know that having world class Business seats is important to be recognised as an industry leader. The goal, it seems, is to find the perfect balance between making these seats look much bigger and luxurious as compared to Economy Class while taking up as little cabin footprint as possible.

Seat measurements can be very misleading as some airlines include the hand rest as part of the seat’s width. But what’s even more misleading is “bed width”. Some seats are designed to look humongous in Seat Mode but forces you to get into strange body positions in Bed Mode (looking at you Singapore Airlines). Some, like Qatar’s Qsuite, look massive with a door and all but actually has a pretty narrow seat.

The hard product (the seat) is arguably the most important aspect of the Business Class experience which includes airport lounges, priority boarding, onboard meals, onboard service, bathroom, amenity kits and even sleepwear.

Today, we’ll look at how popular lie-flat Business seats fair against one another in Bed Mode.

Diagram guide

Grey area: Bed
Green area: Seat
Human height: 173 cm / 5 ft 8 in

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Reverse Herringbone

This is the most popular and the safest choice that any airline can make. It’s hard to find anything wrong with this seat type. Some airlines, like Cathay Pacific, added small privacy walls at eye level while others, like Qatar Airways, offer almost zero privacy. In any case, all seats in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone cabin configuration face away from one another and that offers some kind of privacy by itself.

Popular airlines using this seat: Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Finnair, EVA Air

Read my review on this seat

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Qatar Airways Reverse Herringbone seat

Qatar Airways Reverse Herringbone seat

Cathay Pacific Reverse Herringbone seat in Bed Mode

Cathay Pacific Reverse Herringbone seat in Bed Mode

Apex Suite

This seat type offers amazing privacy if you are seated by the window. The cabin layout is clean, simple and efficient with a 2-2-2 configuration. Who would have thought that it would be possible to put 25.6 inch seats which turns into 25.6 inch beds from head to toe in a 2-2-2 cabin configuration?

Popular airlines using this seat: Japan Airlines, Oman Air, Korean Air


Japan Airlines Apex Suite in Bed Mode

Japan Airlines Apex Suite in Bed Mode

Vantage

This seat type is famous for its “throne” seats in a staggered cabin configuration. These seats are so popular that airlines like SWISS charge a premium to reserve it.

Popular airlines using this seat: SWISS


SWISS Vantage “throne” seat Photo: liveandletsfly.com

SWISS Vantage “throne” seat (Photo: liveandletsfly.com)

SWISS Vantage seat in Bed Mode

SWISS Vantage seat in Bed Mode

Vantage XL

This is a wider version of the Vantage seat. Cabin configuration is also staggered to allow the seats to be configured into Bed Mode comfortably. Without any modifications, this seat is already one of my favourites but Delta went one step further by adding a door for amazing privacy!

Popular airlines using this seat: Japan Airlines, EVA Air, Qantas, Delta

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EVA Air Vantage XL seat

EVA Air Vantage XL seat

Delta Vantage XL seat in Bed Mode

Delta Vantage XL seat in Bed Mode

Solstys III

With a width of only 20 inches, this stylish seat is also one of the narrowest lie-flat Business Class seats out there. It is also Singapore Airlines’ only lie-flat Business Class seat that doesn’t force you to sleep at an angle. These seats are arranged in a staggered configuration also and it’s a pity that the true window seats have privacy walls that block your view out the window. Well, at least you’ll know that no one outside is going to watch you while you’re sleeping.

Popular airlines with this seat: Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines (in future)

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Singapore Airlines Solstys III seat

Singapore Airlines Solstys III seat

Singapore Airlines Solstys III seat in Bed Mode

Singapore Airlines Solstys III seat in Bed Mode


Let’s now look at popular lie-flat Business Class seats that are proprietary to each airline.

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Singapore Airlines 2006

With a width of 30 inches, this seat is one of the widest out there. However, it is hiding a nasty slope behind. In Bed Mode, this would cut your head space as shown in the images below. It’s a pity that these 14-years-old seats with non-HD screens are still the most commonly installed in Singapore Airlines A380 planes.

Read my review on this seat

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Singapore Airlines 2006 seat

Singapore Airlines 2006 seat

Singapore Airlines 2006 seat in Bed Mode

Singapore Airlines 2006 seat in Bed Mode

Singapore Airlines 2013

Singapore Airlines must have gotten great feedback on 2006’s huge seat and continued its trend of forward-facing-side-sleeping Business Class seats. There is still a “slope” beside your head in Bed Mode but it is much smaller when compared to its predecessor.


Singapore Airlines 2013 seat (Photo: The Points Guy)

Singapore Airlines 2013 seat in Bed Mode Photo: One Mile at a TimeSingapore Airlines 2013 seat in Bed Mode (Photo: One Mile at a Time)

Singapore Airlines 2017

I love looking at the sexy curves on this seat. Everything about it looks really stylish and current. But sadly, Singapore Airlines chose to continue the trend and pushed the boundaries even further (or closer to you) in Bed Mode. Besides the really hard bed, this is easily the least comfortable Business Class bed to sleep in because of how you have to position your feet into a tiny foot well. It has been 3 years since the release of this seat but till now, only 7 planes have them. I can only hope that the reason is because they are coming up with something better.

Read my review on this seat


Singapore Airlines 2017 seat in Bed Mode

Singapore Airlines 2017 seat in Bed Mode

Qatar Airways Qsuite

My flight in a Qsuite is by far the best Business Class experience that I have ever had. However, at 21.5 inches, the seat is nowhere near the widest out there. As shown in the diagram below, it’s great that the arm rest lowers in Bed Mode for a decent bed width of about 25 inches in the torso area.

Read my review on this seat

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Qatar Airways Qsuite

Qatar Airways Qsuite

Qatar Airways Qsuite in Bed mode

Qatar Airways Qsuite in Bed mode

All Nippon Airways THE Room

Here it is, the widest Business Class seat in the sky. At the longest side, it measures at only 72 inches, which is the shortest among all other seats listed in this page. This means that you will have to sleep at a slight angle to be comfortable. The good news here is that there are no weird slopes (like SQ 2006/2013) near your head and you get all of the glorious 35 inches of head room. Also, the foot/leg well is huge.

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ANA THE Room

ANA THE Room

ANA THE Room in Bed Mode Photo: God Save the Points

ANA THE Room in Bed Mode (Photo: God Save the Points)

Etihad Business Studio

These seats alternate between forward and rear-facing, much like Qatar Airways Qsuites. The difference is that the window seats in Etihad are forward-facing while those in Qatar Airways are rear-facing.

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Etihad Business Studio

Etihad Business Studio

Etihad Business Studio in Bed Mode

Etihad Business Studio in Bed Mode

Bed surface area

If you like to geek out on more numbers…

Seat TypeSeat WidthBed LengthBed Surface Area
Reverse Herringbone53 cm / 21 in208 cm / 82 in11.58 ft2
Apex Suite65 cm / 26 in188 cm / 74 in13.51 ft2
Vantage53 cm / 21 in198 cm / 78 in11.17 ft2
Vantage XL61 cm / 24 in198cm / 78 in12.85 ft2
Solstys III51 cm / 20 in193cm / 76 in10.75 ft2
Singapore Airlines 200676 cm / 30 in193cm / 76 in11.92 ft2
Singapore Airlines 201371 cm / 28 in198cm / 78 in13.16 ft2
Singapore Airlines 201764 cm / 25 in198cm / 78 in13.14 ft2
Qatar Qsuite56 cm / 22 in201cm / 79 in12.34 ft2
ANA THE Room89 cm / 35 in183cm / 72 in14.18 ft2
Etihad Business Studio56 cm / 22 in193cm / 76 in11.39 ft2

Bed Mode Ranking

  1. ANA THE Room
  2. Apex Suite
  3. Vantage XL
  4. Qatar Airways Qsuite
  5. Etihad Business Studio
  6. Reverse Herringbone
  7. Vantage
  8. Solstys III
  9. Singapore Airlines 2013
  10. Singapore Airlines 2006
  11. Singapore Airlines 2017

Conclusion

In unprecedented times like these, it is understandable that this is the least of everyone’s worry. Airlines are more focused on staying in business (come on Virgin Atlantic!).

As a Singaporean myself, I really want to like Singapore Airlines more in this highly competitive segment. While I appreciate the innovative seat designs, most of them are uncomfortable to sleep in. If I can have it my way, I would stop the airline from fitting the 2017 seats on any more planes and come up with modified Vantage XL or Apex suite to replace all the 2006 seats and eventually the 2013 ones.

Now that you know the shapes and dimensions of these beds, how would you rank them?

4 thoughts on “Business Class beds visualised”

  1. Great articles! I agree with your conclusion too…as someone who works in Singapore for six months a year, traveling twice per annum via New York, I’ve given up flying SIA’s business class. It’s so uncomfortable! I sleep better in premium and at considerably less cost. Of course, Qsuites are my current favorite but willing to try others based in this excellent assessment of current seat options 🙂

    Reply
  2. This is a fantastic info piece. Thanks so much for putting it together. I’d love to see it continue to grow as a collection in time.

    Reply
  3. It’s a pretty weird angle to take, but I laud the effort for trying to write something different from other well-trodden territories.

    Reply

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