Brussels Airlines today (27 February) revealed a brand new travel experience on board of its long-haul aircraft. By investing 10 million euro per aircraft in a completely new Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class the airline wants to offer a personal experience, recreating a boutique hotel feel at 30,000 or 40,000 feet. The interior was designed in collaboration with JPA Design. Our chief editor André Orban attended the presentation held at The Beaubbles Champagnotheque in Brussels.
Brussels Airlines CEO Christina Foerster introduced the presentation, in the presence of Thorsten Dirks, CEO of Eurowings. Incidentally, the latter no longer speaks of the integration of Brussels Airlines into Eurowings, but of the combination of the two airlines with one single board.
Brussels Airlines aims to make the journey as important as the destination. With three new highly differentiated classes with quality products and the typical Belgian hospitality, the airline calls its newly introduced and retrofitted A330 aircraft “a boutique hotel in the air”, offering the same small scale personal experience as one finds in a boutique hotel. To translate its boutique aspirations into reality, Brussels Airlines has worked with JPA Design to design the brand new Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class.
The Belgian touch
Premium-quality material such as wood and leather have always been important when it comes to Belgian design. Belgian Art Nouveau and Victor Horta were the inspiration for the new A330 cabin interior. The dome light of the ceiling in the boarding area features an elegant Art Nouveau design. All seats feature rich 3D textured fabric, inspired by famous Belgian designers like Dries Van Noten.
As culinary excellence is key to Belgians, Brussels Airlines teams up with a Belgian Star Chef every year to design the Business Class menu’s on its long-haul flights. With its new cabin, the airline also brings the Belgian beer and bar culture to the sky, by including a self-service bar in its aircraft and offering a varying choice of 8 famous Belgian beers to all guests. Next to that, Belgian wines, coffee and premium Belgian chocolates from Neuhaus are personally served by the airline’s warm and friendly crew.
“At Brussels Airlines we are continuously working on improving the comfort for our guests on board as well as on the ground. With this significant investment in our long-haul travel experience, we emphasize once more on our commitment towards an exceptional passenger experience. The experience delivered by the finest boutique hotels has been the source of inspiration for our new Intercontinental Business Class. We want to be the most personal airline, give a personal service to every guest and offer everyone the warm hospitality Belgium is known for. And that is exactly the essence of a boutique hotel, offering a world-class service in a small scale environment. The comparison of our aircraft – especially on the long haul – with a boutique hotel makes a lot of sense”, Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines said.
“It has been an absolute joy to collaborate with such a characterful combination of the Brussels Airlines brand & Belgium itself. Both have a genuinely unique ‘joie de vivre’ and with such great design culture to draw on it has been a fun and enjoyable project to deliver. The new cabins reflect a ’boutique hotel in the sky’, which captures the warmth and friendliness of the Brussels Airlines brand, whilst perfectly melding JPA Design’s experience in creating hospitality and aviation interiors. Together, we’ve created a harmonious ambience for personalised & warm service, and the result takes the airline’s guest-experience to new levels.“ John Tighe – Design Director for Transport at JPA Design.
Business Class, a boutique hotel feel with an Art Nouveau signature
The new Business Class brings a boutique hotel atmosphere with a classy Belgian design, far from a traditional Business Class. Throughout the whole cabin design, Art Nouveau patterns reflect the premium Belgian hospitality and bring a sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere on board, consistent with what the airline offers its Business Class guests on the ground in their flagship lounge ‘The Loft’ at Brussels Airport. The carpet pattern is inspired by the vault design of historical Antwerp central station while famous Belgian designers like Dries Van Noten were an inspiration for the design of the seat fabric.
Thanks to its small size of only 30 seats and its unique staggered configuration, the new Business Class offers great privacy in every seat. Guests can choose between a single and a double seat depending on whether they are travelling alone or with a companion. Completely adaptable to every guest’s need the new Business seat can be converted to a lounge sofa or a 2m long full flatbed with adjustable softness. This combined with the new lighting ambience tailored to all flight phases, ensures a rejuvenating sleep for jet lag-free flying across time zones. Furthermore, the 15.6” HD screen can be tilted to adapt to all seating positions and includes high-quality noise-cancelling headphones.
Guests travelling in the new Business Class can indulge in a fine culinary experience. International wines & Laurent Perrier Champagne from Brussels Airlines’ award-winning wine cellar selected by Master of Wine Fiona Morrison, accompany a four-course gastronomic meal created by a Belgian Michelin Star Chef. This year it’s Thierry Theys from restaurant Nuance who serves his menus on board (“To keep food tasty at 40,000 feet, add more spices“). On top of the fine dining experience, Brussels Airlines brings for the first time ever a Belgian walk-up bar on board, located just behind the Business Class cabin, offering famous Belgian beers as well as a place to network with fellow Business Class travellers.
Premium Economy, the most relaxing experience
With its new long-haul travel experience, Brussels Airlines also launches a brand new travel class. The new Premium Economy Class is completely separated from the other classes, creating a quiet and relaxed environment with soft purple and blue colours. A premium seat with increased private space, comfortable cushioning and an expanded armrest allow travelling undisturbed. A 38” seat pitch (23% more legroom compared to Economy Class), a wider seat with a bigger headrest and a generous 40° seat recline allow for a relaxing sleep. Its warm and joyful design with a red touch is a signature of the Brussels Airlines brand. The 13.3” HD screen is one of the largest HD Premium Economy screens in Europe. On top of that, a large table includes AC & USB power plugs so guests can stay productive throughout their flight.
Like everywhere, Brussels Airlines offers its ever-personal service in Premium Economy, on top of an upgraded culinary experience, a water bottle and hot towel, and later during the flight ice cream as a movie snack.
Economy Class: Warm, generous and friendly
The new Economy cabin provides additional comfort for every guest. A playful design, inspired by the sunrise on the North Sea represents the warmth of Brussels Airlines’ Belgian hospitality. The new Economy seat features an ergonomic headrest offering increased privacy and adjustable neck support. A large seat recline, personal USB port and a wide choice of entertainment and games on a 10.1’’ screen ensure an enjoyable and relaxing flight, while each guest can enjoy a nice international meal with an aperitif and complimentary beers, wines and spirits.
The first refurbished A330 (OO-SFD) will be operational in April 2019.
Find all the pictures and videos, including a digital tour through the aircraft on bit.ly/boutiqueintheair.