I’ve been reading the news about the new Air New Zealand coach seats that convert into a bed-ish thingy (see here) and it got me thinking about whether we just complain way, way too much about the current state of coach seats. And whether we fetishize business & first class seating way beyond the actual comfort they provide.
Air New Zealand will be offering a product that allows you to convert 3 coach seats into a bed-ish thing that supposedly can be shared by two adults. Look at that photo I linked to. Could you sleep like that for 8 hours? My wife and I are in a king bed, and that’s too crowded for us. I truly have to wonder whether that would be better than taking an Ambien and dealing with it in coach.
And here is where I say that with all of the improvements in airplane seating over the past 15 years, the truly biggest difference in long-haul airline travel is Ambien. Not lie-flat beds; not the A380; not Sky suites; not video on demand. Ambien. I can sleep 7 hours in a middle seat in coach on Biman Bangladesh. No matter the length of the flight or the time change, I arrive feeling like a million bucks. I would take an Ambien and sit in coach over no Ambien in business class on a red eye any day. Not sleeping in a moderately comfortable seat stinks compared to being passed out in coach.
And while I’m at it: I don’t understand the business class cabin fetish people have (look, a photo of the soda they served me!) Yes, it’s far more comfortable than coach. Sure. But really – it’s not like sleeping on your own bed. And it’s not as if airplane food – even when served on nice china – would be even remotely acceptable in the real world. QANTAS charges $26,000 for a roundtrip first class ticket from New York to Sydney. The same price as a 2-year old BMW. For a sad approxmation of a meal and a nap. I know a lot of airline blogger types LOOOOOOOVE first class. God bless ’em. And it’s not sour grapes: i’ve done my share of flying up front (thanks, miles!). But every time I feel the same thing: I wish I used half the miles and flew in coach twice.
For $3, I’ll take an Ambien and wake up wherever I’m going. Well, Ambien plus an in-seat plug so I can watch a movie on my laptop. In-seat plugs are pretty underrated…