Qantas unveiled the new business-class seating for its flagship aircraft, the Airbus A330, in Sydney this morning, and the big winners will be flyers who like to maximise their sleep en route.
While the new design incorporates a variety of improvements, the most notable change is the chance to stay fully reclined during take-off and landing. On an international flight, that could mean nearly another hour of sleep.
"It's the end of the phrase 'please return your seat to the upright position'," said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
"This is an exciting day for Qantas and its customers," said Joyce. "Qantas created business class in 1979 and now we're unveiling a business-class suite that is a quantum leap from anything that's in the air today."
The suites, as Qantas calls them, comprise fully reclining seats surrounded by plenty of room to work and eat - with five per cent more overall space than any other business-class configuration currently - plus other perks such as 16-inch entertainment screens, nets between the cushions to catch lost items ("I know I've lost my passport a couple of times," joked Joyce), mobile phone storage and a vanity mirror on the inside of the armrest for last-minute touch-ups before touchdown.
"When you're in a seat for several hours," Joyce said, "these little things make all the difference."
The refurbishments, courtesy of Australian designer Marc Newson, will be rolled out first on domestic flights and international flights to Asia and Hawaii from December, with the whole fleet expected to be updated by the end of 2016.
Economy is slated for improvements, too, with highlights including new, more comfortable seats with larger entertainment screens and PC power and USB ports.
"In my view, these new suites will deliver the best new travel experience in Australia and Asia," said Joyce, "and probably the best domestic travel experience anywhere on the globe."