Inspired by its legendary ‘Five-star Tri-Star’ service of the late 1970’s and 80’s, Gulf Air is set to re-create the golden-age of travel with the much anticipated launch of completely new seating, furnishing and service in its First and Business Class cabins.
The first of six refurbished Airbus A330s has entered service on the Abu Dhabi - London route, resulting in customers enjoying a host of benefits, the likes of which have never been experienced on commercial aircraft before. Five others will be upgraded between now and July 2005.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive of Gulf Air (pictured), said: “Gulf Air continues to go from strength to strength. As we move into the next stage of our growth strategy, we are acutely aware that what really sets apart airlines today is service and comfort. What we are now offering is new, unique and extraordinary.
“Two decades ago, the Gulf Air Five-Star Tri-Star service was renowned throughout the world, and we are now set to re-create that golden age of travel through this refurbishment,” he said.
Rich, deep-pile carpet extending right up to the entrance draws passengers into the sumptuous cabin, where warm ‘Arabian’ colours and the highest quality fixtures and fittings create a luxurious ambience in which just eight of Sogerma’s new state of the art Class 180 seats offer unrivalled comfort and style (pictured above).
In a ‘private cabin space’, the full recline capability offered by the Class 180 seats allows each seat to be transformed into a fully functional bed, complete with sheets and duvets, over-sized pillows, silk cushions, pyjamas, eye shades, and socks. The ‘total sleep experience’ begins in a unique on-board changing room, enhanced by natural light from its own window. The spacious spa atmosphere is tastefully enhanced with a designer worktop; luxurious timber flooring and exclusive, trendy ‘spa-to-go’ Temple Spa products, for the ultimate pampering before bedtime.
The specially trained crew lay out pyjamas and slippers, hang clothes in a suit carrier - just like a personal butler would, and magically transform the seat into a luxurious - and private - bed space mellowed by ambient mood lighting. which gives the cabin the feel of a five-star hotel room, rather than an aircraft cabin. The finishing touches are provided by Sky chefs who offer bedtime snacks and hot drinks to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.
When the seats are returned to normal, they are still extraordinary. Finished with leather armrests, they have large head wings, offer lumbar support and individual power outlets, for laptop use. On-board entertainment is delivered via an impressive 15-inch flat screen monitor and high-tech, noise-cancelling headsets. Oversized tables create a comfortable space for work and dining. Gulf Air’s already legendary ‘restaurant in the sky’ provides the finest dining in the skies with five star gourmet menus prepared on demand by the airline’s sky chefs.
The new cabin concept has been designed to allow a private companion dining option with space for up to four diners, who have access to 18 different menus and a world-class selection of vintage wines. Traditional dining options are complemented by a stand up onboard buffet which offers a full range of drinks and snacks.
In Business Class the improvements are equally impressive. Just 24 ‘Evolys’ skybeds will be fitted, allowing an incredible 63 inches of leg room, and no middle seat - both industry firsts. The latter employs a lounge-bed profile, in as much as it not completely flat; this ergonomic design has been ‘scientifically proven’ to provide the healthiest and most comfortable sleeping position for air travellers.
“The Business-Class seat design is different to the ‘Z’ shape design favoured by some carriers, which we don’t believe is the optimal design for sleeper seats. A sleep survey we conducted proves that our lounge profile provides a far better position for a good night’s sleep,” said Mr Hogan.
Space is the key word in the new Gulf Air Business Class; with a seat that moves within a pod, so when it reclines, there is no impact on the passenger behind. Extra space is provided for a laptop, and more attention than ever before has been given to space for personal storage - for shoes, glasses or bottles of water. Each Evolys seat, finished in stylish timber, has its own privacy screen, and is adjustable in three ways while an advanced swivel type tray table, and adjustable armrests give up to two extra inches of space.
Careful attention to detail is also evident in mood lighting, calming colour schemes and luxurious carpeting to create a beautiful and calming environment. Upgraded and stylish bathrooms offer a similar range of exclusive Temple Spa beauty products to first class, while sleeping on board is made even more comfortable by a new range of fleece-backed cotton blankets.
Gulf Air’s renewed commitment to luxury doesn’t end in the air. Arabian hospitality is ensured from start to finish, from limousine transfers and meet and greet services, to new premium check-in counters, with fast-track departures and arrivals, complemented by state-of-the-art e-kiosks and e-check-in. The new fleet will operate between the owning state and London, where guests can take advantage of Gulf Air’s exclusive, dedicated Park Lane airport lounges, for both arrivals and departures, with kerbside check-in available.
“Our aim now is to carry our previously unrivalled reputation for customer service excellence and innovation through into a new era,” concludes Hogan. “We believe the upgraded aircraft are expected to set new industry benchmarks for comfort, quality and service. This investment heralds a new era in passenger flights and place Gulf Air once again at the vanguard of modern aviation.
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