Continental Airlines has announced details of a new 180-degree lie-flat seat for the BusinessFirst cabin on its Boeing 787, 777 and 757 aircraft. Customers will begin seeing lie-flats seats on Boeing 777 aircraft that primarily serve trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes in the Autumn of 2009, with installation on Continental’s 757-200 fleet beginning in 2010 and on its Boeing 787 fleet as the aircraft are delivered to Continental.
Unveiled today at the National Business Travel Association International Convention and Exposition in Los Angeles, the new 180-degree lie-flat seats are the centrepiece of Continental’s award-winning BusinessFirst service that provides the extra space and fine amenities of traditional international first class at a business class price.
“Continental continues to invest in its product to make flying more comfortable for our global customers,” said Larry Kellner, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Airlines. “We created a brand-new seat designed to lie completely flat, without compromising functionality or effective use of cabin space.”
Continental’s new BusinessFirst seats allow customers to lie completely flat, reclining
180-degrees and providing 6 ? feet (2 meters) of sleeping space in the fully extended position on its widebody aircraft. The lie-flat seat is one of the widest business-class seats in the air, measuring up to 25 inches when the adjustable armrest is positioned flush with the seat cushion, allowing customers to sleep more comfortably. Electronic “one-touch” controls enable customers to easily move the seats to pre-set upright, cradle and fully extended sleep positions and additional controls allow customers to adjust the seat back, lumbar support and leg and foot rests to the custom position most comfortable for them.
The lie-flat seats provide more individual storage space for personal items. Laptop power, headset and USB plugs are conveniently tucked above the customer’s shoulder. There is additional storage under the ottoman, on a shelf under the monitor and on an amenity storage alcove that provides room for small personal items such as a book or magazine and a water bottle.
iPod connectivity will also be available at the seat, allowing each customer to view their personal videos and enjoy their music, all while the iPod is charging. BusinessFirst seats on the 787 and 777 aircraft will feature a 15.4-inch video monitor for customers to enjoy on-demand movies, music and games. Seats on the 757 aircraft will feature 10.6-inch monitors.
The new BusinessFirst seats also have a six-way adjustable head rest, an individual overhead reading light and an adjustable seat light allowing a customer to read in bed without disturbing their neighbour and a privacy shell that allows for seclusion from other travellers.
Continental’s product marketing team began researching new seat options in the Autumn of 2006 when planning BusinessFirst service for the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The airline visited with numerous seat manufacturers worldwide before selecting BE Aerospace, which created five different design concepts. Concurrently, Continental sought feedback from a focus group of BusinessFirst frequent flyers that identified and prioritized key needs of global travellers and worked closely with the airline’s project team and the seat manufacturer to help create the new seat. The important features requested by the focus group were to install a wider seat that could lay completely flat and be easy to operate.
BusinessFirst service features an extensive gourmet menu served with premium wines and champagnes created by Continental’s Congress of Chefs and Sommeliers. International Concierge Service provides individualized pre- and post-flight services for BusinessFirst customers at 42 airports around the world. Customers travelling in BusinessFirst may also access any of Continental’s 27 Presidents Clubs and more than 60 airline affiliated lounges worldwide.
Continental Airlines has won numerous awards for its BusinessFirst product. The Official Airline Guide has awarded Continental’s BusinessFirst as the Best Executive/Business Class for five consecutive years (2003 - 2007), and Condé Nast Traveller magazine rated Continental’s premium BusinessFirst service the highest among all U.S. carriers for trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights 10 years in a row.
Continental currently operates the Boeing 777 on routes between Newark and Beijing, Delhi, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London/Heathrow, Mumbai, Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv and Tokyo, and between Houston and London/Heathrow, Paris and Tokyo.
BusinessFirst on the Boeing 757 is currently offered on routes between Newark and Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin, Birmingham, Bristol, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamburg, Lisbon, London/Gatwick, Madrid, Manchester, Oslo, Paris, Shannon and Stockholm.