• The long-haul essential: Lie-flat beds

    Frequent fliers have become accustomed to many amenities on flights – a free beverage, overhead storage (if you’re lucky!), Internet access and more. For international flights, the expectations are even higher as travelers spend countless hours inside the aircraft. For long-haul routes, travelers in business or first class cabins hope to see a fully lie-flat bed as they file onto the plane.

    Airlines are installing these versatile seats at a rapid pace, as they too recognize the need for business and leisure travelers alike to rest comfortably as they fly across time zones and country borders. So which carriers should travelers look to for this long-haul essential? Here are a few carriers I would recommend:


    American Airlines First Class seat. Source: aa.com

    American Airlines

    This year AA debuted new “Flagship Suites” in First and Business Class for service to Europe, Latin America and Asia. On international routes, travelers enjoy a fully lie-flat six foot, eight inch bed complete with privacy dividers. In Business Class, travelers can enjoy a fully adjustable lie-flat seat at an angle with memory foam comfort.  AA will also welcome the new Boeing 777-300ER widebody aircraft to its fleet later this year with additional traveler enhancements.


    Delta 747 BusinessElite seat

    Delta 747 BusinessElite seat. Source: delta.com

    Delta Air Lines

    2012 is the year of Delta’s enhancements to the customer experience, which includes converting the entire transoceanic widebody fleet to flat-bed seats in BusinessElite. Every flat-bed seat also has direct aisle access and in-seat charging ports. More than 32 percent of Delta’s widebody fleet has received the upgrade to-date, with all aircraft featuring this product by mid-2014. Just last week, I experienced Delta’s lie-flat seat firsthand on a business trip to London. As I flew over the water for eight-plus hours, I was grateful for the opportunity to begin and end my trip with quality sleep!



    United BusinessFirst seat. Source: united.com

    United Airlines

    United Airlines has begun installing new 180-degree BusinessFirst flat-bed seats in its BusinessFirst cabin, which gives travelers a new level of comfort and convenience on most flights to Africa, Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, South America and the South Pacific, and flights between Tokyo and Bangkok, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei. United is expanding lie-flat seats to all trans-oceanic aircraft by the beginning of 2013, ensuring that you will be able to rest comfortably on a future United Airlines flight!

    CWT Savvy Traveler readers, have you tested out a lie-flat bed for yourself? Which carrier gets your vote for the best long-haul amenities?

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