Could Lie Flat Business Class Travel Get Cheaper With This Seat?

Business class travel is the epitome of comfort for long-haul flights. But for many passengers, the astronomical prices of the premium product make it an unaffordable option. Now, Singapore-based AirGo has developed a concept that would allow airlines to offer more seats in the premium cabin, allowing them to sell seats for less. Here’s what you need to know about the AirGo Galaxy.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
The AirGo Galaxy concept could fit more lie flat seats in the business cabin. Photo: AirGo

The most space-efficient business class seat in the world

Singapore-based AirGo has developed a new design for premium seating that they claim is the most space-efficient in the world. The seating provides spaces for families and couples, as well as for solo travelers who want a more traditional product.

While it’s not a QSuite by any means, the concept would offer a solution that could be used on both widebody and narrowbody planes, without airlines needing to sacrifice as much capacity as more traditional business class models. Each seat’s small footprint means more people can be accommodated in the premium cabin, allowing airlines to charge less for the lie-flat experience.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
More seats means airlines could charge less. Photo: AirGo

Alireza Yaghoubi, co-founder and chief technology officer at AirGo, spoke to CNN about the product, saying,

“Typically, in business class, you have one type of seat, and they are positioned at different angles with respect to the access of the aircraft. We should have more than one kind of seat, we should be able to fit even more seats, by essentially using the wasted space.”

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
The seats aren’t overly generous. Photo: AirGo

In terms of the space available for each passenger, we’re not going to lie to you – it looks tight. However, if the priority is getting a decent level of comfort on a long trip at an affordable cost, it could tick boxes for a new segment of travelers. With the rise of long-haul narrowbody flights on the horizon and more low-cost airlines entering the mid- to long-haul market, a concept such as this could find a place in the modern aviation world.

The AirGo Galaxy

Singapore based AirGo has taken the concept of business class comfort and applied it to a new design that maximizes the available passenger capacity. Using two distinct seat designs in tandem, the concept offers lie-flat comfort in a variety of positions to suit both solo or couple travelers as well as families.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
The two seat designs offer privacy for some, and togetherness for others. Photo: AirGo

By the window, they use a sleeper-type sofa, which can be used by couples and families to have a more ‘together’ in-flight experience. These seats have a tiny pitch of just 27.6 inches, but the way they’re arranged means everyone gets a lie-flat experience and a product that feels luxurious.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
Families can get together in the window seats. Photo: AirGo

Between pairs of seats are dividing walls, which can be dropped down to create a queen-sized bed, giving the opportunity to sleep in all sorts of different angles. It is fairly narrow at just 20” across, but if you’re traveling in a family group, it could give more options for getting comfortable on a long flight.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
The seats convert into a 191cm bed. Photo: AirGo

These window seats offer a bed length of 191cm, or six foot three on both the widebody and narrowbody configurations. IFE screens can be angled around, so they can be viewed from any position and even shared between groups of seats.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
IFE screens can be angled for viewing in any position. Photo: AirGo

In the center of the cabin on a widebody plane, a pair of more traditional business class seats can be accommodated. These have a pitch of 47.6”, much more akin to the usual expectations of a business class product. This, too, converts into a bed of 191cm, but again is relatively narrow at just 20”.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
Middle seats on a widebody are more in line with business class expectations. Photo: AirGo

How would this make business class cheaper?

While passengers may crave a double bed or a closed-off suite type experience, giving away such a huge amount of airplane real estate is always going to hurt the airline. The more generously proportioned their premium products are, the fewer they can fit onboard.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
Galaxy would allow more seats on a widebody plane. Photo: AirGo

With the AirGo concept, airlines would be able to fly more passengers up front, thereby allowing them to sell each seat for less. AirGo states that the Galaxy can accommodate 36 passengers on a typical Boeing 777 compared with 28 passengers, for example, in United Polaris.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
Photo: AirGo

For narrowbody operators, the AirGo Galaxy could be a nice replacement for the typical premium ‘recliner’ type product. The company compared its offering to that of SIA’s SilkAir A320, which accommodates 12 recliner seats in the forward zone, as well as 30 economy fliers. With Galaxy, they could accommodate the same number of passengers in lie-flat seats and could even increase the number of seats in economy in that same cabin.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
The narrowbody config upgrades the experience to lie flat for premium passengers, while adding more economy seats too. Photo: AirGo

As mentioned, the rise in long-haul narrowbody flights is beginning to demand more lie-flat solutions for single aisle planes. As aircraft like the Airbus A321XLR begin to hit the skies, more people will be flying for longer in smaller aircraft. This type of solution could pave the way for a product that is both comfortable for passengers and affordable for airlines who want to distinguish themselves from the typically astronomical cost of business class products.

AirGo Galaxy Space saving business class
It’s no QSuite, but could be interesting for lower cost airlines operating long flights. Photo: AirGo

However, this is a long way off. AirGo is nothing more than an idea on paper for now. The next step will be to create a life-sized mock-up so that airlines and passengers can try out the seats for themselves. If the product does go into production, it’s likely to be several years before we see it installed on a plane.

Would you fly Galaxy if it offered lie flat for less? Or is this compact concept just a step too far? Let us know in the comments.