British Airways’ 90-year heritage in bringing glamour to the skies reached a new milestone in February 2010 with launch of the new ‘First’ product.
The cabin brings together luxury, privacy, comfort, space and design. It draws on the airline’s heritage, focusing on quality and attention to detail.
In 1924 Imperial Airways, the forerunner of British Airways was created and three years later the airline launched its first premium cabin. The era is nostalgically referred to at the ‘golden age’ of civil aviation.
Throughout the intervening decades, luxury air travel thrived and British Airways launched its initial First class cabin in 1978.
The cabin was revamped in the 80s and in 1996, British Airways led the way with the first fully flat bed on a commercial airliner. In 2000, the cabin was re-launched with a new look created by British designer, Kelly Hoppen.
The 2010 First cabin capitalises on British Airways’ heritage and couples it with modern technology, design and service style.
THE DESIGN STORY
The airline’s in-house team of design experts collaborated with two of Britain’s design consultancies, Tangerine and Forpeople to produce the new First class experience.
Forpeople have an impressive legacy in the luxury travel sector, having worked with Aston Martin and Jaguar. Working closely with the in-house team, they have been responsible for the overall look, feel and styling of the cabin as well as key aspects of the brand and service elements.
Tangerine already have a proven track record in award-winning, intelligent design, having produced the patented Club World seat. They have worked on the layout, ergonomics and human factors elements of the seat. Their experience and skills have produced a bed that is up to 55 per cent bigger whilst using the same ‘footprint’.
The brief was to accommodate 14 premium customers in ultimate luxury for up to 24 hours. The space must allow them to work, sleep, eat and be entertained in a way that matches their premium lifestyles and expectations.
The guiding principle was ‘premium simplicity’.