They look great in photos. Business Class with no overhead bins definitely do look a lot open and airy.
I still don’t understand the appeal.
Here’s the thing
I fly international business class exclusively (if there’s no F). I can safely say – this has to be one of the most annoying trends in cabin designs in a long, long, time.
I am sitting in a tube with wings going between 72 and 84 percent of the speed of sound for a given altitude. I am actually in the sky. I don’t need the representation of openness and a sky above when I am in the sky.
The best part about all of this is now I am gazing at off-white plastic. Oh, wait, if there were bins, I’d still be gazing at off-white plastic!
That’s just me, though.
Here are problems everyone can agree on with the “no overhead bin” aesthetic.
Even when flying with my wife, we all take windows. But, if we didn’t – now we have to worry about nudging the poor person in the window seat just because I need to get some medication.
It makes me feel awkward. It’s worse, and this has happened to me when a person drops a baggage item on you whilst you are asleep. Not only does it hurt, it sort of ruins the privacy element of business class.
Even on a daylight flight, taking away center bins is a reduction in storage space. Which cabin is the most likely to be flying hand baggage only internationally? Yup, Business. So people are paying more money to compete for storage space.
It gets even better if you are under a seat where they keep the bedding or emergency equipment.
Once, I had a seat where they had a rack for privacy dividers in the seat above me. The cabin crew seemed to open it on the hour. Storage is taking the more desirable seats, and adding a huge and unpublished drawback.
People have conversations in all classes, but on top of other acoustic damping properties of the cabin, a big set of overhead bins down the center of the ceiling makes for a good reflector.
No bins, more noise.
This isn’t as terrible on the 777 as it is the loudest cabin of any passenger airliner I seem to find myself on. Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s, though, feels more like sitting in a play without the hypnotic nature of a play to help me pass out.
Business class is, according to some, supposed to be about silence and rest. You can’t have silence or a restful atmosphere if you have a bunch of people yakking away in a manner that everyone can hear.
For me, business class is about technology, comfort, and not being a zombie on landing. I don’t care if people talk – as long as it’s not being reflected into me by a now, ridiculously, high ceiling.
Is this going to change?
Nope, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Marketers and designers feed off each other and feed on trends; that has a direct impact on yields or bottom lines.
But that’s not going to happen because, in almost all the cases of bin removal, the seats are just too compelling.
It’s just dumb.
Does this matter in First Class? No, never has. Never will.