BEIJING, May 7, 2014 (AFP) – Air France unveiled its new first-class seat in Shanghai on Wednesday, fuelling an international luxury-armchair race to win over Asia’s rising number of high fliers. The airline’s “haute couture” suite will feature a seat that reclines into a bed stretching 2.01 metres long and 77 centimetres across (6 ft 7 ins and 30 inches) — one of the most spacious in the world.
A total of 76 such seats will be fitted into Boeing 777-300 jets at a cost of 50 million euros ($70 million), the company said as it showed off the new offering in an expenses-paid trip for journalists to China’s commercial hub.
Air travel in Asia is set to take off as growing middle classes take to the skies, prompting increasing competition for well-heeled passengers, and industry expert Didier Brechemier, of the Roland Berger Strategy consultancy, said that “first class is a tool in terms of image”.
The launch came days after the Emirati airline Etihad revealed a first-class sofa that converts into a bed extending 2.04 metres long and 66 centimetres wide, which will go into Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 planes. Singapore Airlines currently boasts the most spacious first-class seat, which it