I went on board Beond, ‘the world’s first premium leisure airline’ with lie-flat beds — but I don’t think it’s better than business class

I went on board Beond, ‘the world’s first premium leisure airline’ with lie-flat beds — but I don’t think it’s better than business class
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I went on board Beond, ‘the world’s first premium leisure airline’ with lie-flat beds — but I don’t think it’s better than business class
The lie-flat seat on Beond’s A319, and the author onboard.

  • Beond is an airline where every seat is like business class, with lie-flat beds.
  • Although most of the seats have small footrests which felt cramped.
  • It’s mostly cheaper than competitors’ business class, but future routes look to be closer in price.

Beond bills itself as “the world’s first premium leisure airline,” and first took to the skies in November.

Before it began flying its first three routes — which all go the Maldives, from Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Switzerland — it was on display at the Dubai Air Show.

Max Nilov, the chief strategy officer and cofounder, told Business Insider it was the result of “20 years of dreaming.”

“We’re not afraid to compete with anyone,” he said, explaining how the first three routes were chosen due to demand.

After having a look onboard, I don’t think Beond feels quite as luxurious as business class on other airlines. It lacks privacy dividers, and you can lose that sense of exclusivity when everyone’s in the same cabin.

And with its current network, I’d be more likely to fly with La Compagnie — an all-business class airline which flies between Europe and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport .

On current routes, Beond is cheaper than competitors’ business class cabins so it’s proably worth it — but this could change as the airline expands to other routes where there’s a smaller price gap.

Beond’s Airbus A319 was on display at the Dubai Air Show last month, where I got to look inside.
An Airbus A319 in Beond's black livery with gold accents is parked on the tarmac at the Dubai Air Show against a blue sky, a Beond-branded car is parked in front of the staircase
Its black livery with gold details was the first sign that it’s different to a normal airline.
A view of the Beond logo on its black A319 as viewed from the plane's entrance
The 44 seats are all arranged in a 2-2 configuration, more like business class than economy.
Two seats on a Beond A319 in cream leather with orange cushions embossed with the logo
The leather seats are designed by an Italian company, although I was surprised by the lack of a privacy divider.
A close-up of the orange cushion and a Beond-branded bag on a cream seat of its A319
Instead of using screens for in-flight entertainment, Beond has iPads for every seat.
an iPad extending out from a seat on the Beond airliner at the Dubai Air Show
It includes movies, games, details about your destination, and a menu.
An iPad on board a Beond airliner displays information about the Maldives
But I also found it could be a bit laggy, and felt small compared to the screens you’d expect flying business class.
An iPad onboard a Beond airliner shows text descriptions of movies and tv shows, but no images
The wireless Beats headphones were a nice touch, and certainly a step above the typical ones you get on a flight.
A collage of a Beond headphone case and the black Dr Dre Beats headphones inside.
Every seat has plenty of legroom and a footrest at the end.
Two seats at the front of Beond's A319 in a cream leather, with foot stools
It means the seat can turn into a lie-flat bed — which isn’t always available even in business class.
A seat on the Beond a319 is made up into a lie-down bed with an orange blanket and a white pillow.
Buttons on the armrest allow for a variety of other seat positions, like changing the pitch or moving it backwards.
Eight black buttons with orange LEDs on the armrest of a seat on Beond A319 show various options to adjust the seat.
But most of the seats only have a small foot rest positioned in the corner.
A view from the seat on a Beond A319 shows how the foot rests only make up a small corner
At 5’9″, the lie-flat seat was long enough for me but the footrest was uncomfortable, and those over 6-foot found the bed to be a tight fit.
A passenger's point of view on board a Beond A319, with the seat as a lie-down bed shows how the foot rest is cramped
I was also a bit surprised that Beond used the overhead lights and air conditioning units of an economy cabin, rather than something closer to the seat.
The air conditioning units and lights and a no-smoking sign overhead on a Beond A319
Beond’s aim to provide a premium experience also extends to dining, with proper crockery and cutlery.
A side view of a seat on Beond A319 shows the windows, and the tray laid out for dinner service with two glasses and a plate
The china is custom-made for the airline by the English firm William Edwards — who also designed British Airways’ first class china.
A top-down shot of the dinner service onboard Beond A319, with white crockery with orange accents, two glasses, and a couple pots

I spent a day learning how to be a flight attendant for British Airways’ first-class cabin. From afternoon tea to the turndown service, there’s a lot to know.

Beond currently operates three routes to the Maldives from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Munich, Germany; and Zurich, Switzerland.
Beond route map showing scheduled and future routes.
Beond route map showing scheduled and future routes.

Cofounder Max Nilov told BI that Beond is “two-to-three times cheaper than competitors” on these routes, such as Edelweiss Air.
Edelweiss Air Airbus 330-300 landing at Zurich

Flying between Zurich and Malé, the Maldives’ capital, with Beond costs around $2,600 for a one-way ticket in January.

With Edelweiss, economy costs $1,250, while business class is around $5,000.

Come July 2024, Beond will also fly to the Maldives from Milan and Bangkok. A one-way ticket from Milan costs around $1,800.
Milan Piazza Del Duomo.
Milan Piazza Del Duomo.

Milan to Malé with Qatar Airways, including a 1 hour 45-minute layover, is $550 in economy or around $2,500 in business class.
A view of two Qatar Airways business class seats side-by-side with a purple hue, and dinnerware laid out.
Beond flights from Europe also have a refueling stop in Dubai, because the A319 doesn’t have a long-enough range.
A view of the Dubai coast line as seen from the window of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with the wing visible.
No narrowbody jet currently in service can go that far, but the Airbus A321XLR set to fly next year should be able to.
An Airbus A321XLR plane takes off for its first flight from the Airbus plant in Hamburg, northern Germany, on June 15, 2022
An Airbus A321XLR.

I saw the Airbus A321XLR make its air show debut and I’m convinced it’ll be a game changer for the airline industry

Beond’s CEO told Airways Magazine: “The ultimate plan for the long term is the A321XLR.” It currently only has the one A319 in its fleet, having initially planned to launch with the A321neo.
The Airbus A319 safety instructions card in the seat pocket of a Beond airliner

Source: Airways Magazine

Within five years, Beond is aiming to have a fleet of 32 aircraft serving 60 destinations.
Beond all-business-class plane flying with livery.
Beond is a new all-business-class airline.

Source: Gulf Business

Read the original article on Business Insider


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