What a stretch: Airlines unveil recliner seats

HONG KONG -- Two of Asia's airlines -- Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific -- introduced lie-flat seats in their business class cabins.

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific said its new long-haul business class flights will have what it said is the longest and widest stretch-flat seats in the sky.

The new cabin concept also will contain a bar and reception area for passengers to meet and mingle in-flight, as well as a private dressing room.

The first aircraft featuring the new product -- an Airbus A330 -- has already entered passenger service.

The centerpiece of the new cabin is the seat design, which lets tall passengers stretch out to six feet and three inches at a slight incline.

Cathay said the new business class will be progressively introduced on long-haul aircraft in the coming months.

As reported, Singapore Airlines last month launched its $100 million long-haul business class upgrade, which includes what it claims is the world's biggest business class bed, the SpaceBed.

The company said the beds are wider, longer and recline flatter than those of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific.

The fully-reclining seats are to be available on its Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, and London flights starting in November in Raffles Class.

The carrier's retrofit program will take 12 months to complete on 45 of its 747 and 777 long-haul aircraft in Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe.

The first retrofitted 747 will operate from early November on the Singapore-London route.

The airlines' Web sites are at www.cathaypacific.com and www.singaporeairlines.com.

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