After a long, golden sunset of being installed on fewer and fewer aircraft, the retirement of older aircraft caused by the Covid-19 pandemic means that when air travel resumes, international first class will be very nearly a thing of the past.

Its replacement is a new generation of superbusiness minisuites, more spacious than regular business class, and with a privacy door to create your own space, but without the over-the-top luxury of first class. Fewer $600 bottles of Champagne, but tickets at business class prices.

So what is superbusiness? At its core it’s a top-notch business class seat that goes fully flat like a bed, without any neighbors to climb over, with an improved business class service and, most crucially, with closing privacy doors that give you a minisuite experience. “The rapid design evolution of the minisuite shows just how serious airlines are about delivering a better sleep with enhanced privacy, better work spaces and more stowage,” explains Daniel Baron, managing director of Lift Aero Design, a Tokyo-based studio that works with airlines and seatmakers to create cabins.

Baron highlights that these superbusiness minisuites “matter to an airline because a tangible raising of the bar is typically associated with increased revenue, loyalty or both. Even if competitors react by taking the plunge for a similar product, the market disrupter might have around two years of competitive advantage due to lead time for development and installation.” Indeed, the unparalleled and unprecedented luxury of privacy in the air, of being able to shut yourself off from the rest of the cabin and the rest of the world, while enjoying a glass of Dom PĂ©rignon or Krug Champagne, arrived in first class only back in 2007.