This Design Firm Wants Your First-Class Airline Cabin to Have Its Own Bathroom—and We Can’t Argue
The UK's Factorydesign is rightly betting that the added privacy from a secluded throne will appeal to elite travelers.
BY Dana Givens  |  March 24, 2023
2 Minute Read


Airlines have been phasing out first class over the last decade, but one UK design firm hopes it can revive it with one key ingredient: a toilet.

Improved business-class options and increasing premium economy experiences have crowded out first class, but Factorydesign believes there’s a new level of luxury airlines can tap into. That’s where the firm’s En Suite concept comes in. The company has laid out individual first-class suites that include their own bathroom, giving passengers an extra layer of privacy on their flight. No more crowding outside the cockpit to use the communal loo.

The design goes beyond a private bathroom. There are luxe finishes and the ability to make the suite a single or a double to account for you flying solo or with a friend or loved one. Most importantly, these would be enclosed suites that offer a little bit more seclusion. Although, Factorydesign first unveiled the concept in 2019, Covid-19 has made it even more appealing now to have your own little personal bubble when flying. Unfortunately, outside Etihad’s Residence(also the work of this firm), similar suite options on planes are unavailable currently. But Factorydesign argues thatraising the level of first class like Etihad is necessary to compete.

“With the trickle-down effect from First Class providing strong influences, there are now abundant Business Class products that would happily have worn the First Class moniker not very long ago,” Peter Tennent, managing director of Factorydesign, said in a statement. “The consequence is that airlines are finding it harder to differentiate and elevate a First Class offer to create a sufficiently impactful step-up to warrant an increased fee, leading to some airlines pulling their First Class offerings.” 

Although En Suite hasn’t come to fruition yet, this isn’t some fly-by-night operation suggesting this concept. Clients on Factorydesign’s roster includes Singapore Airlines, Delta, Etihad and Virgin Atlantic, which debuted its “Retreat Suites” last year. However, those suites didn’t have their own bathroom and this one does. So, airlines, let’s make this happen.