How many times have you passed through the business or first class cabin of an airline, marvelling at the spacious luxury interior, en route to the economy section, upon which you experience that sinking feeling as you take in the confines of the environment to which you will be subjected for the duration of your journey?
This brief glimpse into this other world, one in which only a select few of us will ever have the chance to afford, is one of life’s cruel little jokes – but thankfully, other transport options are catching up quickly and offering equally high levels of comfort and style at a fraction of the cost.
Modern engineering and innovative design are thoroughly challenging the public’s perception of coach travel, enabling those with limited means to experience the comfort of travelling in style on board spacious vehicles with the types of facilities only ever enjoyed by first class passengers before.
Forget everything you remember about those pre millennium coaches with their rows and rows of tightly packed nylon seats that squeak with every movement, and imagine instead a whole other concept of coach travel with fewer seats that maximise passenger comfort.
Experience the pleasure of sinking deep into soft leather armchairs that fully recline, situated either side of wide aisles with a choice of double or single seats for those who wish to enjoy extra privacy. Add to this plenty of leg room, coupled with optional foot rests, and the majority of us would be highly satisfied sitting comfortably for hours enjoying touchscreen TV with an interactive entertainment system containing a wide selection of films, TV programmes and computer games. However, for those wanting even more, the latest vehicles belie further modern amenities behind their sleek, blacked out windows; should passengers wish to leave their seat at any point during their journey, they have the option of socialising in spacious rear lounges offering tea and coffee facilities, in addition to a selection of hot and cold refreshments from an on board kitchen.
Other modern features on board 21st century luxury coaches include well equipped wash room facilities, high speed wifi and individual USB charging points as standard, as well as satellite navigation allowing passengers to follow their route and stay informed about their remaining journey time. The duration might still exceed alternative transport options at times, but with luxuries like these the time will fly by, and passengers are guaranteed to arrive rested and relaxed.
So is this the transport of the future? With an ever increasing public awareness of the environmental impact caused by other forms of transport, coach travel remains the least damaging to the atmosphere, with each vehicle carrying significantly more passengers per litre of fuel than the private motor car. With all vehicles fitted with seat belts and required to undergo rigorous safety inspections on a regular basis by independent garages, modern coach travel is also statistically safer than any other form of transport.