Finnair launches new business class seat and first-ever premium economy
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Oneworld carrier Finnair has launched a brand new business-class seat for its long-haul fleet, as well as introducing premium economy as a brand new class of service.
The Helsinki-based airline on Thursday pulled back the curtain on the new concepts which have been four years in the making, and have seen a $230 million (200 million euro) investment during a challenging pandemic.
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First up, business class passengers aboard both the Airbus A350 and A330 aircraft can enjoy the unusual new AirLounge seat designed by award-winning seat manufacturer Collins Aerospace for which Finnair are the launch customer.
It features a fixed shell design, a lay-flat bed with mattress and direct aisle access for all customers in a 1-2-1 configuration. There’s also an 18″ seat back inflight entertainment screen, do not disturb light, multiple storage areas and center-seat dividers. This unusual design means the seatback does not recline — it will be interesting to see how passengers who enjoy a part-recline option, especially for watching inflight entertainment, react to this idea.
As well as the new seat, business class passengers can be served meals up to six-course on new tableware designed by Harri Koskinen and rest in sleep textiles by famous Finnish designer Marimekko with a Kalasääski pattern.
“Space is today’s luxury, and we have put a lot of thought and attention to detail into creating the best business class seat for our customers. Both the seat and the whole business class experience is centred around customer comfort, space, and choice and is the culmination of our design ethos which will appear throughout our long-haul aircraft to redefine modern premium travel.” Ole Orvér, Finnair Chief Commercial Officer explained.
For the first time in the airline’s history, Finnair will also launch premium economy, a class that is becoming increasingly popular with passengers, and lucrative for airlines. The airline will install the brand new Vector Premium seat by HAECO in a 2-4-2 layout on the Airbus A350, and 2-3-2 layout on the Airbus A330.
All seats will have a generous 38 inches of pitch, 8 inches of recline with adjustable headrests, 13-inch IFE screens, full leg rests with a maximum of just 26 seats in the A350 premium economy cabin.
According to Finnair’s Orvér: “The trend for premium travel has significantly accelerated during the pandemic, so we are confident our new Premium Economy travel class will prove very popular with customers looking for an upgraded experience from Economy.”
The economy cabins will also receive a light refresh with larger IFE screens and additional charging options.
The new products will be installed in all 19 Airbus A350 and eight Airbus A330 aircraft in the Finnair fleet by the end of 2023. Two additional factory-fresh A350s will join the fleet in 2024/2025 with the new products to operate from the airline’s Helsinki hub.
Finnair CEO Topi Manner remained tight-lipped on the first date and route to see the new products, explaining that the details will be announced from March 1 and the first route is likely to be from Helsinki to Asia, this Spring. He revealed two aircraft are already fitted with the new seats so some passengers may be in for a pleasant surprise sooner, though the full new service concept will not be rolled out until the Spring. Finnair operates some short-haul flights with long-haul configured aircraft which is great news for passengers looking for an easy way to try out the new product.
Finnair has traditionally enjoyed a strong Asian route network, especially to China though this has been severely impacted by the ongoing travel restrictions during the pandemic. As a Oneworld member, Finnair flights can be booked with American Airlines Advantage miles. Finnair flies to Chicago (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK).
Featured image by Finnair.
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