Spacious, full of gadgets, and with infinite angles of recline as they sink down to a lie-flat bed: there’s a reason why airplane business class seats are as pricey – and cushy – as they are.
Now one airline is aiming to revolutionize luxury in the skies by debuting a business class seat that does not recline.
Finnair’s new Airlounge seats, unveiled Thursday, are super spacious and ever so private, with their wide, 51-inch high backs curling round aisle-side, to provide a shallow barrier to passersby.
And yet they don’t recline. Passengers will be provided with cushions and an ottoman to get comfy, while infill panels can pad out a fully flat surface, and mattresses are on hand to set it up as a 78-inch long bed, which slants towards the window.
Video promo footage of the new seats, developed by Collins Aerospace, shows a simple control panel in the arm rest offering a raisable leg rest, alongside options for lighting and a do not disturb sign – but no reclining options.
The seats are laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, meaning direct aisle access for everyone. There’s a solid plastic divider between middle seats which can be lowered for those traveling together.
The airline has taken its inspiration from regular living room seating, it said in a press release, adding that “the seat is designed to maximise your comfort, space, and freedom to move during a long-haul flight.”
The aim was to create “more of a residential environment,” said David Kondo from Finnair’s customer experience team.
It’ll be typically Finnish, too: duvets and pillows will be a special design by Marimekko, while Iittala will provide the crockery.
And while the jury’s currently out on its comfort rating, the new seat could well be greener – heavy shells and mechanics for luxury seating increase fuel burn on airplanes.
The new seats will be rolled out across Finnair’s A330 and A350 fleets, with 28 seats per cabin in the former, and up to 43 in the latter.