Lie-flat for long-haul. Even on its new, smaller planes, that’s the plan for SAS. With the A321LR set to join the carrier’s fleet in the coming months details are starting to emerge on the configuration. This week the company briefed some of its top frequent flyer members, announcing that the Thompson Aero Vantage seat will carry business class passengers on the new planes.
The Vantage product staggers the seats within the cabin, generally offering alternating rows of two and one on each side of the aisle. Based on comments made by SAS chief Rickard Gustafson to Scandinavian aviation site FinalCall.Travel, it appears that SAS may choose a slightly different cabin layout with the seat. It will still alternate two seats and one from front to back but also stagger the seats across the aisle from each other so every row has 3 seats rather than some with 2 and some with 4.
While that arrangement would be a somewhat unique choice for SAS the decision to use the Vantage product on the A321/neo/LR is anything but. British Airways flies an older version of the same layout on a small number of its A321 planes inherited from BMI several years ago.
US carrier JetBlue uses the seats for its Mint premium cabin offering, with hints of a newer iteration to come when it launches flights to Europe in 2021. TAP Portugal and Aer Lingus also selected the Vantage seat for their new A321LRs. The type entered service for both carriers earlier this year. While the seat will not be unique to the SAS offering the carrier’s new, smaller long-haul planes will still carry the other Scandinavian touches that differentiate its product.
SAS announced earlier this month that its new A321LR fleet will fly with the Viasat high-speed inflight wifi solution on board, matching the kit on its short/mid-haul fleet.
Specific route or service dates for the new plane remain unknown, though it is intended to expand SAS’s transatlantic network. Expect some existing routes to convert to year-round from seasonal service as well as to see the carrier experiment with new destinations. SAS expects to fly three A321LR in its fleet.
The Vantage seat is the most commonly installed premium business class offering on the Airbus single-aisle family, but it is not the only option. La Compagnie chose the Rockwell Collins Diamond lie-flat beds for its new A321LRs that entered service over the summer.