Finnair unveiled a revamped long-haul offering, including the introduction of a brand new business class seat and the company’s first foray into premium economy. The 200 million euro investment will see the first planes fitted with renewed products flying later this Spring. The full complement of A350 and A330 aircraft will carry the new product within two years.
Our investment to enhance the long-haul customer experience demonstrates the continuing commitment of the whole Finnair team to deliver a premium experience in every cabin on our aircraft. The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on our industry, but it has not changed our ambition to offer a modern premium experience as we continue to be the first choice for travelers connecting Europe and Asia.– Topi Manner, Finnair CEO
Launching new products
Finnair’s new long-haul product is the launch platform for both the AirLounge business class seat, manufactured by Collins Aerospace and the Vector premium economy seat from HAECO.
Both products focus on delivering more space and comfort to passengers on board. They are also both customized to highlight Finnish design style, including Marimekko textiles and the Kuulas chinaware line designed exclusively for Finnair by top Finnish designer Harri Koskinen and Finnish design icon, Iittala.
The Kuulas service items will complement the new meal concepts being deployed for the business and premium economy cabins. Finnair Kitchen has designed a new meal concept focusing on the very best in Nordic cuisine, with Japanese and Asian influences for the business class. The Kuulas tableware is also available for a three-course meal in the new premium economy travel class.
Close co-operation in the design process ensured that the tableware meets the needs of the kitchen and at the same time supports the desired cabin experience.
Seats officially go on sale 1 March, though at least a few routes are loaded into the sales channels already.
Finnair’s new AirLounge business class seat
The new AirLounge business class seats on Finnair will not have a door to deliver a true suite-like experience, but that does not mean the company ignored passenger privacy as a consideration. The high-backed, contoured shell provides a cocoon for passengers, while also enabling a wide variety of seating positions.
A mattress and duvet turn the space into a comfortable bed, or passengers can use the cushy pillows to relax in a variety of sitting positions.
But the seat back itself does not move. Reducing the mechanical components involved will certainly lower weight, complexity, and costs. How it is received by travelers, however, remains to be seen.
The divider between central seats can be lowered when travelling with a companion.
Privacy is key, of course, but so is space on board. Ole Orvér, Finnair Chief Commercial Officer, explains, “Both the seat and the whole Business Class experience is centered 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.”
The seat includes storage options for personal items, a laptop, and all pillows and blankets. All of these locations are certified for use during taxi, take-off, and landing, so customers can settle in right away and have their essential items conveniently at hand throughout the trip.
The flexible table can be used to read, dine or work. Each seat includes an 18″ screen for entertainment, as well as USB-A, USB-C, 110V PC power, and wireless mobile charging. All of Finnair’s long-haul aircraft offer in-flight WiFi connectivity as well.
The seat concept was originally conceived by PriestmanGoode of London. The seat was further developed by Collins Aerospace, with customization and final design execution by Finnair and its appointed design partner, Tangerine.
The Vector seat for Premium Economy
The new Vector Premium Economy seat blends comfort and ergonomics in a unique design in a spacious layout. It will offer roughly 50% more space per passenger than economy class, as well as a more intimate cabin setting. Finnair will offer a maximum of just 26 premium economy seats on board.
The seats feature memory foam cushions, a deep 8” recline, waterfall leg rest and 6-way headrest. Dedicated stowage for laptops and small personal items is incorporated to the design so that customers have everything they need at their fingertips throughout their flight.
The seat also features a large and sturdy single leaf meal tray for work and dining. Customers can keep their devices charged with universal PC power and USB-A ports.
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Each seat features a redesigned in-flight entertainment system with 13” wide screens to make time onboard fly with blockbuster movies and top TV shows.
Orvér is keen on the value proposition of the new cabin, driven by increased demand from leisure travelers. “Premium leisure is a trend that has been significantly accelerated during the pandemic, so we are confident our new Premium Economy travel class with its comfortable seats and more space will prove very popular with customers looking for an upgraded experience from Economy,” he explains. This echoes similar views from other carriers in recent months, including Delta Air Lines.
A light touch in Economy
Economy class passengers will also see some small changes on board. The A330 fleet, as well as the three newest A350s, will see a lighter economy class seat installed. This will be fitted with a larger entertainment screen, as well as USB-A and USB-C power options.
The older A350 aircraft already in service will see new seat covers installed to align with the new designs in the forward cabin. The entertainment systems will also be updated to the new user experience, but on the existing hardware.
The Marimekko pillows are also available to passengers in economy class.
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The new Business seat looks very similar to the leaked BA concept from a few years ago that they didn’t go with– a shell seat that does not recline.
Seth Miller says
Indeed, it does. I’m very interested to try it out, and also to hear the feedback from others about it.
I know for the redeye flights I care most about sleep, so I probably won’t worry about the lack of a real recline option built in. On daytime flights that could change.