15 new and forthcoming airline seats

15 Apr 2017 by BusinessTraveller

From the Qatar Airways Q Suite to Asiana’s Economy Smartium and the new Qantas Dreamliner premium economy, we take a look at some of the new and forthcoming seating products on the market.

Recaro SL3510 seating

British Airways

British Airways has ordered 9,000 Recaro SL3510 seats for a fleet of new A320/A321 neos which will delivered in 2018.

These Recaro slimline seats are similar to those used by Lufthansa for its new fleet of advanced A320 neos, which operate the German carrier’s busiest and most important routes in Europe.

And the SL3510 seat is identical to the seating with which Easyjet has already fitted to its Airbus fleet.

Not only is the SL3510 seat slimline but it weighs a mere nine kgs (per seat). These seats will allow BA to increase A320neo accommodation from 168 to 180 seats. There will also be greater seating density on its A321neos from 205 to 218 seats.

Emirates B777 Business Class


Emirates unveiled its new B777 business class in March 2016, with the first aircraft featuring the seat delivered in November, and all newly delivered B777s set to offer the product.

The fully-flat seat features a larger TV screen, expanded personal meal table, improved lighting options and redesigned privacy panels, literature pockets, foot rests and show stowage areas.

Emirates describes the new offering as “evolution as well as revolution” – cabin configuration will remain 2-3-2, and the total number of business class seats on the B777 will also remain at 42.

Virgin Atlantic's new A330 Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic has revealed its revised A330 Upper Class seating which has been redesigned in the style of the B787 product.

Between now and early 2018 Virgin Atlantic will be refitting all ten of its A330 Upper Class cabins.

The aircraft will feature a similar layout and design to the B787 Dreamliner, which will ensure the airline’s business class offering is more consistent across the fleet.

Features include new Upper Class seats, more overhead locker space, a redesigned bar, and the latest touchscreen technology in each suite.

Qatar Airways QSuite

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways’ new business class has a privacy door that “completely encloses you”, and offers the first-ever double bed available in its class.

Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allows passengers travelling together to create a private suite.

The seat has bespoke pillows, quilted mattress, White Company pyjamas, and the ability to convert the seats not only into a double bed but also a family section as two seats face backwards and two forwards, and the inflight entertainment screens allow a “sociable” meal in the sky.

The seat is set to be fitted across the carrier’s A350 and B777 fleet.

Iberia premium economy seat


Iberia has launched a new premium economy seat which will be fitted to 37 of its long-haul aircraft from this summer.

The seat is wider than the current economy seat at 19 inches, and seat pitch is 37 inches.

Seat recline has also been increased by 40 per cent compared to economy, and the premium economy seat features a larger IFE screen (13 inches compared to nine in economy).

Other features include adjustable head and foot rests, noise-cancelling headphones, and an “exclusive amenities kit”. Premium economy passengers will also benefit from priority boarding and disembarkation, an extra suitcase allowance, upgraded dining options and “other privileges”.

South African Airways

South African Airways has launched a new business class seat on its A330-300 aircraft.

The fully-flat seat is configured in a staggered 1-2-1 layout, providing all 46 business class passengers with direct aisle access.

Features include 23 inches of seat width, a bed which extends to “almost two metres”, a 15-inch TV screen, individual power socket and USB port, and “a large tray table…” which “pops out when pushing the tray table button, which is more user-friendly than traditional tray tables”.

Air France B787-9 business class

Air France

The French flag carrier debuted a new business class seat on its B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft earlier this year.

The seat converts into a two-metre fully-flat bed, with Air France saying that “Everything has been designed to ensure an impeccable quality of sleep, with soft seat cushions, a silky duvet and an XXL feather pillow”.

There are a total of 30 business class seats, with a 42-inch pitch, configured 1-2-1.

The aircraft also features new economy and premium economy seats – premium economy offers “a seat that is 2.5 cm wider, a seat recline of 130 degrees in a fixed shell and more legroom”, while economy seats feature “adjustable comfortable headrests, ergonomic seat cushions, a latest-generation individual screen extended to 28 cm, power outlets and headphone holders”.

Delta One suite – seat


Delta will launch a new business class product when it takes delivery of its first Airbus A350 this year.

Billed as the “world’s first all-suite business class” product, each new Delta One (business class) seat will feature a sliding door, transforming the space into a fully-enclosed suite, with a fully-flat seat covered in a “memory foam-enhanced comfort cushion” material.

The new suites will also offer dedicated stowage compartments for shoes, headphones and laptops, as well as universal power outlet and USB port, and an 18-inch TV screen.

The Delta One cabin will feature 32 seats, split across eight rows, in a 1-2-1 configuration, with all seats having direct aisle access.

Cathay Pacific A350-900 business class

Cathay Pacific

Cathay’s A350-900 aircraft feature a new business class seat, configured across two cabins, with a larger front cabin of 30 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and a rear smaller one of 1-2-1 with just eight seats.

The Zodiac, Studio FA Porsche-designed seat has retained the sculpted seat shell, but seat pitch is up from 43 to 45 inches, with the lie-flat bed remaining at 75 inches long.

The ottoman and side bench above a storage bin are padded and become part of the bed area, meaning more space for feet and knees when sleeping on your side, and there is a “Do not Disturb” and “Wake-up Call” feature, while the personal TV is now up to 18.5 inches in size.

*****Note: Cathay Pacific is set to modify and in some cases replace these new seats on some of its A350 aircraft, due to “seat and surface finishing defects”.*****

TAP Portugal business class

TAP Portugal

TAP Portugal has debuted the first of seven A330 aircraft to be retrofitted this year, featuring new fully-flat business class seats.

The refurbished aircraft – named Joao Goncalves Zarco – is part of a €70 million fleet renewal programme.

The 25 new fully-flat business class seats transform into a 1.93-metre long bed, and feature “individual reading lights, tables with storage space, supports for bottles, USB slots and individual electrical sockets”.

TAP Portugal says that the new seats are aimed at “bringing the image of the cabins into line with the A330neo that will soon be joining the fleet”

American Airlines premium economy seat

American Airlines

AA’s new premium economy product features a leather seat with 38 inches of pitch, larger touchscreen monitors, noise-cancelling headphones, AC power outlets and USB ports.

Passengers also benefit from an enhanced dining experience, with upgraded meal choices as well as complimentary spirits, beer and wine. On the ground, customers will also be able to check up to two bags free of charge, while also enjoying priority boarding ahead of those seated in the Main Cabin (economy).

The seat launched on the carrier’s B787-9 aircraft (of which the airline has 22 on order), arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration. AA also intends to offer the new class on its B777-300ERs, B777-200ERs, B787-8s and A330s.

Asiana A350 Economy Smartium


Korean carrier Asiana Airlines is set to introduce a new Economy Smartium seat on its new Airbus A350 aircraft from mid-May.

The 311-seat A350s will feature 36 Economy Smartium seats offering 3-4 inches (7.5-10cm) additional seat pitch compared with its regular economy seats.

Economy Smartium will offer a total seat pitch of 36 inches, though the rest of its seating features remains unchanged from standard economy, with width, recline and screen size all staying the same.

Qantas new premium economy Dreamliner


Qantas has unveiled its new premium economy seats which will debut on its B787-9 Dreamliners in 2018.

The seat features a recline motion that shifts various parts of the seat to support your body as the seat reclines, as well as a redesigned headrest which can be fitted with a specially designed pillow, and a new footrest design.

They will be located in a separate 28-seat cabin and will be configured in a 2-3-2 layout, offering 10 per cent more width than the carrier’s current premium economy seat.

United B777-300ER Polaris Business cabin


The US carrier has begun rolling out its all-new United Polaris business class seat on its B777-300ER aircraft, with existing B767-300s and B777-200s, and forthcoming B787-10s and A350-1000s also set to get the seat.

Features include a fully-flat bed with direct aisle access, mood lighting, several storage areas, “multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining”, electronic privacy dividers and 16-inch HD TV screens.

Delta Premium Select


Delta has unveiled details of its new premium economy seat which will debut on the carrier’s A350 aircraft from this year.

Called Delta Premium, the seat will feature a seat width of up to 19 inches, and a pitch of up to 38 inches.

There will be adjustable leg and head rests, a 13.3-inch screen with noise cancelling headphones, and inseat power “for large and small devices”.

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