Business class seat guide ­– Asia

1 Mar 2023 by Tom Otley
Air New Zealand Business Premier Class B777-300ER

In the final part of a series, Business Traveller has compiled a summary of business class seats on airlines flying long haul out of Asia-Pacific and Australasia.

Welcome to our round-up of long-haul business class seats currently available on Asian and Australian airlines. In the last couple of issues we have looked at European carriers (November), Middle East (December-January) and US carriers (February 2023). As a reminder, here we are focusing on the seats available rather than service elements, such as food and drink, inflight entertainment, etc. If you visit businesstraveller.com you will find numerous reviews of most of the airlines here where those aspects are discussed and assessed.

The good news for travellers is that the majority of airlines offering long-haul flights now have seats that recline fully flat in business class. Most airlines choose from one of several designs, and then, to a greater or lesser extent, add bespoke elements to those seats. This may mean just choosing a distinctive colour scheme to fit in with their brand, or it might mean adding a door to a seat and calling it a suite. The balance for the airline is how to stay price competitive while at the same time differentiating itself from competitors by offering a distinctive experience.

One added complication with some of the carriers mentioned here is that they have a number of different business classes depending on length of sector, particularly if they regard that sector as ‘regional’. So a long-haul aircraft – a B787-9 or an A350-900 – might have two or possibly three different seating configurations, with differing numbers of economy and business seats, and sometimes with the addition or premium economy and first class, further affecting the business class offering. Some of these regional routes are extremely long, at least to European eyes, and if you are flying down to, say, Australia you may find the long-haul product takes you from Europe down to the Asian hub, and then the regional product for the second half of the trip down to Australia or New Zealand. We have tried to include details of regional business class offerings, but for reasons of space and difficulty of obtaining information, it has not always been possible.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has fully-flat herringbone seats in business class – which it calls Business Premier – on its long-haul fleet of 14 B787-9 and four B777-300ER aircraft. The seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration and are like the older Upper Class seats in Virgin Atlantic, with seats which ‘flip’ to turn into a bed. The rationale for doing so is that the seat cushion is firmer and contoured, while the cushion on the back – which then becomes the bed – is more suited for sleeping. The seats are very comfortable for this reason, but have the disadvantage that you have to get out of the seat when you want to convert it into a bed, and also clear away items on your table – often flight attendants will do this for you.

Looking to the future, Safran Visa seats will be retrofitted on the B787-9 fleet and enter service in 2024. These will also be in a herringbone configuration, though while this keeps your head away from the aisle, it also means you are facing away from the window. The new seat will have a sliding door and at the front of the cabin there will be two Business Premier Luxe seats which have enough room for two people to dine.

Air Astana

The fleet has a mix of short haul and long haul, but the fully-flat business class seat is on the long-haul fleet which is the A321 neo LR (long range) and B767-300ER aircraft. The Boeing 767 is configured with 30 Thompson Vantage business class seats which recline fully flat and have a seat pitch of 42-45 inches and a width of 21.5 inches. These are in a distinctive staggered arrangement in each row, meaning that passengers have a decent-sized side table next to their seat, and the passenger behind uses this as extra legroom when the seat reclines, maximising space on the aircraft. The A321 neo LRs have the same seat – 16 of them, with a seat pitch of 44-45 inches and a seat width of 21 inches.

All Nippon Airways (ANA)

ANA has four different types of business class seat across its fleet of long-haul aircraft. On the B767 and some B787 aircraft it is a cradle-style seat. ANA calls it the ‘Business Cradle’, the sort of business class seat readers of a certain age will remember – very comfortable, but reclines, at best, to a lie-flat position. In practice it is more like a recliner chair, where the leg rest rises as the seat reclines backwards, with a seat pitch of around 150cm (59 inches).

On other B787 aircraft (some B787-8, and all the B787-9 and B787-10 aircraft), as well as the B777-300ER and A380, is the Thompson Vantage XL seat, which reclines fully flat and is in a staggered configuration. The seats are 35 inches wide and 53 inches in pitch when seated, reclining into a bed which is six feet long (72 inches).

Bamboo Airways

Bamboo has a long-haul fleet of three B787-9 aircraft which were originally intended for Hainan Airways but the airline was unable to take the deliveries due to financial reasons. These three aircraft have two different seats, both of which are in a 1-2-1 configuration and recline fully flat. The first is the Safran Cirrus seat (which used to be called Zodiac Cirrus), the second is the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat. On the aircraft with the Safran Cirrus, the cabin starts at row 11 and goes back to row 19, 1-2-1 (A-DG-K), and then there are two centre seats on the back row 20 (DG) to make a total of 26 seats. This seat is a reverse herringbone, which doesn’t mean the seats face backwards but rather that the window seats angle towards the windows while the middle seats are angled towards one another (original herringbone got its name because it looked like that when viewed from above).

Cathay Pacific x Bamford New Business Class Soft Products - Bedding

Cathay Pacific

Cathay has a few minor variations in its long-haul business class cabins, but they all are in a 1-2-1 configuration and are the Cirrus III seat by Safran. The carrier has a fleet of A350-900 and A350-1000 as well as B777-300ER aircraft. The business class seats are in a reverse herringbone configuration, meaning the window seats face the windows, and they all recline fully flat.


EVA Air’s new Royal Laurel Class (what the airline calls its business class) seat has been developed by manufacturer Designworks, part of the BMW Group, and is able to recline to a fully-flat position to form a bed that is 193cm (76 inches) long and 58cm (23 inches) wide.The Royal Laurel Class cabin is configured in a forward-facing, staggered 1-2-1 layout, meaning all passengers get unhindered access to the aisle.

Japan Airlines (JAL)

JAL has a varied long-haul fleet of B787-8, B787-9, B777-300ER and, from the end of this year, A350-1000 aircraft. It also has several different configurations and seats in the business class cabin. It is further complicated by aircraft such as the B787-9 having several different configurations depending on the length of sector the aircraft is employed on. For instance, the Sky Suite III is on some of the B787-9 fleet for medium-haul routes. This is the Zodiac Cirrus seat, which has four across in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration (A-DG-K). All include direct aisle access. This seat is also on the B777-200ER fleet. The B787-9s also have the Sky Suite on aircraft flying European routes. These are in a 2-2-2 configuration but all have direct aisle access, while on the B777s these seats are in a 2-3-2 staggered configuration. Finally, the A350-1000 will be introduced on the Tokyo Haneda-New York winter route in 2023. Details of the seat have yet to be released.

Korean Air B787-9 Dreamliner business class

Korean Air

Korean Air has a varied long-haul fleet, including B787, B777, A380, A330 and B747. The business class is almost exclusively either the Prestige Suites or the Prestige Sleeper seat. Prestige Suites are the B/E Apex seat which has a staggered 2-3-2 configuration (AC-DEG-HK) or 2-2-2 on the A330s. These are all forward-facing with direct aisle access. The seats are 21.6 inches wide, recline to a fully-flat 74-inch bed and have a 23-inch IFE screen. On the A380s you will find the older style Prestige Sleeper seat which reclines fully flat. On the A330 there are four different configurations, so on some of these you’ll have the Prestige Suite and others the Prestige Sleeper. On the B777s there are three different seats: the Prestige Sleeper, Prestige Plus, which is a cradle-style seat (does not recline fully flat) in a 2-3-2 configuration, and the Prestige Suites.

Malaysia Airlines

The airline has a fleet of A330s and A350s for its long-haul flights. The business class has the Thompson Aero Vantage seat, which is in a staggered configuration (1-2-1/2-2-1), reclines fully flat and has direct aisle access. The seat pitch on the A330s is 43 inches, with a maximum bed length of 76 inches, a 16-inch IFE seatback screen and individual AC power with USB port. On the A350s it has a seat pitch of 44 inches, seat width of 23 inches and a fully-flat bed length of 78 inches. The airline also has seats which originally were first class, but now are called Business Suites. These are also Thompson Aero Vantage seats, but have more room and a sliding door.


The Qantas business class seat (called Business Suite) on the A380s and the B787 fleet is the Thompson Aero Vantage XL (the XL indicates it is larger than the standard Aero Vantage seat – it reclines into an 80-inch fully-flat bed). The business class cabin is laid out in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, meaning all seats offer direct access to the aisle. It also means that seats alternate between being slightly closer to either the aisle or window depending on the row they are in – for 1A this is the window, making it a slightly more private seat compared to those on even-numbered rows.

Qantas A380 Business Class

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has a large fleet of A350-900, B777-300ER, B787-10 and A380-800 aircraft, and depending on length of flight sector, the configurations can differ. To take the A350-900 as an example, there are three configurations: long haul, ultra-long haul and medium haul used for regional flights. The B787-10 has two configurations for short- and medium-haul routes.Bear in mind that a flight from Singapore to Australia can be classed as regional, so if you are flying from Europe to Australia via Singapore, you will likely encounter at least two types of business class, and possibly a third or fourth on the way back, depending on the aircraft being deployed. The good news is that they are all excellent seats which recline fully flat. The regional business class seats on aircraft such as the B787-10 are Thompson Aero Vantage seats.

The business class seat on all long-haul aircraft (apart from the A380) is another one that needs to be ‘flipped’ from the seat into a bed. The advantage is the seat cushion is more suited for being used as a bed, but the disadvantage is you can’t gradually recline to fully flat when you want to sleep. The seats face forward, but when sleeping you are almost in a herringbone configuration because of the location of the footwell. On the A380 the seat is from JPA Design and manufactured by JAMCO Corporation of Japan, which offers 25 inches in width and reclines directly into a 78-inch fully-flat bed with a 1-2-1 configuration in the cabin giving all seats direct aisle access.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways has a long-haul fleet of A350, B777 and B787 aircraft, in several different configurations depending on the flight sector. Termed ‘Royal Silk Class’, the business class on the 777-300ER and the A350 is the Stelia Solstys II while on the B787-8 it is the BE Diamond seat. On the B787-9, you’ll find the Safran Cirrus III in a reverse herringbone configuration of 1-2-1, which also allows direct aisle access and reclines to a fully-flat seat. Finally on Thai’s most recent configuration of the B777-300ER you will find the new Stelia Solstys III.

Vietnam Airlines

Vietnam Airlines’ fleet is made up of A350s and B787s. The seat product is the Safran Cirrus which is in a 1-2-1 configuration in a reverse herringbone layout, meaning the window seats face the windows and the centre seats are angled towards one another. All seats have direct aisle access and recline fully flat, with a 42-inch seat pitch.

Many airlines have varied fleets of long-haul aircraft with sometimes several different types of business class seats onboard. We have contacted all the airlines here to check the facts, but it is possible we have made mistakes, for which we apologise and will, of course, keep this feature corrected.

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

The cover of the Business Traveller April 2024 edition
The cover of the Business Traveller April 2024 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below