Business class seat guide – Europe

31 Oct 2022 by Tom Otley
Austrian Airlines business class

In this first part of a series, Business Traveller has compiled a summary of business class seats on airlines flying long-haul out of Europe.

Welcome to our round-up of the long-haul business class seats currently available on European airlines, following our recent look at premium economy seating.

This is the first part of a series on business class seats – so Asian carriers, Middle East, as well as US, will be forthcoming.

Here we are focusing on the seats available rather than service elements, such as food and drink, inflight entertainment, amenity products and whether there is wifi available onboard. In part this is because these elements change frequently, and often depend on the length of the flight sector, and also for reasons of brevity. You will find numerous reviews of most of the airlines in the Tried and Tested section of our website, and 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.  

Iberia business class

Aer Lingus 

Aer Lingus has a mix of long-haul aircraft, both narrowbody (the A321 neos) and widebody (the A330-200 and A330-300). The airline’s eight A321 neos have 16 Thompson Aero Vantage business class seats in an alternating 2-2, 1-1 configuration in a business class cabin of five rows (2-6), with rows 3 and 5 featuring single seats – often referred to as ‘throne seats’. All seats extend into fully lie-flat 6ft5in beds, with a width of 22 inches.  

Of the 15 widebody aircraft, there are 13 A330s that also have Thompson Aero Vantage seats. On the A330-200 this is a 23-seat cabin, while on the A330-300 it is a 30-seat cabin. In addition, two of the A330 aircraft have 30 of what is called the B/E (now known as Collins Aerospace) Diamond Series seats in a 2-2-2 configuration in the business class cabin. These recline fully flat, but the window seats do not have direct aisle access. 

Aer Lingus business class

Air Astana 

Air Astana has three widebody B767 aircraft with a business class cabin fitted with 30 Thompson Aero Vantage seats which recline fully flat in the distinctive staggered formation. 

The airline is also taking delivery of the new A321 LR aircraft (ten in the fleet by the end of 2022), which are also fitted with Thompson Aero Vantage seats – 16 in the smaller cabin on this narrowbody aircraft. 

Air France  

Air France has a large widebody fleet of long-haul aircraft, including A330, A350, B777 and B787, with a variety of business class seats on them. 

On the airline’s B777-300ER and B777-200 aircraft, you’ll find the Safran Cirrus seat customised by Design Investment and SGK Brand Image. It is a herringbone seat, with a 16-inch IFE screen. 

On the A350-900 aircraft the seat is a Safran Optima which reclines fully flat. The 34 seats in business class are in nine rows, from 1-9, in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seat reclines to a bed of nearly 6ft5in and a seat width of 21 inches.  

The Safran Cirrus seat was then updated to become the Safran Cirrus NG (ie, ‘new generation’), and this eventually evolved into the Versa seat. This latest seat has also been customised by Design Investment and SGK Brand Image and is currently being fitted on 12 of the airline’s B777-300 fleet.

The seats are in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout with direct aisle access for all passengers, and there’s a total of 48 seats in the cabin. The seats have a sliding door, and, for the centre seats, there is a privacy panel which can be lowered or raised. The seats recline to a fully-flat bed “almost two metres long”. Other features include a 17.3-inch 4K HD anti-glare screen with Bluetooth connection for passengers wishing to use their own headsets, as well as “several electric sockets”.

Design elements include brushed aluminium and full-grain French leather, and the airline’s historic winged seahorse emblem – which is increasingly used on Air France branding from amenity kits to airport lounges – emblazons the storage space at each seat.  

On the B787-9 aircraft of which Air France has ten, the seat is the Safran Cirrus II seat and converts into a 6ft5in fully-flat bed. The cabin has 30 business class seats, with a 42-inch pitch, configured 1-2-1. 

On the A330 fleet, the business class cabins have now been fitted with a new business class seat, made by Stelia Aerospace, with 36 seats of six rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. It means that if you are in a window seat, you lack direct aisle access. 

The new Air France B777-300 business class seat

Austrian Airlines 

Austrian Airlines operates six B777-200ER and three B767-300ER aircraft. The business class seat is the Thompson Aero Vantage seat which has a staggered layout of 1-2-1 followed by 2-2-1. On the B777-200ER the seat is in two slightly different configurations, but across the fleet it is a fully-flat seat with a 44-inch seat pitch. 

British Airways 

British Airways has two types of fully-flat business class seat in what it calls its Club World cabin. The first is in a 2-4-2 forward and backward facing ying-yang arrangement. This is still the seat you will find on around 50 per cent of the airline’s long haul fleet of B777, B787, A350 and A380 aircraft. It means that the majority of window seats do not have direct aisle access when the beds are fully reclined – you have to step over the feet of the passenger in the aisle seat. 

The new seat is called the Club Suite and is the Collins Aerospace ‘Super Diamond’ seat. This has direct aisle access from every seat, a door, a seat that reclines to 6ft7in fully-flat bed and a 17-inch inflight entertainment screen. Both seats recline fully flat and have White Company bedding. 

Eventually, the whole long-haul fleet will have the new seat, but at present, if you are flying some routes, such as London to New York, you will have a much greater chance of getting the Club Suite. 

At present, all A350s have Club Suite (12 of these), but of the B787 fleet, the B787-8 and B787-9 aircraft have not yet been retrofitted, while it is installed in the B787-10s. Most of the 28 B777-200s have been fitted, and some half of the 16 B777-300ERs.  

The new British Airways Club Suite

Brussels Airlines 

Brussels Airlines has eight A330-300 aircraft configured with Thompson Aero Vantage seats in a separate cabin of 30 staggered seats, 24 of which have direct aisle access, while ten have no adjacent seats.   


Finnair is introducing a new business class seat across its entire A330 and A350 long-haul network. It has eight A330s and 17 A350s, and so far nine have been retrofitted (four A330s and five A350s) with the aim that by the end of 2023 all the aircraft will have been fitted with the new seat. 

Unlike most business class seats, it is unique to Finnair (at least at the moment). It is called Airlounge and was originally designed by London’s Priestman Goode and further developed by Collins Aerospace, with customisation and final design execution by Finnair and its design partner, Tangerine. It is also unusual in that while it converts from a seat to a fully-flat bed, it does so without the back of the seat lowering to horizontal. There is a range of sitting and sleeping positions, but these are created by altering where you put your feet and legs and using the footrest and legrest. When you want to sleep you raise both the footrest and legrest (what the airline calls ‘infill panels’) to create a fully-flat bed.  

On the A330 there is one business class cabin, running from row 1 through to 7 (so 32 seats) in an A-DH-L configuration. Seat pitch is 48 inches on the A330 (45 inches on the A350). Bed length is 78 inches. The bed at its widest point on the A350 is over 40 inches wide, slightly less than the A330. 

On the A350 there are two different layouts of the new seats, with one configuration having a single cabin of 32 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration while the other has a second cabin on the other side of the galley with a further 14 business class seats (1-2-1). 

If you fly Finnair within the next 12 months, you may get the existing seat – a Zodiac Cirrus III (Aries) that reclines fully flat – in a reverse herringbone configuration of 1-2-1. 



Iberia’s long-haul fleet has A330-200, A330-300 and A350-900 aircraft. All seats recline fully flat, though there are variations between the different aircraft’s business class seats. 

The A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft have a 15.4-inch touchscreen for inflight entertainment, while on the A350-900 it is 18.5-inches. In addition, there is an individual 4.2-inch touchscreen with remote control, and adjustable headrest, adjustable back and shoulder pillows with massage function. 

On the A350-900, the seat has a width of 23 inches (compared to 21 inches on the A330s), as well as a larger TV screen (18.5 inches compared to 15.4 inches).  

The A350-900 seat converts into a 77-inch, fully-flat bed, and will also soon feature a wider footrest with side protectors, and “more space for storing belongings”. 

On new deliveries of the A350-900, Iberia will have a seat with a door – the Recaro CL6720. 

Iberia business class

ITA Airways 

ITA has two types of business class seat on its long-haul fleet, both of which recline fully flat. On its eight A330s, Thompson Aero Vantage seats are in a staggered formation, while on the six A350s there are Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats. 

Expect a 15.4 inch IFE screen (17 inch on A350s), fully flat bed across both types of business class, and free wifi coming soon on the A350.  


KLM’s long-haul fleet has 60 aircraft, with B777-200ER, B777-300ER, B787-9, B787-10 and A330-200. 

On B777-200ER and B777-300ER aircraft, the business class is the Safran Cirrus seating, but in a configuration of 2-2-2 (AC-DG-HK), so not all seats have direct aisle access. 

The B777-200ER has four rows of six seats (24 in total) while the B777-300ER has two cabins, making a total of 34. The rows are slightly staggered, so in the front, main cabin of business class you have four rows of the HK seats but five rows of AC and DG. There is also an odd extra row of business class on the other side of the galley and in front of economy comfort – row 6, so in total there are 34 business class seats. 

On B787-9 aircraft the 30 seats are Safran Cirrus (see Air France, above), while on the B787-10 the business class cabin has 38 Jamco Venture seats in a reverse-herringbone 1-2-1 formation. 

On A330-200 aircraft the seat is the B/E Aerospace (now Collins Aerospace) Diamond seat and, as with most A330 configurations, it is 2-2-2 meaning there are some seats which don’t have direct aisle access, though they recline to fully flat. The interior was created by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius and in the A330-200 has 18 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. The A330-300 has the same fully-flat seat, but with 30 seats in the cabin. 

KLM business class

La Compagnie 

French all-business class carrier La Compagnie has two A321 neos, serving routes from Paris Orly, Milan Malpensa and Nice (seasonal) to New York’s Newark. The aircraft are fitted with 76 Collins Aerospace Diamond seats in a 2-2 configuration, featuring a 75.5-inch fully-flat bed, 15.6-inch seatback IFE screen and free wifi. 


Lufthansa has a large (100-plus), varied and diverse long-haul fleet, including A340-300, A340-600, A330-300, A380, A350-900, B747-800, B747-400 and B787-9 aircraft. On the majority of these there is one type of seat – the Collins Aerospace, with design elements by Pearson Lloyd. The good news is all the seats recline fully flat, though if you are in a window seat you do not have direct aisle access where the configuration is 2-2-2.  

There is further business class seating on some of the airline’s A350-900, since these were originally intended for Philippine Airlines and have the Thompson Vantage XL business class seat (forward-facing, but staggered rows). 

Then there are some B787 aircraft that were originally intended for Hainan Airways. They have a 1-2-1 configuration of the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat. Finally, there is a new seat coming that was originally intended for the much-delayed B777-9 aircraft. These seats will be in a staggered formation across the rows with 1-2-1 and then 1-1-1 configuration and will first appear on the airline’s A350 fleet. 

Lufthansa business class


SAS has Thompson Aero Vantage seats onboard, including on the new A321 LR aircraft. The business class seats provide a 76-inch bed length and a 44-inch pitch. 

On the carrier’s A350 fleet it is the Vantage XL seat (the same as the Vantage but with increased storage space) with a 1-2-1 then 1-2-2 configuration of double seats and individual ‘throne’ seats. The design has been added to by Factory Design and has a grey and charcoal colour with a dash of the SAS blue. 

As an example of how the Vantage seat can be altered, the seat includes shoe stowage, a footwell, a massage bar, a headphone strap and bottle retainer, a cocktail table, a legrest and lumbar support. 


Swiss has a long-haul fleet of 14 A330-300 aircraft and four newly refurbished A340-300 aircraft, as well as 12 B777-300ER aircraft. They are all fitted with the Thompson Aero Vantage seat. 

Business class is across two cabins – with two rows in one cabin and a larger section running from row 6 (only two seats in this row, in the centre) to 17, omitting row 13. 

Business class seats are in a five-across configuration and are staggered so that they are alternately either on the aisle or set back from it behind the side table. This is so they can recline flat; your feet then disappear into a compartment in the side table area of the seat in front. In effect, it is either 1-2-2 or 2-2-1 – so from row 7, the configuration is A, D-G, J-K, then A-B, D-G, K, and so on. 

Swiss new A340 business class seat

TAP Air Portugal 

TAP has a long-haul fleet comprised of one A330-200 neo, 19 A330-900 neos and ten A321-200 LRs, with two different business classes. 

On the A330-200 you’ll find the Thompson Aero Vantage staggered fully-flat seat in a 1-2-1 and then 1-2-2 configuration. The seats have a pitch of 44 inches and width of 27.5 inches. 

On the A321-200 LR it is also a Vantage seat, while on the A330-900 neos it is a lesser-known seat – a customised Recaro CL6710 flatbed seat which is 1-2-1 in a staggered configuration and with window seats that are angled towards the window and then away from it. Centre seats are close to one another then angled away, alternately row by row. The seats have a 42-inch seat pitch, 22.3-inch width and recline fully flat. 

Turkish Airlines 

Turkish Airlines has a large long-haul fleet including B777s, A350s, A330s and B787s with several different types of aircraft and various types of business class cabins. All long-haul business class seats lie fully flat, but on some of its B777-300ER fleet the seat is a 2-3-2 configuration, meaning not all seats have direct aisle access. 

On the A330 it is a similar seat in a 2-2-2 configuration and fully flat, or close to it at 177 degrees. 

The A350s and latest deliveries have the newest business class seat – the Aurora from Stelia Aerospace – which has a 1-2-1 configuration, 44 inches of legroom, a 76-inch fully-flat bed and an 18-inch HD screen 

Turkish Airlines business class

Virgin Atlantic 

Across its long-haul fleet Virgin Atlantic has a range of business class (or Upper Class, as it calls it) seats. The majority are in a herringbone layout, though depending on the aircraft, this can be in a 1-2-1 or  1-1-1 configuration. 

Variations of its Upper Class seat have been around for almost two decades and include the Safran Cirrus seat on the A350s with a sliding privacy screen (not a door). 

There are new business class seats on the latest A330-900 neos. It is an Upper Class Suite of 30 forward-facing seats by Thompson Aero Vantage, similar to those offered by Delta in business class, which is itself a hybrid of the Vantage XL and an earlier Vantage model.  

Each suite has a fully-flat bed up to 6ft7in and 22 inches wide, a fully closing privacy door, passenger-controlled mood lighting and a 17.3-inch IFE touchscreen. 

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.

Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class bed
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