Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has begun rolling out new long-haul business class seating on various routes from Copenhagen to Asia and the US.
Manufactured by UK firm Contour, the lie-flat style seating provides 61 inches of seat pitch, a 74 inch bed and 79 inches of living space. By comparison the existing seats feature 50 inches of seat pitch and only 50 inches of living space. And, of course, there's no bed feature.
Seat cushion width is roughly the same at 20 inches (it extends to 23 inches between the armrests when the seat reclines) but the angle of recline is far more generous at 170 as against 135 degrees for the current model. There's a 10.4 inch seat back video screen with video and audio on demand some two inches larger than the present one attached to the centre console.
Because the new seating is more spacious, SAS is having to reduce the business class seat count. On the four-engined A340s (which tend to operate to Asia) the number of seats is being cut from 60 (formerly 54 regular and six sleeper seats) to 46 of the new seats. With the twin-engined A330 (which usually serve the US) the seat count falls from 54 to 34.
SAS says that one plane already has the new seats and it's currently in service on the Copenhagen-Seattle run. The second plane with the new seating is expected to enter the Copenhagen-Beijing route later this week. During March, the new seats will begin to appear on flights linking Copenhagen with Tokyo, Shanghai, Bangkok and Singapore.
Smart travel agents can identify the relevant flights by checking the business class layout on any particular service. But bear in mind that airlines are known to make last minute plane changes (and replacement craft may not have the new seating).
SAS offers connections at Copenhagen for UK passengers departing London Heathrow, City, Birmingham and Manchester. In particular its Asian flights provide competitive journey times as Scandinavia is located on the "Great Circle" route.
For more information go to www.flysas.com
Report by Alex McWhirter