All Continental Airlines’ London flights now feature its new fully-flat bed in business class. The US carrier launched its new Business First seat in November last year and has been rolling it out across its B777-200 and B757-200 fleets, both of which serve Heathrow.
As of last week, all London business class passengers bound for the airline’s Newark and Houston hubs will be guaranteed the new product. Continental flies four times daily from Heathrow to Newark and is adding a fifth flight on October 31. It flies twice a day to Houston.
Ten of Continental’s 20 B777s and nine of its 41 B757-200s now have the new seat. The remaining 777s are expected to be fitted by the end of this year, with the 757s, which serve all the carrier’s other UK and Ireland routes – Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Dublin and Shannon – to follow by the end of May next year.
The new seat is in a subtle herringbone formation and is encased in a fixed shell, with an adjustable headrest and controls to adjust recline, lumbar support and leg rest. On the B757 it has a width of 21 inches and joins with an ottoman to make a 76-inch 180-degree fully-flat bed. On the B777 the dimensions are slightly greater, with a width of 23 inches and a bed length of 78 inches.
Other features include a 15-4-inch in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen with iPod connectivity, and a “tower of power” with UK and US in-seat power, USB connection and a headphone socket, along with storage space for small items. Business Traveller recently experienced the seat on a flight between London and New York, and will be publishing a full review in the July / August 2010 edition of the magazine - to subscribe click here.
Installation on the airline’s B767-400ER and B767-200ER aircraft will begin next year, and the seat will be fitted to its B787s as they are delivered. The first of its 25 Dreamliners on order is due for delivery in August next year, with the airline recently announcing it would be used for a daily Houston-Auckland service from November 2011 (see online news May 27).
Whether any of this will be affected by the carrier’s forthcoming “merger of equals” with United Airlines, which is due to be completed by the last quarter of this year (see online news May 3), is yet unknown, although it is likely that certain routes will be served by particular fleets.
For more information visit continental.com.
Report by Michelle Mannion