Finnair reveals its new Business Class cabin + launches Premium Economy

Finnair, the Nordic carrier and a member of the oneworld alliance, made an announcement last night about the installation of a new business-class seat on their A350 and A330 aircraft, and also the launch of a new premium economy cabin, something they did not have on their aircraft so far. Since Finnair operates flights to Delhi, it is of interest to check out their new cabins. Overall, the airline will spend a cool 200 million Euros sprucing up its aircraft.

Finnair launches new Business Class product for its A350 and A330 cabins

Finnair will become the launch customer for a new and innovative seating concept from Collins Aerospace called AirLounge. The new seats will be introduced progressively across Finnair’s entire long-haul fleet of A330 and A350 aircraft.

The AirLounge is not a traditional aircraft seat but takes inspiration from lounge furniture. Finnair claims the seat is designed to maximise your comfort, space, and freedom to move during a long-haul flight. The clean lines and the dark, comforting colour scheme follow Finnair’s Nordic design style that is visible also in Finnair’s lounges in the non-Schengen area at Helsinki Airport.

The seat’s innovative fixed contoured shell with no recline enables a wide variety of sitting and sleeping positions: you can sit at different angles, rest your feet on the ottoman or use infill panels to create a large flat surface. A mattress and duvet turn the space into a comfortable bed, and you can use the cushy pillows to relax in a variety of sitting positions.

The high cocoon-like shell of the seat provides privacy, while the divider between central seats can be lowered when travelling with a companion.

The lighting options in the seat allow tailoring the ambience of every customer’s own “nest”. Along with a customised lamp that doubles as a reading light, a do not disturb light is included if total privacy is desired. The in-seat lighting complements new cabin mood lighting designed in partnership with Jetlite to combat the effects of jetlag. The design scheme is inspired by Nordic nature, complete with the northern lights as the cabin is dimmed for sleep.

The various storage options within the seat include spaces for personal items, laptops, and all pillows and blankets; all certified for taxi, take-off, and landing, so customers can settle in right away and have their essential items conveniently at hand right from the start of the journey.

The flexible table can be used to read, dine or work. Each seat comes with impressive connectivity, including USB A, USB C, PC power, and wireless mobile charging. All of Finnair’s long-haul aircraft are equipped with internet connectivity.

The Inflight Entertainment System comes with a new more user-friendly, customised interface and a wider 18-inch screen, making time onboard fly.

In line with its long design heritage, Finnair has worked with top Finnish design houses to complement the cabin ambience and premium travel experience through beautiful new textiles and tableware.

All meals are served on new chinaware from Finnish design house Iittala. The Kuulas dining collection is designed by Harri Koskinen and inspired by the contemporary home environment. Each item in the collection is carefully designed with aviation in mind, making the collection efficient and lighter to support aircraft weight and CO2 reduction targets.

Business Class customers will enjoy renewed meal and beverage offerings, including an up to six-course meal in modern bistro-style and another lighter meal. In between meals customers can enjoy the new refreshment area located at the main entrance of the aircraft.

The Finnish fashion house, Marimekko has created unique pillows and a duvet for the Business Class, with Maija Isola’s designs in soothing dark colours.

Here is a video that the airline put out covering the entire AirLounge experience.

David Kondo from Finnair’s Customer Experience team, who led the design work for the new Finnair long-haul experience, said:

We wanted to rethink business class and create more of a residential environment, emulating the comfort you would expect at home. By doing away with complicated seat mechanisms and using 3D curved shells, we’re able to provide a larger flexible living space. This allows you to move more freely and take up different positions that traditional aircraft seats do not allow.

Finnair to introduce Premium Economy Class on their long-haul aircraft.

Alongside, the addition of a new business class, Finnair has also unveiled its brand-new Premium Economy product, which was perhaps long overdue for an airline that largely depends on the long-haul business. The new Premium Economy makes its debut this spring.

Finnair’s Premium Economy cabin will offer a comfortable seating choice that provides approximately 50% more space than Economy Class. The new cabin class is situated in its own intimate and dedicated cabin with a maximum of just 26 passengers per aircraft.

The new Premium Economy seat has been optimised for enhanced comfort and ergonomics, featuring memory foam cushions, a deep 8” recline, waterfall leg rest and a 6-way headrest. Dedicated stowage for laptops and small personal items are incorporated into the design so that customers have everything they need at their fingertips throughout their flight.

The seat also features a large and sturdy single leaf meal tray for work and dining and individual reading lights. Customers can keep their devices charged with universal PC power and USB-A ports. Each seat features a redesigned in-flight entertainment system with 13” wide screens to make time onboard fly with blockbuster movies and top TV shows.

Finnair is the launch customer of the “VectorTM Premium” seat manufactured by HAECO, which also provide heavy maintenance services and perform the cabin refits for Finnair. The seat has been heavily customised to Finnair’s specifications and designed with London-based design agency Tangerine.

Premium Economy customers can enjoy two meal services as well as a selection of drinks throughout the flight. A three-course meal will be served on new chinaware designed exclusively for Finnair by top Finnish designer Harri Koskinen and Finnish design icon, Iittala. There is also a light meal service just before landing.

Finnair has teamed up with renowned Finnish design house Marimekko to bring unique textiles for Premium Economy to complement the warm and inviting onboard atmosphere. The neck pillow and woven blanket are designed specifically for the new Premium Economy seat to enhance the travel experience and comfort.

Finnair will refresh Economy Class as well.

Finnair has also invested in a refresh of its long-haul Economy Class, to provide customers with a more restful ambience for their long-haul flight. New lighter seats for Finnair’s A330 aircraft and three new A350 aircraft will offer enhanced ergonomics, personal stowage options, USB A & C connectivity and a larger inflight entertainment (IFE) screen with an updated user interface.

The makeover of Finnair’s A350 aircraft in service currently will see their Economy cabins receive new seat covers and an updated IFE user experience to bring them in line with the designs of the new Business and Premium Economy cabins.

The entire project to introduce Premium Economy and add a new Business Class seat, plus the refresh of Economy forms a part of Finnair’s significant €200million investment of all the airline’s long-haul aircraft to enhance the customer experience. Long-haul flights are key to Finnair’s strategy, with the Finnish carrier specialising in connecting Europe and Asia via the short, fuel-efficient northern route, as well as offering connections to the USA.

My Take

Yes, the Business Class is revolutionary, but we don’t know how people will take to it. Revolutionary because the seat will be devoid of motors, which will make the equipment lighter and save fuel burn. But this lack of recline bit bothers me, and I’ll try to get on this aircraft sooner than later to see how it works in reality. Premium Economy looks good, and more and more airlines will add it to their repertoire as it is a good go-between Economy and Business Class. It hurts though that they have no in-seat power on the aircraft?

Bottomline

Finnair will be introducing an all-new long haul experience, including a refreshed business class product, an all-new premium economy cabin, and some refreshes in the economy. The first planes with these products are expected to be flying in the spring of 2022, by all anecdotal evidence on a new A350 yet to be pressed into service. The airline is pressing into service a new Business Class, which does not have a recline, so it will be interesting to watch out for the reviews on that.

What do you think of Finnair’s new long haul cabin upgrades?


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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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Comments

  1. A nitpick here, but many Finns are offended if you call them Scandinavians! Scandinavia refers to Denmark, Norway and Sweden only. Finland is a Nordic country, but not a Scandinavian one.

    Hope AY launches BOM soon, as it has to expand its destinations a lot more, now that its biggest market China is off the table.

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