A few days ago, I published some images of the new Air France fully flat business class seat. This will not be rolling out for a while, with the final 777 not being done until 2016.
Finnair, a partner airline of BA in the oneworld alliance, has moved more quickly. It has just published the launch dates for its new seat on the majority of its routes.
If you thinking about redeeming your Avios points for a flight to Asia, these are the date to focus on:
April 1st – Tokyo, New York
May 1st – Beijing
June 1st – Hanoi, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nagoya, Osaka
Four recent deliveries of Airbus A330 aircraft already feature the new seat, as can be seen here:
What is notable about these seats is that a full 1/3rd of the seats are solo, with no seat mate. This gives you a level of privacy that most airlines, including BA, can only offer in First Class.
90% of seats in the new Finnair business class cabin also have direct aisle access.
Three of the existing fleet will not receive the new seats, but these aircraft will be retired early in 2015 as the first Airbus A350 aircraft arrive.
For those who do not know Finnair very well, the airline has carved out a niche for itself in flying to Asia. A quick look at a map will show the logic in that approach. For example, Helsinki to Tokyo is timetabled at just 9 hours 45 minutes, compared to 11 hours 45 minutes with BA. It is a viable alternative if you live in the regions, as Finnair also flies from Manchester to Helsinki to connect.
Sadly this roll out was too late for my wife, who flew to Asia on Finnair last week. BA was too expensive and she needed the tier points to retain her BA Silver card, so I told her to take Finnair over a direct flight with Asiana! She’ll thank me for it when we next get all the kids into the Terminal 5 lounges …..
And she got to enjoy Finnair’s Marimekko bedding!