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Review: I try out Finnair’s revolutionary new ‘no recline’ Business Class seat

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This is our review of Finnair’s new ‘no recline’ Business Class seat.

A month ago, Finnair announced a brand new – and different – Business Class seat which will roll out on its entire long haul fleet by the end of 2023.

This came as a big surprise to the industry which had only been expecting to see the launch of Premium Economy.

Last Friday I was invited to try out the new seat, which had been specifically rostered on the Heathrow to Helsinki route for the occasion. David Kondo, Finnair’s design head, was with us.

Finnair new business class seat

Rhys wrote an in-depth piece on the new Finnair seat here. He knows far more about seat design than I do, and I don’t intend to repeat his thoughts here, so I recommend you read that piece alongside this one. His article has the smart PR photographs in it whilst this one has rough and ready real life images. The only PR picture here is the one above.

To summarise the seat:

  • it’s very good – ignore the fact it doesn’t recline, ignore the lack of a door. It’s a practical, cosy, private seat which is well ahead of the current one (which itself is well ahead of BA Club World).
  • I think that it may prove more popular with women than men, to the extent that it works best in the seating positions that women are more likely than men to adopt for anatomical reasons

This is what you see as you walk down the cabin. It looks a bit like the British Airways business class ‘cradle seat’, which readers over 50 may recognise:

Finnair new business class seat

It’s a 1-2-1 layout. Each row is identical – you don’t have any sort of staggered layout as you get with SWISS, Finnair (old seat), Aer Lingus etc.

Let’s take a closer look at the seat:

Finnair new business class seat

The first thing to note is how wide it is. Here is a picture of the seat with me in it:

Finnair new business class seat

There is a huge amount of space here. You are in no way coccooned by the seat, which is good to the extent that you can move around (and very good if you are wider than average).

The seat padding is soft, but not as soft as I expected. It’s not sofa-style padding – not unsurprising for an aircraft seat, of course, but this seat is pitched as being more of a sofa-style experience than usual.

Here is a view looking forward:

Finnair new business class seat

You have, as you’d expect, a high quality display screen. If you look under the TV you can just about see a foot rest which flips up and locks into place. There is a separate rest under the seat. When both are extended, the entire area you see below is one flat space:

Finnair new business class seat

The reason the seat doesn’t recline is that it doesn’t need to. You are meant to lie down on this flat area. I am 6 foot 2 and as you can see here, my toes were nowhere near the end of the foot hole when I was in a sleeping position:

Finnair new business class seat

As this was a 3 hour flight, we were not given pillows, duvets or blankets. It was impossible to get a proper impression of how the seat would work for sleeping, but I was convinced I would get a decent night on it. We also didn’t get proper headphones, just cheap earbuds, so I can’t comment on the sound quality available on a long-haul flight.

Whilst the seat has no door, you get a lot of privacy. Putting on a door means narrowing the seat by a few centimetres, and this is a trade off that Finnair was not willing to make. This was the view from my seat:

Finnair new business class seat

You can’t, realistically, say that you are lacking privacy here. The seats are far higher than British Airways business class seats.

If you are in the centre pair there is a divider between the two seats which can be placed up or down as you can see below. This clearly isn’t as private as being in a window seat, however.

Finnair new business class seat

Other seat features

Let’s look at some of the other features. The tray table is excellent. It swings out and then, if you wish, folds out to double in size. You can push it back easily if you need to get out of your seat during the meal service.

Finnair new business class seat

If you look to the far left of the picture above, you will see a tiny cross. This is a wireless phone charging pad. At last!

This is how the table looks when unfolded. The meal below – pasta and prawns – is Finnair’s typical short-haul food and is not typical of how a long-haul meal would be presented.

Finnair new business class seat

The storage unit comes with a bottle of water in its own special compartment. The thin rectangular slot is designed to store a laptop safely.

Finnair new business class seat

There is also a storage unit built into the seat, under the reading light. As well as storing the TV remove control, there is a USB C charging socket (a world first apparently) as well as enough space for spectacles, phones etc:

Finnair new business class seat

Our aircraft had wi-fi. As this was an older A330, I assume that the entire long-haul fleet must have it. Business Class passengers get 1 hour of free wi-fi and you can pay for additional time.

My only criticism is that the process for connecting is not clear. I initially thought it was turned off because, whilst I could see the network on my phone, it wouldn’t connect. What I didn’t know until I went to the wi-fi page on my IFE screen is that you need to scan a QR code or type in a specific URL to activate it. It is not automatic, and your device will not automatically divert to the registration page.

Once I was connected, it worked well. That said, with only seven passengers using it concurrently at the time I was on (you are told the number when connecting) it was not typical of a long-haul flight.

Does the lack of seat recline matter?

As you can see from the pictures, the seat back is not fully upright. There is a gentle slope which should be fine for sitting and eating. The issue is whether you extend the seat base and essentially curl up on it, or put your feet on the floor. I tried both and, if I’d had a blanket, would probably have gone for a curled position whilst watching TV.

What is interesting about the seat is that there is almost nothing mechanical about it. The only automated thing is the flap under your seat. This should keep maintenance costs down and presumably makes the seat lighter.


A three hour day flight to Helsinki isn’t, clearly, the same as a 12-hour overnight flight from Asia. Let”s start with that caveat. I also didn’t get to experience the food or service you would get on a long-haul flight, although my short-haul crews were excellent.

However, I can tell you with certainty that this is a comfortable, well designed, surprisingly large, surprisingly wide and surprisingly private Business Class seat.

It is well ahead of the current Finnair Business Class seat, which I was always positive about. It’s ironic that Finnair is ripping out seats which are only 5 years old in some cases and which are far better than the seats other airlines are still flying.

I can say for sure that sleeping in the new seat will not be a problem, given the length and width of the seat. I know that it is perfectly fine for sitting and working, because I tried it.

The key issue is whether you can find a comfortable position for sitting whilst reading or watching TV for extended periods. I think it would be fine, although I’ll need to try it to be sure.

Finnair has always offered a good Business Class product for flights to Asia. As regular HfP readers will know, it has also historically offered excellent value for money, especially in sales.

As Finnair is in the oneworld alliance, you earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points. In fact, you earn more tier points than you would earn on British Airways, since the short-haul connection to Helsinki gets you a further 80 tier points in each direction in Business Class.

Finnair also runs a number of weekly flights from Heathrow with long haul aircraft, for cargo reasons. This means that, if you pick and choose your flights, you can fly Business Class to Asia with a flat bed on all four flights.

Finnair also flies from Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin. If you don’t live near Heathrow then the rationale for flying it to Asia becomes even more compelling, because connecting in Helsinki is no harder than connecting in Heathrow.

Thanks to David Kondo and his team at Finnair for inviting me. If you are heading to Helsinki, I can recommend ‘Shelter’ restaurant on the harbour – website here – which attracts a young and buzzy crowd but also delivers on the food front, and where David’s team took us.

PS. Don’t miss our review of the new Premium Economy seat

If you found this article interesting, click here for our review of Finnair’s new (and first ever) Premium Economy seat which is being added to the same aircraft.

Head for Points made a financial contribution to the Woodland Trust as part of this trip. The Woodland Trust creates and manages forests in the UK in accordance with the Woodland Carbon Code.

Comments (263)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Erico1875 says:

    Chas. You really spoiled that conspiracy theory😀

  • riku says:

    I’m sure Finnair will be impressed with the amount of engagement from this article after flying Rob to Helsinki to try out the seat .. perhaps not the kind of engagement they were expecting though, but it certainly confirms the Finnish impression that England is still stuck in Victorian times (also see British plumbing, carpet inside houses – even bathrooms and the state not even knowing how many people live in the country because there is no population register)

    • Suggs says:

      Really? Not heard of the census?
      Every person in Finland I have worked with, and I have worked with alot over the years, does not see us as Victorian, so please keep your basis to yourself.

      • riku says:

        the census – if that holds a list of everyone in England then why is there an article in today’s guardian “No one knows how many children in England, says children’s commissioner”. In Finland everyone has a social security number, it’s on your driving licence, the hospitals use it, schools use it, banks use it, phone companies use it. Everyone has a number, all official bodies identify people based on this number, the population register has everyone’s details complete with their address.

        • Londonsteve says:

          I’m totally with you Riku. I’ve lived in continental Europe and hope to again, this system is absolutely standard across the region and has multiple functions, one of which is keeping a master list of who is living in the country and where. Brits have an irrational aversion to having to carry any form of ID or the state knowing their whereabouts, even if MI5 is quite capable of finding where you are at any time, should they wish to know. It’s an ideological and philosophical fixation on what Brits perceive to be freedom. In reality, the elevated levels of crime and fraud, as well as the poor provision of public services arising from a lack of knowledge of who lives where serves to cramp one’s freedom in the UK. I feel far freer walking the often safe and clean streets of a continental European city than I do in any city in the UK, despite having to have my ID tucked away in my wallet by law. In reality I carry my overseas ID with me at all times in the UK because it’s a practical credit card sized document, so I never leave home without it wherever I am.

    • Mike says:

      What is wrong with a carpet in the bathroom ?

      • Londonsteve says:

        It’s unhygienic and impossible to clean effectively. Is that a good enough reason? The UK is the only country on the planet you will ever see carpet in the bathroom. It’s also one of the inherently dirtiest countries in Europe, in public areas or in people’s homes. To experience the alternative, visit Austria, say.

  • Prospero says:

    Reports from FlyerTalk indicate two minor differences concerning seats 1A and 1K on the A330. These have an additional stowage slot located to one side of the TV screen. Also, the footwells are slightly deeper than standard although they do taper inward at a sharper angle compared to other seats.

    Others have reported very favourable sleeping comfort – for those like myself who lie on their side, the bed is optimised when facing the aisle. I am looking forward to testing this seat out for myself in the near future

    For those interested, a detailed seat map is now available on

  • Alex W says:

    Not everyone sleeps on their back, I think a lot of people like to sleep on their side, whether curled up like a foetus or stretched out more. For these people a flat bed is much more comfortable as you can sleep in whatever position you like without having various bumps and crevices in the wrong places. That’s why I really liked the Virgin flip-over seat which was far more comfortable for me than the old BA and Finnair business class seats. I would really look forward to trying this new Finnair seat one day.

  • yorkieflyer says:

    Of course a solution could be two mini cabins, one with the regular reclining seats (M) and one with the new seat (F) ?

  • yonasl says:

    Will we have a review of the premium economy seats too (their measures seem to match the measures of BA/AA/IB but the brand is different – Haeco for Finnair vs. Recaro for BA -)

    • Rob says:

      I’ve got some photos and I sat in it for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, due to the aircraft swap on the return, I didn’t get to fly it. I’ll see if the pics I have are enough for an article.

      • yonasl says:

        Thanks! Hopefully a old style boring chair that won’t get you into trouble 😜

  • Mike says:

    Is it true that if a BA Premier Card holder wants to use an occupied Concorde Room Cabana they make the occupant leave immediately ?

    • Bimbo says:

      Yes, unless the occupant has the card too. Then they have a sword fight.

    • Nick says:

      No it isn’t. Prems are treated very well, but there’s very little that would cause another customer to be affected directly. Most of the cardholders would be mortified if they knew someone else had been pushed out in this circumstance anyway.

      What could happen though is that they call SS in advance and say they would like one… in this case it would be discreetly kept available for their arrival – so anyone coming later could be told there aren’t any even if one is technically empty.

  • Brian says:

    As may have already been mentioned, I do wonder how many of the indignant posters on here today are quite happy to fly the Middle Eastern airlines and spend holidays in places like Dubai, despite the way women are viewed and treated in that area….

    • Aston100 says:

      How are they viewed and treated Brian?
      One of my last memories of Dubai was an arab woman hitting a bloke with her bag and yelling quite loudly. I assume it was her husband.

      • Brian says:

        Perhaps it was a man who wasn’t her husband who wanted to have sex with her. And she didn’t want to be accused of adultery? Why assume? 😋

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