Finnair — Finland’s flag carrier — has completely redesigned its business class and unveiled a brand-new premium economy product.
The Oneworld carrier is honing in on what it believes to be one of the most important markets emerging out of the pandemic: luxury long-haul leisure travel.
The cabin upgrades and additions are part of a €200 million ($229 million) investment in Finnair’s long-haul passenger experience.
A dedicated premium economy product is quickly becoming a popular offering, with several airlines already offering their own takes on it already, and others like KLM set to unveil their version of premium economy sometime in the coming weeks and months.
Let’s take a look at Finnair’s new cabins, and on which routes you’ll be able to experience them.
Finnair Debuts Premium Economy Cabin
Finnair is the launch customer for HAECO’s Vector Premium premium economy seat. It will also be the first time the airline has ever offered premium economy on any of its aircraft.
“The trend for premium travel has significantly accelerated during the pandemic, so we are confident our new premium economy travel class will prove very popular with customers looking for an upgraded experience from economy,” said Ole Orvér, Finnair Chief Commercial Officer.
The new cabin will have just 26 seats, each of which will provide passengers up to around 50% more space than in economy.
Finnair operates 2 types of Airbus jets on its long-haul routes: the older A330 and the newer, more modern A350.
As the dimensions of each aircraft vary slightly, the new premium economy cabin on the A330 will be configured with 3 rows of seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, which will be a touch more spacious than the 3 rows of seats in a 2-4-2 arrangement on the A350.
The seats have built-in memory foam cushions, an 8-inch recline, a waterfall leg rest, and a 6-way headrest.
An effort has been made to make sure there’s enough storage for passengers, including space for laptops and personal items.
The IFE system at each seat has been redesigned and will be watchable through 13-inch-wide screens. Passengers seated in economy will also benefit from the updated IFE system.
Finnair Debuts Industry-First Business Class
Finnair’s Airbus A350 aircraft already feature a state-of-the-art business class product. Its older A330s, on the other hand, are in need of thorough modernization.
Thankfully, as well as an all-new premium economy cabin, every single Finnair A330 and A350 aircraft will be fitted out with the Collins Aerospace AirLounge business class seat — the first of its kind in the industry.
Unlike most carriers, whose business class seats recline into the fully flat position, Finnair has gone for a cocoon-like, fixed-shell seat.
The aim was to provide a unique space that feels more like it belongs in the home, rather than a metal tube flying through the air.
“We wanted to rethink business class and create more of a residential environment, emulating the comfort you would expect at home,” said David Kondo from Finnair’s Customer Experience team.
The design means you can use more of the seat’s space to get comfortable.
It does mean, however, that passengers are only able to sit upright or lay fully flat, losing the ability to recline their seat to an angle or position that suits them.
“By doing away with complicated seat mechanisms and using 3D curved shells, we’re able to provide a larger flexible living space,” said Kondo.
The new AirLounge space gives passengers the most use of their seat, whether they want to eat, sleep, or work.
From the hard product to the soft product, the airline has worked closely with Finnish brands to make this the ultimate Nordic experience.
Unique pillows and duvets for passengers in business class were designed by the Finnish fashion house, Marimekko, and the new Kuulas dining collection comes from Harri Koskinen at Iittala, a Finnish design house.
As for the inflight service, passengers on some flights will have the ultimate 6-course bistro-style meal followed by a second meal later in the flight.
And for those who like to snack throughout the flight, there’s a beautifully sleek new refreshment area located at the entrance of the aircraft.
Finnair’s U.S. Network
You can currently book nonstop flights to Helsinki (HEL) with Finnair from 6 U.S. cities, including Chicago (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), and Seattle (SEA).
The newer Airbus A350 is scheduled to operate the bulk of the routes, while the A330 will serve Chicago (ORD) and Seattle (SEA).
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The transatlantic market is one of the most competitive in the industry and Finnair’s overhauled long-haul offering brings it into another league.
Not only that, but it offers shorter, more fuel-efficient connections from Europe to destinations across Asia.
Finnair’s foray into the premium economy market and the upgrading of its older business class has certainly put the carrier on our radar.