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Finnair is bringing its new Business & Premium Economy cabins to the United States


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Back in February, Finnair surprised the world when it unveiled a new (and different) Business Class seat alongside a new Premium Economy Cabin. At the time, it was thought that until a significant number of Finnair’s long-haul aircraft had been retrofitted with the new cabins, the new seats would be limited to the airline’s Asia routes but as it turns out, that’s not going to be the case.

The pandemic and more recently the war in Ukraine continue to play havoc with Finnair’s services to Asia. The airline has pulled its flights to Japan, it continues not to serve Hong Kong or Beijing and it’s currently offering a single weekly flight to Shanghai and that could be the reason why we’ve just seen the airline announce that two of the three long-haul routes that will be the first to get the new Finnair Business and Premium Economy products will be routes to the United States.

The fact that Singapore will be getting the new Business Class and Premium Economy cabins isn’t much of a surprise (I have a feeling this is something that has already been announced) but I’m pretty sure the airline’s original plan didn’t include offering these cabins on routes to the United States so soon.

In fact, Finnair was publicizing its new route to Dallas/Fort Worth just a few days ago and at that time, no mention was being made of the new cabins being deployed on the route. Moreover, when I searched the schedules into 2023, the new cabins were not appearing on any of Finnair’s US routes last week. That is no longer the case.

The new Business Class and Premium Economy cabin will be making its debut on the Helsinki – JFK route on 11 May

…and will be making its first appearance on the Helsinki – DFW route a day later.

Note: You can tell which Finnair aircraft offer the new Business Class cabin by searching for Premium Economy seating as only the aircraft with the new Premium Economy Cabin offer the new Business Class seat.

Finnair’s new cabins

Finnair is the first airline to fit its aircraft with the new Collins Aerospace AirLounge seat and this is the seat that will finally give Finnair a consistent Business Class hard product across all of its long-haul aircraft.

The new Business Class cabin has a 1-2-1 layout and looks like this:

Finnair new Business Class

Finnair new Business Class

Finnair new Business Class seat – upright

Finnair has said that the seats have been designed to maximize a passenger’s comfort and space and to give passengers the freedom to move during their flight.

Per Finnair:

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.

Finnair new Business Class seat – center section

Finnair new Business Class seat – center section with divider raised

Impressively (assuming this to be true), the new seat is said to have enough storage options to allow a passenger to put away their personal items, laptops, and also any pillows and bedding that are provided while keeping everything close to hand (i.e this doesn’t include the overhead bins).

In keeping with the modern nature of the new cabin, each seat comes with impressive connectivity, including USB-A, USB-C, regular power outlets, and wireless mobile charging.

The all-new Finnair Premium Economy cabin is also being fitted to the airline’s A350 and A330 long-haul aircraft and it isn’t too dissimilar to the Premium Economy cabins that you’ll find on the likes of American Airlines and British Airways.

The new Premium Economy cabin offers a maximum of 26 seats which means that allowing for a slightly staggered layout, the cabin won’t have more than 3 rows.

Finnair says that its Premium Economy seat offers “approximately 50% more space than Economy Class” which, in practice, means that there will be 38″ of seat pitch (legroom) and that passengers will have 8″ of recline.

As far as I can tell, Finnair hasn’t yet confirmed how wide these new seats will be but with the Economy Class seats on the airline’s A350s and the A330s already offering seats that are 18″ wide, I doubt that the Premium Economy seats will improve on that by much – BA’s Premium Economy seats in its A350s are 18.5″ wide and that’s how wide the Finnair seats will probably be too.

Per Finnair:

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 6-way headrest. Dedicated stowage for laptops and small personal items is incorporated to the design so that customers have everything they need at their fingertips throughout their flight.

The new Premium Economy seat is also said to feature “a large and sturdy single leaf meal tray” for work and dining, as well as individual reading lights and universal PC powers and USB-A ports to help keep devices charged.

Each seat also offers passengers a new (to Finnair) in-flight entertainment system with 13” wide screens.

Bottom line

Finnair’s new Business Class and Premium Economy products will be offered on two of the airline’s US routes earlier than a lot of us had expected. A350-900 aircraft retrofitted with the new cabins will debut on the Helsinki – New York JFK route on 11 May and on the Helsinki – Dallas/Fort Worth route on 12 May so it won’t be long before American flyers get to find out what these new products are like for themselves – it will be interesting to read the first reviews.

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1 COMMENT

  1. “Note: You can tell which Finnair aircraft offer the new Business Class cabin by searching for Premium Economy seating as only the aircraft with the new Premium Economy Cabin offer the new Business Class seat.”

    I’m not sure whether that’s the accurate way to predict it. Finnair probably won’t retrofit two planes in a day. So they might drop the new config on the routes a couple weeks early and sell Premium Eco seats as “Economy Comfort” meanwhile.

    So, what we can tell for sure is, that it will be deployed from May 11 onwards. But I expect to see some planes with the new configuration earlier than that.

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