There are many configurations in the front of an aircraft (or upstairs if you’re lucky). Many carriers tend to use a 1-2-1 or similar arrangement for first and business class seating, where each seat has direct aisle access, and the middle two can become one connected section. This is far from the only arrangement, though. These are several of the most exciting and unusual seats for anyone looking to experience something slightly different while traveling in a premium class.
5 Enough “Room” for everyone
Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) introduced a business class cabin on its fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft that is designed to provide an in-flight “sanctuary.” Cleverly named “The Room,” the suites carve out a dedicated area that makes passengers feel both included in the airplane atmosphere and alone in a private room. Window seats are positioned so that every other passenger is facing backward, with their feet going under the side table of the passenger in front of or behind them.
Other highlight features include a wide sofa, double the width of its predecessors, and a 24-inch high-definition screen. There is also a focus on minimization and de-cluttering, so the seat offers a ‘place for everything’ and a large flexible privacy door for a bit of peace and quiet. The seats were designed by the architect Kengo Kuma, who also created Japan’s National Stadium for the Tokyo Olympics.
4 Double the Delight
Singapore Airlines is famous for its cabins, with even business class passengers enjoying most of its top perks. The seats all have direct aisle access and feature comfortable padding for long-haul lounging. At night, however, is when they really shine. The two seats in the middle feature a personal divider that runs the entire length of the seat. This can be raised all the way up to make a restful environment, brought down halfway for a casual chat with your seat neighbor, or lowered all the way to make two side-by-side single beds.
Photo: Singapore Airlines
Those looking for the luxurious double bed experience as featured in movies like Crazy Rich Asians can find it further up in the carrier’s Suites, which even offer a separate armchair.
3 Making the most of Mint
JetBlue’s business class is unique as it makes the most of the space offered on a narrowbody jetliner. The airline now flies from the United States to several European destinations using its Airbus A321LRs, which only have room for one business class seat on each side. There are a total of 24 suites on the aircraft, plus an additional 114 seats in economy.
Photo: James Pearson – Simple Flying.
The front two seats are designated as Studios and feature a desk and footstool for visiting passengers. However, the main seats are definitely not to be scoffed at. Set in a diagonal pattern, each business class seat has its own door and windows. The fully lie-flat seat features foam cushions, a memory foam pillow, and a customizable blanket. Simple Flying previously had a chance to review JetBlue’s Mint product on a flight from London.
2 Two peas in a pod
Nigerian airline Azman Air has quite the business class cabin. The carrier took delivery of an ex-Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600 in a unique configuration. The aircraft is registered 5N-AAM and seats over 400 passengers in a 2-4-2 arrangement but hosts only two business class seats. The brown leather seats are located directly in front of the economy seats, separated only by a bulkhead, and do not appear to fold down into a bed. The carrier’s reasoning behind this arrangement remains unclear, but it has proved popular with passengers.
Photo: Air Azman
The economy-heavy aircraft has seen a significant amount of service carrying large numbers of people. It was used this summer to carry over 400 people at a time to Medina for Hajj. Previously, it helped evacuate stranded Nigerians amid the Sudan Crisis and repatriate citizens from Ukraine at the start of the war.
1 Don’t try to recline.
One carrier famously has business class seats that do not recline at all. Finnair introduced the new concept on its planes as part of a cabin refresh. Inspired by lounge furniture, the AirLounge seats allow passengers to relax and stretch their legs out in any position. Instead of reclining, the entire seat is positioned inside of a cushioned shell, which our reviewer found was “Not unlike sitting on part of a sofa, where you can even sit cross-legged or sideways.” Thanks to their unique design, the seats still turn into a fully flat bed.
The seat also includes standard features like extra storage space, a personal reading light, built-in USB A and C sockets, PC power, and a standard wireless charger. Catch our full review of the product right here on Simple Flying.
Special Mention: Beds in the back
What is technically not a business class seat, one airline allows you to have a small bed in the economy section. Air New Zealand’s “Skycouch” lets you turn a row of economy seats into a bed with footrests that unfold to create a flat surface. The airline also revealed it is looking to install bunk beds that economy passengers can use for specific times during their flights for an extra charge.