I recently flew from Helsinki to London on a Finnair A330-300 (OH-LTP) and had the chance to experience Finnair’s brand new business class product, a couch-like seat which does not recline. Interestingly, my concern over comfort while in the sleeping position was wholly misplaced while I found the seat not as comfortable as I had assumed it would be in the upright position.
Finnair New Business Class Seat Review – My First Impressions
Finnair has chosen the Collins’ AirLounge seat to refresh its longhaul fleet. The retrofit process has already begun and by the end of 2023 Finnair plans to offer a standard business class product across its Airbus A330 and A350 fleet. I’ve offered more details about the retrofit here.
> Read More: New Finnair Business Class Already Flying (Routes)
When I saw that Finnair was consistently operating the A330 with new business class on its morning London flight, I booked it. By the way, Helsinki Airport is under construction right now and security was a mess, but the new terminal is gorgeous and this will be a world-class airport when complete (it was already one of my favorites because of the Platinum Wing lounge).
We departed from Gate 52, which includes a very long walk from the gate to the aircraft. That gave me a chance to scamper ahead and take a number of pictures on the aircraft while other passengers walked instead of ran onboard.
As I stepped into the cabin, my first impression was that seat was as beautiful as the pictures. I loved the dark blue fabric over the chairs and the new AirLounge seat appeared wide and comfortable. The wood finishes in the cabin, including the main galley, were also very attractive.
Settling into the seat itself, I was impressed at the personal storage space, which included a large compartment on the side, shoulder-level compartment for valuables, and even space for items under the portion of the seat that flipped up to from the bed.
One concern about the side compartment was that I had a lot of trouble closing it when the headphones were plugged in and the IFE hand-held unit removed (the cords disabled the door from latching shut). A light inside cannot be turned off, which shines into your face.
So how about that bed? I think many of were concerned that it would simply would not be large enough, especially because the cutout for your feet is angled. Keep in mind that unlike the Singapore Airlines business class seat, which flips down to create a bed, this seat truly does not recline at all. Instead, two leg rests flip up to create the fully lie-flat bed. You then slide forward to sleep, with the back of the seat never reclining.
I was concerned a reinforcement bar might also impede knee or ankle space as well, but it did not.
The seat is actually immensely large. I’m 6′ 1″ and had no trouble fully stretching out on my back or on my side. Even while stretching my toes there was plenty of room left over. I think this seat will receive high marks from taller people.
Here’s a video I took:
I expected the seat to be very comfortable while sitting and here is where it surprisingly fell a bit short. You simply lean back like you are sitting in a couch, but really need both pillows in order to be comfortable. Even then, I felt (like sitting on a couch for an extended period) that my neck and upper back were not properly supported.
By the end of the flight, I sat with my legs crossed (almost yoga style) in the seat. Now that’s pretty cool that the seat is large enough to make that possible. I’m not certain, though, that the seat is more comfortable overall than the current reverse herringbone seat on most of Finnair’s A350-900 fleet.
Other features of the seat I quite liked included the very sturdy tray table (it flips out of the side) and the cell phone charging pad which made it so easy to charge my phone during the flight.
Overall, this seat is a winner.
I was happy for the chance to try Finnair’s swanky new business class seat onboard the A330-300. This is a huge upgrade for the A330, though the reverse herringbone seats on the A350 are still one of my favorites in the industry. In the sleeping position, I found this seat has immense amounts of legroom. My only concern is that it was not as comfortable as seats that partially recline while in the upright position. I cannot wait to fly this product again on a longhaul flight. I’ll have more details on this flight, including onboard dining, IFE, service, and amenities in my full review.