Finnair is the launch customer for the new Collins Aerospace AirLounge business class seat, which has taken inspiration from contemporary residential furniture. Jenny Southan reports
The AirLounge product is “not a traditional aircraft seat”, says the marketing blurb, but rather “takes inspiration from lounge furniture”.
New for Finnair business class passengers, it has been designed to “maximise your comfort, space, and freedom to move during a long-haul flight”.
A press release states: “The clean lines and the dark, comforting colour scheme follow Finnair’s Nordic design style that is visible also in Finnair’s lounges in the non-Schengen area at Helsinki airport.”
The plan is for it to be rolled out across the airline’s entire long-haul fleet of A330s and A350s.David Kondo from Finnair’s Customer Experience team, who led the design work for the new Finnair long-haul experience, says: “We wanted to rethink business class and create more of a residential environment, emulating the comfort you would expect at home.
“By doing away with complicated seat mechanisms and using 3D curved shells, we’re able to provide a larger flexible living space. This allows you to move more freely and take up different positions that traditional aircraft seats do not allow.”
The seat concept was originally conceived by PriestmanGoode of London. The seat was further developed by Collins Aerospace, with customisation and final design execution by Finnair and its appointed design partner, Tangerine.
Mark Vaughan, vice-president and general manager of interiors seating for Collins Aerospace, says: “The collaborative partnership with Finnair enabled the launch of this innovative seat and helped bring a truly unique cabin concept to life. I truly believe that together we have set a new bar for passenger comfort and the travel experience.”
The seat’s innovative fixed contoured shell with no recline enables a wide variety of sitting and sleeping positions – passegers can sit at different angles, rest their feet on the ottoman or use infill panels to create a large flat surface for working with a laptop.
A mattress and duvet turn the space into a comfortable bed, and travellers can use pillows to relax in a variety of sitting positions. Finnish fashion house, Marimekko, has created unique pillow cases and duvet covers.
The high cocoon-like shell of the seat provides privacy, while the divider between central seats can be lowered when travelling with a companion.The lighting options in the seat allow tailoring the ambiance of every customer’s own “nest”. Along with a customised lamp that doubles as a reading light, a do not disturb light is included if total privacy is desired.
The in-seat lighting complements new cabin mood lighting designed in partnership with Jetlite to combat the effects of jetlag. The design scheme is inspired by Nordic nature, complete with the northern lights as the cabin is dimmed for sleep.
The various storage options within the seat include spaces for personal items, laptop, and all pillows and blankets; all certified for taxi, take-off and landing, so customers can settle in right away and have their essential items conveniently at hand right from the start of the journey.The flexible table can be used to read, dine or work. Each seat comes with impressive connectivity, including USB A, USB C, PC power, and wireless mobile charging. All of Finnair’s long-haul aircraft are equipped with internet connectivity.
The in-flight entertainment system comes with a new more user-friendly, customised interface and a wider 18-inch screen, making time onboard fly.In line with its long design heritage, Finnair has worked with top Finnish design houses to enhance the cabin environment and premium travel experience through new textiles and tableware.
All meals are served on new chinaware from Finnish design house Iittala. The Kuulas dining collection is designed by Harri Koskinen and inspired by contemporary homes.
Each item in the collection is carefully designed with aviation in mind, making the collection efficient and lighter to support aircraft weight and CO2 reduction targets (the heavier the plane, the more fuel it burns).
Business class customers will enjoy renewed meal and beverage offerings, including an up to six-course meal in modern bistro-style and another lighter meal. In between meals customers can enjoy the stunning new refreshment area located at the main entrance of the aircraft.