Flydubai launches new business class seats, but is something missing?
At the Arabian Travel Market at the end of May, flydubai, the Dubai-based carrier, unveiled its latest premium business class seat, offering passengers added comfort, privacy and an exceptional onboard experience. It’s actually the third business class seat revealed by the carrier in almost as many years which vary from staggered recliner seats to fully flat beds.
The new Business Suite, designed exclusively for single-aisle aircraft, is the latest evolution in flydubai’s Business Class offering which will see 10 suites introduced to a number of the carrier’s newest aircraft before the end of 2023. The new seat will offer all passengers in Business Class direct aisle access, which equals the Business Class experience on board many wide-body aircraft, and actually is better on paper than the offering on Emirates, its larger sister airline’s 777 fleet.
flydubai is the launch customer for this brand-new seat which is dubbed ‘Vue’ – most likely because unlike Thompson Aero’s narrowbody seat, this seat actually faces the window. Close collaboration with Safran Seats, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aircraft seats, and JPA Design, a multinational design company operating in the transportation, interiors, and product design arenas, has resulted in a uniquely flydubai and best-in-class Business Class seating product.
Now interestingly, to allow egress from the seat, the seat pan has had to have a corner of it removed, which we believe would be less comfortable than a regular seat. While the seat reclines into a fully flat bed where seat pan and ottoman meet, the majority of flydubai’s flights (92%) are under 6 hours, meaning that most passengers won’t be using the seat as a bed. Seemingly more emphasis should have been placed on the seat comfort in comparison to bed comfort. The airline has also lost out on the opportunity to maximise the front row seat, opting for what appears to be crew storage instead.
Now, perhaps we have unfairly criticised as we’ve not experienced the seat yet, but after our recent flight on JetBlue (see the video below), there’s no issue with the Thompson Vantage Solo seat – originally designed by Factorydesign – and while it faces the aisle it still affords excellent views out of the windows. It will be interesting to see how the passenger comfort compares to their existing forward-facing product on some flights. However, what is nice to see is the addition of elastic straps to secure items, including phone for wireless charging in the seats.
Commenting on the new launch, Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai, said: “flydubai is committed to exceeding expectations. Our business and product offerings have evolved from the initial no-frills model over the past 14 years to cater to the ever-growing needs of our customers and the markets we operate to. We have come a long way since the introduction of our first Business Class offering in 2013, which has served us well. Today, we are proud to unveil a new premium product which rivals the Business Class experience offered by many airlines on wide-body aircraft. We will continue to invest in innovation to enhance the customer experience across our growing fleet.”
Victoria Foy, CEO of Safran Seats, said: “we are very excited to have flydubai as our launch customer for flydubai’s “The Business Suite” VUE seat, it has been an exciting journey working together to bring this product to the market for the first time on a Boeing aircraft. flydubai will operate with an outstanding Business Class seat designed for the best onboard experience on single-aisle longer haul flights”.
Daniel Kerrison, Vice President of Inflight Product at flydubai, said: “the new business suite will take comfort on board to the next level. The increased height of the back-shell, a sliding suite door and direct aisle access for every passenger create a level of privacy never before seen on Boeing 737s. We have been working with Safran Seats and JPA Design over the past three years to develop an experience that meets the growing demand for premium air travel services across our network, offering passengers wide-body comfort on our narrow-body fleet.”
James Park, Chairman & Founder of JPA Design, said: “we have been trusted partners of flydubai for many years and have had the privilege of designing their aircraft cabins since they introduced their first lie-flat seat to market in 2017. This latest collaboration demonstrates flydubai’s clear commitment to offering the very highest level of product to their customers”.
What do you think of the new seats, and which would you prefer? The Thompson Vantage Solo, or the Safran Vue seat?