Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


IDEAS: KLM Unveils New Lightweight Business Class Seats

8 months ago

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has unveiled its new World Business Class Seats for its Boeing 777 aircraft. 

The new seats have been designed in collaboration with JAMCO, who the carrier previously worked with on the ‘Venture’ seats featured on the KLM 787 fleet.

Credit: KLM

The upgraded World Business Class seats will offer direct aisle access to all passengers, with each seat also equipped with a sliding door for enhanced privacy. The new offering will also provide additional features such as a lower back-massage function, adjustable lower-back support, multiple charging options, and the ability to fully recline into a comfortable bed.

Credit: KLM

According to the carrier, the new seats are also 10-15% lighter than comparable business class seats, aligning with KLM’s sustainability goals.

Credit: KLM

“Based on extensive customer and competitor research, we improved our World Business Class seats to ensure that customers have more privacy and comfort during their flight. The new seats are better in terms of design, technology and sustainability features. KLM meets a wide array of its passengers’ wishes with the new seats in World Business Class, Premium Comfort, Economy Comfort and Economy Class. We are delighted to offer these new products and related services to our customers worldwide,” said Boet Kreiken, EVP customer experience, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Credit: KLM

KLM’s entire Boeing 777-300 and 200 fleet are set to be fitted out with the new Business Class seats, with the full revamp to be completed during the course of the coming year.

At Skift, we are looking to unearth the most creative and forward-thinking innovations in travel through our Skift Ideas Franchise, which includes the Skift IDEA Awards, Skift Editorial Hub and the Skift Ideas Podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.


IDEAS: flydubai Redesigns Their Single-Aisle Business Class Experience

10 months ago

flydubai has unveiled the latest evolution in its premium business class offering, ‘The Business suite’, which is set to be introduced on select flights within its network.

The Dubai-based carrier is the launch customer for this brand-new seat, having worked in close collaboration with Safran Seats, a leading manufacturer of aircraft seats and JPA Design, a design company operating in the transportation, interiors, and product design arenas.

Credit: flydubai

Announced at the 2023 Arabian Travel Market, the first aircraft featuring the new Business Suite is expected in November, with flydubai anticipating the new offering being available on up to six aircraft by the first quarter of 2024.

The new suites have been designed exclusively for single-aisle aircraft, and will allow direct aisle access for every passenger, providing guests the option to have a fully-closed suite experience or a more traditional open plan seat. The new pods will also feature discreet stowage solutions, ambient lighting and an increased on-board entertainment package.

“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,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer at flydubai.

“We have come a long way since the introduction of our first Business Class offering in 2013, which has served us well… 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.”

At the 2023 Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects defining the future of aviation, airlines, and the traveler experience.

If you have an exciting initiative to share, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and start your submission today!


Air France’s New Business Class Product

11 months ago

Air France is upgrading its 12 Boeing 777-300ERs with the airline’s new long-haul business class product, a process that is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The aircraft will also get the same economy and premium economy seats as those found on its cutting-edge A350s. 

The first refurbished B777 (named “Fontainebleau”) took off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to New York-JFK in January. It has also been serving Rio de Janeiro and Dakar in Senegal. 

At the moment about 90 per cent of Air France’s business class cabins have the latest fully flat business class seats but the remainder will be replaced over the coming eight months. 

New business class on Air France
New business class on an Air France Boeing 777 plane.

So what’s interesting about Air France’s next generation of business class? Originally unveiled in spring 2022, there has been some delay to it entering the skies. In any case, flyers will now find smart navy blue and white seats arranged in a “reverse herringbone”1-2-1 formation and with added privacy thanks to sliding doors to create a fully enclosed suite.

Accommodating 48 passengers in total, each seat transforms into a proper bed that extends to almost two metres in length. High-grade materials that have been used include wool, brushed aluminium and full-grain French leather. 

Air France states on its website: “The seat itself has been reworked for optimal lumbar support. The foam has been ergonomically redesigned for maximum comfort throughout your journey, regardless of the seat position.”

When it comes to sleeping, passengers are given a soft microfiber pillow and blanket. Not only is the lighting intensity adjustable but there is also a “do not disturb” feature to let crew that flyers don’t want to be woken for meals. 

As is expected of business class these days, there is direct aisle access for everyone – and for those travelling together, middle seat pairs feature a central panel that can be lowered by pressing it down, to allow companions to talk or share a drink on a central cocktail table. 

Other improvements to the physical environment include 17.3-inch, 4K, high-definition,anti-glare screens. Also provided are noise-reducing headsets, a Bluetooth connection allowing passengers to use their own headphones and several electric sockets for charging personal devices. 

By the end of the year, the whole fleet will have wifi (up from 97 per cent now). The Air France Connect portal offers three passes, including a free pass for sending and receivingmessages. Surfing the internet for one hour costs €8, while the whole flight costs €18. For those who want to stream content, there is a €30 package for the entire journey.


Airline Ticket Prices Are Fairer Indicator of Passenger Carbon Emissions Than Seat Size — Study

1 year ago

Premium, business or first-class seat are regarded as more harmful to the environment, because the passenger is taking up more space on the aircraft. Most countries tax them more, too.

But according to a new study, allocating passenger aircraft emissions using airfares rather than travel class gives a more accurate idea of individual contributions, prompting calls for a tax rethink.

Researchers at the UK’s University College London describe how including airfares in calculations shows which passengers contribute the most revenue to the airline operating the aircraft, thereby allowing the plane to fly.

Although premium seats are more expensive than economy, they found many late bookings in economy class, often made for business trips or by high income travelers, cost as much as, or more than, premium seats.

“The paper shows we should follow the money when calculating emissions of individual travelers, as it is revenue that decides whether an airline can operate a plane or not,” said lead author Dr. Stijn van Ewijk.

“Someone who has paid twice as much as a fellow traveler contributes twice as much to the revenue of the airline and should be allocated twice the emissions. The seat size of each travel class, which is currently used to allocate emissions, is only a rough approximation of how much passengers pay,” he said.

Implementing a tax that is proportionate to the price of the ticket could make the total costs of flying fairer, the study suggests. People buying the most expensive tickets would pay the highest tax, encouraging them to seek alternatives. It could increase estimates of corporate emissions because it allocates more to expensive late bookings, which are often made for business purposes.

The study used data from the Airline Origin Survey database.

Estimating passenger emissions from airfares supports equitable climate action” was published on Wednesday.