Malaysia Airlines will upgrade its Airbus A330 business class from April 2016, with first flights bound for Australia and Asia.
The spacious fully lie-flat seats replace the current A330's angled flat beds and "sloping sleepers" and seem to make good on the promise of CEO Christoph Mueller, who earlier this year told Australian Business Traveller that the airline would shift to "a world-class leading lie-flat seat... positioned above the industry standard for business class."
"The new seats and configuration have been designed to give a superb space for work, play or sleep," Mueller says.
Each A330 will sport 27 of these seats, down from 36 in today's A330-300s.
The staggered layout will alternate between rows of 1-2-1 and 1-2-2. This will afford direct aisle access for most passengers plus a handful of Swiss-like 'throne' seats with two wide shelves either side, although around 10% of travellers will need to step over their seatmate to reach the aisle.
Aer Lingus sports the same layout for its recent A330 business class upgrade (below), which uses the same Thompson Vantage seat as adopted by Malaysian Airlines.
(If the seat looks familiar, that's because it's shares some design DNA with the Vantage XL seat chosen by Qantas for its Qantas Business Suite.)
The 20.6-inch wide seat turns into a fully flat 76-inch bed, which the airline says will be dressed "with plush bed linen".
The 16-inch touchscreens are complemented by AC and USB outlets.
All 15 of Malaysia Airlines' Airbus A330-300 jets will be fitted with the new seats by September, however the airline hasn't indicated if the seats will also extend to the rest of its fleet, including its Airbus A350s due to arrive from late 2017.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.