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Malaysia Airlines reveals all-new business class for Airbus A330s

By David Flynn     Filed under: business class, Airbus A330, Malaysia Airlines

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.

 

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1 on 3/11/15 by AJT_

Nice to see MH following VA and QF with their business suites. Cant wait to fly it

2 on 3/11/15 by sagidec

Finally - a move that previous management was content in not doing!

Keen to know which route will get a first taste of these seats.

Off to KL in April...

1 on 3/11/15 by eminere

Arriving on flights between Malaysia, Australia and Asia from April 2016.

1 on 3/11/15 by sagidec

Yes, I read that!

SYD - KUL perhaps as first flight? that's what i'm hoping for specifics and launch date.

1 on 3/11/15 by David

When we know, you'll know...

3 on 3/11/15 by Tom

Nice

4 on 3/11/15 by StudiodeKadent

This will certainly be an improvement on the current product. MH will need to retrofit the planes they want to keep and get the A350s into the fleet ASAP.

I wonder what MH will do for their new First Class product as well.

5 on 3/11/15 by Fonga

Smart to offer a small number of 1-2-2 aisles for couples/family that wish to seat next to each other. 

6 on 3/11/15 by undertheradar

seems people are 'overlooking' the fact that 10% of the seats DO NOT have direct aisle access whilst in relax/bed mode...so they are not following VA or QF. The window pairs will be 'step/climb' over your neighbour.  But I'm sure it won't 'matter' to people because it isn't VA or QF. If VA or QF had this product, people would whinge about it. 

1 on 3/11/15 by Alex_upgrade

I think there is demand for this type of layout from couples particularly. One of the limitations of the CX, AA, QF, VA etc all direct aisle access products is that it's not 'couple friendly' especially when flying for 10+ hours. This type of layout deals with that and there are arguably enough single seats to cover those preferring to sit in pairs.

Funny that CEO Meuller has opted for the exact same seat as Aer Lingus (the airline he led before MH). Just don't bring over that green branding!

 

1 on 3/11/15 by AwaywithMike

#plagorismsavestime

2 on 3/11/15 by StudiodeKadent

"One of the limitations of the CX, AA, QF, VA etc all direct aisle access products is that it's not 'couple friendly' especially when flying for 10+ hours."

Cirrus and Vantage XL both are perfectly accomodating for couples in the center pairs, assuming the design makes the privacy screen retractable.

In addition, Solstys-style products (where there are alternating paired/separate seats in the center, a la Emirates A380) are even more friendly for coupled travel in every second center row.

All of these products provide direct aisle access for all seats.

Finally, in premium cabins the majority of flyers are travelling solo. There isn't a massive demand for paired travel in the premium cabins of most airlines.

I do think that the product chosen does work well for MH's market position (i.e. a full service Asian carrier that isn't as uber-high-end as Singapore Airlines), but I don't think it is correct to say that the choice of Vantage is specifically good for paired travellers. Depending on the design, there are implementations of Cirrus/Super Diamond, Solstys and Vantage XL which are perfectly good for paired travellers.

1 on 4/11/15 by Alex_upgrade

I take your point and agree that demand by solo travellers outweighs that from couples in J class.

I do know many couples who fly premium classes that find the Cathay and Emirates etc models unappealing as they force them to sit in the middle of the aircraft away from the windows. Many still choose QF/MH and even BA so they can fly together long haul near a window.

This MH/LX ect conguration caters for such travellers as well as the solo corporates - especially with those 'throne' seats and all that workspace!

3 on 4/11/15 by David

Funny that CEO Meuller has opted for the exact same seat as Aer Lingus (the airline he led before MH)

Not a surprise, in many ways: Mueller clearly has an established relationship with Thompson, he knows the product and the A330 upgrade process, and the seat is certified and ready to roll. It's also not used by any regional competitors, compared to (for example) the Zodiac Cirrus of Cathay Pacific.

7 on 3/11/15 by GoldenClub

This is great news for Malaysia Airlines.  Whist the current A330 seats are quite comfortable sitting up for a day flight, they just do not meet the grade for overnight flights. 

David can you please clarify whether the Aer Lingus / Malaysia seats are based on the Vantage or Vantage XL platform. A quick look at the Thompson website suggests that Aer Lingus uses the Vantage model also used by Finnair and Austrian Airlines amongst others, whereas QANTAS and SAS are using the wider and more plush Vantage XL model? 

1 on 4/11/15 by StudiodeKadent

"David can you please clarify whether the Aer Lingus / Malaysia seats are based on the Vantage or Vantage XL platform. A quick look at the Thompson website suggests that Aer Lingus uses the Vantage model also used by Finnair and Austrian Airlines amongst others, whereas QANTAS and SAS are using the wider and more plush Vantage XL model?"

This is entirely correct. MH is using Vantage here, as is Aer Lingus, whereas the Qantas Busines Suite is Vantage XL.

Vantage XL is 100% Direct Aisle Access. If the product doesn't have 100% DAA, its Vantage.

2 on 4/11/15 by David

David can you please clarify whether the Aer Lingus / Malaysia seats are based on the Vantage or Vantage XL platform:

It's definitely the Vantage, not Vantage XL – some bloggers assumed the XL, but they're wrong. (We contacted Thompson Aero in Dublin to confirm.)

8 on 9/11/15 by Shoudy

Great

 

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