Herringbone and forward-facing staggered business class seats? The catalogue available to airlines is now seemingly never-ending, and the latest Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this week has revealed how the industry has never been more spoiled for choice.
Two of the latest entrants in to the market have come from Safran dubbed ‘VUE’ and ‘Unity’. Because of the levelling playing field, with many suppliers boasting an extra inch here or there, decision factors are now becoming more financially driven, focussing on weight, price, supply chain and reliability.
For Safran, the impressive – yet expected – new narrowbody business class seat ‘VUE’ is arranged in a reverse herringbone that allows for window view. Adapted to long-haul flights on narrow-body airplanes it is “designed to offer passengers a similar experience to that of the most comfortable wide-body airplanes while maintaining an efficient cabin layout for the airline,” states Safran. VUE already has two launch customers, one on the Airbus A320 family, and the other one on the Boeing 737 family, which will enter into service in 2023.
The name VUE reflects the fact the seats are window-facing, different to JetBlue’s first herringbone seat to enter the narrowbody market. The LOPA offers an optimised density while giving passengers a long bed with plenty of foot space. All travellers have direct aisle access with an easy exit even with the TV or meal table deployed and there’s the possibility of adding a door to the suite.
For the widebody market, the staggered forward facing suites are becoming more and more popular, and Safran has introduced its ‘Unity’ to meet airline expectations.
Unity is now a new generation of high-end forward-facing business class seats, leveraging learnings on pre-existing versions. While the press release states a wealth of benefits including all-aisle access, these aren’t unique to Unity. However Safran does state that the seat itself is extra-large compared to other seats in its category, which interestingly means that most likely the footwell must be narrower, as there isn’t an infinite width to play with in an aircraft.
Unity is genuinely designed for privacy. The door option allows for completing a full suite, which can be increased thanks to a higher shell height option. It caters to both individual and companion travellers, with an adjustable central divider. Unity also utilises the latest technologies developed by Safran Seats including Euphony, a wireless system dedicated to acoustic comfort.
Unity has already been selected by two customers and is available on wide-body aircraft such as Boeing 777, Boeing 787, Airbus A350. It will enter into service in 2023. Safran will be a solid contender in this market thanks to its strong portfolio of existing seats, relying on its heritage of delivering on supply chain and reliability.