Brussels Airlines Introduces New Business Class (And More)

Filed Under: Brussels

Brussels Airlines has today announced a new passenger experience on their intercontinental flights, which they’re calling “a boutique hotel in the air” (that seems like a bit of a stretch to me, but…).

Brussels Airlines has a fleet of 12 Airbus A330s (not counting the planes flying for Eurowings), including four A330-200s and eight A330-300s.

The airline will be investing 10 million EUR per longhaul aircraft to introduce a new onboard experience, with design collaboration from JPA Design.

The first refurbished A330-300 will be flying in April 2019, so we’re only a couple of months from this new product being available.

Let’s take a look at what we can expect.

Brussels Airlines’ new business class

For context, Brussels Airlines currently offers fully flat staggered seats in business class, which I’d say are pretty good, but not cutting edge.

What’s interesting is that Brussels Airlines’ new business class seats will be based on exactly the same design, and look to also be Thompson Aero Vantage seats. There’s no doubt it’s an improved version of the seat that offers more privacy, but it’s still odd to upgrade your fleet with a similar seat type.

Here are some pictures of the new seats:

If these seats look familiar, it’s because they’re very similar to what’s offered in business class on Malaysia, Qantas, Swiss, etc. Keep in mind that Brussels Airlines and Swiss are both part of the Lufthansa Group, so it could be that they’re trying to align seat types.

The new business class cabin will feature just 30 seats, with beds that are two meters long, and 15.6″ HD screens.

The airline also emphasizes that they’ll offer Laurent Perrier champagne, four-course meals created by a Belgian Michelin star chef, and a “Belgian walk-up bar, located just behind the business class cabin, offering famous Belgian beers as well as a place to network with fellow travellers.”

Don’t get too excited about the bar, though. It doesn’t appear to be an actual bar, but rather they just seem to be encouraging people to stand in the galley, based on the pictures.

Brussels Airlines’ new premium economy

Perhaps equally interesting is that Brussels Airlines will be introducing a real premium economy product, rather than just the extra legroom economy section they offer now.

This cabin will be in a 2-3-2 configuration and will feature 21 seats. There will be 38″ of seat pitch, and seats will recline 40 degrees. Each seat will also feature a 13.3″ HD screen.

Bottom line

It has been over six years since I’ve reviewed Brussels Airlines’ longhaul product, so I can’t wait to fly them again once their new product is available. I do find it interesting that Brussels Airlines is maintaining the same staggered business class seats, but is essentially just introducing a more advanced configuration that offers more privacy.

It sounds like they’ll be able to maintain the same seat count, so it makes me wonder if they’re actually ripping out all of their current seats to install the new ones, or if they can modify the existing ones to make them like this.

Lufthansa is introducing their new business class seat in 2020 on the Boeing 777-9s. I wasn’t expecting Brussels to adopt this seat (even though they’re part of the Lufthansa Group), though it is nice to see yet another Lufthansa Group airline introduce a new product.

What do you  make of Brussels Airlines’ new cabins?

(Tip of the hat to @fotograaf)

Comments

  1. Looks very meh on both the bar and the seat. Seat looks inferior to the SAS version or even the QF version.

    Big yawn from this TATL traveler.

  2. I mean, a self serve coffee machine (which is what that thing in the bottom right of the “bar” looks like) would be pretty awesome. The plus to having a similar seat is there won’t be much difference in terms of product which will be good for managing passenger expectations. It is however questionable that they’d spend so much on both the retrofit and marketing materials for what is really a minor enhancement or refresh of the J product, although a proper Premium Economy is a bigger deal.

  3. There is one quite substantial improvement: while the old version of the cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 / 2-1-2 configuration, the new cabin will have the much more common 1-2-1 / 1-2-2 configuration. This will reduce the number of seats without direct aisle access from 4 to 2 on the A330-200 and from 6 to 3 on the A330-300. Of course, it also reduces the number of throne seats but I think this is a net positive.

  4. I’m surprised Brussels gets any investment at all, it’s obvious that LH wants to make it disappear in favor of Eurowings.

  5. @lucky – did I miss something – I thought Lufthansa was phasing out Brussels altogether and melting it into Eurowings?

  6. A 2 meter long bed sounds heavenly. Being able to actually stretch out to my full length sounds amazing, even if the foothold is too cozy to stay like that for long.

  7. Is’t this the exact seat that’s on the Swiss 777? Looks very similar for sure. I really like this set up actually, some seats are very private, but you still have the option of having side by side seats when with someone else. makes sense anyways as it would have been already developed for Swiss, R&D costs must be lower 2nd time around.

  8. @lucky the seats are the Thompson Aero Vantage. Qantas uses the much more spacious and entirely 1-2-1 Vantage XL. Perhaps worth updating the article to remove QF as a reference

  9. They can tart it up and talk it up all they like, it’s still Brussels Airlines and still unreliable and awful which as the child of Sabena is all it ever could be. Better that Lufthansa just close it down and use Eurowings for shorthauls and brand longhaul Lufthansa.

  10. Referring to a bar is a stretch too far. Passengers hanging around a galley area would be deeply unpopular with crew; this is their space to snack and gossip while avoiding customers wanting things.

  11. Why do so many airlines use these staggered layouts? I think everyone would prefer reverse herringbone seats for privacy, aisle access and foot space, so why not just do that?

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