FlyDubai Introduces Flat Beds In Business Class

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Emirates isn’t the only airline unveiling some impressive new cabins at the Dubai Airshow this week.

FlyDubai operates a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, and they just recently took delivery of their first Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. They placed their order for these in 2013, and have a total of 76 of these due to be delivered in the coming years. They plan to have six of the next generation planes in their fleet before the end of the year.

The biggest development with the 737 MAX is that it’s more fuel efficient and longer range, meaning it can operate select transatlantic flights. However, we haven’t seen much in the way of innovation when it comes to cabins… until now.

FlyDubai’s new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft feature fully flat beds in business class.

The carrier’s new 737 cabins will feature a total of 10 business class seats — two rows will have four seats each (in a 2-2 configuration), while the center row will have two seats (in a 1-1 configuration.

Even their updated economy cabins look quite nice:

FlyDubai plans to deploy the 737 MAX aircraft to their furthest destinations, including Bangkok, Prague, Yekaterinburg and Zanzibar. As the airline takes delivery of more of these planes, they’ll be rolled out to more destinations.

What I find bizarre is that FlyDubai put out a press release about how they’ve showcased their new 737 MAX aircraft at the Dubai Airshow, they have pictures of the new cabins, but there’s absolutely no description of the new cabins or anything. You’d think that would be one of the things they’d most be highlighting about the new planes.

As a point of comparison, FlyDubai’s current 737s feature recliner seats that look more like domestic first class within the US than a competitive longhaul product. Currently FlyDubai planes have 12 business class seats, so we’re seeing a reduction of two seats per cabin.

I’ve been wanting to take a flight with FlyDubai, and now I’m even more excited about flying one of their new 737 MAX 8 aircraft. It’s great to see them upgrade their product, especially as they work more closely with Emirates, and leverage the advantages that each airline has.

As far as I know, FlyDubai is the first airline to offer fully flat beds on a 737. The product looks similar to the business class product Aer Lingus has on their 757s, and also somewhat similar to JetBlue’s A321s with Mint, though in this case the single seats don’t seem to have doors that close.

What do you make of FlyDubai’s new business class?

  1. A brand-new long-haul J product where 35% of the seats have no direct aisle access?

    No, no, no. Big fat fail. Though I guess it aligns with Emirates’ just-announced J class “refresh”, with its ghastly middle seat.

  2. @ The nice Paul – The same can be said for all airlines that use the Thompson Vantage configuration (SWISS, Aer Lingus, etc.).

    While I agree it’s not my favourite hard product, a 1-1 configuration on the 737 (the only way to achieve direct aisle access aside of Apex Suites) is simply unfeasible.

  3. FZ in Economy is worse than torture. If I can’t pay for an extra legroom seat (and you can’t even pay to buy these if you are booked via GDS or on interline itineraries), I simply won’t go. The Econ pitch is as low as 27″ in some seats.

    FZ business class ground services are also atrocious at outstations. No priority check-in, no priority boarding, no lounge access, etc.. Flat beds is simply lipstick on a pig.

  4. Hi Lucky,

    Do you have the dates these planes with flat bed biz seat will be flying to/from? Flight no? I’d be keen to try this too from Asia.

  5. Now-defunct Transaero was the first airline to have flat beds in imperial class (first class) on their B737-800s.

  6. KLM, Lufthansa and SAS (in all cases operated by PrivatAir) all operate or have operated flat-bed 737 flights.

  7. @Alvin

    Let’s not have double standards. Either direct aisle access from all seats is now an essential in J for longhaul, or it is not.

    If it is (and I think it is), they should design their cabin accordingly.

    Or, if it is as you claim “impossible”, perhaps they’ve bought the wrong type of aircraft?

  8. The biggest problem is the price, they used to charge premium economy prices for the old seat for a flight PRG-DXB-BKK. And they had day flights making it possible to spend the night in DXB in a proper bed both ways.

    Booked the old business seat for a friend last year, for the new seat they are closer in price to J on some cheaper European carriers like Finnair or Turkish, plus you can not earn miles outside their own FF program.

    Only good thing about this new seat/cabin is relatively cheap saver fare oneway tickets, and cheap R/T tickets to DXB.

  9. I love how the CEO said in my copy of Airliner World magazine in 2008 ‘we will not introduce a premium product’

  10. @The nice Paul: The keyword being “longhaul”. You won’t be doing any longhaul in a 737MAX. Those airplanes are able to do select TATL routes and that’s about it. If I had to guess then FlyDubai may expand to markets where it was previously unviable for EK to send a T7 or even a whale over.

    If the rumours are true then we’ll see a deeper cooperation between FZ and EK and FZ may very well play feeder from origins that are few not enough demand to justify sending an EK widebody.

  11. @El Potato

    TATL *is* longhaul.

    Or, if it isn’t, presumably you are also happy with BA CW’s J layout on their dozens of TATL routes – after all, it’s not “longhaul”…

    Double standards.

  12. I have to agree with Sean M. on this. I use to fly in and out of Kabul often, and the choice in airlines was limited.
    FlyDubai – a new fleet, but atrocious service all around, though once they did give me a fast track card for arrival in DXB, with an overpriced business class seat.
    Emirates – they could only fly in with their last remaining 340 in service, and it was hit or miss, if the winds were not right, they would turn the plane around back to DXB. Kinda not a good thing if you have connecting flights lol.
    The Afghan airlines – There were three at one point, Arianna Airlines and KAM were both known for bad safety records and older planes, and neither had online booking available. Safi Airways had a newer fleet, and I ended up sticking with them. Their R/T biz class was cheaper than FlyDubai’s coach, and the service was pretty decent. The staff was friendly and chatty, from all the nearby “stans”, and one Uighur FA too. KBL didn’t have any fast track or even any lounges (well they had a separate room for biz class but it was just a room with seats not even complimentary water lol), but I never had issue using fast track lanes in DXB when I showed my boarding pass.

  13. El Potato – It is indeed long haul (or medium haul at least). It is not, however, a route that FlyDubai will be operating so is completely irrelevant.

    As to you previous suggestion that the entire aviation industry is compelled to decide whether 100% access to the aisle is important or not, then all stick to it no matter what is ludicrous and simply beyond absurd. What are you smoking!?

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