In Europe you have three “powerhouse” airline groups — Air France-KLM, IAG (the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, etc.), and Lufthansa Group (the parent company of Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss, etc.).
Virtually all IAG and Lufthansa Group airlines feature fully flat seats in business class throughout their longhaul fleet (there are limited exceptions, like Aer Lingus having a single A330 with angled seats). Now, largely these airlines don’t have particularly good fully flat seats, but at least they’re flat.
Lufthansa business class
Meanwhile I’d say Air France-KLM has both the best and worst European hard products in business class. On one end of the spectrum, KLM 787s, as well as Air France 787s and select 777s, feature reverse herringbone seats in business class. On the other end of the spectrum, Air France and KLM also have some aircraft with angled seats in business class.
In 2018 not only are fully flat seats expected in business class, but direct aisle access from all business class seats is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
Well, there’s some good news on that front. KLM has revealed that all of their longhaul aircraft will feature fully flat beds by January 2019, so we’re just a few months from those retrofits being complete.
The highlight of KLM’s longhaul fleet are their 787s, which feature reverse herringbone seats.
KLM 787 business class
Then KLM’s 777s, 747s, and most A330s feature B/E Aerospace Diamond seats, which are forward facing seats.
KLM business class
It’s my understanding that all 777s and 747s already feature the new business class cabins, so at this point KLM is just reconfiguring their last few A330s with the new business class seats.
KLM business class
Now it’s time for Air France to catch up. Their 787s and some 777s feature their new business class product.
Air France 787 business class
Their A380s, A330s, and some 777s continue to feature angled seats in business class, which is just embarrassing. This will continue to be the case for at least a couple more years, as Air France only plans on reconfiguring their A380s in 2020, and that timeline could be pushed back as well.
Air France A380