Avianca Airbus A320s Will Have 20% More Seats, No More Business Class

Avianca Airbus A320s Will Have 20% More Seats, No More Business Class

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Avianca is making some major changes to its narrow body fleet, including introducing a very unusual-looking new premium seat.

Avianca adds lots of seats to Airbus A320s

Avianca is undergoing a restructuring, as the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2020. As part of this restructuring, Avianca is trying to become a more efficient airline, and compete with Latin America’s growing number of low cost carriers. The latest example of that is that the airline will be reconfiguring its Airbus A320 aircraft, and the changes aren’t pretty.

Avianca has announced plans to reconfigure the entire Airbus A320 fleet:

  • Planes will feature 20% more seats, and CO2 emissions will be reduced by 13% per passenger; currently Avianca’s A320s have 150 seats, so I guess that means these planes will feature 180 seats
  • The first plane with the new cabins will debut in the second quarter of 2022, and it’s expected that the reconfiguration process will be complete by the end of 2022
  • The reconfigured A320s will feature Airbus’ SpaceFlex cabin concept, which optimizes space at the rear of the aircraft, by combining galleys and restrooms in order to increase seating capacity
Avianca is reconfiguring the Airbus A320 fleet

Avianca’s Premium, Plus, and Economy seats

Currently Avianca’s Airbus A320s are comfortably configured with a total of 150 seats, including:

  • 12 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration, featuring 40″ of pitch
  • 138 economy class seats in a 3-3 configuration, featuring 31-32″ of pitch
  • Each seat has a personal television, and there are power outlets at all rows of seats

Well, Avianca’s A320s are about to get a lot less comfortable. Both personal televisions and business class are being eliminated. Instead there will be three seating options going forward.

Avianca’s A320s will feature Premium seats, a product that Recaro developed exclusively for Avianca. This will be available in the first three rows of the cabin. There will be a center console, along with personal electronic device holders, USB ports, and recline. It’s not yet known what kind of service will be offered in this cabin.

I must say, that’s one weird-looking seat. It almost looks like intra-Europe business class, where you just have economy with a blocked middle seat. However, in this case the seat is wider, so that’s good at least.

Avianca A320 Premium seats

Avianca’s A320s will also feature Plus seats, which will be located in rows four through 14. These seats are closer to the door, and the seats have headrests, personal electronic device holders, USB outlets, and recline.

Avianca A320 Plus seats

Avianca’s A320s will also feature Economy seats, which will be located in rows 15 through 32. These seats won’t feature recline (or rather they’re marketed as featuring “pre-recline”), but they will feature personal electronic device holders and USB ports.

Avianca A320 Economy seats

Suffice to say that this is a major downgrade to the short haul Avianca experience. We’re going from standard economy seats with 31-32″ of pitch and personal televisions, to having seats with no recline and no personal televisions.

Bottom line

Avianca will be reconfiguring its Airbus A320 fleet, and these planes will become significantly higher capacity. Capacity will increase from 150 seats to 180 seats, and in the process business class and personal televisions will be eliminated.

Avianca will have a unique premium product with blocked middle seats, but other than that this doesn’t look like a particularly comfortable ride.

What do you make of Avianca’s reconfigured A320s?

Conversations (21)
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  1. Claus Guest

    That’s the weirdest seat I’ve ever seen, I really wonder what the intentions behind the design choices were. The seats are wider than in economy, but the head rests are not centered on the seats. Apparently you are supposed to sit in the outer area of the seat. There is a seat back in the middle that has no purpose at all, and it doesn’t seem that there is a way to convert the seat into a row of 3. The seat cushion extends under the armrests. All quite puzzling.

  2. PreppyRN Guest

    Is there a possibility Avianca will have a su fleet of A320s that will operate their longer international flights (BOG/SAL/GUA-JFK/IAD/YYZ/ORD/LAX/SFO/MCO/MIA/FLL)? I think this could work against them in a big way. Additionally, I wonder what type of long haul, soft & hard products they will offer going forward…? Hmmm.

  3. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    Read this again: The reconfigured A320s will feature Airbus’ SpaceFlex cabin concept, which optimizes space at the rear of the aircraft, by combining galleys and restrooms

    Gotta give them some credit just for being audacious, but maybe they haven't head the expression: Don't sh¡t where you eat

    Note to self: Never, ever fly on this airline that does food prep in the toilets (never mind those awful seats...).

  4. EW Guest

    Need Aviaca to start flying again between BOG- CUZ so I can avoid LIM.

  5. Steve C Guest

    Been with Taca and Avianca for 12 years. I take
    310 & 311 to and from Sal-MIA. every couple weeks. Now fly AA business, same route and cheaper. Choice of 4 flights daily. Avianca walked to the edge of the cliff and jumped off. Incompetent call center is a joke..

  6. Jeremy Guest

    Even the A330 service in Business is a joke now. The meal service was a step down from Lunchables. Only drink choices are water, tea or coffee.

    The entertainment choices are similar to the .99c VHS cassette discards sold by the library.

    I hope Delta steps up and keeps the direct flights to JFK year round.

  7. SeaNorse Guest

    I love South America but, unless it was a very short flight, forget it. Pre-recline is pretty funny though.

  8. glenn t Diamond

    In the past I have found no compelling reason to actually fly Avianca.
    Now I see none, and, memo to self, avoid completely.
    Happy enough to continue to participate in LifeMiles, with fingers eternally crossed that nothing goes wrong with a ticket that would require me to have to speak with their chaotic and bizzare call centre.

  9. XPL Guest

    Living in Latin America, I've flown Avianca on and off for years, and have watched their slow motion transformation from a solid legacy carrier to one that tries to maintain legacy prices even as the experience is scaled down to that of a low cost carrier. I can't say I am surprised by this announcement.

    What is surprising is the idea of "combining galleys and restrooms". I don't know how that will work and I don't want to know.

  10. Charles Guest

    How hard did the marketing team laugh when they came up with "pre-recline"?

  11. Jeronimo04 New Member

    It doesn’t really make sense for me for all of the A320’s to be reconfigured. Here’s why.

    First of all, regarding the “business class” I don’t find the use of this new cabin over the old one, as neither capacity nor flexibility will be gained from these seats, which is the entire point of the euro business class model. They’ll seat the same 12 passengers the current recliners seat, with the difference these 12...

    It doesn’t really make sense for me for all of the A320’s to be reconfigured. Here’s why.

    First of all, regarding the “business class” I don’t find the use of this new cabin over the old one, as neither capacity nor flexibility will be gained from these seats, which is the entire point of the euro business class model. They’ll seat the same 12 passengers the current recliners seat, with the difference these 12 passengers will be unhappy, less satisfied, and more likely to go on the competition.

    Having flown many “Euro Business” products I have found out the key to make up the worse seats is the better service, lounges, and the amazing food, in short, the lack of a good hard product is made up by some of the strongest soft products in the market. I have had some sublime meals on Iberia, Alitalia (RIP), AirFrance and Lufthansa Euro Business products. Restaurant quality, without a doubt. Lounges of these Euro Business products are also top-notch, as well as the entire experience.

    Avianca’s meals, lounges and overall experience on the other hand, is consistently bland, mediocre, and its staff unprofessional, I have flown them quite a lot as well. Opposite to the Europeans, Avianca made this up with top notch seats, aircraft, and overall hard product. However, with this change, they left themselves in a position where they are offering neither a strong hard product or soft product.

    Moving onto the back of the plane, I see the case for the seats in short haul markets (3 hour flights>) where competitors also offer similar products. However, these planes regularly fly to cities like São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and New York. All more than 5.5 flight hours from Bogota, often redeyes. Here, the product in economy will be eaten up alive by services offered competition, such as the Aerolíneas Argentinas A330 service to Buenos Aires, Delta’s 767 to New York, AA’s specially configured A319 (EOW), United’s 757, etc.

    So in short, they can gain in the short routes, but a lack of planning and organization I think will make them loose big time when it comes to the more profitable medium haul market where competition is fierce, and the Colombian market’s loyalty to Avianca is long gone. It is my uninformed opinion that a reconfiguration of only short haul A320’s could’ve been a positive decision, but this will prove to be an expensive mistake.

  12. Jeronimo Castro Guest

    As an Avianca Diamond member, I find this ridiculous, and like many, after 7 years of undisputed loyalty, I will start to seriously reconsider sticking to Avianca.

    A premium that was accurately priced, went on to be an overpriced piece of rubbish.

    Particularly when you have in mind that these planes not only cover 20 minute hops (it’d be no big deal if they did) but due to the fact that you regularly...

    As an Avianca Diamond member, I find this ridiculous, and like many, after 7 years of undisputed loyalty, I will start to seriously reconsider sticking to Avianca.

    A premium that was accurately priced, went on to be an overpriced piece of rubbish.

    Particularly when you have in mind that these planes not only cover 20 minute hops (it’d be no big deal if they did) but due to the fact that you regularly see A320’s covering routes like BOG-JFK, MDE-JFK, and others which are 5+ hour flights. When Avianca operates an A320 in the AV20 (BOG-JFK redeye) or AV42 (MDE-JFK redeye) it makes sense to fly with them overnight. However, with this joke of a cabin it doesn’t any longer, when you will have a vastly better product in the back of a Delta’s 767 that operates this route, a premium economy product that is miles ahead of this “business class”, let alone the actual business class at Delta to JFK, which offers lie flat seats. Avianca? Not even classic recliners. The same is the case for AA which sends 777’s and 787’s to cover overnight COL-USA routes with vastly better products in all classes of travel.

    I think Avianca is making a huge mistake. Their service was the very reason I, and many others payed the premium to fly with them over new low cost airlines in the market like Viva Air and Latam Colombia (domestic mostly). But now, if the Delta-LATAM skymiles agreement is seized, I will probably go with them exactly because of their service.

    I think they sold their soul to the devil, and the market isn’t receiving this in a friendly way.

  13. stogieguy7 Gold

    Many of Avianca's flights in the Americas feature A320's covering long distances. Such as GUA-SFO or SAL-JFK. Spending 5 hours in this kind of a sardine can? No thanks!

  14. Evan Guest

    In terms of economy class, the personal entertainment is a downgrade, but keeping pitch at 31 - 32" is actually decent compared to let's say AA, who took out personal entertainment and reduced pitch to 30".

    In terms of "business class, I fail to understand the seat design. Can the center console be removed to use the middle seat? Looking closely at the seat cushions, it appears to be contoured to the console. Maybe I...

    In terms of economy class, the personal entertainment is a downgrade, but keeping pitch at 31 - 32" is actually decent compared to let's say AA, who took out personal entertainment and reduced pitch to 30".

    In terms of "business class, I fail to understand the seat design. Can the center console be removed to use the middle seat? Looking closely at the seat cushions, it appears to be contoured to the console. Maybe I am missing something there.

    With that said, these airlines that try to be both a full-service airline and a low-cost airline are fooling themselves. IMO, the best airlines are those who know what they are and what they aren't. For example, DL positions itself as a premium carrier. You may not agree about it being a premium carrier, but it has consistently produced higher yields than AA and UA. It appears UA is realizing that and moving towards the DL approach (i.e. - announcement of in-seat entertainment). Then you have AA...they're trying to be a full-service airline to those in first and business class and a low-cost carrier to those in coach...well, look at their premium yields.

  15. GBOAC Platinum

    I'm happy to see that the economy seats at the rear won't recline. I think that ought to be the case for any tight economy seating -- the person behind the would-be reclining passenger will definitely appreciate it.

  16. Jeffrey I Chang Guest

    Ah...the sardines in a can approach.

    I must applaud Avianca for their forward thinking to transform themselves into the Spirit Airlines of Latin America in terms of seating configuration.

  17. Laurel Guest

    Any word on whether they are also removing the power ports from Economy class?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Laurel -- USB outlets will remain, but that's it.

  18. AGrumpyOldMan_GA New Member

    Honestly, it looks pretty appealing to me. I would be interested in the top and bottom "classes." The wider seat would be nice depending on the premium while no recline would a great feature in the back. Reclining doesn't do a lot to increase comfort for the recliner but it stands to make the person a lot less comfortable in turn. I have thought it best to just look the seats upright and eliminate the...

    Honestly, it looks pretty appealing to me. I would be interested in the top and bottom "classes." The wider seat would be nice depending on the premium while no recline would a great feature in the back. Reclining doesn't do a lot to increase comfort for the recliner but it stands to make the person a lot less comfortable in turn. I have thought it best to just look the seats upright and eliminate the arguments and fights. It sounds like that is what Avianca is doing so I applaud them! For the rows that have recline, unless there is extra legroom, I would rather be in the back. Overall, from a passenger comfort and experience angle, I do not see these updates as bad and, unless there is something I am missing, I would have no issue if Delta implemented them.

  19. GBOAC Platinum

    I love "Airbus’ SpaceFlex cabin concept, which optimizes space at the rear of the aircraft, by combining galleys and restrooms in order to increase seating capacity"

    In other words tiny tiny bathrooms you can't get into or move around in:-(

  20. Clem Platinum

    That's pretty terrible. Now it would be nice if the European carriers could install that odd looking premium seat instead of what they have now!

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Jeronimo04 New Member

It doesn’t really make sense for me for all of the A320’s to be reconfigured. Here’s why. First of all, regarding the “business class” I don’t find the use of this new cabin over the old one, as neither capacity nor flexibility will be gained from these seats, which is the entire point of the euro business class model. They’ll seat the same 12 passengers the current recliners seat, with the difference these 12 passengers will be unhappy, less satisfied, and more likely to go on the competition. Having flown many “Euro Business” products I have found out the key to make up the worse seats is the better service, lounges, and the amazing food, in short, the lack of a good hard product is made up by some of the strongest soft products in the market. I have had some sublime meals on Iberia, Alitalia (RIP), AirFrance and Lufthansa Euro Business products. Restaurant quality, without a doubt. Lounges of these Euro Business products are also top-notch, as well as the entire experience. Avianca’s meals, lounges and overall experience on the other hand, is consistently bland, mediocre, and its staff unprofessional, I have flown them quite a lot as well. Opposite to the Europeans, Avianca made this up with top notch seats, aircraft, and overall hard product. However, with this change, they left themselves in a position where they are offering neither a strong hard product or soft product. Moving onto the back of the plane, I see the case for the seats in short haul markets (3 hour flights>) where competitors also offer similar products. However, these planes regularly fly to cities like São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and New York. All more than 5.5 flight hours from Bogota, often redeyes. Here, the product in economy will be eaten up alive by services offered competition, such as the Aerolíneas Argentinas A330 service to Buenos Aires, Delta’s 767 to New York, AA’s specially configured A319 (EOW), United’s 757, etc. So in short, they can gain in the short routes, but a lack of planning and organization I think will make them loose big time when it comes to the more profitable medium haul market where competition is fierce, and the Colombian market’s loyalty to Avianca is long gone. It is my uninformed opinion that a reconfiguration of only short haul A320’s could’ve been a positive decision, but this will prove to be an expensive mistake.

2
SeaNorse Guest

I love South America but, unless it was a very short flight, forget it. Pre-recline is pretty funny though.

1
XPL Guest

Living in Latin America, I've flown Avianca on and off for years, and have watched their slow motion transformation from a solid legacy carrier to one that tries to maintain legacy prices even as the experience is scaled down to that of a low cost carrier. I can't say I am surprised by this announcement. What is surprising is the idea of "combining galleys and restrooms". I don't know how that will work and I don't want to know.

1
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