Saudia Installing Flat Beds In A320 Business Class

Overall we’re seeing airlines constantly upping their game when it comes to premium cabin hard products. One area in which we’ve seen this trend lately is with narrowbody aircraft, which is a trend I love.

This will become increasingly common over time, given that narrowbody aircraft are becoming longer range, and therefore are operating flights that were traditionally flown with widebody aircraft.

Saudia is an airline that’s undergoing a transformation, and they’re hoping to become a five star airline. Their 777-300ER first class product is actually quite solid, and they fly it to the US, as well as London and Paris.


Saudia’s 777 first class

They operate a variety of planes to their other European gateways, though their worst flights are those operated by A320s, as these planes feature recliner seats in business class, which aren’t competitive with what other airlines are offering.

So there’s some good news on that front. Saudia is upgrading some of their A320s to introduce high speed wifi and flat beds in business class.

They plan on reconfiguring a total of seven planes — they’ve already reconfigured one A320, and plan to reconfigure an additional A320 every month, so we should expect all seven planes to reconfigured by next spring.

Saudia says that the new A320s will be available soon to Rome, Milan, Munich, Frankfurt, Geneva, and Vienna.

These reconfigured planes will feature a total of 20 business class seats spread across five rows, with 63″ of pitch.

Once reconfigured, these A320s will have a total of just 110 seats (20 in business and 90 in economy), which represents a capacity reduction of 6-22 seats, depending on the version of the A320 they’re reconfiguring.

Here are some pictures of the new business class seats:


Saudia’s new A320 business class


Saudia’s new A320 business class

It looks like Saudia will be using standard B/E Aerospace Diamond seats in business class, which are similar to the seats they have on some of their 777s, like what I had when flying from Colombo to Jeddah.

One version of Saudia’s 777 business class

Bottom line

These new Saudia A320s with flat beds in business class and wifi sound like a significant improvement over their current product. Previously these were the planes to avoid on European routes, while going forward that won’t be the case anymore.

Now, before I get yelled at, let me say that I have no intention of flying Saudia or visiting the country anytime soon, in light of recent events. But I’m still going to cover news as it impacts the airline.

(Tip of the hat to YHBU)

Comments

  1. My question is why do they operate narrow-body A320s to these European routes instead of using, let’s say, wide-bodies like A330?!

  2. “My question is why do they operate narrow-body A320s to these European routes instead of using, let’s say, wide-bodies like A330?!”

    Very simple … currently, the load factor is still too low. If there are enough passengers they will switch to bigger aircraft.

  3. The airline has stated that they will upgrade one plane per month over the next few months. The first plane (HZ-ASB) flew its first flight on Nov10 from RUH to GVA. They plan to upgrade a total of 7 planes first (HZ-ASA/ASB/ASC/ASD/ASE/ASF/ASG)

  4. Saudia’s motto is “Welcome to your world.” “It should be “Welcome to OUR world: where we repress, torture and murder our people.”

    Saudia is own by a kingdom with one of the worst human rights records in the world. The country itself is responsible for the horrific murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Turkey and the imprisonment, torture and murder of its citizens at the Ritz-Carlton. No amount of gold bling or fancy airplanes is ever going to erase that or persuade me to support this airline in any fashion, including flying on its planes, visiting the country or even being part of its frequent flyer program. I made an error in signing up for their program and they will not remove me from it.

  5. @Lucky I did not intend to yell at you for covering this news, which may be of some value to your readers. My initial post made me sound self-righteous, which I am. I own it.

  6. I will not fly narrow bodies for >2 hours so this is of not much use. Besides, I have some reservations with this country. Morally and ethically they are still about a few hundred years behind the rest of the world.

  7. Good on them for that. It is still an uphill battle to gain a bigger market share. With Qatar Airways banned in KSA, they have a bigger market share going east. To Europe and The Americas, Air France has more attarctive prices. Too bad KLM doesn’t fly to Riyadh (Dammam only, as far as I know). BA is as expensive as Saudia while Lufthansa has sales every few weeks.

    As someone else mentioned, reaching five-star status as a dry airline will be tough; very tough. Sometimes, a glass of red wine with a meal or a few ‘golden-throat-charmers’ (Jack Daniel’s) to help you sleep is a plus.

    On the plus side, their baggage alloawnces are A+ and the cabin crews very helpful.

  8. I don’t care what other users think; i still fly Saudia and I have a JFK-JED flight upcoming in 12 hours times and happy to fly them.

    I am not penalizing an entire nation for the actions of one.

  9. I am disappointed in Saudia Arabia. But honestly this is a blog about air travel. And solely air travel. Yes, Saudia Arabia has done many bad things. But if you put aside all politics. Airlines should be judged as airlines, not judged as countries. I totally would fly on Saudia if it got me to my destination. Honestly people if you don’t like Saudia on purpose. You can consider yourself a true aviation enthusiast , because you let yourself put politics in front of the real picture.

  10. I’ve flown on their old fashioned A320 to and from Geneva. Planes equipped with teal colored reclining seats in business class that is reminiscent of the 80s. I’ve avoided these flights like the plague. The upgrade to their A320 business class cabin is therefore very much welcomed & just might persuade me to fly their GVA-RUH or GVA-JED route again. Have to admit that Saudia’s amenities kits are awesome. On a recent RUH-CDG flight (services by a 777), a Furla kit for women was on offer and it included an iPhone charging plug.

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