The 10 Most Anticipated New Business Class Cabins of 2024
From American Airlines to Air France, we've picked out some of the best new premium offerings scheduled for launch this year
January 18, 2024
With global business travel spending expected to reach pre-pandemic levels soon, airlines across the world have been busy designing new business class seats and retrofitting their aircraft with upgraded cabins.
In fact, an increasing number of airlines are scrapping their once-sought-after first class cabins in place of business class due to shifting consumer demand. This includes major global carriers such as American Airlines, Qantas, and Qatar Airways, so their focus on improving the business class experiences is greater than ever.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most exciting new business class cabins, seats, and suites expected to take to the skies in 2024:
The biggest carrier in the U.S. will debut its hotly-anticipated Flagship Suite seats in 2024, which will come in two versions – one on new deliveries of Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A321XLRs and the other on retrofitted Boeing 777-300ERs.
American Airlines’ Flagship Suites will provide more space for business class passengers than current cabins, wood-effect sliding doors for added privacy, and dark grey seats surrounded by calming grey walls with deep red touches.
The Flagship Suites will launch when American receives delivery of its Boeing 787-9s and A321XLRs this year, with the 777-300ER versions expected in late 2024.
Although Alaska Airlines is attempting to push through a takeover of Hawaiian Airlines this year, the Hawaiian carrier is still expected to fly under its brand name and livery, so passengers will still be able to enjoy its much anticipated Leihōkū Suites coming later this year.
Evoking the Polynesian culture that defines the Hawaiian islands, these new business class cabins will feature 34 Leihōkū Suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. All suites will include lie-flat seats, sliding privacy doors, and 18-inch IFE screens. The design is inspired by Hawaii’s culture and natural landscape, with sunset and sunrise light settings and intricate ocean and wind patterns throughout.
Passengers will be able to enjoy the Leihōkū Suites on Hawaiian’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from April 2024.
Japan Airlines (JAL) is updating its fleet this year, replacing its aging Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with brand-new Airbus A350-1000s. Of course, that means a new set of cabins, including not only business class but first class, premium economy, and economy, too.
The new aircraft’s business class cabin includes 54 suites arranged in a 1-2-1 formation, with rich burgundy lie-flat seats surrounded by grey, 1.32-m high walls and sliding doors. One of the best features of these new seats is a built-in wardrobe to hang your coats and suits, as well as a cutting-edge, headphone-free sound system built into each headrest.
Passengers won’t have to wait to experience JAL’s new business class cabins, as they’re already in use, having debuted on a flight between Tokyo Haneda (HND) and New York (JFK) at the end of 2023.
Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific is introducing new business class seats – the Aria Suites – on its flagship aircraft this year, the Boeing 777-300ER. Exact details and specifications of the new luxury suites have yet to be confirmed, but the airline gave us a glimpse of the new design with a teaser video released back in September.
With a warm and inviting golden-brown color scheme, the stylish-looking suites include elegant curvature, wood-like surfaces, and a clever folding tray design that allows for generous storage space. It is also expected to come with modern touches such as wireless charging capabilities and a large 4K IFE screen.
The Aria Suites are scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2024.
First expected to hit the skies in the summer of 2023, Lufthansa’s new business class cabins – named Allegris – have had their launch pushed back to 2024 due to delays in the delivery of the German flag carrier’s brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Once the Allegris cabins finally launch, passengers can expect up to seven different seat types, including individual center-aisle suites, double seats ideal for honeymooners, and unique bassinet seats for parents with young children. All seats will come with Lufthansa’s signature navy blue and brown color scheme, while they’ll also include the world’s first in-seat heating and cooling controls.
Although they’ve been promised before, Lufthansa now expects to launch its Allegris cabins this summer.
Air New Zealand
New Zealand’s flag carrier is scheduled to launch its brand-new Business Premier class cabins this year, which have been designed based on customer feedback and will replace its somewhat-dated business class seats on its ultra-long-haul Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
The new aircraft will feature 42 Business Premier seats in 1-2-1 formation, along with eight extra-spacious Business Premier Luxe suites that include a ‘buddy seat’ so passengers can enjoy a meal or drink with their companion. The suites will have a neutral grey color scheme with pink and purple touches, along with sliding privacy panels, a cabinet and mirror, and a huge 24-inch 4K IFE screen.
Air New Zealand’s Business Premier cabins are scheduled to launch in September 2024.
Gulf carrier Emirates will launch its new business class offerings on retrofitted Boeing 777-300ERs this year as it tries to build its reputation for exemplary service and comfort on other aircraft – not just its flagship Airbus A380s.
While details have yet to be officially confirmed, the new cabins will be configured in a 1-2-1 formation, giving each business class passenger direct aisle access – something Emirates’ 777s doesn’t’ currently offer.
The newly retrofitted cabins are expected to take to the skies during the third quarter of 2024.
Another UAE-based carrier also has plans to introduce new business class seats this year, with Etihad Airways expecting its first delivery of its brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Etihad’s new business class suites will include the now-customary sliding privacy doors, higher walls than its A380 business class suites, and a small ‘halo’ wrapping over the top of the suite for extra discretion. Other features include extra under-feet storage space, 17.3-inch 4K IFE screens, and Bluetooth pairing capabilities.
Like Emirates, Etihad expects to debut its new business class cabins in the third quarter of this year.
Formerly known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, the Saudi flag carrier has big plans for 2024, with the first of its 15 Airbus A321XLR aircraft expected to arrive later this year. With it will come a new business class seat – the designed by Thompson Aero – which is already in use in JetBlue’s Mint suites.
Saudia will design its A321XLR business class cabins in a 1-1 configuration, while the front row will get extra room to allow dining for two. The soft grey seats are complemented by dark brown armrests and smooth white surfaces. The suites will also include privacy doors and 18-inch IFE screens.
An exact date hasn’t been confirmed, but this new business class offering is expected sometime this year.
While not strictly business class, Air France will debut its new first class offering in 2024 – one of a dwindling number of airlines still offering this class of service. The La Première cabin was first scheduled for the end of 2023, but like Lufthansa, it has had to push back the launch.
Details are still quite thin, but the new first class offering is expected to be the ‘longest cabin’ on the market, and suites will be fully private and include a seat, sofa, and bed. With just three suites expected, it’s been predicted that they’ll be configured in a 1-1-1 layout.
Premium passengers can expect to enjoy Air France’s La Première at the end of 2024 by the earliest, and maybe even 2025.