With the introduction and greater availability of lie-flat seats over the past two decades, long-haul business class cabins have greatly improved. Competition to create the best long haul business class seat is fierce.

Airlines funnel huge amounts of money into the hard product to attract high-revenue flyers, tempting business customers with offers of greater privacy and more room to stretch out. As a result, it’s no surprise that every airline puts a significant emphasis on its long haul business class product

While some carriers do have a first-class offering, notably from the established legacy carriers British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, to name a few – these are becoming increasingly rare. In reality, the best of today’s business class cabins are far better than the best of yesterday’s first class cabins, its no surprise that business class is where the real money is made.

There are several different styles of business class seating, but once airlines had decided that passengers were demanding seats which reclined into fully-flat beds, thanks in part to British Airways taking the lead some 20/30 years ago, a majority of manufacturers went to one of the major seat manufacturers and adapted their off-the-shelf products rather than designing a seat from scratch.

What that means is you will find versions of the same seat on many airlines. Some make major changes, some make minor ones, and of course, the exact specifications change not only from one airline to another but also from one aircraft type to another. In addition, some airlines will have one type of seat on one aircraft type and a completely different type on another.

Collins Aerospace Super Diamond Seats

Collins Aerospace Super Diamond is one of the most popular choices in the industry. The Diamond family comes in two variants: the Standard and Super layouts.

The easiest way to tell you are sat on a Super Diamond seat is to look at the iconic seat controls panel built into the side console.

Manufacturer: Collins Aerospace
Seat Name: Super Diamond
Configuration: 1-2-1 (777, 787, A380, A350)
Average lie flat Pitch: 78 Inches
Seat Type: Reverse Herringbone
Average lie flat Pitch: 78 Inches
IFE Screen: In the seat in front
Introduced: Air Canada (early 2010s)

  • Collins Aerospace Design

Available On

  • Qatar Airways (A350-900, 787, A380),
  • China Airlines (A350, 777)
  • American Airlines (787-9, 777-300)
  • British Airways (A350-1000)
  • Hong Kong Airlines (New A350-900)
  • Egyptair (787)
  • Virgin Australia (777, A330)
  • Garuda Indonesia (select A330s)
  • Air China (A350-900s)
  • Air Canada (787s, 777s)
  • Hainan Airlines (new 787-9s)
  • WestJet (787-9s)
  • Saudia (some 777s)

Collins Aerospace Serenity Suites

AKA. B/E Aerospace Apex Suites

Prior to Collins Aerospace’s acquisition of B/E Aerospace, these seats used to be called Apex Suites (understandably why) but are now branded as a VIP product called Serenity.

As so few airlines stock this seat you will know instantly if you are travelling in one simply by the design and the space it affords. The design is very similar to the Collins Aerospace Oasis seats used in First used by the likes of SWISS and a few other carriers.

Manufacturer: Collins Aerospace
Seat Name: Serenity
Configuration: 2-2-2 (A330, 787, 777)
Configuration:  2-3-2 (777)
Seat Configuration: Forward Facing
IFE Screen: In the seat in front

  • Gulf Air Apex Suites

Available On

  • Korean Air “Prestige Suites” (787s in first and business class, some 777-300ERs, some A330s)
  • Japan Airlines (some 777-300ERs, some 787s)
  • Oman Air (A330s and 787s)
  • Gulf Air (787s)

Stelia Aerospace Solstys Seats

Its no surprise these seats have become so popular, the seats are functional and well designed standing the test of time.

Stelia Aerospace have made multiple versions of the Solstys seats with the ones found on Turkish and Singapore Airlines being the newest iterations.

As there have been so many variations and revamps of the Solsys seats they are not so easily recognisable as they used to be. The best way to know if you are on one of these seats is to look for the remote control which should be built at a right angle to the side console.

Manufacturer: Stelia Aerospace
Seat Name: Solstys
Configuration: 1-2-1
Seat Configuration: Staggered
IFE Screen: In the seat in front

  • Turkish Airlines Stelia Solstys Seat

Available On

  • Hong Kong Airlines (some A330s, A350s)
  • Hainan Airlines (some A330-300s, A350s)
  • Etihad Airways (777s, A330s), Alitalia (777s, A330s)
  • Malaysia Airlines (A330-200s)
  • Virgin Atlantic (A330-200s)
  • Singapore Airlines (787-10s – newer version – Solstys iii)
  • Asiana Airlines (A380s, 777s, A350s)
  • Turkish Airlines (787s – Aurora Class Seats)
  • Iberia (A330s, A340s)
  • Emirates (A380s – highly modified)
  • Vietnam Airlines (some A350s)
  • Azul (A330-200s)
  • Air Mauritius (A350s, A330neos)
  • Air Senegal (newer version – A330neo)
  • Thai Airways (A380s, 777-300ERs)
  • Garuda Indonesia (777-300ERs)
  • China Southern Airlines (various aircraft)

Thompson Aerospace Vantage XL

The Manufacturer makes two variants of the Vantage series, the Standard and the XL version, identical in design with the XL…well… XL in terms of width.

Manufacturer: Thompson Aero
Seat Name: Vantage XL
Configuration: 1-2-1 (A330, 777, A340, 787, A380, 767)
Seat Configuration: Staggered
Introduction: SAS
IFE Screen: In the seat in front

  • Latam Thompson Vantage XL

Available On

  • SAS (A330s, A340s), Qantas (A330s, 787s, A380s to be reconfigured with the seats)
  • South African (A330-300s)
  • Philippine Airlines (some A330-300s, A350s)
  • LATAM (some 767-300s)
  • Delta Air Lines (A350, some 777s, with doors)
  • China Eastern/Shanghai Airlines (A330s, 787s & A350s with doors)
  • Juneyao Airlines (787s)
  • Rwandair (A330s)

Safran Cirrus

The Safran Cirrus is very similar to the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond, but has a few differences such as the IFE monitor flips out – but its still a good seat overall with direct isle access.

The key tell is the location of the seat controls which are usually adjacent to the seat remote. although there are some exceptions to this like Virgin Atlantics seat which uses a slightly different variant.

Manufacturer: Safran (Previously Zodiac)
Seat Name: Cirrus
Configuration: 1-2-1 (A330, 777, A340, 787, A380)
Seat Configuration: Reverse Herringbone
Introduction: US Airways
IFE Screen: Flips out of the seat in front

  • Safran Cirrus Seat

Available On

  • Air France (777s, 787s)
  • Cathay Pacific (A330s, 777s, A350s)
  • American Airlines (A330s – older version -, 777-300ERs & A321 First Class (same version as Cathay)
  • Delta Air Lines (A330s)
  • KLM (787-9s)
  • Finnair (A350s)
  • Sri Lankan Airlines (A330-300s)
  • Vietnam Airlines (Boeing 787-9s, some A350-900s)
  • China Eastern (777s, some A330s)
  • Thai Airways (787-9s)
  • Avianca (787s, some A330s)
  • Iran Air (A330-200s)
  • EVA Air (777s)
  • Virgin Atlantic (A350-1000)

Notable Mentions

For the best long haul business class seat on the market…

Safran Fusio

The Safran Fusio is an extremely large business class seat with the only notable large carrier to support the seat is All Nippon Airways – which have dubbed it “The Room”

Qatar Qsuite

Qatar Qsuites is arguably the flagship business class in the skies. It is a custom seat which is pegged as “First class in business” – according to the airline at least.

The flexibility and privacy of the suite makes it a strong contender for the best long haul business class seat.

Thompson Vantage “Throne”

One of the more desired seats during seat selection, the Thompson Vantage “throne” seat is found on carriers with a single-seat configuration such a Swiss, Aer Lingus and West Jet.

RECARO CL6710

Used on El Al, TAP Portugal & Azul

SAFRAN SKYLOUNGE

Used on All Nippon Airways & China Southern Airlines

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hi there!
    Awesome website you’ve got here and fantastic article that you wrote about the best long haul business class seats (written on 22nd August). It’s great that you listed various airline & aircraft examples under each seat category. I noticed that you’ve listed Virgin Atlantic’s latest a350-1000 business seat as a Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat but I wonder if this is correct? I realise that Super Diamond seats and Cirrus seats do look rather similar in a number of ways. Having looked up further information on Virgin’s a350 product, it seems that a number of websites list the a350 seat as a ‘Safran Cirrus NG seat’ rather than a Super Diamond seat unless i’m mistaken:
    https://runwaygirlnetwork.com/2019/09/30/virgin-atlantics-new-a350-business-class-impressive-beyond-flaws/

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Matthew

      yes that was on me

      when Virgin and BA released their seats at approximately the same time – I had incorrectly assumed that they both used the same seat except that BA just put in a door.

      if you look at a Cirrus seat (like with Cathay) you can see the remote location is in a very standard location.

      It was my assumption that virgin opted to go for a physical line of seat controls but where the trash table was should have given me a clear indicator that it was a different seat.- which I have now corrected 🙂

  2. Nice one Dan! You’ve done a really great job on this page with categorising the various seat types and it’s a really useful source. Thank you!

    Forgive me for asking but do you know if United’s new Polaris business seat or Air France’s new a350-900 business seat fall under any of these categories that you featured in this article? I mention these as I think they’re pretty much the same seat and seem to be well liked by fliers. I’ve seen couple of websites refer to them as ‘Optima seats’ but can’t find a huge amount of info on them otherwise. Any thoughts?

    I also see that you’ve put the Qantas and SAS business seat under the same heading. Is that because they’re identical? I’ve heard good things about the Thompson Vantage XL!

    Thanks again! 🙂

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