Airlines Compete to Upgrade Seats
By Kim Rahn
Korean carriers are competing to upgrade their seats. Korean Air will introduce new seats, starting with the B777-300ER aircraft, which it will adopt in May. The state-of-the-art seats are part of the carrier's projects to improve its service in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the company this year.
The width of the new seats in first class will be 26.5 inches, wider than the 21 inches of the current seat, the Kosmo Sleeper. The length of the seat will be the same ― 210 centimeters when stretched lie-flat.
Table size will increase by 900 square centimeters so that passengers can have meals in more comfort. Personal monitor sizes will be increased to 58 centimeters from the current 43 centimeters.
The seats will be in wooden brown and large screens will be in place for increased privacy.
As for business class, seats will stretch 180 degrees flat ― just like ordinary first class seats ― while current seats in Prestige Plus stretch to 170 degrees.
The new seats will be installed in three B777-300ER aircrafts to be adopted beginning in May. Korean Air will also replace seats in three existing planes with the new ones within the year. The seat upgrades will continue with A380s and B787s, which the carrier will adopt from 2010, and other existing flights.
The airline also has audio and video on demand (AVOD) systems for every seat on 26 planes and will expand the system for all mid- and long-range aircrafts.
As for Asiana Airlines, efforts to upgrade its cabin are almost complete. Since May 2006, it has improved the seats on 16 aircrafts thanks to $70 million in spending. Upgrading on the last aircraft, a B767-300, will finish on Feb. 11.
Five B777-200s, four B747-400s and six B767-300s have undergone the upgrade. All seats are equipped with AVOD systems.
The numbers of seats on the flights have slightly decreased as the space between each seat has increased. For instance, a B747 used to have 378 seats but now has 359, while spaces between first class increased to 86 inches from 83 inches, while those in business class did to 59 to 60 inches from 46 to 50 inches.
The size of individual monitors in business class and first class were also enlarged to 15.4 inches from 6.5 inches.
Asiana has selected A350XWB as its next-generation aircraft. It boasts spacious cabin as its name indicates ― extra wide body (XWB).