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Air India Unveils New Business Class and First Class Cabins


Recently, Air India began a radical transformation to start a new era for the airline. With backing from Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, it’s set to merge with Vistara by March 2024, and will become India’s second largest airline.

This week, Air India revealed details about its newly designed cabins, as well as a new logo and livery, that will be rolled out over the coming years. 

Air India Unveils New Business Class Cabins

This week, Air India unveiled details of what passengers can come to expect with new seats on aircraft in the next few years.

The new Air India business class seat is poised to receive a significant upgrade from the current state of affairs.

The new business class cabin will be configured in a staggered 1-2-1 layout, offering all passengers direct aisle access.

The window seats alternate between being closer to the window and closer to the aisle, and the middle seats range from “honeymoon seats” that are close together to being further apart.

Air India new business class

Notably, the business class seat will come with a fully closing door, a spacious surface area with wireless-charging capabilities, a lie-flat seat, and a stylish lamp.

Air India new business class

Currently, Air India’s 777-300ER business class is rather uninspiring, and features a 2-2-2 layout without direct aisle access for each passenger.

The renderings of the new business cabin look fantastic, and Air India is shifting away from hard hits of red and beige into a much cleaner and airier grey and white cabin with pops of lilac.

Air India Unveils New First Class Cabins

Air India currently offers First Class on a couple of routes in their network, operated solely by 777-300ERs.

The good news is that the First Class cabins are also being refreshed; however, the downside is that the refresh is just a slightly upgraded clone of the new business class seat.

The First Class hard product is largely the same as the business class seat, save for a larger in-flight entertainment screen, an ottoman, and a darker colour palette.

Air India new First Class

The new First Class seats will be arranged in the same 1-2-1 staggered layout as business class, providing every passenger with direct aisle access, wireless charging, and a fully closing door.

Air India new First Class

Compared to the current state of Air India’s First Class cabin, this is still a positive change.

The current cabin configuration has the same 1-2-1 layout, but lacks many of the standard features that you might expect from a First Class product, such as an enclosed suite and high-definition screens.

Air India Unveils New Economy & Premium Economy Cabins

In addition to business class and First Class upgrades, Air India is also upgrading its economy cabin, and will add premium economy on all long-haul routes.

The new premium economy cabin will be configured in a 2-4-2 layout, with wider seats and more legroom than economy. Each seat will have its own in-flight entertainment screen and leg rest.

Air India new premium economy

The new economy-class cabin will feature a 3-4-3 layout, which on paper is going to be a downgrade compared to the current cabin, which has a 3-3-3 layout.

Air India new economy

Air India’s Transformation as an Airline

Air India has begun a significant overhaul ever since a $1.5 billion investment from Tata and a $252 million investment by Singapore Airlines were confirmed.

It’s clear from the size of the investment that the joint venture is taking substantial strides to elevate Air India into new heights.

Alongside the refreshed cabins, Air India has debuted a new livery and logo that clearly indicates a rebranding, as well as a disassociation from the legacy Air India. The new logo is much simpler and features softer lines, and looks to be more in line with a modern design.

The new livery follows a similar story, as Air India has adopted some current industry trends with an underbelly wordmark, big bold fonts, and a decorative tail.

Air India new livery

Moreover, the tail has a hint of purple, which pays homage to Vistara after Tata announced that the two airlines will merge as of early 2024.

Tata Group and Singapore Airlines are taking the next step towards their five-year plan to establish Air India as a world-class global airline.

In March 2023, they made a $100+ billion dollar aircraft order, which broke records as the largest aircraft order in history. This cabin update is just a logical next step in the airline’s transformation.

Moreover, in late 2022, Air India allocated $400 million to retrofit its current widebody fleet, which it what was unveiled this week.

It remains to be seen what the improvements to the soft product will look like. However, with Tata Group and Singapore Airlines behind the project, it’s likely that we can expect a significant improvement to the onboard experience, too.

How to Book Air India Using Points

Air India currently flies to a handful of destinations in North America, mostly out of its hub in New Delhi:

  • Chicago
  • Newark
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Washington

In the current context, award availability is generally quite good across the board on Air India, which can likely be attributed to its rather lacklustre products.

Since Air India is a part of Star Alliance, Aeroplan is likely the program of choice for most North American Miles & Points enthusiasts.

From the West Coast, a First Class ticket costs 130,000 Aeroplan points and $91 (CAD) in taxes and fees, and a business class ticket costs 90,000 Aeroplan points and the same amount in taxes and fees.

Most direct flights from Eastern North America should also cost the same amount of points; however, a connecting flight from a different city might push it up into a higher distance band.

It’ll be interesting to see if award availability changes as Air India starts to fly its updated cabins. Indeed, it’s likely that award seats will be much more desirable once the planes have been retrofitted or debuted, and perhaps harder to come by than they currently are..

Conclusion

Air India has unveiled what its refurbished cabin will look like. Beginning in 2024, passengers can expect to see new and improved seats on Air India flights.

The most exciting development is the new business class cabin, which looks very promising with sliding doors, modern technology, direct aisle access, and lie-flat seats.

This new cabin design is another step in the plan to reestablish Air India as a competitive global carrier.

We don’t know what the improvements to the soft product will look like, but this is very much a step in the right direction. However, with Tata Group and Singapore Airlines invested in the project, it’s likely that the onboard experience will be vastly improved, too.




This story originally appeared on princeoftravel

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