Airlines Remove Lie-Flat Seats From Business Class As ‘Recline Rage’ Spikes

Fancy being bolt-upright in business?

Airlines Remove Lie-Flat Seats From Business Class As ‘Recline Rage’ Spikes

Image: Corporate Travel Management

One of premium travel’s defining perks, especially for those lucky enough to be perched in business class, has long been the reclining seat. However, it seems that lie-flat tech may not be long for this world…

Airlines are beginning to remove lie-flat seats from their business class cabins, in part to combat ever more common incidents of ‘recline rage‘ among passengers. Instead of opting for somewhat archaic, non-recline technology, the shift marks a significant departure from the luxuries associated with pointy-end travel for the past three decades.

Of course, non-reclining seats aren’t new to the aviation industry. Quite the opposite, in fact. Low-cost carriers have favoured these seats since their inception thanks to the cost-effectiveness and reduced maintenance requirements.

WATCH: Recline Rage Sparks Fight Amongst Passengers

However, the adoption of such seats in business class is an unprecedented phenomenon. Finnair has led the charge with its Collins’ Aerospace AirLounge seats, which offer a ‘cocoon-like’ that provides the space for lie-flat sleep without a recline function. Measuring almost a metre across at their widest point, the seats have been welcomed by most passengers, so far…

In part, the decision to remove lie-flat seats stems from a growing trend of ‘recline-related disputes’ among passengers. With passengers confined to such close quarters — even in business class, when you consider the extended duration of said trips — tensions can quickly rise and even lead to physical confrontations as often-exhausted travellers vie for limited personal space.

By eliminating the recline feature altogether, airlines aim to cultivate a more harmonious travel environment.

While the response from passengers has largely been positive — with many appreciating the elimination of the recline dilemma, enjoying a calmer and significantly more predictable flight experience — others have been open about their mourning the loss of the traditional lie-flat luxury, rueing the prioritisation of peace over hard-earned opulence.

Will ‘Business Only’ Airlines Fill The Void?

With lie-flat luxury disappearing from mainstream carriers, it raises the question of whether the new breed of challenger, ‘premium only‘ or ‘business only’ airlines will step in to fill that void, picking up customers who want their precious recline tech.

We thought it was worth returning to a previous article of ours from August 2023 about BermudAir, one of the first ‘All Business Class‘ airlines offering 76 lie-flat seats on board in a 2-2 configuration…

Image: @BermudAir

Only a matter of weeks after we reported on the ‘first class only’ airline that was purportedly offering a first-class experience for all its passengers that we think slightly missed the mark, a new airline — BermudAir — has announced that it’s launching ‘business class only’ planes on a handful of routes from the USA.

This new airline, which seems to fly in the face of the wider trend whereby premium economy is becoming the new ‘money-making machine‘ — as announced by the Emirates CEO — will soon have a special fleet of jets flying from Boston, Fort Lauderdale, and New York to Bermuda from $199 USD per ticket.

While the airline is set to begin flying on August 31st, minor supply-chain issues mean that the airline’s custom-designed pods won’t actually be rolled out until the 1st of November. From hereon out, however, BermudAir’s planes — all E175s — will be fitted out with only thirty seats across the entire jet.

What Does BermudAir Offer?

Laid out in fifteen rows of a 1:1 configuration, BermudAir aims to replicate the space, comfort, and amenities that would normally be reserved for passengers paying a hefty premium on larger carriers for all of their passengers at a significantly lower price point.

While tickets will go up to $999 USD once the retrofitting is complete in November, seats come equipped with in-seat power, free Wi-Fi, and enough storage space for both a carry-on and personal item. Notably, overhead lockers will be done away with in order to create a more spacious and airy feeling throughout the cabin.

In addition, all onboard food — including treats from Bermuda-based French bakery l’Artisan Boulangerie and Ahmani’s Cookie Company — as well as all beverages — including the airline’s featured “Dark ‘n’ Stormy” cocktail, a mix of Goslings Black Seal Rum, ginger beer, and lime — are included free of charge, as reported by AFAR.

BermudAir founder and CEO Adam Scott had this to say about the launch:

“We are excited to launch BermudAir as Bermuda’s first carrier, maintaining our commitment to start filling seasonal service gaps and establish frequency of service to and from the island this fall… Our mission to elevate the travel experience for everyone and provide well-timed, traveler-centric, stress-free flights on these new routes is just the beginning.”

Adam Scott

Will you mourn the passing of lie-flat tech, or do you see this is a brave, peaceful new world, devoid of a tech that did nothing but spark disputes? Let us know.