World’s ‘Most Exclusive’ Business Class Seats Belong To A Wholly Unexpected Airline

And they don't even fully recline.

World’s ‘Most Exclusive’ Business Class Seats Belong To A Wholly Unexpected Airline

Image: Azman Air

It turns out the world’s most exclusive business class seats don’t belong to the big luxury travel airlines you might expect. Rather, they’re the prized possession of a lesser-known African carrier.

In the glamorous world of luxury travel, surprises are… surprisingly common. From the man who urinated all over his business class cabin to Mia Khalifa’s dirty travel hack, you should never approach a business class seat without expecting the unexpected.

And yet, something that took this seasoned travel writer off guard was finding out about Nigerian airline Azman Air’s business class arrangement. Out of approximately 400 seats on their Airbus A340 planes, only two of those seats are reserved for business class travel.

This means that only 0.5% of the plane’s stock is reserved for business class — compare this to a Qantas A380 which gives 17% of its seats over to first and business class — making them some of the most exclusive business class seats in the world.

WATCH: This travel blogger has some business class qualms…

According to our friends at Simple Flying, Azman Air — a domestic airline headquartered at Nigeria’s Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (KAN) — was founded in 2010 and primarily operated a fleet of five Boeing 737 aircraft serving 11 airports across Nigeria. However, their sixth addition to the fleet was revealed to be an Airbus A340, formerly belonging to Virgin Atlantic…

An Unconventional Cabin

The Airbus A340 itself doesn’t Azman Air’s offering particularly unconventional. Instead, it’s the interior layout that sets it apart: the majority of passengers on this aircraft — seating 411 passengers in total — will find themselves in the economy cabin, featuring a classic 2-4-2 configuration. However, it’s the business class section that really piqued my curiosity.

At the very front of the cabin and right in the middle of the aircraft, the business class ‘cabin’ consists of two brown leather seats. These seats aren’t separated from the main cabin by any bulkhead and, speaking frankly, seem to offer little more than their economy counterparts beyond their more expensive upholstery and markedly less expensive reading lights…

This unique arrangement left many scratching their heads, wondering what the appeal of these business class seats really was, especially considering that the Airbus A340 primarily operates short domestic flights within Nigeria.

The notorious business class seats in question. Image: Azman Air

Despite these seemingly obvious questions, the business class seats continue to attract customers and an enviable air of exclusivity. In fact, they may even feel more exclusive than standard business class offers precisely because they sit right in the middle of the economy cabin, meaning fellow passengers look on jealously. Usually, a thin curtain is enough to keep the pointy end of the plane out of sight and out of mind…

Aircraft with a New Lease of Life

While the interior of this plane may look a little dated to seasoned ‘Western’ flyers, the Airbus A340 is no relic. Rather, it’s quite a young aircraft at 14 years old. After initially being delivered to Virgin Atlantic in August 2006, the aircraft found its way to Bournemouth, where it underwent a timely transformation rather than facing rapid retirement.

While in Bournemouth, it was transferred from former owners Doric Aviation to the European Aviation Group before being adorned with the colours of Azman Air. Internally, it underwent a significant refit, featuring these unique business-class seats.

Azman AIr's Team stood by plane.
Some of Azman Air’s committed team. Image: Azman Air/Twitter.

As the industry continues to surprise us, Azman Air’s Airbus A340 stands as a testament to the always unexpected and innovative in the world of travel. Whether these business class seats will continue to find dedicated followers remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Azman Air has secured a place in aviation history with their wholly unexpected offering.