Malaysia Airlines’ new A330neo & A350 Business Class and Economy Class


Malaysia Airlines has pulled back the curtains on its new Business Class and Economy Class cabins, its first new widebody product since the introduction of the current Business Class in 2017. The new cabins are due to make their first appearance on the airline’s upcoming Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, which are set to become the airline’s regional and long haul workhorse.

The new seats were put on display at the recently concluded MATTA travel fair in Kuala Lumpur. I dropped in on the fair to check out the new seats myself, and was left impressed by what I saw.

Malaysia Airlines new Business Class suites

The new Business Class seats are Collins Aerospace Elevation suites, arranged in a typical 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, giving everyone aisle access, and each suite comes with a privacy door. There will be 28 of these on the airline’s new A330neos, which is an increase of 1 over the current 27 Business Class seats in the airline’s existing A330-300s. The airline’s A350-900s will also be retrofitted with this seat and the current Business Suites (aka First Class) will be removed, allowing for a bigger Business Class cabin on the flagship aircraft.

The seats will also come with other amenities like a 4K 17-inch IFE screen, the requisite reading light, and as is increasingly normal now, a wireless charging pad. The pair of middle seats also feature a sliding privacy partition, although the design itself already provides a high level of privacy from the start, which is great for solo travellers but not so great for couples and/or families travelling together.

MH seems to have opted for minimal customisation of what is already a good base product, and the result is a slightly bland looking cabin. The airline has applied some of its own touches, though. The leather headrest is dark blue and the seatback and cushion are in a dark grey fabric. The suite’s wall panels have also been imprinted with MH’s new signature songket pattern, which adds a touch of Malaysian cultural identity to the cabin. For the first time in a long while, the airline’s Wau logo will be affixed on the cabin bulkheads.

Malaysia Airlines new Economy Class

The new Economy Class is also a step up for MH. The airline has opted for Recaro CL3810 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration on the A330neos. There will be 269 Economy Class seats on the new jets, which is an increase of 6 seats over the 263 in Economy on the current A330-300s. Like the present cabin, the first 3 rows will consist of 24 extra legroom seats. Seat pitch will probably remain at 32 inches (36 inches for extra legroom seats), which is what MH currently offers on their A330-300s and A350s.

MH has gone with a dark blue tone for the seatback with a light blue band of songket patterns just beneath the light grey movable headrest. This small songket band is expanded to cover the top of the seatback for the extra legroom seats.

The back of the seat is dominated by a 13.3-inch IFE screen, which is a very big improvement from the 9 inch and 10 inch ones they currently have in the A330-300s and A350s respectively.

The new seats also come with a coat hook and a cup holder. When viewing the display units, it took me some time to realise that the cup holder is possibly the blue stretchy band behind the seatback table. Speaking of which, the seatback table also seems to have shrunk in size to precisely the size of a meal tray, though I’m not entirely sure if this is the current market trend.

If the seat model sounds familiar, that’s because they are the evolution of the popular Recaro CL3710 seats which are already used by a wide variety of airlines, such as Qatar Airways, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines.

What do I think of the new seats?

There’s no denying that the new seats will bring MH up to par with the current market trend. Business Class is clearly moving towards offering more privacy for passengers, and a more advanced and extensive IFE in Economy has been the market norm for some time now. In contrast, MH’s current Thompson Vantage seats are somewhat dated by this point and are less competitive versus the offerings of MH’s peers.

It also doesn’t hurt that the same seats are also used by other established airlines – Etihad uses the same business class seats in its Airbus A350s, and so does MH’s fellow oneworld member British Airways. The new seats also help narrow the product gap between MH and its oneworld partners, particularly Qatar Airways, and a good hard product does help to sell MH as a connecting partner to premium passengers.

MH’s new products definitely aren’t revolutionary, but all MH needs to do to restore its position as a leading premium carrier is to bring itself up to standard. This is precisely what the airline is doing with these new products.

When are the new seats available?

The new seats are debuting on MH’s incoming fleet of 20 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, the first of which is due to be delivered in September 2024. MH has also announced that 6 out of their 7 Airbus A350-900 aircraft will be refurbished with the new seats to ensure consistency across the wide body fleet. This will take a bit longer, though, as the A350 refurbishments will only begin in 2026.

Note: Malaysia Airlines’ 7th Airbus A350 was formerly operated by SAS Scandinavian Airlines and features the SAS cabin. There are presently no publicly known plans to refurbish this single aircraft with the new seats.


This year has been a good one for Malaysia Airlines, having announced its first profit in a decade, and finally a new long haul product that projects MH as a serious premium airline. Things are looking up for the airline after more than a decade of underperformance, and I do hope this momentum is sustained for the future to come.

Acknowledgment: Renders of the new cabins are courtesy of Malaysia Airlines, who very nicely provided them when I asked (nicely).





Related posts


Leave a Reply