Air Astana: No Need For First Class

Air Astana doesn’t see a place for a first class cabin on its aircraft, given the quality of business class in the current age. The airline’s CEO told Simple Flying that he doesn’t see the airline going any higher than its current offering in terms of class of travel.

Air Astana doesn’t see a need for a first class cabin on its aircraft. Photo: Air Astana

Today, most flag carriers offer three or even four classes of travel on a widebody when it comes to their top long-haul routes. This isn’t the case at Air Astana who has a two-cabin narrowbody on its flagship routes. However, the airline is happy with its offering, according to CEO Peter Foster.

Quality of business class is so high

Air Astana’s CEO, Peter Foster, doesn’t see the need for anything higher than business class in the current age of travel, given how far business class cabins have already come. Speaking to Simple Flying, Foster commented,

“Those Thompson vantage seats are so comfortable, the ability of the caterers to deliver a very high-quality standard of catering, in-flight entertainment, connectivity… The level of the products now is so high that I really can’t see, other than a vanity project, there’s really any point putting together a higher spec product into any of our markets.”

The quality of the airline’s business class cabin is already deemed high enough. Photo: Air Astana

Foster went on to suggest that if passengers likely don’t like the quality of the current business class cabin, they won’t be flying with the airline anyway, so there is no need to upgrade the current offering for them anyway,

“If people are not satisfied with that product, then the chances are that they are, they’re going to be traveling by, by private jet and not on commercial aircraft.”

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What is the current business class product?

The Thompson Vantage business class product mentioned above is found on Air Astana’s flagship aircraft, the A321LR. The cabin sees Thompson Vantage seats placed in an alternating 2-2 and 1-1 configuration for the first five rows of the aircraft. Foster told Simple Flying that the throne seats in the 1-1 rows of the cabin have been very popular, he commented,

“You could argue that it’s really a first class seat, but because it’s in the middle of the business class cabin, you couldn’t possibly extract it from the class offering and turn it into  an insurgent first class in the business class cabin”

The remainder of the cabin is outfitted with the standard narrowbody 3-3 configuration. However, Air Astana offers a generous pitch of 33 inches, with each seat having an inbuilt in-flight entertainment display. The Airbus A321LR is used on Air Astana’s longest route from Kazahkstan to London.

Do you think Air Astana should pursue a first class cabin on its aircraft? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!