Star Alliance Unveils Their New Seat

 

Star Alliance Logo; Source: Star Alliance

The major event that overshadowed everything else at last month’s Star Alliance Annual CEO meeting in Addis Ababa was Ethiopian Airlines’ entry to Star Alliance.

However, many other interesting things happened at this meeting as well.One interesting thing was that Star Alliance unveiled their new common longhaul economy seat. Back in October of last year, Star Alliance announced that members would be developing a seat jointly with B/E Aerospace. This seat is meant standardize seat offerings on Star Alliance longhaul flights, and help secure favorable bulk pricing from B/E Aerospace. Now that the seat is unveiled, it looks like there are many more benefits of the seat as well.

 

Source: Star Alliance

The first 3 customers for the seat are Lufthansa Airlines, Lufthansa’s subsidiary Austrian Airlines, and Air China. Between these 3 airlines, over 15,000 seats will be installed in 2012. Compared to the overall count of longhaul economy seats on Star Alliance airlines, over 800,000 seats, these new seats are a drop in the bucket. But they mark a change that is important to think about in many ways.

 

Source: Star Alliance

The basic premise behind creating a common seat is very interesting. Firstly, Star Alliance wants to standardize offerings among all their airlines. This points towards stronger Star Alliance branding. It is a step in the direction of stronger alliance brands. Star Alliance wants you to know that all of their longhaul economy seats are comfortable. In fact, they want the seats to be the same, so that the customer knows exactly what to expect. This is a big deal. I often say that in the future, you won’t know whether you are flying United or US Airways, you will just know that you are flying “Star Alliance.” You will book a ticket with Star Alliance, fly on an aircraft with a Star Alliance livery, with a Star Alliance flight number. Basically what the US Regional industry is today, but on a global scale. Now, that is far in the future, but this standardizing seats is a step in the process.

 

Source: Star Alliance

The seat uses a lot of innovative new features. Most importantly to the airlines, the weight of the seats is significantly less than standard seats today. Less weight means less fuel burn, increasing the cash in airlines’ pockets. The seat also reclines at the base, increasing comfort for the passenger behind.

It will be interesting to see which airlines adopt the seat in the future…