Maybe. One of the discussions going around in the Indian aviation circles for a long time has been about Air India knocking off the First Class seats from their Boeing 777 planes. I’ve seen those seats sometimes when I’ve done J Class flights on those segments (domestically of course), and the First Class has always been empty.
The airline seems to be not able to fill up those seats much, and as a result about a year ago, there were discussions to take out those First Class seats from the aircraft and increase capacity in Economy instead.
“We have seen just about 25 per cent occupancy in the First class cabin while the same for business class has picked by 30-35 per cent since the launch. Therefore, we have decided to operate the flight in two class configuration removing first class seats and adding more in the economy cabin,” airline sources said.
The Boeing 77Ws have four seats in First Class and The Boeing 77Ls which are being flown exclusively to San Francisco at the moment have eight First Class seats. Here is a trip report on the First Class to New York from our side.
However, this decision seems to have been quietly buried now. Air India is in the market for new stuff to make their First Class great again, and they recently put out a Tender to buy new seat covers for their First Class (as well as Business Class).
The purpose of this document is to present the details of our requirement and invite ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI ) from manufacturers or their authorized distributors to supply stitched seat covers made of composite leather and ready to fit on First and Business Class seats on B777 fleet.
Air India has twelve B777-300ER and three B777-200LR aircraft in the fleet. These aircraft are fitted with First and Business class seats of M/s. Avio Interiors. The stitched seat covers must fit on these First and Business class seats.
To me this clearly reflects the thought process in the airline. These 15 planes make the backbone of the USA network of Air India, and they are clearly ready to dress it up to make the First Class back into the market. I just hope they are able to put out more of a white-glove service and passenger experience than just newer seat cover for their premium cabin passengers out there.
Have you guys flown Air India First Class recently? Any good or bad experiences to share are welcome.