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New Lufthansa first class: a seat and a bed

Published: 21/03/2011 - Filed under: News »

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When it comes to first class, Lufthansa continues to raise the bar. A few years ago, Germany’s national airline set the standards for ground handling when it unveiled a first class terminal at its Frankfurt hub.

Now Lufthansa is poised to set the standards aloft by introducing a new concept on 10 of its fleet of B747-400s. These aircraft ply some of Lufthansa’s most important business routes. It’s a concept whereby first class passengers are provided with not just a seat. Instead they are offered both a seat and a bed.

Let me explain. Right now first class passengers booked on the B747-400’s upper deck (the zone used by Lufthansa to locate its first class cabin) are offered nothing special by current standards. Whereas rival carriers like Emirates and SIA provide suite accommodation for their top customers on many routes, passengers with Lufthansa do not enjoy the same level of privacy.

But all this is about to change with the news that Lufthansa will totally revamp its existing fleet of B747-400s by November. Although there will be no significant changes to business and economy classes the revamp will provide a quieter, more spacious and more exclusive atmosphere in first class.

In a statement, Lufthansa says it is entering new territory with its first class seating concept. The window seats will be converted into full-length, lie-flat beds with a sleeping surface (over two metres in length) and a top quality mattress which the airline claims will guarantee seat comfort.

“Each passenger in the new first class cabin will thus not only have a seat but also a separate bed.  Sound-absorbing curtains and sound-deadening insulation beneath the carpet will ensure that passengers enjoy the necessary peace and quiet,” claims Lufthansa.

What it means is the number of seats on the B747-400’s upper deck will be reduced from 16 to only eight. Seating will be configured just 1-1 with the bed positioned alongside the window for added privacy.

The seat, which from the pictures appears similar to an older version of a first class seat, adjoins the aisle which makes it easier for meal service. It also means it would be possible to converse with your neighbour across the aisle should you so desire.Lufthansa is set to take delivery of a new fleet of B747-800s by early 2012.  

The new first class product is almost certain to appear on these planes along with fully-flat beds in business class (see online news October 6, 2010). The new B747-400 first class seating will appear starting next month with installation to be completed by November of this year.

Details of the first routes to see the fleet of 10 revamped B747-400s have yet to be announced. Neither is it clear whether first class fares will rise to pay for these improvements.

Lufthansa is a global airline so first class passengers around the world whether flying north-south or east-west will be able to sample the new seating.

For more information, visit lufthansa.com.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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COMMENTS » 

Stubbsy747 - 21/03/2011 12:32

Sorry Lufthansa, that is the ugliest First class cabin I have ever seen!!

Onboard I like to wake up slowly and raise the seat from bed to uprightly slowly as well as slowing going to sleep watching a film during the night. This set up looks like I would have to change from the bed to the seat rather than being able to transition between the two!

I think they should have created a larger seat and bed by using the whole customer area rather than have two separate spaces. I don't know who the seat designers/manufacturers were but sadly it looks like little effort has gone into the design detail and it looks extremely old fashioned and quite cheap considering how much these seats will be on sale for.

Not a cabin I would elect to travel in over other airline's first class cabins. Very disappointing in my opinion but am sure others may love it.

ScottWilson - 21/03/2011 15:33

What's curious is:

1. Lufthansa just launched a new first class on its A380. No issue as to whether THIS new first class will be retrofitted on the A380s, existing or forthcoming. It is assumed the A380 would be a flagship, but perhaps it is conservative to stick with the new product on A380s, testing the new new product on 747s. Perhaps the bigger issue is efficiently using space for a 1-1-1 configuration upstairs on the A380.

2. The 747-8s are also meant to have a fully lie flat business class allegedly, will 747-400s also be retrofitted for this, and A380s?

Good on Lufthansa for updating its product, its on board hard product has been looking tired compared to others. My main comment is that one thing that would help is privacy. A privacy screen adjacent to the seat would make a difference, the same for the aisle side as one may not really want to be that close to your dining neighbour.

Swissdiver - 21/03/2011 19:14

Agree with Stubbsy747: it is ugly. But not only. There is a total lack of privacy, worsened by the fact passengers will have to get out of bed to get a coffee... Brrrr.

And when travelling with your spouse, not exactly a romantic dinner ahead...

With such a space, they really could have done much better!

Gold-2K - 21/03/2011 23:32

Remember those amphibious cars in the 1970s? Not very good as a boat and awful as a car ...... Welcome to the new first class. Crap seat looks like it is a design from 2000 and a bed that looks like it is an inflatable mattress on top of the floor level storage bins. I hope they didn't spend much on the designers. What a dumb idea!!!

caelus666 - 22/03/2011 07:41

The total private space for each seat is huge, much bigger than any first class available from other airlines!! Judging from the pictures, there are plenty of storage available below the bed. I'm not very concerned about the privacy, SQ & EK's shoe-box design isn't everyone's cup of tea, it can be quite claustrophobic to some people. Besides, there are only a maximum of 8-10 seats in LH's 747s, the density is even less than SQ's 12 seats cabin.

LuganoPirate - 22/03/2011 09:49

At first glance it looks quite nice, though I agree to an extent with Stubbsy.

However, looking at the photo it seems rather impractical to get in and out the bed. The caving upsatairs is curved and there are the o/head lockers, so you will have to either crawl over the seat or slide in from the side / bottom.

Likewise getting up, you'll have to be a bit of a contortionist and imagine you hit some severe turbulence and need (or want) to sit quickly in your seat?

I would have thought LH could have done more with this extra space and by placing an Ottoman in front of the seat a la Swiss, at least you could sit with your partner and have dinner together.

I guess the proof of the pudding will be in the eating so will have to wait to try it out before condemning it completely.

EdwinAdrianta - 22/03/2011 12:24

I think the seat looks just like a revamped version (change the fabrics, color, etc.) of the old seats. But, the separate seat/bed area is not a bad idea. I mean, the seats still also have its ability to slide down (or recline I assume). And, if you want to have a perfect sleep, you could turn into your dedicated bed.

SQ Suites emulated this concept too (separate bed) and it's even goes further that you have to stand up, wait the F/A done your bed setup. And, I think almost every First Class Seats (or Suites) require the passenger to stand up and wait the F/A set the bed, put the mattress/duvet, etc.

I think Airbus also has a cabin concept similar to this on upper deck Airbus A380 with a 1 - 1 cross section too....

thomdang - 22/03/2011 16:56

I understand where Lufthansa is going with this new first class cabin I think. Instead of calling a cabin crew member to set up the bed on the chair, you gotta get up let the flight attendant set up which takes a while then u get to sleep, THEN when its time to land, you gotta call them again and stand up out of your comfy seat and wait to they remove the bed sheets. How inconvenient. Lufthansa integrated BOTH bed and chair to save that time.

SVGRUJJBlack - 22/03/2011 17:22

Pertinent and accurate the comment made by caelus666. Long flights in the "suites" (SQ, EK or BA) are stressing and claustrophobic. I made last week the TG 932 (BKK-CDG) on a B777-300/ER configured by the previous operator Jet Airways along the 12h day time journey I could confirmed my cloister feelings about the suites. A long flight is much more pleasant in an "open air" First Class cabin. Congrats to LH.

AhmedAlHassani - 23/03/2011 03:25

Just to clarify with Stubbsy747, based on your comments, you must really hate the SQ A380 first class. Because with SQ, not only do you have to get up, you have to wait for FA to convert the seat into a bed and vice versa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quG96HfZFI0). At least with this one, as thomdang said, there is no waiting time. Having said that, I personally would choose either Emirates or Etihad.

antipodes - 23/03/2011 05:53

I don't think Lufthansa has any intention of installing this seating arrangement to the A380. The First class seating in the A380 seems to be modelled on the new seat used on Swiss and that has a 23 inch screen. I think its a shame that the new seating on the 747-800 appears so drab and is not based on the A380 model.

Does any one know what is proposed for their First class cabin on the A340-600?

LEESNIDER - 23/03/2011 06:08

Judging from the photo provided herein I must say that the bed looks way
to narrow, the seat looks stumpy and the entire area is gray and dreary.
If this is someone's idea of FIRST CLASS then they obviously have no
idea what REAL first class is on other airlines which know how to do
it properly. This is just plain ugly and totally unappealing. Thank goodness
there are alternatives to LUFTHANSA because this new First Class seems
both unappealing and unattractive!

LHHONCircle - 23/03/2011 08:12

It should be noted that there is some missunderstanding:

The A380 style F Class on LH is the future LH F Class. The A 330 / A 340 will be refitted accordingly - work has started on the two first planes.

The new B747-800 will receive the same seats - 8 in the nose when it enters service.

The above seat is merely an update to the 10 of the existing fleet of B747-400 and will remain until these are phased out. The floor in the upper deck is not strong enough to support the new style F seats - hence this intermediary solution.

Rabbz_Staralliance - 23/03/2011 09:29

You guys are Pathetic period. This is one of the most idiot argument that I have seen people arguing on Airliners.net, Flyertalk, and now this site.

If you are not Lufthansa's passenger please shut-up.

Discliamer: I am not a Lufthansa fan and or will spend loads of money sitting on First Class.

If you can answer all my question with a "yes" or sassed it all the way then I have nothing else to say.

1 You sit in F class every time you fly
2 You are Lufthansa's precious Miles and More frequent passenger not thier mile runners
3 You are the passenger who complains about the old generation F class seat on Lufthansa's (like having less privacy in compared to other airlines).

I believe that Lufthansa and their German Execs are knowing what they are doing. I believe that because they manage to acquire two flag carrier without disappointing the former owners.

The German's are the trend-setter for applicable in real life usage things like their "People's Car"

I know that some people had made same "stupid" comments in the pass when Lufthansa roll out their first class terminal.

Companies that have investors like Lufthansa Airlines will always carefully did researches after researches to make sure that they could provide their best product to their "loyal customers" not the "cheap customer" who will not contribute much to their profit in which make Lufthansa "survive" high fuel prices and economic depression without asking government to bail them out like other Airlines (This point partly explain why US airline CEO did not secured job in any foreign airlines).

Stick to the hard facts please like how the airline did their researches before revealed the changes!

This is Lufthansa not Emirates airlines, their customer group is slightly difference, even their hubs are in different places which could changes conditions to the market that an airline serves.

Kudos to some folks in Airliner's site that tried to point out the fact how 747's upper deck have some gap between the window seat and the window. Lufthansa had tried to create a way to make use of the extra space on the upper deck to serve their Premium customer best.

The First passenger complain the lack of Privacy and plus some customers did not like the idea of having to stand for converting the seat to bed and vice versa, so Lufthansa tried to solve the two problems as efficient as possible. So here we go you don't have a stranger sitting and/or sleeping next to you. Also by having a bed and a sit, you now doesn't have to stand up to convert your seat.

Also this limit thier capacity, not having to upgrade the non-revs into this seat as much as they can add more economy seats downstairs and set their capacity to maximize their revenues and this will help them being more competitive.

So after some bombardment with some "fact analysis" so many the "no brain posters" might just figure it out. I want to share some disappointment to the so called "civilized Westerner" and their "skepticism" to changes when they need big changes to keep their country going and not being left behind and screw by the depression. Judging the seat from only from 9 picture. Seriously!? The seat might look like it came from the last decade or last century, but Lufthansa did put 2011's technology into them. It's like converting one of Disney's classic movie into a blue-ray HD version. It still the same story structure but you got a better quality movie (I think this is the simplest comparison that I could come up now).

After reading my comments and you are still judging the "next gen" seat from only nine pictures, the only advise that I could give you is try to create you own real-life airlines so you would have a sense of how challenging running and airline with "profits" would be.

BusinessTraveller - 23/03/2011 16:17

A few more details from Lufthansa on the revamp of the B747-400 aircraft in general:

"The Business and Economy Class cabins on the Boeing 747-400 are also being refurbished. The entrance area will be revamped in the latest design, and new lavatories will be installed."

"Furthermore, the new Economy Class seats - thanks to the innovative design of the back rests and optimised ergonomics - provide five centimetres of additional personal space and legroom."

Zulupimp - 23/03/2011 22:09

OMG, are you THAT stupid? its the OLD OLD 747 that get retrofitted until they are phasing out. My god, you are stupid....

BusinessTraveller - 24/03/2011 14:14

A spokesperson for Lufthansa has also confirmed that the new first class product detailed above "will eventually feature on the upper deck across the entire B744 fleet".

jasonp77 - 24/03/2011 20:42

Honestly talking about German Engineering and this is the best Lufthansa could come up with especially for a StarAlliance Brand name? Malaysia has done the upper deck bed over 20 years ago and this First Class seat looks no different than the earlier generation they had with seat that as hard as a rock.

Gaining edge on F Class seat design I say they are heading back quickly to the stone age. Time for LH to get out and look at the world design and bring back some true sense of organic and space design.

skywards - 24/03/2011 23:03

Someone needs either their P45 or E.V.R.

I know this may sound daft but will an airline one day have an Yotel type of first class to take first class to the next level?..

BusinessTraveller - 25/03/2011 10:43

Further confirmation from Lufthansa:

The B747-400s will be the only aircraft to feature this seat and bed product.

The location of first class on the forthcoming B747-800s (ie: upper or lower deck) will be announced at a later date, but Lufthansa once again confirms that the new aircraft will feature a fully-flat bed in business class. This was first reported by Business Traveller here:

http://www.businesstraveller.com/news/lufthansa-plans-new-business-class-for-2011

LondonCity - 25/03/2011 11:53

Hello jasonp77

Re your comments about Malaysian.

I think you are getting confused with PAL and JAL both of which offered separate seating options in first class on the B747 in the 1980s.

What happened was that F pax would dine downstairs in a F class seat (which was not nearly as spacious as today's business class offerings) and then after their meal they would sleep on the 747's upper deck in a sort of bed or hammock which, in the case of PAL, was approved for take-offs and landings so you remain sleeping.

This was important in the case of PAL because, at that time when it served Europe, its flights were multi-stoppers unlike the non-stop flights operated today by Lufthansa.

Both concepts were popular with passengers at the time but both were later scrapped for various reasons.

As far as I know, Malaysian never offered anything similar.

Bujanoon - 31/03/2011 18:33

pretty ugly for a first class, where's the privacy? Dear Lufthansa, please learn from Emirates, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines...

Tom0706 - 02/04/2011 23:23

Wasn't Lufthansa one of the very last mainline carriers to add PTVs to economy? Business class seats that are angled. Archaic First Class cabin designs...

I think it's safe to say that Lufthansa will be known for its efficiency, punctuality, safety, and consistency. Clearly, they aren't striving to be a Singapore or a Virgin or an Emirates. Sad, but that seems to be the case. Although the First Class terminal looks like something special.

I suppose they should be lauded for keeping a First class at all... with airlines like Qantas, Qatar (?) and most of the US Carriers ditching First altogether... hope it's not a dying breed.

Meanwhile, the PAL setup on the upper deck sounds really interesting -- I would love to see photos of that... didn't see anything on airliners.net

Cheers

Canbird - 11/08/2011 02:50

Flying Lufthansa First Class 3 times now I have to give them credit with this design. Being 6'5" I found the seat into a bed chair really is not that comfortable in the bed position.

Some comments want to fall asleep in a chair but do we do that at home, or do we get up from our chair and walk to our already made bed. This goes for a nice hotel room, you move from a nice recliner to your very comfortable bed which is made for sleeping, a bed is made for sleeping folks. A chair is for sitting.

Now I imagine the bed that Lufthansa has come up with must be very comfortable as it is designed to be only a bed and the chair though looks hard and flat should be comfortable as well, why would a multi million dollar company not have someone sit in one for 15 hours to if it is or not.

People want to be close to partners for a romantic dinner but Lufthansa must know the percentage of First Class passengers flying in couples, I would bet there would be more single flyers on business trips who would now enjoy their own section.

I look forward to flying in this new space!

toonvanderheyden - 21/08/2011 07:36

I did fly this new class- its the best ever I experienced. No it's not ugly; it's great a bed fully falt...feels excellent - I did fly Fra-Sin. Ever best 1st class- no frills but excellent as you would expect from LH. I don't like those superprivate cocoons- this gives pricacy as well... just try and you'll see its's much better then SQ.

Dsmithflyer - 02/09/2011 02:01

After seeing the pictures I did not have very high hopes for this new first class product from Lufthansa. But after flying with the new set-up a few days ago, I absolutely love it! Lufthansa could not have done a better job.

The cabin looks modern and luxurious with an abundance of space since it's a maximum of 8 passengers. And when laying in that heavenly bed (most comfortable bed in the skies today IMHO) I felt plenty private...maybe not as private as SQ or Emirates, but I much prefer this set-up as SQ and Emirates feels closterphobic to me as if I'm sitting in a really nice closet.

For those of you complaining about this product, you obviously haven't tried it yet. I even prefer this over a private jet, as no private jet offers a bed this comfortable.

One suggestion I would make to LH, albeit it's a very minor inconvenience, is to install "electric window shades" like BA New First has and many private jets have. When sitting in the seat, one needs to get up and lean over the bed to close the furthest window shade if trying to watch a movie for example. It didn't bother me, but the electric shades would add a cool factor as well.

Great job Lufthansa! I'm already looking forward to my next LH FRA flight this November.

AnthonyKovic - 06/01/2012 03:09

These seats, like Angela Merkel, are not particularly stylish, but definitely solid, no-nonsense and a bit of the old-school mentality: I mean when you sleep you sleep, and when you sit you sit. It's SO German, isn't it?

SiteAdministrator - 08/03/2012 17:53

Perhaps this is old news, but it's clear the comment above was correct:
"Further confirmation from Lufthansa:
The B747-400s will be the only aircraft to feature this seat and bed product.
The location of first class on the forthcoming B747-800s (ie: upper or lower deck) will be announced at a later date..."

In fact we now know that on the B747-800, first class is in the nose, and the seat and bed seen in this story is now just the one seat/bed. So while first class passengers will have the seat and fully flat bed on the retro-fitted B747-400s, on the B747-800s they will have just the seat that reclines fully flat. Complicated....

MarcoEmanuele - 13/11/2013 20:16

I flew recently on 747-400 with the new first class seat/bed on the ruote bkk-frankfurt and it was superb! Thank you Lufthansa :) m

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