Lufthansa’s new A350-900 touched down at Hong Kong International Airport on September 13 to a water cannon salute – marking its official deployment on the Munich-Hong Kong route. The aircraft will continue serving Hong Kong until March next year, when it will be replaced by the airline’s A380.
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific was invited onboard to take a closer look at the new aircraft.
There are 48 business class seats spread over two cabins. Rows 1 to 6 are in the front cabin while rows 7 and 8 are in the cabin behind, with a partition dividing the premium economy and economy seats. Though personally I would avoid the latter as they are close to the washroom and galley.
The layout is a 2-2-2 configuration, meaning window seat passengers will have to climb over their neighbours to get out. While this is not uncommon, it is a shame Lufthansa did not upgrade to the preferred 1-2-1 configuration on the new aircraft. What’s more surprising is that there are no partitions for privacy between seats, though it does give the whole cabin a wider and roomier feeling on the whole.
The seat product itself is the same, a two metre fully flat bed with a pitch of 64 inches and 20-inch width. A new business class design will be introduced on the new B777X delivered in 2020.
There are a few new features however. The touchscreen personal TV is two inches wider than before, reaching 15 inches, and the IFE system has been upgraded to introduce the Lufthansa Companion App, which allows you to preselect movies six weeks in advance and watch it on your own personal devices.
A self-service area has also been introduced, offering snacks and drinks during the flight – though it is not particularly exciting.
The cabin also has 24 mood lighting settings, with a yellow glow in the evening and blue light in the morning, which is supposed to help fight jet lag.
PREMIUM ECONOMY CLASS
There are 21 premium economy seats spanning three rows (12, 14 and 15 – there is no row 13) behind the business class seats, arranged in a 2-3-2 set up. Tall passengers may find their legroom slightly restricted in row 12 due to the partition dividing business class.
Again, there is little new to report on the product itself. It offers a 38-inch seat pitch and an 18 inch seat width – which is actually one inch smaller than its predecessors. Business Traveller Asia-Pacific reviewed the product on the B747-8 aircraft when it launched in Hong Kong in 2015.
The seat back TV, however, has again been upgraded by two inches, making it 12 inches wide.
The biggest changes can be found in the economy cabin, which features a new design and improved storage.
The seats are split into two cabins (row 16 – 26, with no 17; and 27 – 42) in a 3-3-3 configuration.
The new seats offer the same measurements as before – 31-inch pitch and 17-inch width, but the seat has new storage facilities, with specially-designed compartments to hold a phone and tablet.
The colour scheme has also been given a revamp from grey to a smart royal blue.
Which seat to choose? Extra legroom can be found on row 16, seats 18 C and H, and 28 A and K.
Avoid the central seats in rows 38 to 42 as there is no overhead locker space available. The overhead space for the last two rows is also smaller.
During the arrival ceremony, Malte Haut, general manager sales Hong Kong, South China and Macau of Lufthansa Group Airlines said: “Hong Kong has already received some A350s, but this is a special moment for Lufthansa as it is our first A350 on such a long-haul route. We’re excited for [our passengers] to experience all the improvements that have been made on this long-haul route.
“The A350 marks a milestone in our focus Munich strategy and we have 10 more of this beautiful aircraft to be delivered. Hong Kong will also be an A380 destination from Munich as it is a great airport in Asia as well as the best transfer experience we offer in Europe.”
The flight schedule for the Hong Kong to Munich service is as follows:
|Summer Schedule (Sep 13 – Oct 28)|
|LH731||HKG 2215||MUC 0525+1||Daily|
|LH730||MUC 2230||HKG 1535+1||Daily|
|Winter Schedule (Oct 29 – Mar 26)|
|LH731||HKG 2350||MUC 0525+1||5 weekly|
|LH730||MUC 2230||HKG 1650+1||5 weekly|
So far, Lufthansa is flying the A350 to Delhi, Boston, Mumbai and now Hong Kong.
Singapore will be the next destination to receive the aircraft at the end of March next year.