“Business” Class seatingBack to Forum
Anonymous6 Mar 2014
I have just flown 2 legs with Lufthansa in their so-called Business Class. Cairo to Frankfurt (+4 hours) and Frankfurt to Geneva. Imagine my surprise when boarding to find that the seating (pitch etc) is exactly the same as economy except with the middle seat unused. The seats are extremely uncomfortable and there is almost no way you can get any rest in the sector Cairo to Frankfurt (3am departure). I have not experienced this before except some time ago on an Emirates (Dubai to Mumbai). Its definitely not worth the business class premium.6 Mar 2014
Its true that european carriers lag behind carriers i other parts of the world on short to medium haul flights. Typically for flights under around 5 hours you are getting converter type seating, that is to say seats are economy seats, often with the only onboard benefit being the middle seat is left free and slightly upgraded catering.
Airlines would point to other benefits such as lounge accessed, premium check in, expedited baggage delivery, flexible tickets (although not on all tickets), increased air miles etc.
Many bemoan this approach versus say the US or Middle east carriers but if we expected airlines to put ‘proper’ business class seating, not affording the airline the possibility of flexing the number of business class seats dependent on route / loads etc, airlines would undoubtedly have to increase fares to compensate. ‘you pays your money you takes your choice…’
I guess the real issue here is that you were surprised by it, and had you have been aware in advance you may have chosen a carrier with mid / long haul style business class seat, say Egyptair or Turkish6 Mar 2014
Michael – did you consider using Egyptair on the Cairo – Frankfurt trip? Their seating in Business Class is actually Business Class (although not the latest model chair). Also their pricing is usually very competitive. I quite often fly between Amsterdam – Cairo, Brussels – Cairo and Frankfurt – Cairo. Never had your type of issues. They are a dry airline, but the departure/arrival times are much better.6 Mar 2014
I actually flew Egyptair Geneva to Cairo this week and the seating was great as was the service. Unfortunately I had an emergency and had to return to Geneva but the direct EgyptAir flight was not operating today (Thursday) so I chose the next “best” flight but will choose more carefully next time.6 Mar 2014
Michael – I covered this topic in the magazine a couple of years back. When it comes to the Near East/Levant areas, you must check the plane type and product beforehand to avoid disappointment because it is not consistent.
For example, AF treats Beirut as a long-haul destination. It uses an A340 equipped with long-haul business class. On the other hand LH does not classfiy Beirut as long-haul so it uses an A320 fitted with the similar seating you experienced on the Cairo route.6 Mar 2014
Thank you to all who responded. Just to complete the story, I had to fly back to London with EasyJet (continuation of the emergency) and for value for money, EasyJet far outweighed Lufthansa. The seat configuration (pitch, etc) was the same and the service much more pleasant! No more Lufthansa “short haul” for me.7 Mar 2014
A few years ago the front rows of the lufthansa short haul planes (which might be economy or business) had a bigger seat pitch than those further back (I think until row 6). With the ultra thin seats fitted about 3 years ago, this ended so not only is the seat ridiculously thin but the seat pitch no better.
I don’t even consider lufthansa for economy class short haul now (dropped from 30+ flights a year to 2 flights a year with them).7 Mar 2014
I’ve commented on this issue before, specifically pointing out how the US is going in one direction and the EU is going in the other direction. The question is how long will it take EU carriers to reverse this trend (if it all) and more importantly what will be the trigger that will encourage one carrier to take the plunge?
Clearly, EU shorthaul at the moment is totally dominated by price. It’s all very well people like me saying that I am happy to pay a premium for a bigger seat but until they have a clear idea of how much more I am prepared to pay, I don’t think any airline can calculate the return on the investment.
As a starting point, it would be interesting to find out from this forum, how much we would be prepared to pay for a proper business class seat for say a 2 hour shorthaul trip within the EU. For myself, I work on the principle that I am prepared to pay double the price of a cheap economy ticket. I would generally regard any economy return fare of £150 or less as cheap, so on that basis I would be prepared to pay £300 for a proper business class seat (i.e. 2×2 seating on an A320, 36-38″ pitch). Note I don’t require the other business class services such as priority boarding, lounges, better food, separate check-in etc. These can be acquired separately or through FF status as far as I am concerned.
What premium are you prepared to pay for a proper business class seat on an EU journey of 2 hours or so?7 Mar 2014
The aircraft type is THE important thing to look at on medium range flights. Swiss would fly Cairo with an A330-300 or A340 which means proper Business Class. It could even be “mixed” with the direct Egyptair flight as they do have code-shares between Geneva and Cairo… Price is also in the GBP 700.00-900.00 range.7 Mar 2014