Lufthansa to launch premium economy next November

11 Dec 2013 by GrahamSmith

Lufthansa has revealed more details of its forthcoming premium economy product.

Christian Schindler, the airline's director for the UK and Ireland, told Business Traveller that the new premium economy seat, which will be unveiled at the ITB trade fair in Berlin in March (see news, April 11), will be introduced on to its long-haul fleet from November next year.

The carrier has yet to confirm which aircraft or routes the product will debut on.

Schindler said it was "definitely a proper" premium economy seat, although it would sit within the economy section rather than being in its own cabin.

He said: "It will not be a separate compartment but it will have a much better seat, with different service. It will have nothing to do with the current [economy] seat."

Lufthansa premium economy seat

According to Bloomberg, the new premium economy seats have been ordered from Germany seat manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz GmbH, which shows the above picture in its brochures for the seat.

ZIM Flugsitz also works with Lantal on its premium economy seats, which already supplies Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels with its Pneumatic Comfort System for those airlines' business class seats.

Lufthansa cannot yet confirm whether there will be a divider between the economy and premium economy cabins.

Schindler added that while the seat would be branded as premium economy, it would be classed as economy within the booking system and would not carry benefits such as a dedicated check-in.

As well as being fitted on to Lufthansa's new deliveries, the seat will be retrofitted across its long-haul fleet along with the carrier's new fully-flat business class seats (for a review of the new seat on the B747-8, click here).

Schindler said: "There are a lot of changes coming in the next two years. We are bringing in premium economy on long-haul, bringing in the new first class and are changing the A340-300 and B747-400 fleet to a two-class configuration [of business and economy plus the new premium economy section] – they will not have first class any more."

He said the reason for scaling back first class was a lack of demand on "a lot of routes".

Note that the new business class seats on plane types other than the B747-8 will be in a parallel configuration, in contrast to the "V" layout on the Boeing aircraft.

While half of the airline's B747-400s are being retired and replaced with B747-8s, the other half will be reconfigured with the new products.

It is planned for the retrofit of both seats to be completed across the long-haul fleet by the end of 2015.

That includes the A380 – the airline currently has ten superjumbos, which will be retrofitted with the new premium economy and business seats, while all future deliveries will also have them. The new business class will be introduced on the A380s from next year.

The airline's A380s, B747-8s, A340-600s and A330s will all keep their first class cabins.

It hasn't yet been confirmed where premium economy will be situated on the A380, but Schindler said all the superjumbos would have the same configuration.

Michelle Harbi

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