Lufthansa unveils premium economy seat

Lufthansa has today unveiled its new long-haul premium economy seat at the ITB trade fair in Berlin.

As reported by Business Traveller last year (see news, December 11), the new seat will be introduced onto the German carrier’s long-haul fleet from November, initially on the Boeing 747-8.

It will then be retrofitted on the rest of its long-haul fleet by summer 2015 and on all new deliveries.

Lufthansa premium economy cabin

To view Business Traveller’s Flickr slideshow of the Lufthansa premium economy cabin, click here

The new seats will be located in a “clearly identifiable” separate premium economy compartment between business and economy. Each premium economy area will contain between 21 and 52 seats, depending on the aircraft type.

Again depending on the aircraft, the seats will be up to three centimetres wider and have approximately ten centimetres more room at the side as each one has its own wide armrest and a centre console between the seats.

The new seat is aimed squarely at business travellers as 70 per cent of these currently fly economy, the airline said, while its premium economy ticket prices will be “closer to economy class then business class – a return flight across the North Atlantic or to Asia will cost an additional 600 euros on average”.

Jens Bischof, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said: “Following the upgrade of our first and business class, the installation of 3,600 seats on all 106 of our long-haul aircraft in just one year will mean another step towards becoming a five-star airline.

“We expect to see more than 1.5 million passengers per year in our new premium economy class.”

Lufthansa premium economy cabin

Lufthansa premium economy seats

Lufthansa’s premium economy seat and cabin will be laid-out as follows:

  • Seat pitch – 38″
  • Seat width – 18-19″
  • Seat shoulder width – 23-24.5″
  • Recline – 8″/130°
  • Screen size – 11/12″ (front row 9″)
  • Legrest – Front row
  • Footrest – Every seat
  • PC power – Every seat

The seats have been ordered from Germany seat manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz GmbH. The firm 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 seating.

While the seat will be branded as premium economy, it will be classed as economy within the booking system and will not carry benefits such as a dedicated check-in.

The seat will be retrofitted across Lufthansa’s 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).

Lufthansa B747-8 premium economy seatplan

Seatplan: How premium economy (centre) will look between business (left) and economy (right) on Lufthansa’s B747-8

Lufthansa premium economy cabin

Lufthansa premium economy cabin

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

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 A380 deliveries will also have them. The new business class will be introduced on the A380s from next year.

It hasn’t yet been confirmed where premium economy will be situated on the A380, but Christian Schindler, Lufthansa’s director for the UK and Ireland, recently told Business Traveller that all the superjumbos would have the same configuration.

Lufthansa said its premium economy will enjoy the following “additional services”:

  • Baggage allowance of two items weighing up to 23 kilograms each, twice as much free luggage with them compared with economy class.
  • Access to the Lufthansa business lounges before departure — but for an extra 25 euros.

NB: Check-in and boarding procedures as well as hand luggage regulations are the same as in economy.

On board:

  • Greeted with a welcome drink and will find their own water bottle as well as a high-quality amenity kit with practical travel accessories at their seat.
  • Meals are presented on menus “commensurate with the new travel class and served on porcelain tableware”.
  • Passengers can navigate the extensive in-flight entertainment programme using their own touchscreen monitor on the seat in front of them. This can also be done using a remote control, which serves as a controller for video games as well. The screens are 11 to 12 inches (28 to 30 centimetres), at least two-inches bigger than in economy, depending on aircraft type.
  • A wide selection of magazines and newspapers.

Tom Otley

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  • interesting they reference that this is part of their goal to become a 5 star airline, but there are plenty of 5 star airlines which don’t have a PE cabin of course. Long overdue by Lufthansa though and very welcome. Hopefully this will increase pressure on all major carriers to bring in these cabins so that us business travellers can be spared the agony of ten abreast seating in economy!

  • The way the Y+ and Y cabins are barely divided is terrible given there will be enhanced service in Y+. Very awkward and not reflective of a 5 star airline.

  • As one of the “70%” of business travelers who’s company will only pay for economy travel I look forward to the introduction of a Premium Economy cabin with LH.
    I am also very pleased to see, while this is an “economy product”, it is offering a true seat differentiation rather than just better leg-room.
    Will there also be an enhanced pre-flight drinks offering and meal option? Will Swiss follow…???

  • Hi Haggis – good questions, I’ve included the answers in the piece at the end – thanks for asking. Tom Otley

  • What passengers most importantly need when flying Premium Economy is the leg-foot rest with maximum elevation close to 90 degree angle.
    BA, AF and TK had failed to deliver this level of comfort.
    Besides, the LH seats seem to be unacceptable with absence of the lumbar support (protrusion) to physiologically relax passengers on long haul trips.
    It may be a good idea for aircraft manufacturers and airlines to consult doctors and chiropractors for the ultimate seat design in any class.
    It is sad to have noticed that many coach bus seats are more medically sound than the majority of the airline seats especially economy class.

  • I am optimistic that the product will bring along some quality to the travel experience for those seeking extra comfort and service and are ready to fork out a reasonable amount for this …I still believe that the best seat pitch in Premium Eco so far is Tk s on the 777-300ER …46 inch of seat pitch ,nobody has so far managed to beat yet ….it is the one to beat …

  • From what I have found its 50 euro not 25 flying in to Frankfurt for premium economy passangers on way out its 25 nasty as they only allow you into certain lounges depending on coming in or out of Frankfurt they forget to mention that in the adds

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