Lufthansa to offer less legroom than Ryanair

No it’s not a misprint. It’s true.

Soon Lufthansa will be taking delivery of over 100 A320 neo family aircraft from Airbus.

In the months and years to come these twin-engined planes will be plying Lufthansa’s most important European routes. Some are expected to be reallocated to other Lufthansa Group carriers.

But for some passengers it’s not all good news.

The A320neo aircraft will accommodate 180 passengers or 12 more than the carrier’s existing A320s. Extra seating can be installed thanks to new space-saving layout for the galleys and toilets. Seating is slim-line as with the existing A320s in the Lufthansa fleet.

The good news is that Lufthansa will restore the comfort difference between business and economy class.

As with British Airways, Lufthansa provides the same 76 cms (29.9 inches) of legroom to all passengers whether seated in business or economy class. And this fact, certainly with British Airways, has elicited much negative reader feedback.

So right now the main comfort and space difference between business and economy is that the middle seat in business class is guaranteed unsold.

According to a report in, Lufthansa will restore the difference in legroom, albeit only by a couple of inches.

With its new A320 neo Lufthansa will be providing 81 cms (31.8 inches) of legroom in business but economy class will be trimmed to 71 cms (29.1 inches).

It means that we will have the anomalous situation where a reputable airline offers less economy class room than low-cost Ryanair.

The Irish carrier is said to provide 76 cms (29.9 ins) of legroom and, indeed, on its new B737 Max aircraft it is understood that legroom will be improved to better that seen either in Lufthansa economy or British Airways business/economy class.

That is because Ryanair’s B737 Max aircraft (although they can seat 200 passengers or more) are being limited to 197 seats in total to avoid having to employ an extra crew member.

Who would ever have envisaged such a scenario?,

Report by Alex McWhirter

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  • sn26567

    At Brussels Airlines, where the A320s are currently being retrofitted, there is also an increase of the number of seats from 168 to 180, with the last three rows having only 28in legroom!

  • Schaible

    Shame on Lufthansa and all the other greedy airlines!!! There are other ways to move towards profitable figures than reducing comfort on board! Try it with better service plus connections and be able to justify a high ticket rate!

  • MartinJ

    Alex, interesting insight but with one major inconsistency. You know only too well that seat pitch is an indicator but not a perfect measurement of leg room (it also depends on the thickness of the seat back.) Hence, the sentence “The German carrier’s new A320 neo aircraft will see economy class legroom reduced to just over 29 inches” is plain wrong as 29 inches of legroom would be industry-leading in Economy Class. You may consider the difference academic but equalling seat pitch with leg room is a gross simplification.

  • AMcWhirter

    Fair point. MartinJ. I tend to write legroom because it’s easier for the average reader to comprehend. Don’t forget we are a consumer, rather than a trade, publication.

    But in any case, the comparison with Ryanair still stands as the Irish airline is said to provide 76 ins of seat pitch right now and is expected to be slightly greater on the B737 Max for the reason I mentioned above. Ryanair will also be installing slim-line seating.

    And a comment from “sn26567” above suggests that the last three rows on Lufthansa’s A320 neo will be tighter still: 28 ins.

    What must also be noted is that, with the A320 neo. Lufthansa will be adding a little extra seat pitch in business class.

    More will become clearer when Lufthansa releases an A320 neo seating plan.

    As regards Ryanair, here’s an article from with the new Sky cabin interior. You can see that the latest seating is slim-line.

  • canucklad

    Thanks for the update Alex….

    Yet another so called premium airline accounting itself into mediocrity!

  • MartinJ

    Thank you for the clarification, Alex. It is indeed bewildering to see Lufthansa surpass Ryanair on the miserable seating scale. Who would have thought, as you rightly remarked.

  • AMcWhirter

    Today Lufthansa took delivery from Airbus of its first A320neo. It was a low-key affair. Inaugural passenger flight will take place at a later date.