Lufthansa unveils new business class product

It’s the moment we’ve all (kind of) been waiting for — Lufthansa has just officially unveiled the details of their new business class product, which will debut on the 747-800 that enters passenger service soon.

I think it’s fair to say this has been pretty anticipated, given that they’ve been lagging the competition for years with their angled flat dentist chair business class seat. So I think most of us assumed their new product would be cutting edge. After all, Swiss’ new business class product is excellent, and they’ve had it for years.

Anyway, check out the pictures of the new business class product on Business Traveller, including a couple of videos, as well as Lufthansa’s official new business class seat website. While the seats are fully flat, the seat is in no way innovative, and I’d argue even a bit impractical. With the design it will be pretty tough for the person in the window to get out when the person in the aisle is reclined, but more importantly, I find it bizarre that the foot compartments are so close to one another. I hope you’re ready to play footsie with your seat opponent!

Don’t get me wrong, this seat is a massive improvement over the old one, but Lufthansa is only now starting to roll the seat out, so expect it to be at least a few years before it’s found fleetwide. I can’t wait to see what Singapore has by then.

What are your thoughts?


Photo courtesy of Lufthansa

Comments

  1. ArizonaGuy says

    Meh, yuck. I’ll be thrilled to fly UA C or LH C transatlantic, especially if I’m traveling solo. Why would I want to be angled towards a stranger and sleep with my legs and feet inches, nay, centimeters from theirs?

  2. says

    1) It looks like an ironing board when in flat position (and I imagine it’s like sleeping on one, too. 2) the possible stranger/foot touching is creepy.

  3. dan says

    i dont understand how an airline like this botches something that is so obvious and already accomplished by other airlines?

  4. fosij says

    it looks like a really small footrest and bed, if you’ve seen the business traveler video. The guy can’t lie fully flat without bending his knees when sleeping.

  5. JJ says

    Wow, that looks awful for a new business class seat. Looking at the videos on the Flickr link, the footwell design is much too narrow, even just for putting you feet up and watching a movie for 90 mins. The angle towards your seat opponent is awkward at best, too intimate at worst. The aisle access look poor. I thought seat designers had solved the aisle access problem with herringbone or staggered seating already.

  6. says

    Given they are one of the last major airlines to introduce a fully flat seat in business class I think it’s a poor effort. Privacy looks non existent and from the videos online sleeps looks very hard.

    As for playing footsie with your neighbour!?!?

    I think Lufthansa should have done better given they’ve had years or seeing reactions to other airlines as they launch flat beds.

  7. Andrew says

    @dan, I completely agree–how do airlines not anticipate things like this?

    Just looking at that makes me only want to fly with my wife in that configuration!

  8. Nick says

    Does that little black divider in the foot rest area retract so you can really get into the footsie?

  9. says

    Should’ve gone with the US/CX/AA new business seat. Or at least the DL seat? I mean, seriously… Oh well, still better than Air France…

  10. Sean says

    Wow that better than what they have now, but really it’s just terrible compared to what you can get on NH or even UA. Very disappointing LH. I wonder why they didn’t take a cue for LX.

  11. Antonio says

    It’s angled so you don’t use as much pitch per row, possibly enabling one additional row of seating. Considering though that German men tend to be pretty tall, I have a feeling this is going to be a PR bust for them.

  12. John says

    I would have to agree with Gary the US/CX/AA new bus seat would have been better. Having the seats angled towards each other is awkward at best. The only consolation is that it is lie flat, which is a huge improvement over their old product.

  13. BR says

    Didn’t they do any market research to see if customers would like it before releasing it?

    It looks awful.

  14. vroomvroom says

    This is a joke, right? Wow – This design is AWFUL. It’s amazing how they could screw this up so badly. It looks tremendously, terribly uncomfortable. They need to stop everything right now–hopefully it’s a prototype… don’t event go to mass production–and go straight back to the drawing board. Seriously Lufthansa. Seriously.

  15. vroomvroom says

    I thought the Germans were supposed to be pros at engineering and efficient design. What happened here??

  16. vor says

    I guess you all are going to have to spend your hard earned US Airways miles somewhere else.

  17. chasgoose says

    I don’t know if I missed this earlier, but are they moving business class to the upper deck (at least some of it)? The numbers on the seats in the picture were in the 80s. I assume that means first will be in the nose where it belongs…

  18. Chris says

    Who actually signed off their ok on this design? It seems most airlines are going for a 1-2-1 seat formation with either a staggered seating system or the new herringbone “suites” (like Singpore or Cathay). Even if the feet weren’t designed to be so close to each other, I’d have thought the 2-2-2 system would be on it’s way out…

  19. Minavaan says

    I will never fly by Lufthansa anymore. I ‘ve had such bad experiences with the airline. Terrible customer service!

  20. A.N.Onymus says

    Think about the business aspect, guts: 1-2-1 in Business is a HUGE decrease in revenues from 2-3-2 if you can’t compensate it with higher ticket prices. Given the competition in Europe and LH’s operating cost, there is just no way they could profitably operate a 1-2-1 business class. I guess they’ve looked at european competitors (e.g. think of BA’s business class product) rather than Asian/US customers spoiled by Asian/Middle Eastern airlines.

    One more thing: Swiss is positioned in the market as a PREMIUM product, hence I guess there has to be some difference between LH and LX business class products…

  21. A.N.Onymus says

    P.S.: Will they care losing people who burn – no offence, Ben – really cheap UA/US Airways/… Miles? Probably not…

  22. lucky says

    @ A.N.Onymus — So Swiss is a premium product over Lufthansa? If so, why aren’t they priced accordingly?

    The assumption that only those redeeming miles care about the product is crazy. Lufthansa *is* competing head-on with Singapore, Asiana, ANA, etc., and full fare passengers have a choice as to which carrier they fly.

  23. snic says

    This is great news! If LH’s new business seats suck, then they’ll sell fewer of them, and more will be available for those redeeming miles! :D

  24. oleg says

    Nice improvement over old seat, but still very disappointing. I suppose LH determined that they still need a highly mediocre C seat to continue selling F well.

  25. says

    While LH compete with the likes of SQ, CX, NH, etc I don’t think they will be running scared of LH’s new business class product. It’s a step in the right direction by going truly flat but that’s about it really.

    @A.N.Onymus it may well be that they can’t afford to go 1-2-1 hence why they have stuck to 2-3-2, 2-2-2 or 2-2 (Upper Deck) which is more inline with BA. However, with BA you get privacy from your neighbour and don’t need to play footsie with them while you sleep (granted E/F seats aren’t the exception).

  26. John says

    @oleg- Most airlines including Lufthansa lose money on int’l first class. (An overwhelming majority of those sitting in first are either upgrades or mileage tickets.) Int’l bus class is the bread and butter profitability product of these airlines. YES, PEOPLE ACUALLY BUY INT’L BUS CLASS TICKETS (including me). I don’t know anyone that actually buys int’l first class tickets except for people like Madonna. (The truly wealthy travel on their own private planes.)

    The reason why so many airlines are dropping int’l first class is that it is an unprofitable product.

  27. says

    Give me the old LH C and the AF C at any time, esp in the A380. The plane is quiet and I can sleep with no problems in any position

  28. oleg says

    @John – Sure, C sales exist in very reasonable volumes. I’m under no disillusion of such (both with perspectives on personal leisure spend as well as corporate travel).

    However, whatever (small to begin with) F sales can only be reduced by a marginal difference between C and F. While having F on your plane can certainly be an airline status symbol, it does help to actually have a worthwhile improvement from C. There’s a cost function of what the extra price gets you – if the primary difference is a soup course (UA), it’s a much easier answer (read: not worth it) than an improvement across the board (LH). Yes, the difference is certainly not economical to most for the price difference; however, it still helps to have it there for those who find the price more palatable.

    There are people who are wealthy enough to buy F and travel commercial. In fact these people aren’t as rare as you might assume them to be.

  29. Felixstowe says

    Lufthansa took their time developing this product to ensure it met the expectations of their passengers, whilst also fulfilling the requirements of their crew and service personel (all of which have been regularly consulted with throughout development).

    The new Lufthansa C/CL seat certainly doesn’t compete with the likes of Singapore’s in terms of seat width or aisle access, nor does it try to. The density of a product such as Singapore’s makes it completely insufficient for Lufthansa. The airline and their designers have, however, taken the chosen layout and painstakingly developed features and details which no other airline would have the foresight / insight to offer (such as the beautifully simple seat control interface).

    As someone who has actually flown on this seat (during the test flights in 2010) I can promise you all that this seat needs to be seen to be believed. The detailing and quality is unparalleled!

    As for the proximity of your feet with your neighbour; their is a screen in that separates you from them – not a problem I can assure you! Plus, your upper bodies are much further apart than a normal seat which actually increases the sense of privacy!

    For all those looking and hoping for radical C/CL products I would say this; the time has come when Airlines need to be more intelligent when developing their cabin interiors, in order to find the right mix of efficiency and comfort. The world cannot afford for Emirites to be flying 100 A380’s around when intelligent design could have done just as good a job with 50!

    Lufthansa seem to (as usual) have found their own, well considered (albeit with some compromises) route. And I wouldn’t mind betting that history will prove it is the right one!

  30. Peter L says

    I cannot understand all the negativity towards this new product. I think its wonderful. No one has tried it yet but everyone already “knows” its bad!? I cannot understand. If you were expecting closed clustered suites on LH then your just dreaming. LH always opts for open cabins because not everyone likes to be clustered. There privacy when your sleeping and that’s the most important. LH did a couple of trial flights last year and people liked the idea, criticize some of it and they went back to the drawing board. LH is not as small as SQ, CX and co so a 1-2-1 product does not make sense for them. A video on flickr with an overweight man looking uncomfortable does not justify the product in any way!He would look as bad in any other seat! maybe if less people fly it, I would have more space in the cabin to myself!:D

  31. John Lee says

    Absolutely appalling. Lufthansa should better have some VERY competitive prices to even start to compete with others. Even the pre-merger Continental business class seat was better than this and still had a 2-2-2 configuration.

    @Peter L: A 1-2-1 angled seat configuration would make sense as it uses up the same amount of space as a 2-2-2 angled seating configuration. The reason why is that (although there are less seats in each row) the 1-2-1 configuration allows for a more angled seat and therefore allows for less seat pitch, compensating for the lower number of seats in each row.

    Seat pitch 1-2-1: 42″ with 82″/27.6″ bed size
    Seat pitch 2-2-2: 60″ with 78″/22.0″ bed size

  32. Walter says

    Before drawing any conclusions I would love to try the seat. Having said that I won’t do so if SQ, LX, US, NZ or VS get me there for a similar price. The last time I flew LH in biz from FRA to EZE was just terrible. Ignoring the outdated seat, the crew was rude and despite the massive price tag and *gold status below any other standards. Let’s hope they address this with the revamp.

  33. HG says

    The whole new array of seats look like a lot of plastic and low market. There is no plushness or elegance about them. The armrests look like a cheap office chair from Staples. The angled design looks like odd.

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