Via Bloomberg, Lufthansa has announced that in the next two years they’ll be eliminating first class on an additional ~20% of their longhaul fleet. Currently they have first class on 94 of their 100 longhaul aircraft, which is just about the highest percentage of aircraft with first class of any airline. However, by the end of next year they plan on bringing that number down to 75 aircraft, as they take first class off ~19 aircraft.
This doesn’t really come as a surprise since it has been rumored for a while, though this is the first official announcement I’ve seen of the timeline. As I made reference to in this post about Lufthansa’s new first and business class retrofits, there are six 747s on which Lufthansa has yet to install the new first class product, and I suspect those are the ones on which first class will be eliminated as they do the retrofit with the new business class. The rest of the first class cuts will come at the expense of the A340-300, many of which will be retrofitted with the new business class while first class will be eliminated (some A340-300s already don’t feature first class).
So based on the article it seems like Vancouver will be one of the destinations that will lose first class, though they already don’t have first class for most of the year. Interestingly in the article they claim the most profitable routes for first class include Frankfurt to Kuwait, Johannesburg, Riyadh and Miami.
By the way, I don’t think it’s any mystery which routes are likely to lose first class. The award availability in first class on the below routes in the next week speaks for itself:
So I don’t see this as a major change since 75% of their longhaul fleet will still feature first class. That being said, many of the routes that were near guarantees for first class award availability won’t have first class anymore, so that will add pressure to other routes, making first class awards even tougher to come by.