Lufthansa Premium Economy To Debut On 747-8

Lufthansa announced today that they will launch a premium economy cabin, and will be introducing the new product on select Boeing 747-8 aircraft as early as November 2014. The remainder of the longhaul Lufthansa fleet is set to have premium economy class installed by the summer of 2015.

Lufthansa Premium Economy Seat

The new product will offer more pitch, a wider seat, and enhanced ground and air services.

Services in new premium economy class

  • Double free baggage allowance: two bags per person, each weighing up to 23 kg
  • A welcome drink, a water bottle at every seat and a high-quality amenity kit with many useful accessories providing additional refreshment
  • The high quality meals are presented in menus and are served on china tableware
  • An 11- or 12-inch touch screen monitor, a handset to control the in-flight entertainment and a generous range of magazines provide for even more entertainment
  • More storage space for personal belongings
  • Central console between the seats with sturdy table and power outlet at every seat – well suited for work on board
  • All seats in Premium Economy Class are not more than one seat away from the aisle
  • Access to Lufthansa Business Lounges available (for a fee of EUR 25)

Lufthansa’s economy cabin on the 747-8 currently has 262 or 298 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration. The new premium economy will offer between 21 and 52 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, so that’s a significant difference.

Lufthansa Premium Economy Cabin

While I’m not personally a huge fan of premium economy (mainly because it usually comes at the expense of first and business class seats, which I like to redeem miles for), it is a compelling option for many business and leisure travelers, particularly in the European market. Nearly two dozen other airlines are currently offering premium economy on routes to Europe, so it’s definitely an area where Lufthansa hasn’t been competitive.

From the Lufthansa Group press release:

The new product will enable Lufthansa to meet the requirements of many business and private passengers who travel with other airlines in a similar travel class or who fly Economy Class due to travel specifications. Following the introduction of its new full-flat Business Class, Lufthansa created a much wider gap between Economy and Business Class. As a result, there is now room for its new Premium Economy Class, which offers considerably more space and comfort as well as many additional product features, but is closer to Economy Class than Business Class in terms of its average prices. The move also means that Lufthansa is introducing a completely new travel class for the first time in 35 years.

“The design and features of the new seat in particular are based on extensive passenger surveys and workshops with sales partners – a process that has been successfully used at Lufthansa. 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,” continued Bischof. “We expect to see more than 1.5 million passengers per year in our new Premium Economy Class.”

Here’s a side by side comparison chart of the seat differences between business class, premium economy, and economy class:

Lufthansa Premium Economy Comparison

Redeeming miles for Lufthansa Premium Economy

The new cabin is slated to be bookable in May for travel beginning in November, though Miles & More hasn’t announced an updated award chart as of yet. My guess is that Premium Economy will eventually be available as a mileage redemption or upgrade award to those participating in the Miles & More program.

Neither Aeroplan nor United allow their miles to be redeemed for Premium Economy on the Star Alliance carriers that currently offer the product, so I wouldn’t expect that to change.

The one potential downside of this is that often upgrades are only valid for one class of service. For example, United Global Premier Upgrades can be used to confirm a one cabin upgrade on Lufthansa. This could very well mean that you can only upgrade from economy to premium economy, or that you have to book a premium economy ticket in order to upgrade to business class. Only time will tell.

Comments

  1. I think as far as the GPU’s are concerned, the cost of a GPU-able economy seat would cost about the same as the Y+ seat so in net dollars, the cost to move from Y to C may not be too wallet-breaking.

  2. It’s interesting how close this premium economy product comes to what used to be called “business class” when the airlines were first trying to design/execute what business class would mean.

    Back in the late 80s (I’m old, shut up!), Cathay Pacific had five rows of first in the nose of the 747s, and then business class was 2-3-2 between doors 1 and 2: http://boardingarea.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/frequentlyflying/files/2013/10/CX2-1988.jpg

    United was 2-4-2 in business class on its 747SPs in the late 80s as well, so when contrasted with LH’s new premium economy, we can really see just how far along business class has come in the last 25 years or so.

  3. Oh hell no I won’t be using a GPU to upgrade into Premium economy. GPU V fares are about $300 RT more than lowest usually, so if they charge that or just a fraction more for premium economy I would bite and apply a GPU, not going to
    pay more than $500 premium round trip though.

  4. Why would anyone care about using MP points to fly LH? Having flown BA Y+ PHX-LHR it’s a nice product, comfortable enough to sleep and saves lots of miles. I have the LH card from Barclays and have been using this card as well as my 3rd Citi Exce card for MS… I’m looking forward in trying the new Y+ on LH..

  5. The lack of a dedicated bulkhead and curtain separating the new Premium Economy from regular Y is a big miss, IMHO, and something I believe the majority of airlines with real Premium Economy cabins have incorporated. Having that separation makes the cabin feel intimate and you don’t feel like you are flying with hundreds of other people. It also reduced the amount of foot traffic in the Prem Y section.

  6. “high-quality amenity kit”

    this is surprising considering their biz class amenity kit sux…

  7. As more carriers eliminate international first class, it seems we are heading back to the future, with premium economy becoming the new de facto business class while current enhanced Business Class becomes First.

  8. What Dennis said. It’s actually a BENEFIT on BA/KL/AF that they have WT+/Y+ because those upgradable fares are cheaper than the full fare Y/B/M fares that are upgradable on other airlines. Plus, if upgrade doesn’t clear, you have a good backup plan instead of having the upgrade lottery money wasted.

  9. I’m all for more premium economy seats, especially on medium haulish routes (transcons, NYC to Europe). Premium economy allows you to travel in relative comfort, defray cash costs (premium economy often comes with more baggage allowance, for example) and save more miles for the next vacation.

  10. Excellent point, Anthony. I am in your camp: I’d be willing to pay face value for Y+, but not C. This is especially true of the kind of Y+ that’s wider in addition to increased pitch as it’s amazing how much easier it is to sleep when not snuggling with a stranger. Also, from the pics, it looks like this has very wide armrests. I’m pretty sure when they’re saying seat width is only 1 inch more, they’re talking actual seat width, not “seat width pitch”. The math of going from 3-4-3 to 2-3-2 means mathematically a huge increase in “seat width pitch” compared to Y; 43% more seat width pitch to be exact. That’s an ENORMOUS comfort increase. For me, the Y-width-problem is not my butt, but my shoulders/arms and aforementioned snuggling with strangers problem. Based on my observations, this is typical on average.

  11. One further note, I like the looks of those leg rests! Often I can not properly utilize the extra legroom of an exit row or bulkhead that I get for free as elite because of the uncomfortable sleeping bridge effect or of needing to slide so far down in the my seat to get closer to flat, it transfers bridge effect to my back (which hurts after a bit) and adds a crink to the neck.

  12. DWT, Lufthansa spokesman said that an overwhelming amount of the test pax opted AGAINST the extra divider/curtain, hence they dropped it.

  13. Ok, now I am scared… what if you book Y with a V fare on a 3 class plane with the intent of going for the upgrade and then they swap it out at some point for the 4-class with Y+ and since you can only upgrade same day, you can only get into Y+! That would really suck…

  14. It’s kind of weird to show a photo with a leg rest if it’s only available in the front row but other than that I think this sounds like a good thing. Perhaps, Lucky will now have to do an article on best Y+ products 😛

    P.S. LH Y only allows for one bag? Lame!

  15. Good to see Lufthansa is catching up with other leading airlines with a premium economy product, believe or not they are usually more profitable than the J product. Passengers tend to assoicate 40% more space with a 40% premium on the ticket price whereas the extra cost for the airline is less than 40%, yet they do not offer a lot of the costly benefits of J class. Also a great way to offer a “buffer” on upgrades for people flying in regular economy. But I see it from the airline standpoint, many commentaters above probably wont like it so much for understandable reasons. Still it’s a good decision for LH, a much better one than the terrible upgrade of their J class which they will have to live with for the next 10 years.

  16. I can’t say much about Lufthansa’s attention to passenger needs. They are slow usually. PE seats showed up in other airlines way before Lufthansa started thinking about it. I was a Gold Miles and More member for about 8 years and not once was I upgraded or offered a Business Class meal (Swiss did that sometimes). Now I am usually flying with Emirates and since 2 years have been upgraded thrice already ! Lufthansa didn’t even bother to ask why have stopped flying with them. Could have taught them a thing or two about how to keep passengers returning to them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *