Eurowings Is Introducing A Real Business Class Product

Given the competition from the likes of Norwegian and WOW Air, many major European airlines have new ultra low cost carriers, which are expanding rapidly:

Eurowings has grown significantly lately, and now has a fleet of almost 90 planes, consisting of Bombardier Q400s, A319s/A320s, and A330s, which they use for longhaul flights.

Eurowings’ A330s feature a total of 310 seats, including 21 premium economy seats and 289 economy seats. It looks like Eurowings will soon be changing their business model a bit, per a hint they dropped on Twitter this morning:

Something new is coming up! Can you guess? Stay tuned for more!

Okay, this doesn’t exactly leave much to the imagination. It would appear that Eurowings is installing a proper business class cabin on their A330s, as the seats pictured are identical to Lufthansa’s current business class seats.

While Eurowings initially only flew leisure routes, the airline is now taking over some airberlin routes, including Dusseldorf to New York and Dusseldorf to Miami, and clearly there’s some demand there for a business class cabin.

At the same time, I can’t help but feel like at some point all these airlines blend together. If you’re going to go out of your way to create an ultra low cost carrier, you’d think you’d stick to that, rather than adding the same business class you have in the rest of your fleet. But if nothing else it seems that ultra low cost carriers are worthwhile in terms of lower labor costs.

We’ll have to wait to learn the full details of Eurowings’ new business class, as they haven’t revealed all the details yet. I’m curious what we can expect in terms of onboard service, what the timeline is for these planes being reconfigured, and whether all A330s are getting business class, or just some.

What do you make of Eurowings installing business class on their longhaul aircraft?

(Tip of the hat to YHBU)

Comments

  1. They need to keep the business traveler in TXL ad DUS so they will need the proper business class and not premium economy. Air Asia X is having premium lie flat seats on their A330 as well.

  2. I actually think this may be the smarter move of the LCC-conversions. If we’re talking about a somewhat considerable price differential between LH and EW but with the same (shoddy) J offering, I can see a lot of non-loyalty-driven, non-business/leisure travelers opting for a no-frills lie-flat seat, especially on overnight flights. Even as a frequent J traveler on full service airlines, I’m perfectly fine with eating at the airport food court or PP lounge prior to the flight then just sleeping through the airborne portion and receiving little or no on-board service, or purchasing what little I need. If you look at the realities of ticket cost, are the lounge access, meals, and alcohol really worth the price delta? If EW can put butts in (lie-flat) seats while minimizing catering costs, this may be the win-win situation.

  3. Wonder if they’re going to buy new seats, even though it’s the current design. It would seem most sensible to recycle the current J seats from the mainline fleet as part of the retrofit of the newly teased business class, but LH already told us we won’t see the new seats until the introduction of the 777X in 2020 (with retrofits of existing aircraft starting even later).

  4. It’s much better than what they currently have and it will be interesting to see the soft product that goes with the hard product. It’s much better than what most long haul budget airlines have in their business class and I look forward to trying it out

  5. I think it makes perfect sense, certainly because Brussels Airlines is becoming part of the “Eurowings Group”. Brussels Airlines Long Haul network includes a lot of destinations with a lot of business traffic (Africa, New York, Mumbai). It would be stupid to eliminate Brussels Airlines’ Business Class. So if they become Eurowings, Eurowings needs business too.

  6. I think one big thing for LH group is that they already purchased this seat, have extra in stock, know it’s characteristics and have MRO capacity. For them it’s a question of economies of scale. The group only has 2 buisness class seat models, the LH super diamond based seat (unless I’m mistaken) and the LX, OS, SN Thompson vantage seat.

  7. Eurowings is not designed for price differentiation. Rather, Eurowings was created so that the Lufthansa corporation could hire crews without having to adhere to the payment rules that they have negotiated with the staff that services their Lufthansa-branded aircraft.
    The Lufthansa crews are very generously paid and they have a strong negotiation power due to the way that their labor contracts are aranged. Therefore, lufthansa does not hire any pilots for their main brand. In contrast, for the crews that they put in eurowings aircraft, they are actively hiring, the conditions are much worse, and the way their labour contracts are aranged is modelled after ryanair’s and especially easyjet’s way of hiring.

    Also, eurowings does not compete with lufthansa mainline on most routes. The pricing model is a bit different but the service is otherwise very similar to lufthansa at least on shorthaul.

  8. Makes sense. EW isn’t really that cheap. A quick of flights from DUS to New York will show you that United is cheaper on some days. Their lower costs base makes all the difference and as many have said, there’s demand for a fully flat seat on many long haul routes that Air Berlin served that Eurowings is taking over.

  9. @Felix and @Sam:

    If EW isn’t going to really be competing as an LCC, then what would be the incentive for a traveler to choose EW over LH? If LH and EW’s longhaul product will be roughly on-par then the only difference is point-to-point service, it seems. Or, are you saying LH is attempting to create a cheaper-to-run version of LH on routes not currently served by LH – former AB routes? That’s an interesting venture for LH. Are the EW contracts really that much less?

  10. Makes sense. Edelweiss (WK), which is LX’s low cost/no alliance subsidiary, also introduces a lie flat Business product.

  11. @AdamR
    There are newspaper articles where the lufthansa board hopes to reduce pilots’ labour costs by 40% with eurowings.

    Lufthansa mainline aircraft and crew are almost all based in Frankfurt and Munich, while eurowings are based elsewhere. As a result, routes mostly dont overlap. An exception to this is that at frankfurt, they stationed some eurowings aircraft to take advantage of a rebate that the airport granted to airlines that previously did not operate from the airport (ryanair first took advantage of this).

    Eurowings is also not pure point-to-point. You can book itineraries where you change from a eurowings to a brussels, austrian or other lh codeshare partner’s plane. Eurowings only have less hub traffic because they are mostly not based at one of lh group’s hubs.

    Eurowings is mostly about labor costs, not so much service quality, just like air france’s joon.

    Note that this strategy of lufthansa vs eurowings branding is very different from, e. g. Singapore airlines vs scoot. For the latter, you can book for example sin-syd in economy either with full service, wide seats and large legroom with singapore airlines or you can choose low service, narrow 9-abreast 787 seating with less legroom on scoot.

  12. @Andy: Edelweiss is the holiday making / leisure brand of SWISS. It’s not a LCC. And while they are indeed not in an alliance, you can at least earn Miles & More award miles when booking its flights under LX code.

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