Lufthansa revealed its new A350-900 in Munich yesterday with a spectacular light show and an official unveiling ceremony in the Lufthansa Technik Hangar. The first of 10 aircraft was named ‘City of Nuremberg’ in front of an audience of 2,000 employees and guests.
The aircraft is the airline’s most modern and technologically advanced featuring better fuel consumption and better cabin quality for passengers and crew. The new aircraft will start flying as of 10 February from Munich to Delhi and Boston. With interiors designed by PearsonLloyd, the new aircraft will have room for 293 passengers – 48 in Business Class, 21 in Premium Economy and 224 in Economy Class.
Unlike the 747-8 and their other fleet, the carrier has opted to ditch its first class cabin, and interestingly has decided to opt for a slightly tighter 2 x 2 x 2 seating in the business class cabin. Apart from LATAM, every other operator has opted for 1 x 2 x 1 all-aisle access seating in the same aircraft model.
That said, these are the same business class seats found on the airline’s 747-8, which have angled seats to the windows on either side and ‘footsie’ pairs in the centre.
What is impressive is the screen size, and naturally, being an advanced aircraft, Wi-Fi is available too. The business class cabin is split in two, with the larger cabin featuring 6 rows of seats, and a smaller, intimate 2 row cabin behind the main entrance doors.
The plane also features their latest premium economy seats, which offer 2 x 3 x 2 seating spread across three rows. Each seat features a 38″ seat pitch and deep recline. At 18-19″ wide, they aren’t the widest, but the inclusion of a wide central arm rest between seat pairs means increased shoulder room.
The seats also feature massive 12-inch touch screens and well positioned headphone sockets to make entertainment more enjoyable.
In economy, passengers are able to enjoy 3 x 3 x 3 seating, similar to 777s before they decided to go 10 abreast. The cabin features 224 economy class seats, with 31″ seat pitch and 18″ width.
We love the visual illusion that the cabin designers have created, with continually changing hues of seat from the aircraft wall to the cabin centre, which lightens the cabin in the centre, usually where it is darkest, due to the overhead bins naturally blocking the ambient lighting from the aircraft.
While we are impressed with Lufthansa’s premium economy and economy products, we can’t help but feel the business class was a missed opportunity to enhance the experience at the front of the plane. However, on the flip side, it’s clear to see that Lufthansa is sticking with a coherent product set across the fleet, with the business class seat being a practical and efficient product, but still a distinguishable step below the First-Class hard product the airline still flies. This is something other airlines such as American and Singapore struggle with as they continue to develop and enhance their J class products.