While Lufthansa had to quietly retreat from it’s questionable 5-star Skytrax rating just a few weeks ago, to a more understandable 4-star rating, it’s no surprise that the carrier is trying to pull out all the stops to re-energise interest in the carrier which has been marred recently by news of impending strikes.
Yesterday Lufthansa launched a new wave of passenger experiences dubbed ‘Allegris’ which is repositioning Lufthansa as a leader of the group when it comes to passenger experience. It’s had a long way to catch up, as today every one of the major Lufthansa group airlines arguably offers a better hard product when it comes to premium carrier than the alleged lead airline in the group.
While SWISS hinted back at the launch of their new Premium Economy product that a range of new passenger experiences were on the horizon, it seems maybe there’s a hint of what’s yet to come at SWISS too. According to Lufthansa’s recent press release Allegris won’t be exclusive to the Lufthansa brand as it has been “developed exclusively for the Lufthansa Group.”
Naturally all eyes will turn to the halo product, First Class. While impressive on the surface, it’s important to say that on the A350, there will only seem to be 4 seats, a significant reduction on the current long-haul offering from the carrier, making the product more exclusive and therefore, more profitable as well.
Following the trend of Emirates Game Changer 777 first class, Lufthansa is opting for (almost) fully enclosed suites. The seat, which is almost one meter wide, can be converted into a large, comfortable bed. “All seats and beds are positioned in the direction of flight, without exception. In addition to many other storage options, there is a large, personal wardrobe in every suite. Passengers inhabiting this new First Class can even remain in their suite as they prepare for sleep and change into Lufthansa First Class pajamas.” It’s an interesting comment, but actually there’s a few design details which yet have to prove themselves here.
To get the seat width, the suite doors will meet the seat edge, meaning when the doors are closed and the seat is a bed, there’s no where to stand without opening the suite doors. The wardrobe also eats into the footwell space, meaning there’s a slightly narrower part of the seat which will hit around knee height for most. That said the seats should be wide enough to compensate for this, although there’s no detail on whether Lufthansa will narrow the seat on the 787 or opt for a 3-seat wide cabin in this narrower configuration.
Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “We want to set new, unprecedented standards for our guests. The largest investment in premium products in our company’s history underpins our claim to continue to be the leading Western premium airline in the future.”
Where the story becomes more interesting is the mid cabin class, a hybrid business class/first class product, which will be difficult for Lufthansa to market. According to Lufthansa, front row seats of the business class cabin will look forward to their own suite, which offers even more comfort and privacy due to higher walls and sliding doors that completely close. Here, travelers can enjoy extended personal space, a monitor up to 27 inches in size and ample storage space, including a personal wardrobe.
In fact, the Lufthansa Business Class of the “Allegris” generation offers six more seating options with the highest level of comfort. We think we’ve managed to distill what this means. Front row pair seats (with doors), front row solo seats (with doors), aisle seats, window seats, centre pairs and centre throne seats on 777 cabins – but this is sheer speculation until details are revealed next year.
Passengers have direct access to the aisle from all Business Class seats. The seat walls, which are at least 114 centimetres high, with generous space in the shoulder area, ensure greater privacy. All seats can be converted into a two-meter-long bed. Passengers can enjoy the in-flight entertainment program on monitors measuring nearly 17 inches. Wireless charging, noise-canceling headphones and the ability to connect one’s own devices, such as a PC, tablet, smartphone, or headphones, to the entertainment system, via Bluetooth, are also part of the new Allegris Business Class experience.
It’s not just Business Class that’s getting the additional complications, in economy, there’s the sleeper 2.0, an enhanced sleeper seat which has more seat pitch, and therefore a larger sleeping surface. The airline will also offer new neighbour-vacant seats which will offer a centre table for added personal space.
All these additions will add a wealth of options for passengers, but provide a myriad of complications for the operational staff of each flight. We think we’ve managed to highlight the myriad of seat options on a standard long-haul aircraft of Lufthansa:
- First Class Solo Seats
- First Class Centre pair
- Business Class Front Row Solo Seat
- Business Class Front Row Centre Pair
- Business Class Aisle Seat
- Business Class Window Seat
- Business Class Centre Pair Seats
- Business Class Centre Throne Seat
- Premium Economy Seat
- Economy Sleeper 2.0 Seat
- Economy Class Neighbour Vacant Seat
- Economy Class Bulkhead / Extra Legroom Seat
- Standard Economy Class Seat
In total this is an epic variety of seating options, somehow out categorising even Air New Zealand’s new Ultra Long Haul Aircraft which will be launched in 2024. Something is still to be said about simple, clear products that passengers can understand. That said, this investment in the passenger experience isn’t to be dismissed, it is certainly welcome and will help elevate Lufthansa once again to an international stage.