Your guide to Lufthansa’s new A350 business class

The next-gen business class suites boast increased privacy, extra legroom and more...

By David Flynn, April 15 2024
Your guide to Lufthansa’s new A350 business class

Lufthansa’s first Airbus A350 fitted with its radical new Allegris business class will take wing from May 1, following its official launch on Thursday April 25 in the Lufthansa Hangar at Munich Airport.

The German flag-carrier took delivery of the debutante A350 this weekend, and it will begin carrying passengers from Munich to Vancouver and Toronto from the start of May.

The A350 will initially alternate between both Cnadian cities – for example, it will fly to Vancouver on May 1, 5 and 9, with Toronto on May 2, 4, 6 and 8 – and as further Allegris A350s are delivered, those flights will extend to Montreal and Chicago mid-year.

Lufthansa's all-new A350 Allegris business class.
Lufthansa's all-new A350 Allegris business class.

These early A350 deliveries from the Airbus manufacturing base at Toulouse will sport only the new Allegris business class, premium economy and economy seats – additional jets featuring Allegris first class suites are due from late 2024.

Lufthansa's A350 Allegris first class will include this two-passenger 'cuddle class' suite.
Lufthansa's A350 Allegris first class will include this two-passenger 'cuddle class' suite.

(The Allegris seats will also make their way across Lufthansa’s Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s, along with the new flagship Boeing 777-9 fleet, while there’ll also be bespoke first class suites for the Boeing 747s.)

But travellers will find that choosing their business class seat will no longer be a simple matter of ‘window or aisle’: instead, Lufthansa will offer as many as eight variations on its new business class seat, based on factors such as space and privacy.

Business Class Classic, Double, Privacy and Extra Space are just some of the Allegris business class seating options available.
Business Class Classic, Double, Privacy and Extra Space are just some of the Allegris business class seating options available.

It’s all in the name of “personalisation and choice”, the airline says, arguing that different passengers have different needs – and those needs can also vary depending on if a flight runs during the day or overnight.

The private Double Suite at the front of the A350 Allegris business class cabin.
The private Double Suite at the front of the A350 Allegris business class cabin.

As a result, the Allegris business class cabin will contain single and double suites; seats with extra space, enhanced privacy and greater legroom; and even a unique bassinet seat where the crib is mounted right next to the passenger rather than up on the bulkhead and out of reach.

A top-down view of the Allegris business class cabin.
A top-down view of the Allegris business class cabin.

These different seats will generally come with different price tags – although Kai Peters, Lufthansa’s Heads of Customer Experience, tells Executive Traveller that some no-cost seat selection perks will remain for top-tier members of the airline’s Miles & More loyalty program.

However, Lufthansa says seat reservations in the Allegris cabin ”are free of charge in the first few months and can be made and changed conveniently via the familiar booking channels,” adding that travellers ”will be able to see whether a flight is equipped with the Allegris product three weeks before departure.”

The Lufthansa website will flag those flights with a banner proclaiming Allegris: New seat concept, as shown below.

Lufthansa's Allegris business class is now beginning to appear on schedules.
Lufthansa's Allegris business class is now beginning to appear on schedules.

Lufthansa’s A350 Allegris business class choices

Common to all Allegris business class seats will be:

  • direct aisle access
  • Bluetooth audio connectivity to the video screen (17" for most Allegris seats, and 27” in the front-row suites)
  • wireless charging
  • a minimum 2m long bed
  • warming panels built into the cushions (similar to a car’s heated seats)
  • a cooling air flow from underneath the seat as well as from a vent mounted on the seat wall
  • a ‘shoulder sink-in’ to boost comfort for for side sleepers

Passengers will control the features of Lufthansa’s Allegris business class seat and the inflight entertainment system through a tablet mounted next to the seat, although this won’t be a wireless tablet due to the need to keep it powered up.

All A350 Allegris business class seats come with at least a 17-inch screen and a tablet-style controller.
All A350 Allegris business class seats come with at least a 17-inch screen and a tablet-style controller.

Lufthansa’s A350 Allegris business class seatmap

Here’s the official Lufthansa A350 Allegris business class seatmap, showing the first of two business class cabins on the A350 (the second cabin is identical to the first, except that it lacks the two bassinet seats in the last row).

Lufthansa's A350 Allegris business class seat map.
Lufthansa's A350 Allegris business class seat map.

This corresponding breakdown of the Lufthansa Allegris business class cabin shows each of the eight seating variations.

This radical approach to business class came from a completely ground-up approach by design firm PearsonLloyd, which pioneered the Allegris business class for Lufthansa over an eight-year period.

Instead of choosing an existing or under-development seat “we started from scratch,” co-founder Luke Pearson tells Executive Traveller, “agnostic of any of the (seat) manufacturers.”

“We did about a year's research just trying to understand and find out what we could deliver in terms of customer experience (and) roadmap the different experiences that we know we all need beyond just business travel, and then build a landscape throughout the cabin that would provide that.”

PearsonLloyd then re-imagined the business class cabin with one standard seat but in eight configurations, each suited to a specific passenger need.

PearsonLloyd identified eight modes of travel within the business class cabin.
PearsonLloyd identified eight modes of travel within the business class cabin.

Rather than taking a single seat “and then it sort of cut-and-paste across the cabin (and) giving more or less the same to everyone,” Pearson explains, “we were trying to think holistically when we were designing the cabin.”

“It allowed us to have the freedom to try and maximise each seat space… and optimise the layout for these different propositions, for the different seats.”

“It's incredibly ambitious, but ultimately if you ask the customer what they’re looking for, they’re not looking for the compromise, they’re actually looking for the optimum.”

Inside the Lufthansa A350 Allegris business class cabin

Lufthansa’s Airbus A350 will have 38 Allegris business class seats split across two cabins, while the Boeing 787-9 class will have 28 Allegris business class seats.

Facing the bulkhead wall at the front of each business class cabin will be four oversized Business Suites with sliding privacy doors.

Next to each window are single suites which serve as a cocoon for solo flyers...

The Single Suite provides ample room to spread out your belongings.
The Single Suite provides ample room to spread out your belongings.

... while the middle pair can opened up as a double suite for couples travelling together.

The private Double Suite at the front of the A350 Allegris business class cabin.
The private Double Suite at the front of the A350 Allegris business class cabin.

Boasting significantly more room than the standard business class, with a footprint of 2.2-2.5m2 depending on the aircraft type, each Business Suite features:

  • 2.2m long flatbed
  • higher walls with sliding doors
  • 27” video screen
  • personal wardrobe
  • small minibar
The private Double Suite at the front of the A350 Allegris business class cabin.
The private Double Suite at the front of the A350 Allegris business class cabin.

The Double Suite with the screen closed.
The Double Suite with the screen closed.

There’s also a second option for high-flying couples: the paired centre seats in the last row of each business class cabin will be sold a Double Seat where both seats can be combined “to form a double berth” thanks to a fully-retractable centre console.

27" screens give the Double Suite a 'personal IMAX' feel.
27" screens give the Double Suite a 'personal IMAX' feel.

For solo travellers, every second row in business class in given overt to a single ‘throne’ seat in the middle – this will be marketed as an Extra Space seat in recognition of its additional personal space and two benches on either side of the seat.

The spacious private Allegris throne seat.
The spacious private Allegris throne seat.

Trialling a mock-up of the Extra Space seat at Lufthansa’s Berlin launch, we found the seat didn’t feel as confined as most other throne seats when in flatbed mode.

The spacious private Allegris throne seat.
The spacious private Allegris throne seat.

The foot cubby was also fairly generous – although it will still favour side sleepers, especially if they sleep on their left side and angle their knees into the void facing the aisle.

The spacious private Allegris throne seat.
The spacious private Allegris throne seat.

The space beneath the elongated right-hand bench, which closes off the aisle, allows the seat behind it to become a 2.2m bed by tapping into the additional under-bench space – and Lufthansa will happily sell this to taller travellers as the Extra Long Bed.

Meanwhile, seats directly next to the window will be branded as Privacy Seats, with seats at the aisle badged as Classic and priced as Lufthansa’s entry-level business class seat.

Lufthansa's entry-level Classic business class seat.
Lufthansa's entry-level Classic business class seat.

Peters tells Executive Traveller that “depending on the layout, 40-50%” of seats in any Allegris business class cabin will be these Classic seats.

Finally, the right-hand side seat at the rear of each business class cabin can have a pop-out panel on the side shelf replaced by a bassinet mount to create the logically-named Private Seat with Baby Bassinet.

Compared to conventional bulkhead bassinets, this also puts the infant directly next to the parent rather than having the bub out of reach and out of sight.

Decisions, decisions…

The airline is well aware of the challenge posed to passengers by this sheer variety of seats, but hopes the plain English descriptors will help guide travellers to choose a seat that suits.

With these seats first conceived in 2016, it’s been a long journey for Lufthansa – not to mention its passengers, who’ve been making do with what is now a decidedly out-dated business class on the German flag carrier since 2012.

Lufthansa's current and decidedly out-dated business class launched over a decade ago in 2012.
Lufthansa's current and decidedly out-dated business class launched over a decade ago in 2012.

Lufthansa initially teased its next-generation business class in late 2017, prior to an intended debut on the Boeing 777-9 in 2020 – although the twin-jet is now due in late 2025.

The initial shortlist for Lufthansa’s new business class proved to be a long list: “at the very beginning there were probably seven ideas or eight ideas, but we really started with six – we had six different business classes for the time being – and then we narrowed it down.”

Lufthansa's latest business class was supposed to launch on the Boeing 777-9 in 2020.
Lufthansa's latest business class was supposed to launch on the Boeing 777-9 in 2020.

Everyone from Lufthansa executives and product specialists to the airline’s most frequent flyers played a vital part in that process, testing mockups at a dedicated workshop facility nestled in a small village some ten minutes from Lufthansa HQ.

“Obviously even if you have good ideas, you want to test it against your best customers, and that’s what we do,” says Paul Estoppey, Head of Product Management Cabin for the Lufthansa Group.

“We had about 250 of our top customers – first class and business class flyers – if I remember right, who had made about 10 flights in long-haul business class over the last 12 months.”

Sliding doors are reserved solely for the first row.
Sliding doors are reserved solely for the first row.

“We needed to make sure we had really experienced people in those tests, because most of those guys know us as well the competition.”

“And that’s an important point: you want to find out what do they like about your concept (and) what do they probably dislike about the other concepts in this world, so we make sure that we don’t do something they dislike on other (airlines).”

Those top-tier frequent flyers spent hours sitting in and combing over “physical mockups done by a carpenter” for all six concepts, Estoppey recalls.

Storage nooks are large enough to fit a drink bottle and amenity kit (ignore the remote, which was part of the prototype display)
Storage nooks are large enough to fit a drink bottle and amenity kit (ignore the remote, which was part of the prototype display)

The field was then narrowed to three potential new Lufthansa business class seats, the mockups for which “were getting more professional” as things progressed: “there’s already paint on it, foam and a seat cover, so it feels a little bit better.”

Yes to privacy, no to doors

Along the way, some common themes were emerging, such as the value of privacy.

“We wanted to increase privacy but you always need to watch out that you don't box them in too much, that was the feedback.”

This led Lufthansa to a design featuring 1.1m-high wrap-around seat walls rather than sliding doors for all but the first row of the business class cabin, where those doors became the key element in a differentiated proposition.

Business Class Double seats have ample leg room.
Business Class Double seats have ample leg room.

It’s a move at odds with the global trend towards doored business suites, and “we had a big discussion about it, a big debate,” Estoppey shares.

“The feedback from customers was really differentiated: it’s not that every customer wants doors, not at all. It’s nice to close your area off, to say, ‘that’s mine here’ – but other than that, it’s really questionable.”

“So we changed the aisle side seat, we changed the wall a little bit so that we have a bit more privacy and more shield towards the aisle.”

Seats feature a 'shoulder sink-in' for side sleepers.
Seats feature a 'shoulder sink-in' for side sleepers.

“That was the compromise, if you like… but other than that, we wanted to give as much space as we could to the passenger.”

At the same time, it seemed that privacy trumped expansive space and a larger footprint for each seat, which reduces what Estoppey refers to as the “efficiency” of the cabin – how many seats, and paying passengers, it can accommodate.

“We were surprised that the one concept which was eating up the most space, which was the most inefficient one, the passenger didn't like it as well… because you might think the passenger votes in a direction which is more space-consuming and this was not the case.”

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 163

As I have said before, I am OK with make your choice to pay for extra's... as long as I don't pay for a seat then get bumped by a HON member - My wife and I had 1A/1K booked FRA-JFK in a 747 and ended up 3A/1K - LH literally killed my 1A dream on a 747

09 Sep 2023

Total posts 6

Looks crampt and ugly: I'll choose another carrier, no matter what route or connection changes required, to fly biz class nicer than this.

Whoever approved this design owns it: did not have the customer in mind.


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