Lufthansa Boeing 777-9 to drop first class for 'Business Plus'?

By David Flynn, June 2 2017
Lufthansa Boeing 777-9 to drop first class for 'Business Plus'?

Lufthansa could drop first class from some of its forthcoming Boeing 777-9 jets in favour of a 'Business Plus' cabin as part of a review of the airline's future fleet, and is also unlikely to fit its new Boeing 777X business class seats onto its current fleet – including the Airbus A380s and newer A350s as well as Boeing 747-8 jumbo jets.

The Star Alliance member is moving ahead with an all-new design for its Boeing 777-9 jets which as exclusively reported last month by Australian Business Traveller will include direct aisle access for all passengers.

Read more: Lufthansa's next-gen business class to have direct aisle access

However, Lufthansa remains uncertain on the role of first class in its Boeing 777-9s, with Lufthansa group executive Harry Hohmeister telling Australian Business Traveller "There are good opportunities with new business class concepts which are nearly as good as first class but more flexible in terms of cabin design (and) when you have a business class that is so close to first class that the differentiation for the customer will not be relevant any more."

One of the options considered by Lufthansa includes a "Business Plus" cabin instead of first class, according to an internal video presentation by Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.

This would be introduced on some Boeing 777-9 jets flying routes with insufficient demand for a full first class cabin.

Several airlines have scaled down or entirely removed first class from their fleet, partly driven by advanced in business class, while Emirates and Singapore Airlines are both reducing the number of first class suites in future deliveries of their respective Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER jets.

In his video presentation Spohr also indicated the Boeing 777-9 business class seat would not be retrofitted onto existing aircraft, and flagged the potential introduction of a so-called 'ultra-light' fare cheaper than Lufthansa's lowest-cost 'light' pricing segment on European routes.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1204

I understand why they'd want to ditch First Class.  What I don't get is why they are unlikely to refit the rest of the long-haul fleet with the same Business Class.  Surely consistency of product is important and LH have a number of J class products already.  Adding another without moving towards standardisation is just a way to infuriate customers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

The problem is that Lufthansa has no other premium carrier in Germany competing with them, otherwise you would see all their products being upgraded, refitted accross the fleet. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 167

To be fair, that's true of a lot of major airlines. LH seem to lag behind quite a bit on this issue so I agree with Reeves, not sure why they wouldn't refit!

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621


Agree.  LH hv a semi-monopoly in the longhaul premium segment and their the only competitor in continental Europe with a comparable network breath & depth to capture a similar geog customer base is AFKLM.  Premium product consistency @ AFKLM fleet is even worse than LH.

Of course, that's not the only reason for the lack of product consistency.  When LH now admitted they are struggling with profitability and considering 779 deferrals to partly address that, we can expect they simply are not projecting sufficient cashflow/profit to fund a fleet-wide upgrade for longhaul J.  They hv a pretty big longhaul fleet to deal with by any std....e.g. it's far  larger than QF's(i.e. over 100 widebodies which is nearly the entire QF fleet including 737s) with 1 crucial difference: QF is projected to hv strong profitability while LH is not.

When overall financial survival/health is on the line, it's easy to see how LH rank a) risk losing some premium customers sensitive about product consistency vs b) splurge on a costly+huge J product upgrade project.

I think Lufthansa should keep First Class out of Frankfurt. Its not necessary out of Munich however. The thing with First is that a huge component of the First experience is ground service and lounges, and LH has the First Class Terminal in FRA. 

It sounds like LH will just operate two subfleets of 777-9s... one ex-MUC without First, and one ex-FRA with First. 


05 Jun 2012

Total posts 127


"The Star Alliance member is moving ahead with an all-new design for its Boeing 777-9 jets which as exclusively reported last month by Australian Business Traveller will include direct aisle access for all passengers."

I was quite excited by the idea that passengers in economy would have direct aisle access, and I clicked through to see just how many aisles would be on the aircraft.  Sadly, it appears direct aisle access is only for business and first class passengers.  What a missed marketing opportunity!!

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 50

Direct aisle access for Y class?  No way, without jacking up the cost.  The trend seems to be improving C class at the expense of Y.  17.2" wide and 31" pitch seat is terrible for long haul.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621


It's easy really.  All LH mgmt has to do is throw op economics completely out of the window and install flat bed with direct aisle access for every Y seat but charge customers no more than deeply discounted Y fare level.

LH will then surely catch the "marketing opportunity" along with the added bonus of a sure-fire bankruptcy proceedings to follow....

"17.2" wide and 31" pitch seat is terrible for long haul."
That's right.  Pax paying Y fare should be treated like kings & queens...who cares about airline op econ sustainability?

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