The first of Lufthansa’s new Boeing 787-9 jets is here, and with it comes a new business class and premium economy.
High flyers will see a spacious flatbed business class based on the familiar Super Diamond platform from Collins Aerospace – the same line as Air Canada’s Signature Class, British Airways’ doored Club Suites (although these seats come without a sliding door), Qatar Airways’ A380 and first-gen A350s and 787s, and American Airlines’ 787s and 777-300s.
Each of the 26 business class seats on the Deutsche Dreamliners is fronted by an 18-inch HD video screen.
In addition to ample room and handy storage nooks for each traveller, the 1-2-1 layout offers the privacy and 100% direct aisle access which Lufthansa’s long-standing business class lacks.
Further back are 21 premium economy seats in rows of 2-32, each with a deep recline and its own 13-inch HD screen.
Not Lufthansa’s new business class
But there’s a caveat to all this: neither the plane nor the seats are ‘new’ in the usual sense.
Lufthansa’s first five Boeing 787s were previously built for China’s Hainan Airways, although financial difficulties mean the Chinese carrier never took delivery of the jets.
As such, these ‘Lufthansa’ Boeing 787s come fully outfitted with Hainan Airways seats from tip to tail, with the entire cabin dressed in the carrier’s “Dream Feather” interior developed by renowned UK-based design firm PriestmanGoode.
And Lufthansa won’t be replacing those seats – it will simply re-dress them with fresh on-brand covering, along with some of the wall panelling in September, before the 787 begins multiple daily flights from October 19 between Frankfurt and Munich “for training purposes” the airline says, ahead of launching onto the Frankfurt-Toronto route by December.
That’s the same approach as taken for its most recent batch of Airbus A350s, which similarly came from Philippine Airlines and kept PAL’s seats.
Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr has accurately described the first Boeing 787s as carrying “an upgraded business class compared to the current product”, while a Lufthansa spokesperson says the 787 seat “represents an important first step in improving our long-haul product as a whole.”
The upshot is that flying business class on Lufthansa’s twin-aisle jets could see you in any of three seats: the ‘classic’ 2-2-2 business class on most of the fleet, or either of the 1-2-1 seats on the ex-PAL A350s and ex-Hainan 787s.
The latter two are intended to serve as an 'interim' business class, bridging the gap between the Star Alliance member’s previous-gen and next-gen seating.
A fourth Lufthansa business class seat will be added to the mix in 2023, with factory-fresh A350s and 787s due to finally launch the airline’s long-awaited ‘next generation’ business class seat developed for the Boeing 777-9.
An innovative design sees alternative rows of 1-2-1 and 1-1-1, with those single middle seats being ‘thrones’ where solo travellers can enjoy even more personal space and privacy.
(Lufthansa has also spoken of charging extra for those desirable throne seats, and bulkhead row seats that convert into an extra-long bed, as part of its ‘business plus’ push.)
As previously reported, ten A350s to be based at Lufthansa’s Munich hub will also be graced by a small first class cabin.