Lufthansa is set to add first class to its Airbus A350 fleet, although the German flag-carrier is taking a decidedly measured approach when it comes to the post-pandemic travel market.
While there's been no shortage of speculation on Lufthansa's plans, Aerotelegraph.com is now reporting that an airline spokesperson has confirmed that first class is on the way back.
Lufthansa expects to add first class to ten of ts Airbus A350-900 jets, which will arrive from July 2023 and are expected to be based in Munich, to complement the Boeing 777-9s at Frankfurt.
The first class suites will be limited to the first row of the A350's cabin, which indicates there will be either three or four suites depending on the design and layout chosen.
Lufthansa is tipped to introduce a fresh take on first class, rather than adapt the suites currently featured on its its Boeing 747-8 jets.
While the airline could commission an all-new first class design, the effort and expense for just 3-4 suites across ten A350 aircraft would be questionable.
First class, or 'business plus'?
Given that the A350s will sport Lufthansa's all-new business class created by Thompson Aero, it's more likely the airline could adopt a more bespoke 'front row' experience, which is something Thompson and its partner Factorydesign have been steadfast in promoting.
This transforms the normal attributes of the front row in a cabin – where business class seats facing the bulkhead wall already tend to have extra legroom – into a superior set of seats with more personal space plus sliding privacy doors.
It's the approach adopted by China Eastern for the 'Air Living Room' of its Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 fleet...
... and, in a more radical fashion, on Malaysia Airlines' Airbus A350, which has its own row 1 cabin – although this was subsequently rebranded from first class to 'business suites' in December 2018.
Lufthansa has previously floated the idea of a 'business class plus' row along those same lines, offering even more comfort and privacy, paired with upgraded meals, drinks and service.