Lufthansa’s ex-Philippine Airlines A350s have better business class

The German flag-carrier will soon fly former Philippine Airlines A350s which boast a superior business class to Lufthansa's own.

By David Flynn, October 6 2021
Lufthansa’s ex-Philippine Airlines A350s have better business class

Lufthansa will soon be flying four Airbus A350s previously leased to Philippine Airlines – and the German flag-carrier's customers will discover these have a superior business class seat to Lufthansa's own front-of-cabin experience.

Due to take wing in the first half of 2022s, they'll swell the size of Lufthansa's A350 fleet to 21 as the Star Alliance member swoops on a post-pandemic travel recovery.

"The Airbus A350 is one of the most modern aircraft of our time. Extremely fuel-efficient, very quiet and much more economical than its predecessors," noted Lufthansa's Dr Detlef Kayser when the A350 lease was announced over the weekend.

"Our customers appreciate not only the sustainability but also the premium flight experience with this aircraft. The lease agreements allow us to remain flexible in fleet planning and make the most of exceptional market opportunities."

So far, so good, with Lufthansa promising these extra A350s will "strength the five-star airline's premium offering."

The irony is that these A350-900s are reported to have come from the hangars of Philippine Airlines, which is currently in bankruptcy and trimming its fleet and routes as a result.

Second-hand jets with superior seats

That right-sizing process includes handing many leased jets back to the their lessors – and German aviation site reports that four ex-Philippine Airlines A350s have bounced from the books of those leasing firms over to Lufthansa.

Apart from being painted in Lufthansa's colours and otherwise 'de-branded' from Philippine Airlines, Lufthansa won't be swapping out the seats for example, and that's a clear win for passengers.

"Compared to the current product, the incoming aircraft will have an upgraded business class, for example with direct aisle access for all guests," a Lufthansa spokesman told

This means that business class travellers on these four ex-PAL A350s can look forward to this:

Philippine Airlines' A350s are crowned with the popular Vantage XL suites from Thompson Aero (the same business class platform adopted by Qantas and EVA Air, among others).

By comparison, Lufthansa's Airbus A350s have been fitted with the airline's standard business class seats, which are in an out-dated 2-2-2 layout and offer far less personal space for each traveller.

Lufthansa is still waiting to roll out its long-promised next-generation business class – revealed in 2017, and also developed by Thompson Aero – on the delayed Boeing 777-9s, which the airline is now unlikely to see until 2024.

It's been reported that Thompson's Vantage XL suites are also slated for Lufthansa's forthcoming Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from 2022, although those would be customised to Lufthansa's own spec.

A little further down the track, 2023 will see a fresh take on first class for ten Airbus A350s to be based at Lufthansa's Munich hub.

Read: Lufthansa confirms 2023 debut for new Airbus A350 first class


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.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 227

Good news!  CurrentLH Business Class is appalling - I was in a trial for rollout the current business class  -flight from FRA to JFK  And the seats were still 2-2-2 but much better and wider and longer than what they ended up putting in.  I remebber also the terrible slant bedsof the previous gen business class - sat next to a seat developer on a flight from JFK to FRA just after they were released and he seemed pretty satisfied with them  - lets face it   LH  has never had a competetive business class, and its daughter LX  introduced a good previous gen business class, which it has improved on the 773ER and upgraded to on the A340 and some A330.  LH does however, excel in its F offering which I upgrade to  over C with Evoucher and UA Globals.  Only once  in 2018  was i caught out  when our A380 to JFK was swapped  to a 744 without F, and I cringed all the way to NYC - at least we 2 pax on H400 that day were still offered F service (lounges, limo to aircraft , First Terminal  and arrival service PA and baggage at JFK)

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 227

Good news! Current LH Business class is terrible and non-competetive.  I was on a trial flight FRA-JFK for the current product, except the seats in trial were much wider, longer and more private in 2-2-2 config.  Previous C slant beds was also tragic - I sat next to one of the seat engineers on a flight from JFK-FRA shortly after they were introduced and  he was mightily satisfied with them  in our discussion.  The new C will finally be competitive, and daughter airline LX has a previous gen and current upgraded version  previous gen which was and still is competitive.

LH really does excel in it F  (hard and soft product, and on ground, and I've always upgraded with Milesandmore  E-vouchers or UA Globals.  Only once have I had to endure the current C when our aircraft LH 400 FRA-JFK was last minute swapped to a 744 without F  - for 2 of us in F we still had F ground service (limo to 744, F terminal, F lounges, JFK PA with pass control, customs and baggage collection at JFK) , and given Euro compensation but it was very very hard  on board and highly disappointing 


British Airways - Executive Club

10 Dec 2020

Total posts 4

Remember when LH 'won' ( cough cough) 5* Skytrax for the new business seat that they were totally about to install, no really, honest Gov'.

Peppperidge Farm remembers. 

They're now buying others planes to improve on their own J product. As if anymore proof was needed what a paid-for, hack organisation Skytrax is lol. Also amused how this fact seems to have been, largely, forgotten by the world's aviation media 

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 99

@C2K. Oh, we remember well indeed. LOL. But frankly - as you can see from the telling absence of comments - we really don't bother wasting our breath on certain carriers whose 5* ratings were 'bought'. No need for me to elaborate what ranking organization is involved. And also no need for me to elaborate which dubious & desperate airlines are involved. You'll be able to sort out the legitimate 5* airlines for yourself ;) For the record, I do take these shenanigans seriously and avoid those dubious & desperate airlines. My rationale is simple: if they try to fool/scam you so blatantly, what else are they bad at that we don't know about?....(scary thought).

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