Photos: Lufthansa's new Boeing 777X business class seats revealed

By David Flynn, November 24 2017

Here are the first photos of Lufthansa's all-new business class seats for its Boeing 777X (777-9) jets, which will begin flying from 2020.

As previously and exclusively revealed by Australian Business Traveller, the next-gen design finally provides direct aisle access for every passenger: no more awkwardly stepping over your sleeping seatmate – or having them clamber across you, if you're next to the aisle.

Lufthansa has also opted for an alternating 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 layout, as shown below.

The former sees two passengers seated side by side, although both seats are angled away from one another. A privacy screen between the seats which can be lowered for some travelling tête-à-tête, although you'll still need to swivel towards your companion.

Meanwhile, the 1-1-1 rows provide a centre 'throne' seat which is likely to be highly sought-after, not only for the additional privacy it offers but the added personal space on either side of the passenger.

The computer renderings indicate Lufthansa has gone for a subdued colour palette of charcoal, cream and dusky blue with elements of chocolate brown.

The seats will convert into fully-flat beds "up to" 2.2 metres (87 inches) long, Lufthansa says. A bedding service will cover the lie-flat seat with a "thick overlay", while the seatback "makes it possible for the shoulder to sink in when you are lying on your side" to keep your spine straight. The armrests can also be lowered for more sleeping space.

About that "up to" reference above – not all seats in the business class cabin will let you stretch out a full 2.2 metres from head to heel. It seems the 'throne' seats will be a more modest 2 metres.

"Depending on their personal needs, passengers can choose between a number of spatial configurations," is how Lufthansa sells this arrangement. "For instance, they can choose to have an extended-length bed or a seat with twice as much desk space."

Staggered layout

There's also a new staggered layout: in common with many other 1-2-1 business class layouts, the window seats alternate between being located at the aisle, with a bench between the passenger and the window; and having passengers directly next to the window, with a bench between their seat and the aisle. You can see both treatments in the mockup below.

What's not immediately clear from this image is that the window-adjacent seats are angled towards the window so you can enjoy the view while enjoying more privacy; the aisle-adjacent seats are a little bit more more open, and face into the cabin.

The console next to each seat will include an inbuilt Qi-standard wireless charging pad which will work with the latest smartphones from Apple, Samsung and co. Fancy ye olde fashioned cable? It's believed the seat will sprout several USB ports, most likely including the conventional USB-A socket plus the newest USB-C jack.

Each passenger should see at least 10% more space than in Lufthansa's current business class seat, along with "significantly more storage compartments and shelves".

A removable tablet docked into the wall of each seat will provide control over everything from the inflight entertainment and seating position to lighting and ventilation.

Lufthansa began work on its next-generation seat some three years ago, shortly after the current business class seat debuted, and entertained concepts "such as a variant in which the seats were slightly offset on top of each other and the guests either had to climb down or up."

A very long list was whittled down to a shortlist of five candidates which went through the gamut of everything from 3D visualisations to wooden mockups before Lufthansa settled on the new design.

Invitation-only workshops made of Lufthansa's Miles & More frequent flyer members "that reflected the full spectrum of passengers in terms of weight, physique and demand" tested the seat at a nondescript warehouse near Frankfurt Airport, while airline CEO Carsten Spohr has also bunked down in the business class bed for several nights.

This seat won't be limited to Lufthansa's Boeing 777-9 jets – it will also take pride of place in the premium cabins of sister airlines Swiss and Austrian, although slightly customised to suit each airline's unique branding.

However, it's believed that the new business class seats won't be installed across Lufthansa's existing jets – they could be exclusive to the Boeing 777X family.

The fate of first class in the Boeing 777-9 fleet remains undecided, or at least undeclared.

While Lufthansa executive Harry Hohmeister has previously told Australian Business Traveller that "maybe we will have a better idea than just having first class," he has also spoken of a "more flexible" approach to what is defined as the primo cabin, due to "new business class concepts which are nearly as good as first class."

One of these could see first class replaced by a Business Plus cabin, according to an internal video presentation by Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.

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

PREVIOUS [EXCLUSIVE] | Lufthansa's next generation of business class seats will adopt a new design which offers direct aisle access to every passenger, in what the Star Alliance member says will be an "all-new concept" for its forthcoming Boeing 777-9 jets due to take wing from 2020.

The move will see Lufthansa abandon its current business class layout (below), in which window passengers need to do a stretching step over their seatmate to reach the aisle, and adopt a configuration that's become the norm among the world's best business class cabins.

"It will be a single seat approach so that every seat has a direct approach to the aisle," Lufthansa executive Harry Hohmeister confirmed to Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of a Star Alliance media briefing in Frankfurt.

"This single seat configuration is more or less a must for the next decade."

Hohmeister added that Lufthansa is working on this all-new "business class concept with a major seat manufacturer", with the final design to be locked down by the end of 2018.

Lufthansa wouldn't need to move to a conventional 1-2-1 seating layout, however: several airlines and seat manufacturers are now working on business class cabin designs which pack more passengers into the same floor space while still putting the aisle just one step away.

This includes United Airlines' Polaris business class; the airline-agnostic Zodiac Optima version of the same design (seen above and below); and British Airways' new Airbus A350 Club World seat due in 2019.

As first reported by Australian Business Traveller, Lufthansa's new business class seat will be shared across the fleets of LH-owned Swiss and Austrian Airlines.

Business class goes bespoke

"It's a fantastic project, it's about innovation in not just the seat but everything around it," Hohmeister enthuses.

"It's having more individual possibilities than just having a window or aisle seat. It also has to be around the inflight service, the preflight and after-flight service and all of that, to combine the human touch with the digital touch."

Lufthansa has already shared a mock-up of how a new app will let passengers use their smartphone or tablet to control the seat.

"This seat will be more than 'just' a seat. It will meet the specific needs of customers... whether they prefer to work or sleep, or whether they are traveling with their families or on their own for business."

The fate of first class

Lufthansa is less certain on the role of first class in its Boeing 777-9s, and Hohmeister admits that the need for a first class cabin could be eliminated by a vastly improved business class.

"I think we will get close to that, and this is why we have to review what we do with first class, it's being investigated," he said.

"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."

"But maybe we will have a better idea than just having first class, we are working on that now," Hohmeister teased.

Hohmeister also added that the Boeing 777-9's premium economy seat would also be an "evolution" of the current design.

David Flynn travelled to Frankfurt as a guest of Star Alliance.

PREVIOUS | Lufthansa will introduce an all-new business class seat with the launch of its Boeing 777-9 in 2020, with the same seat also being rolled out on the Swiss and Austrian Airlines fleets.

The move towards a unified business class design across all three sibling airlines is intended to both lower costs and provide a more consistent passenger experience, especially on codeshare flights.

"We’re starting to design it now" Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr (below) told Australian Business Traveller at this week's meeting of Star Alliance airlines in Chicago.

"Technically it will be the same seat – but when it comes to seat covers and the design of the cabin, I see an upside in being different and maintaining diversity on our aircraft, because we are not one brand."

Lufthansa has upgraded its fleet to the airline's latest business class...

... while Swiss has launched its next-generation business class on the airline's Boeing 777-300ER and will also roll it out to its older Airbus A340s.

Austrian Airlines already uses the same basic seat as the current Swiss design, with fully flat beds in a staggered configuration featuring the same popular 'throne' seat.

Lufthansa's next-gen business class will take wing in 2020 on the first of the German flag-carrier's 34 Boeing 777-9 jets, although Spohr said it had not yet been determined if the jet would also feature first class.

David Flynn travelled to Chicago as a guest of Star Alliance 

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David
David

David Flynn

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.

Bizflyer

Bizflyer

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

I do think LH might drop the throne seat for and all 1-2-1 layout to make it seem like the best of the group.

FLX

FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

By 2020, I predict many longhaul carriers, possibly including LH Group, will go to 2-3-2 layout for  business class on the 779(2-2-2 for 350/787) but still retaining  direct aisle-access for every seat(Obviously flat bed) in a semi-suite set up.....the trick is to do 2-3-2 in a staggered layout.  JL and KE have already launched this type(Branded as SkySuite and Prestige Suite respectively) about a year ago and reported right here on www.ausbt.com.au

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1127

Consistency is a great thing.

Lifestobelived

Lifestobelived

27 Mar 2014

Total posts 40

Don't know why LH's J seats have to slant towards each other so it feels like you almost play footsies with the person next to you...

 

Austraian's is ok, i like the single throne seat although the footwell can get pretty narrow when its between the two seetas in front of you...

 

That Swiss design doesn't look to bad...

smit0847

smit0847

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

- Fully flat

- Direct aisle access for all

- Some privacy.

Its not rocket science.

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1127

Nor is it exactly "next-generation" - current generation seats from competitors already offer all of these benefits. The LH group has some catching up to the present to do.

FLX

FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

It is semi-rocket science if designers try to meet all 3 of your criteria AND maximizing seat count /minimizing seat count loss within a finite business cabin floor area as demanded by airline bossess who pay their salaries /consulting fees.

I have tremendous respect for the profession of premium cabin seat designers.  Some designs today are amazingly space-efficient yet still manage to be very comfortable & spacious/private for pax @ the same time. 

hkan046

hkan046

16 May 2017

Total posts 3

Let's see if airNZ can adopt a similar product! 

FLX1

FLX1

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

NZ already adopted direct aisle access+flatbed design std for every J seat in their longhaul fleet since 2010 1st appearing on the 77W.

If LH adopt "a similar product" in 2020 per the article, they'll be 10yrs late.

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1127

Interesting to see that LH has gone for throne seats on alternating rows in the centre section. How does this bode for seating efficiency?

melbtraveler

melbtraveler

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 54

Interesting Layout. Not wanting to be negative but by 2020 I do think that the business class product will have evolved a lot further than what I'm seeing here. The 1-2-1/1-1-1 is definitely a step in the right direction though.

StudiodeKadent

StudiodeKadent

20 May 2015

Total posts 584

I have to admit that layout looks very inefficient to me. Herringline in the 777-9 should be 4-abreast easily (for reference, United Polaris (same seating design) is 4-abreast in the 777-300, and the 777-9 is four inches wider on the inside). I could see 1-2-1/1-1-1 Herringline in an A330 but in a 777-9 it really does seem wasteful.

Maybe this is the rumored Business-Plus cabin?

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2322

No, these are LH's business class seats

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 365

777 never-too loud for long haul and ultra long haul..Boeing seem not to have addressed this from what I can see. Airbus A350 wins here and everywhere else. As far as the J seats go QR and DL(not that I would every fly that horrid airline again) have got it all sewn up with their J suites. everything else is still just a 'seat'.

FLX1

FLX1

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@Joe:

"777 never-too loud for.....Boeing seem not to have addressed this from what I can see."

It's amazing U already "can see" noise level test data to back your claim given that the 1st test run of the GE9X prototype occurred only 1.5yrs ago @ GE Ohio and only started flight testing on GE's flying test bed(a 744) very very recently. For those(assuming U are 1 of them in order to lash out your early criticism now) who understand a bit about GE9X design, it's quite a diff animal than its GE90-115 predecessor....these 2 designs are @ least 15yrs apart in terms of e.g. materials, by-pass ratio and noise suppression tech...

"Airbus A350 wins here and everywhere else."

How and where? Or are we talking about typical Airbus/350 fanboy cheerleading here?

Travelwell

Travelwell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 72

Sorry David , I don't buy LH's spin. That top photo is a huge backward step. Firstly, couples traveling can only sit (nearly) together, only the centre aisle and only every second row with those seats angled away from each other. They'll need to screw their necks 110 degrees to talk to each other. On the window aisle singles, every second passenger has to do a 110 degree to look out the window. Who wants to sit on an angle to their direction of travel anyway? Just as bad as BA's rear facing business seats and with planes flying 4 degrees nose up it will feel like sitting on your side slightly. 10% more space? How, when herringbone config means feet go into Pigeon hole and suites box one in. Compromised comfort for the whole duration of the flight to alleviate five seconds of " not having to step over another passenger" ?? really? it only occurs when that passenger is sleeping, probably once or twice a flight. Let's be honest and call it putting more business class passengers in a given space just like QF and other airlines have done, proven by capacity increases following a plane mid life "cabin refit" and seat pitch decreases.

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