Neunundneunzig Lufthansa Balloons – no first, new business class, but you have to wait for it
Well they are getting this story out well ahead of time.
Lufthansa ordered – way back in 2013 about 20 brand new Boeing 777-9X, which are not set to start delivery until 2020. Perhaps oddly – or for reasons that are not obvious to me – they have come out with a PR emetic of information about the cabins and service of these planes – around 2 years ahead of launch.
Claiming that this is the best business class seat out there – would be considered by many to be a dangerous bit of rhetoric that may well turn and bite you on your Business Studio (Etihad), Qsuites (Qatar) or Business Class A380 Cabin (Singapore) encased derrière.
So what is their game here?
I am not sure, but it is interesting that they debuted all the good things, and then told you the bad thing – which is that they are not going to have a first class on these new planes.
What do we know?
- This is a spacious format (1-2-1 alternating with 1-1-1) – apparently 10% more than in current business class
- ‘Thrown Seats‘ every 2nd middle row in the image above – rumoured to be not quite the 220 cm promised below)
- Direct Aisle access for each seat – sometimes double access (the ‘Thrones’) – I can see the confusion at meal times!
- Staggered seats by the windows – one at the aisle, and then behind, one at the window
- Beds up to 220 cm (86.6 inches) long – but actually the standard will be 1.98 metres (6 feet 6 inches) everwhere except on the long seat
- Squishiness – to quote the press release ‘the construction of the backrest makes it possible for the shoulder to sink in when you are lying on your side’
- Angled-to-the-window – window seats
- Angled away from your seatmate in the middle seats
- Removable Tablet (takeaway?) to control your seat, entertainment, and lighting
- Charging pad in each seat (Qi Standard – like what Apple is introducing) plus USB ports
- New seat toppers, blankets (duvets) and pyjamas – which they will roll out on their long haul fleet starting in 2018
- Weird Armrests only on one side of the seats
- They won’t be putting First Class in these planes
- Business cabin will be between 45 and 60 seats
Focus Groups – be afraid, be very afraid
The seats were developed using some customer focus groups. Now, that can be a good thing, but I would just remind you that this is also how Windows develops its products, and Air New Zealand developed those white leather premium economy seats that people then complained about loud and long because the implementation meant you needed to be a gymnast to negotiate in and out of them.
Lufthansa, like a same sex marriage survey is trumpeting this as diversity. Let me explain – they are saying their customers will be able to decide whether they book a
- Short seat, but with more workspace on both sides (Throne Seat)
- Long seat, with less workspace – but still those weird one side only are rests
- More privacy, but you will be losing something else – like workspace, one presumes
Or as they put it:
Depending on their personal needs, passengers can choose between a number of spatial configurations. For instance, they can choose to have an extended-length bed or a seat with twice as much desk space.
Lufthansa was late to the lie-flat game – only joining in 2013, and their product has been less than leading. This is catch-up I think. It may give them an edge as a European airline, but frankly, I am not sure it competes with the other new Business products on Singapore, Qatar, and Etihad.
Also – note that Lufthansa doesn’t fly to Australia at all, however you can pick up one of their flights in Asia – Singapore for instance.