The ITB 2014 in Berlin is the scene of a world premiere on its opening day: Lufthansa’s new Premium Economy Class is being presented to industry experts today. The new travel class can be booked from May onwards and will be available from November 2014, initially on the Boeing 747-8. The new seats will gradually be fitted on the entire long-haul fleet within twelve months.
"Our Premium Economy Class will create a completely new travel experience that combines affordability with greater comfort. The seats offer up to 50 per cent more room than Economy Class and will position us in a premium segment within the international competitive environment," said Jens Bischof, CCO & Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board in charge of Sales, Product and Marketing, during a press conference at the Lufthansa stand in hall 25.
The new product will enable Lufthansa to meet the requirements of many business and private passengers who travel with other airlines in a similar travel class or who fly Economy Class due to travel specifications. Following the introduction of its new full-flat Business Class, Lufthansa created a much wider gap between Economy and Business Class. As a result, there is now room for its new Premium Economy Class, which offers considerably more space and comfort as well as many additional product features, but is closer to Economy Class than Business Class in terms of its average prices. The move also means that Lufthansa is introducing a completely new travel class for the first time in 35 years.
"The design and features of the new seat in particular are based on extensive passenger surveys and workshops with sales partners – a process that has been successfully used at Lufthansa. Following the upgrade of our First and Business Class, the installation of 3,600 seats on all 106 of our long-haul aircraft in just one year will mean another step towards becoming a five-star airline,” continued Bischof. "We expect to see more than 1.5 million passengers per year in our new Premium Economy Class."
50 per cent more room and “German engineering”
The new seats were designed in partnership with the company müller/romca Industrial Design in Kiel and produced by the seat manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz near Lake Constance. Depending on the aircraft type, they are up to 3 centimetres wider and provide greater privacy as well as approximately 10 centimetres more room at the side thanks to each seat having its own wide armrest and a centre console between the seats. The back rest can be reclined further and the seat pitch is a significantly more spacious 38 inches, or 97 centimetres. As a result, passengers have around one-and-a-half times as much room as Economy Class.
The head rests can be set to the exact height desired and folded at the sides for added comfort and support. Height-adjustable foot rests from the second row back and – for technical reasons – leg supports with an integrated foot rest in the first row provide extra comfort. Practical features around the seats such as a bottle holder, electrical socket and lots of storage space for passengers’ belongings also help to ensure a relaxed and pleasant journey.
Additional services for Premium Economy passengers
With a baggage allowance of two items weighing up to 23 kilogrammes each, passengers can take twice as much free luggage with them compared with Economy Class. For an extra EUR 25, passengers can also enjoy the comfort of the Lufthansa Business Lounges before their departure. Lounges were previously only open to status customers and are otherwise unavailable on a paying basis. Check-in and boarding procedures as well as hand luggage regulations are the same as in Economy Class.
An enhanced service awaits Premium Economy passengers on board: They are greeted with a welcome drink and will find their own water bottle as well as a high-quality amenity kit with practical travel accessories at their seat. Meals are presented on menus commensurate with the new travel class and served on porcelain tableware.
Passengers can navigate the extensive in-flight entertainment programme using their own touchscreen monitor on the seat in front of them. This can also be done using a remote control, which serves as a controller for video games as well. The screens are 11 to 12 inches (28 to 30 centimetres), which makes them at least 2 inches bigger than the screens in Economy Class, depending on the aircraft type. A wide selection of magazines and newspapers completes the range of entertainment on offer.
Up to 52 seats, depending on aircraft type, and attractive pricing
Lufthansa Premium Economy Class is located within the cabin as a clearly identifiable separate compartment between Business and Economy Class. It has a high-quality design and contains between 21 and 52 seats, depending on the aircraft type. Installation of the new travel class, which is to be carried out on a gradual basis, sub-fleet by sub-fleet, will start this autumn and finish in summer 2015. The first sub-fleet to be fitted with the new seats will be the Boeing 747-8.
Ticket prices in the new Premium Economy Class will be closer to Economy Class than Business Class – a return flight across the North Atlantic or to Asia will cost an additional EUR 600 on average.
5 STAR: Premium Economy Class an important part of the service campaign
The introduction of Premium Economy Class will complement the many improvements that Lufthansa plans to make in all classes on board and on the ground by 2015. By this point in time, the entire long-haul fleet will have the new First and Business Class – which will involve the installation of 7,000 new seats on the Company’s aircraft. Apart from the interior of the cabins, services on board and on the ground are also being enhanced. The goal is to demonstrate to an even greater degree the qualities of being a dedicated host with a keen understanding of service and hospitality.