Hello from Frankfurt! I’m just on my quick review trip to Germany, and flew Lufthansa’s Boeing 787-9 business class from Detroit to Frankfurt. Lufthansa recently added Boeing 787s to its fleet, and these are among the first Lufthansa aircraft to feature direct aisle access from every business class seat (Lufthansa also acquired some second A350s with direct aisle access in business class).
It’s important to keep in mind that this is just an interim business class product. Lufthansa will be introducing its new “Allegris” business class as of later in 2023, though in the meantime the airline is taking delivery of five Boeing 787s with an interim product. That’s because Lufthansa got a deal on these planes, as they were supposed to go to Hainan Airlines, but the airline could no longer afford to finance them.
While I’ll have a full trip report soon, in this post I wanted to share my initial thoughts on the experience.
Lufthansa’s new 787 business class seats are solid
In fairness, there was absolutely no mystery to what Lufthansa’s new Boeing 787 business class would be like. The airline has Collins Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone seats, which are probably the single most popular business class seats in the skies nowadays, as they can be found on dozens of airlines.
From the front, the cabin had pretty strong Lufthansa branding, between the crane logo on the rear bulkhead, and the color scheme.
Meanwhile from the back, the cabin quite literally looked identical to Hainan’s 787 cabins, since nothing had been done in this direction to add a Lufthansa touch.
This is a solid product, in terms of direct aisle access, personal space, seat functions, etc. The plane also had Wi-Fi, and it worked as well as on other Lufthansa flights (Lufthansa in general does a great job with Wi-Fi).
Lufthansa is the foreign airline I fly more than any other, and I have to say that flying on the 787 felt kind of surreal. I’ve gotten so used to Lufthansa’s old business class product, that it almost felt like an out-of-body experience to be flying Lufthansa business class while not playing footsie with my seat opponent.
Now, I should acknowledge that some people love Lufthansa’s old business class, especially if they frequently travel with companions. It’s nice to be able to sit next to someone (if you’d like to), and it’s also nice not to have to squeeze your feet into a footwell.
Still, personally I view this new seat as being a significant improvement over the old one.
Lufthansa’s soft product is very consistent
I find that Lufthansa’s business class soft product is among the most consistent in the skies. Service is pretty consistently friendly (in a non-fawning or over the top way), while the food is pretty decent, but not to the level of Austrian, ITA, Qatar, Turkish, etc.
Dinner service began with cashews and drinks.
The starter consisted of a side salad and an appetizer of ahi tuna with a noodle salad.
Then for the main course I selected the crab cakes with cappellini pasta and bok choy (an interesting combination)
Then there was a cheese plate (the packaged Kellogg crackers are not an especially classy touch).
And lastly there was a dessert consisting of some Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
A continental breakfast was served before landing.
The crew on this flight was friendly, but Lufthansa’s soft product is otherwise so middle of the pack in every way, from the food, to the bedding, to the amenity kits (which in this case came in a Porsche Design… sunglasses case?). It’s almost as if Lufthansa management sits down and strategizes about how they can develop a product that neither delights nor disappoints.
I saw the Northern Lights for the first time in my life!
There was one thing that made this flight very special. In all my years of travel, I’ve never seen the Northern Lights (I’ve been wanting to plan a trip around this, but it just hasn’t happened).
Before takeoff, the flight attendant mentioned how the Northern Lights were especially strong at the moment, and that we may see them. I asked her to wake me up if they were visible, and sure enough, I was woken up about an hour after the dinner service concluded.
How magical! Unfortunately pictures don’t really do it justice, as it was nearly impossible to capture, especially with the person across from me and behind me having their TVs on. The lights weren’t that strong, but even so, it was mesmerizing. This makes me even more excited to plan a trip to see the Northern Lights!
Lufthansa’s new Boeing 787 business class hard product represents a huge improvement for the airline, as Lufthansa finally has a plane with business class seats that have direct aisle access. This is just an interim product, so don’t expect to find this on more than five 787s. Beyond that, the flight had friendly service, and a perfectly decent soft product.
As someone who reviews airlines, I get a real thrill out of not knowing what to expect, and really enjoy a surprise. In that sense, Lufthansa disappoints. Meanwhile for those not reviewing travel (basically everyone else), there is something nice about knowing exactly what to expect, and that’s an area where Lufthansa delivers. You almost always know exactly what you’re going to get, for better or worse.
When Lufthansa introduces its new business class seats later this year, I hope we also see a refreshed soft product, as I really think there are some opportunities to evolve.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s Boeing 787 business class?