Lufthansa Cuts First Class On All US Routes For Winter

Filed Under: Lufthansa

It looks like Lufthansa won’t be offering its first class product to the US for about five months this winter, which represents the first time we’ve seen that in decades.

Lufthansa pulls first class inventory on US routes

Lufthansa has a greatly scaled back schedule due to the pandemic, and currently Lufthansa offers first class to just two US destinations. Well, that will be changing shortly.

Between November 1, 2020, and March 27, 2021, Lufthansa has cut first class on:

  • LH430/431 between Frankfurt and Chicago
  • LH456/457 between Frankfurt and Los Angeles

These are the two US routes operated by the Boeing 747-8. While these flights (as of now) still show as being operated by the 747-8, first class inventory shows as being zeroed out, which sure suggests that an aircraft change is imminent.

Lufthansa won’t offer first class on US routes for five months

Why would Lufthansa cut first class on these routes?

While we don’t have an official answer yet, the explanation seems rather obvious. Demand for transatlantic travel is extremely limited at the moment:

Lufthansa appears to be cutting 747-8s from US routes

While cargo is no doubt a motivator for some of Lufthansa’s US routes at the moment, I suspect there’s not enough demand to justify a 747-8.

At first I wondered if Lufthansa might be grounding its 747-8 fleet for the winter, though that doesn’t seem to be the case. 747-8s (with first class inventory still for sale) continue to be scheduled to Bangkok, Johannesburg, and Sao Paulo, among other destinations.

I’m curious to see what planes Lufthansa puts on routes from Frankfurt to Chicago and Los Angeles. Looking at Lufthansa’s winter schedule, it appears that the strategy is to:

  • Fly A330-300s and A340-300s to all US destinations out of Frankfurt
  • Fly A350-900s to all US destinations out of Munich

Lufthansa is currently exclusively flying A350s from Munich to the US

The always knowledgable @xJonNYC notes that Lufthansa is allegedly moving four A350s from Munich to Frankfurt, which would probably explain the plan Lufthansa has for these (ordinarily) premium routes.

Bottom line

Currently Lufthansa’s only US destinations operated by the 747-8 (and therefore with first class) are Chicago and Los Angeles. First class inventory has now been pulled from these flights, suggesting that an aircraft change is imminent.

That ultimately doesn’t come as much of a surprise given how little demand there is, though it sure is a shame for anyone who was hoping to cross the Atlantic in comfort on miles this winter.

Of course like everything nowadays I suspect this is subject to change, but at least that seems to be the plan as of now.

At least the 747-8 has a future at Lufthansa, unlike the A380 and A340-600, which are being retired. With that, the 747-8s will be Lufthansa’s only planes with first class.

What do you make of Lufthansa pulling 747-8s (and first class) from the US?

  1. FCL will disappear. I said before HONs hated the new FCL mock-up in FRA, and the current fleet development suggests FCL won’t be installed on the first batch of their 777X, too. That leaves the 748 with FCL.

  2. The big unknown is when AND IF business travel will resume. Currently many firms have blocked business travel due to the perceived health risk to employees. With the alternatives being used, true demand might never resume at a level even close to previous demand. This would lock the door on FCL.

  3. I booked two business award tickets via LifeMiles for their DEN-MUC route on the A350 for mid December. I’m honestly just hoping this route stays on their schedule.

  4. According to LH website the FCT will soon be reopened and limousine service will start again.

    Five german Lufthansa lounges will close forever: Bremen, Dresden, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Cologne. (Nuremberg and Cologne have a priority pass lounge).
    Lufthansas C and Sen Lounges in Delhi will also not open again as there is an Air India lounge.

    By the way:
    The Lounges in Vienna are closed for Star Gold passengers (unless traveling in C).

    And Lufthansa has cancelled all third-party access (even for F/HON/C) except for Prague, Sofia, Krakow and Nice.

  5. @Tom:
    Enjoy the AI lounge at Delhi if it will be re-opened in December. Plaza Premium in T2 currently is also closed.

  6. Koln Priority pass lounge, well remembered. A non lounge if there ever was such a thing. It was a partial balcony with no walls and barely any food or drinks.
    This was a long time ago, I realized that secondary airports and secondary airlines do not make an ideal situation.

  7. It’s another nail in the coffin of first class in the interest of using modem fuel efficient aircraft to keep USA routes on life support while everyone is losing their shirt TATL/TPAC. If you’re keeping track, that’s CX, SQ and LH who have all decided A350s with no F are what work right now in the USA market. All with reasonably well regarded F products.

    That leaves the US with what, EK? And even EK doesn’t fly it to SEA, SFO…

  8. @Klaus I said DEN as in Denver, not DEL. Unfortunately the lounge situation at Denver is nothing to get excited about but to be fair during these times I’m just happy to be going to the airport and flying business is always a privilege.

  9. It has been long overdue for LH’s ratings to be reevaluated.
    LH has evolved into a 3☆ airline, at best.
    With a highly inferior business Class product and closed down first class terminals in FRA and MUC.

  10. @Donato: Here in Europe the employers are not usually blocking business travel. In contrast, our HR is currently desperately looking for double citizens, because they have the monopoly of work related intercontinental travel.

  11. This sucks, although honestly when I flew LH in F I found the experience in the air to be lacking to say the least. The ground experience in Frankfurt was good but the flights were the most disappointing international first class flight I have had.

  12. @Andy, I’ve speculated that dual citizens/residents might become sought after as the only folks who can make easy trans-atlantic trips.

    I’m based in Switzerland and have been back to the US 3 times for work since travel began to loosen up in the way summer.

  13. This is another great thing happening. The elitist who feel they are entitled to first class need to grow up, and realize those days are over. Business class is sufficient and one needs nothing more. If you pop so much coin for a first class seat, then get your own jet. Frankfurt airport stinks, it’s a mich mash of terminals that I don’t know how anyone can maneuver, at best, Munich would be my connection point or destination and then travel accordingly to where you’re really going. Funny to hear all you mileage dudes whining about how you can’t do this that or the other thing. Tough!

  14. Horrible company they still didn’t refund me my 4 tickets. Flight was canceled due to covid and I haven’t got my refund and I’ve been waiting since June 8th.

  15. Pretty much everyone is throwing the A350 and 787 to the US and as many places worldwide as possible.

    Incredible to see A350’s in SQ and CX at LHR and LAX.

    This makes sense for LH and others. Passengers get a good inflight experience, and these can haul a ton of cargo, especially with less pax.

  16. It looks as though because demand is down, they won’t operate the B747-8s & utilize the F cabins as business & place their most loyal customers in those seats. Cargo isn’t enough to justify it either.
    I wonder if LH will roll out their new Business Class before their first B777-9s arrive?
    How long can this go on for?

  17. @ Andy
    Yes, I did not mention or consider firms that are not US based. I usually travel on my own dime but I always observe my surroundings. it seems as though much of premium travel (Business and first Class) is based on US multinational firms. Even if the split if 50/50 that represents a steep drop in revenue to support First Class.
    I will admit that the demand for true first Class in LH Group countries might continue but without additional paying passengers First Class might have to end.

  18. Business travel has just collapsed in general, let alone the transatlantic and transpacific routes. I’m retired so it’s a little academic for me nowadays. But my daughter who works for NBC and is based in Denver says the company has blocked all travel to NYC until at least the second quarter 2021. This is just the world we live in right now, and for airlines who’s biggest revenue source is the business traveller and gonna be hurting big time

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