Lufthansa hasn’t been offering its first class product to the US since November 2020, and that has now been extended by several more weeks.
Lufthansa pulls 747-8s & first class on US routes
Lufthansa has a greatly scaled back schedule due to the pandemic. In the fall of 2020, Lufthansa’s only US destinations to feature first class (on the Boeing 747-8) were Chicago and Los Angeles.
In October Lufthansa revealed plans to cut this even further. Between November 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, Lufthansa cut first class on:
- LH430/431 between Frankfurt and Chicago
- LH456/457 between Frankfurt and Los Angeles
These were the two US routes operated by the Boeing 747-8, though over the winter they were replaced by Airbus A350-900s. These swaps have now been extended further — Lufthansa has canceled all 747-8 service to the US through May 31, 2021.
This means that at the earliest, Lufthansa will once again fly the 747-8 (and in turn offer first class) to the US as of June 1, 2021. Presumably Lufthansa’s plans haven’t been finalized, and this remains subject to change.
For what it’s worth, Lufthansa is flying the 747-8 between Mexico City and Frankfurt, for anyone traveling to Germany who is willing to make a detour.
Lufthansa isn’t offering first class to the US for seven months
Why has Lufthansa cut first class on US routes?
I think Lufthansa’s logic for these aircraft downgrades is pretty obvious, in light of weak demand:
- There’s a mutual travel ban for most travelers, as the European Union has banned those from the United States, and the United States has banned those from the European Union
- That being said, in the US we’re now seeing widespread vaccinations happening, and on top of that there are rumors that the US will lift its travel ban against the European Union as of mid-May
Lufthansa has cut 747-8s from US routes
While cargo is no doubt a motivator for some of Lufthansa’s US routes at the moment, clearly there’s not enough demand to justify a 747-8.
Lufthansa has replaced 747-8s with A350-900s on US routes. This is interesting since historically Lufthansa based all of its A350s in Munich, but the airline has temporarily based four of these planes in Frankfurt.
Lufthansa is now also flying A350s from Frankfurt
Between November 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, Lufthansa isn’t flying any Boeing 747-8s to the US. This was initially only supposed to last through early spring, but has now been extended by several more weeks. That also means that Lufthansa isn’t offering any first class on US routes.
Only time will tell if Lufthansa actually resumes US flights with the 747-8 as of June 1, or if that timeline gets pushed back even further. I think it all comes down to border restrictions in Germany and other European countries.
Ultimately this doesn’t come as much of a surprise given how little demand there is for transatlantic travel, though it sure is a shame for anyone who was hoping to cross the Atlantic in comfort on miles in the coming months.
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?