What I Find Interesting About Lufthansa’s New Business Class Seats

Filed Under: Lufthansa

A couple of days ago Lufthansa revealed the details of their new business class seat, which will debut on their 777X in 2020. As of now they’ve just shared a couple of renderings of the new business class seats, and haven’t provided details of how many seats each plane will have, etc. Given that this plane won’t be in service for another 2-3 years, it may be a while before we learn more about the new seats.

The new product looks fantastic, especially when you take into account what business class product Lufthansa presently has. However, there are already business class products out there that are better, so given that this will only be introduced in a couple of years, it’s really not that revolutionary.

There are a few things that I didn’t mention when I first wrote about the new cabins, that I think are worth pointing out:

This will be the new business class seat on Austrian, Lufthansa, and Swiss

When Lufthansa first announced a couple of years ago that they’ll be introducing a new business class product, they revealed that they’d have the same business class seat across Lufthansa family airlines, so you can expect that this business class seat will also be found on Austrian and Swiss. Austrian and Swiss already have more competitive business class seats, but in both cases I think this new seat will represent a significant improvement.

This new business class seat is based on the Recaro CL6710

This new business class seat is being produced by Recaro, and specifically is their CL6710 model. This type of seat first debuted on EL AL’s new 787-9, which I just recently flew. Of course you can expect the specifications of the seat will be slightly different, but the general concept and bones of the seat will be the same.

Here are just a few pictures of EL AL’s 787, to give you a sense of what the seats could be like:

Lufthansa chose a surprisingly spacious layout for their new business class

This is the part that I find the most interesting. We don’t yet know the full seat counts of Lufthansa’s aircraft that will feature the new business class, but there’s one aspect of the seat that’s surprising.

Lufthansa’s 777X will alternate between being in a 1-2-1 layout and being in a 1-1-1 layout. Every other row has a center “throne” seat that looks ridiculously private and spacious.

While I’m confident Lufthansa is accomplishing this as efficiently as possible, keep in in mind that EL AL’s 787s have seats in a 1-2-1 layout in every row. They do this by having the center section seats alternate between being right next to one another (which is great for those traveling together), and on opposite sides from one another, with the seats closer to the aisles.

This decision on Lufthansa’s part is interesting to me for two reasons:

  • Lufthansa’s new business class won’t be ideal for couples traveling together, since there won’t really be any options to sit close to one another
  • While airlines are all about introducing improved business class products, they almost always do so in the most efficient configuration possible, and I doubt that’s the case here, as a 1-2-1 layout in business class would likely mean more seats; so kudos to Lufthansa for going for a less dense configuration, though it’s surprising to me that they’re doing so given that the denser configuration is potentially better for couples traveling together

Bottom line

We’re still at least a couple of years off from seeing Lufthansa’s new business class product in service, though what they’ve revealed so far looks promising. I’m especially intrigued by the layout they chose, given that they certainly could have squeezed more seats into the cabin if they wanted to. I guess we’ll have to wait for the full details of the seat counts to know for sure.

  1. I read that this rendering was based off of a smaller aircraft such as the A330 or A350 and not the 777; hence why it’s only 1-1-1 / 1-2-1.

  2. @ Lucky wrote:
    “Lufthansa’s new business class won’t be ideal for couples traveling together”

    I have no idea what proportion of business class pax are, in fact, couples travelling together. Any data?

    My guess (based on absolutely no data at all) is that the vast, vast majority of business class pax are travelling alone. But I’d be intrigued to see data, which may indicate whether or not Lufthansa is abandoning a market that you seem to think is very important.

  3. Those middle seats look spacious indeed though not especially private as the dividing walls are noticeably lower than the headrests.

  4. This was the exact thing I first thought when I saw the throne seat. LH are like BA- they’re not trying to have the best J anything because they both have limited direct competition.
    I assume they will have a premium to assign the throne seats as LX already do but surely it would be more economical to instead have squeezed an extra seat in each of those rows?
    I’m sure there’s a reason behind it but yes it seems very odd they would be this lax with density.

  5. @Lucky, I wonder if you could expand a little more on the situation of the footwell? This is the main disadvantage of their current hard product. All four products (LH//LX/OS/SN) suffer from very tight footwells (with the exception of some bullhead seats). Has this been addressed?

  6. This is not based on the Recaro CL6710. Rather, it is a derivative of the Zodiac/Acumen Optima which is the Polaris product (at higher density on the 777). The giveaway is that the Recaro CL6710 design does not have the straightline outboard/center seats of the Optima.

    United and Lufthansa Group have long discussed a harmonized business class product… this is a step in that direction. Expect future LX and OS business class seating to be similar.

    I also understand that the LH 777-9 may not have a First Class cabin. That may be one reason LH is going with a lower-density, wider seat at alternating 1-2-1/1-1-1 instead of 1-2-1 throughout, which is compatible with the 777 cross section.

    It is worth noting that United intends to go with a narrower version of its 777 configuration (1-2-1 throughout) on the A350 and 787 instead of this arrangement, which would otherwise preserve the dimensions of the Polaris 777 seat on those narrower fuselages.

  7. @Nice Paul
    I would also be interested to learn the percentage of J passengers traveling as couples. On the seasonal TATL flights I take to VCE and CDG at least half of the J cabin is couples. The non-seasonal flights to the EU are predominantly single male travelers.

    Qatar seems to be banking on couples with their Q suite configuration.

  8. @ Donna

    I’m not sure Qatar is banking on couples; every Qsuite is an identical single pod. Some pods can be opened out to form duos, trios or quads. But if every person on the flight is single, each has an identical pod.

    That strikes me as smart – not least to cope with the sort of differences you’ve identified between business and holiday routes/ seasons.

  9. @Jojo — LH still has first class on all their 748s, 346s and A380s. But anyway the first class terminal can be used by HON Circle Members, regardless of cabin.

    And I haven’t heard anything about United and LH Group being in talks to standardize their business classes, and I very actively monitor the UA subforum on FlyerTalk.

  10. Personally I find Swiss to be below par in comparison with Austrian in European business class. For inter- European flights, and you have commented on this, there is only a middle seat blocked. LH is better, but not as good as Austrian.

    All the best and keep blogging!


  11. the “throne” seats don’t look private or spacious. People walking in the aisles will be able to see what you’re working on, the seats look very narrow, especially at the shoulders. Why only one armrest? Are these seats designed for amputees? Rather stupid to be honest. They have a lot of table space, granted, but the seats look incredibly cramped.

  12. I agree with “n”. These seats looked cramped and claustrophobic — to me. The footwell, as seen in similar configurations, portends being uncomfortable. While I respect that others feel the need for privacy, i have never felt that way. Wide seats, wide aisles and an open airy feel is more my kind of ideal.

  13. Since LH won’t have a first class on their 777’s, i think its not unreasonable to suggest that they will charge a hefty premium or even market the single center seat as a private seat and charge an extra 300+ Euros. Otherwise, i can not see why they didn’t got for a regular 1-2-1 configuration. especially on the 777 which is wide enough.

  14. I don’t think I would pay extra for the middle seat when all the window seats are singles. Also it looks like the middle partition can be lowered so thats fine for couples.

  15. Will Brussels Air adopt this type seating too?

    I recently flew business class from IAD-VIE and loved it. Especially the food, which was fantastic.

  16. I still prefer the look and spacing of the El Al version. The LH rendering just looks insultingly spacious and wasteful, and you know they’re going to charge a premium to sit in the “throne” seats. El Al’s format is more traditional, but it also offers a bit more flexibility for couples and people traveling in pairs: Every other center row is elbow-to-elbow.

    I’m also loving the choice of fabric on these new Recaro seats. It’s neither butt-sticking leather nor itchy and easily-aged polyester. El Al is rocking a bold quilted look that I’m surprised more people haven’t noted in their reviews. They look like they’d feel quite comfortable to touch and recline into for a long flight.

  17. I don’t think Lufthansa’s current business product is that bad. Short of flying SQ from JFK to FRA (which is impractical for my travel habits), Lufthansa consistently has the best business product across the Atlantic save for SAS (which unfortunately doesn’t have nearly as many destinations). BA is garbage and Air France has no guarantee of scoring 1-2-1. I actually really dislike the refreshed Swiss business, which feels very claustrophobic (the A330 version is better, but the entertainment stinks because the screens are tiny).

    Someone above mentioned that all LH A346s have first class. That’s false.

    All in all, first class is unfortunately just a dying product. Very few airlines can sell the seats for cash and that too only on certain routes. I think LH/LX will keep F for those routes but you can count them all on one hand: SFO, LAX, JFK, maybe IAH, SIN, HKG, and a few others. The rest just don’t make sense.

  18. LH actually let some people test the new product at a facility near Frankfurt. The seat will automatically adjust firmness to body weight distribution so that you always lie fully flat. Firmness, ventilation and light can be adjusted by your phone, which can be charged via induction. The seat is a comfortable 80cm wide. Each seat will have a personal mini bar.

  19. The reports of https://www.ausbt.com.au/ have been conflicting. First they reported that Lufthansa will also roll out the new seat across their long-haul fleet as well as standardized across Austrian and Swiss. But the next report the CEO noted that the seat will only be installed on the 777-9X. And just today they reported again that it will be retrofitted across Austrian and Swiss as well.

  20. Business Traveller is now reporting about the “throne” seats:

    “… it seems that these middle seats, while offering more personal / desk space, will have a shorter, (as yet undisclosed) bed length.”

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