Lufthansa Plans 2022 New Business Class Launch

Lufthansa Plans 2022 New Business Class Launch

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A couple of weeks ago we learned that Lufthansa was “reassessing” the timeline for its new business class product, which was initially announced in 2017. We now have a better sense of what to expect.

New Lufthansa business class was supposed to debut on 777-9

In November 2017 (yes, well over three years ago), Lufthansa revealed a brand new business class product. This looked like a massive improvement over Lufthansa’s current business class, as the new cabin features direct aisle access from every seat, and significantly more privacy.

Lufthansa’s new business class

There was only one slight problem… the new business class was supposed to debut on the Boeing 777-9, which at the time Lufthansa was supposed to start taking delivery of in 2020. In other words, the product was still years from becoming a reality.

Unfortunately in the meantime the Boeing 777-9 has been delayed by several years, and the first plane is now scheduled to be delivered in late 2023 at the earliest. In other words, it would be a minimum of six years from when Lufthansa announced its new business class seat, to when the first passenger would actually experience it.


Lufthansa’s Boeing 777-9

And of course I can’t bring this up without pointing out that Skytrax declared Lufthansa a 5-star airline in 2017, just weeks after it announced its new business class. Skytrax said a “key factor” in the award was Lufthansa’s announcement of a new business class. And we wonder why Skytrax has no credibility

New Lufthansa business class now launching 2022

A couple of weeks ago @xJonNYC shared an interesting entry into service update for Lufthansa’s Boeing 777-9, as well as Lufthansa’s new business class:

“Lufthansa is among the group of launch customers for the Boeing 777-9, with delivery of the first 777-9 to Lufthansa scheduled for late 2023. It was previously planned for the first half of 2022.

The plan was to introduce the B777-9 and the new Lufthansa Business Class together, but all time schedules are currently being reassessed.”

Well, we now have a better sense of what to expect. The Lufthansa Group’s presentation about 2020 results revealed that Lufthansa now plans to launch its new business class in 2022.

As you can see, Lufthansa now plans to launch its new business class before it takes delivery of the first Boeing 777-9, so what does that mean for the airline?

Lufthansa has A350-900s and 787-9s on order. Lufthansa will resume A350-900 deliveries soon, while the airline is supposed to take delivery of its first 787-9 in late 2022. This suggests that Lufthansa plans to install its new business class product on A350s and/or 787s as of 2022.

This is exciting because it was never previously publicly confirmed that A350s or 787s would receive these new seats, so in some ways this is good news.

There has also been talk of Lufthansa looking for smaller long haul jets, so there are still questions about whether Lufthansa may swap some 777-9s for smaller aircraft, like 787-9s. That seems to be unrelated to this development right now, though.

One thing is for sure, regardless — this has to be the biggest lag between a new business class seat being announced, and it actually being introduced.

Lufthansa has Boeing 787-9s on order

Bottom line

Lufthansa now plans to launch its new business class product in 2022, which is ahead of the airline taking delivery of its first Boeing 777-9 in late 2023. This suggests that the airline plans to install these new seats on 787s and/or A350s. I imagine all of this remains very much subject to change, like everything in the industry nowadays.

What are you expecting in terms of Lufthansa’s new business class introduction?

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  1. Peter Brown

    Put the new biz class on the 747 800s.

  2. SC

    Completely unsurprising to anyone who knows the utter stinginess and lack of imagination in German corporate culture.

  3. Xiaoshu

    Isn’t this business class what earned them the five star rating?

  4. Evan

    "One thing is for sure, regardless — this has to be the biggest lag between a new business class seat being announced, and it actually being introduced."

    Did Baltia ever discuss a business class product? I wonder how their business model has been impacted by COVID.

  5. Ray

    This might be enough for me to revisit the idea of moving to Münich...

  6. UGC

    @Florian, I also tried to pre-select one of the four central bulkheads on LH, especially on A330/340/380s. On 747 footrests are slightly bigger and it was less of an issue. Regarding the “throne” seats on LX and OS, I have mixed feelings. While I appreciated the room left and right, I always found the footrest too narrow...therefore I normally selected the single window seats on the right, or one of the 4 central bulkheads.

  7. Florian

    @UGC, I'd agree that LX isn't that much better in terms of service in general, food/beverage choiches, lounges and other ground services than LH, at least not that much to justify a major detour or connecting flight. The seat though, especially the "throne", is a completely different world to me. I'm around 6'2 tall and the only LH seats in C that somewhat work for me for red eye flights are the center bulkhead ones where the footrest has a half-decent size.

  8. UGC

    @Florian, it also happened to me to go a bit out of my way to fly LX especially on the 777, if they were flying anywhere near to my destination. Also, chances to score an upgrade to F used to be much higher than with LH.
    This said, I would not say that they are sooo much better than LH.

  9. Florian

    For me it's a 1:30 hrs drive to MUC and 2:30 to ZRH. That extra hour is well spent though if I can fly LX and sit in a seat that actually allows me go get a good night's sleep...

  10. UGC

    Let’s put it straight: for those living in Central Europe, I.e. less than 1:30 hrs flight to FRA/MUC, and traveling for business, there WAS no real alternative to LH. Prior to COVID, no other airline had the extensive network and schedule LH had for major business countries, and let’s not forget about LX & OS.
    Just as an example, everyday there were about 10/12 flights out of China, so you could easily swap from...

    Let’s put it straight: for those living in Central Europe, I.e. less than 1:30 hrs flight to FRA/MUC, and traveling for business, there WAS no real alternative to LH. Prior to COVID, no other airline had the extensive network and schedule LH had for major business countries, and let’s not forget about LX & OS.
    Just as an example, everyday there were about 10/12 flights out of China, so you could easily swap from one to another if you had any change in plans. For me, and I believe not to be alone in this, flexibility and reliability have been the n.1 reason (if not the only) to stay faithful to LH.
    This said, I’ve long dreamed of LH keeping its network and ground service (HON), and adding OS food, SQ onboard service and wines, QR business seat, CX business lounges etc etc...
    Won’t happen anytime I’m afraid

  11. Günter friedl

    Lufthansa again.... Burning taxpayers money is the only hing they can do professional

    BTW: I’m from Germany and it’s sad to see what’s happening.

  12. Florian

    "Seats on most US carriers to Asia are generally comparable or often better than Asian carriers"

    If they are generally comparable or (marginally) better than an already good hard product on the Asian carriers, I agree that service will make a difference.

    The situation with LH is that we are not talking about a seat that is already good. It's a seriously crappy, outdated and ugly hard product that is far behind others. Those footwells...

    "Seats on most US carriers to Asia are generally comparable or often better than Asian carriers"

    If they are generally comparable or (marginally) better than an already good hard product on the Asian carriers, I agree that service will make a difference.

    The situation with LH is that we are not talking about a seat that is already good. It's a seriously crappy, outdated and ugly hard product that is far behind others. Those footwells are torture for anyone larger than 6'1/185. So even if you enjoy phenomenal service it'll leave you wondering where exactly your $$$ or €€€ went. Rebranding, I guess.

  13. axck

    @miamiorbust

    I certainly wouldn't. Have fun playing footsie with your seat partner on those middle seats for 6 hours as you "refocus". Those seats are some of the worst in the business right now.

    Also, Lufthansa flies to more locations than the eastern US. Shocking, I know, but true.

  14. Dave

    LH is likely giving up on First so they should at least have a cutting edge Business Class. (like QATAR). It’s pretty sad for LH Group that even airlines like Iberia or United have a better hard product.

  15. Ferdi

    My flight been cancelled by Lufthansa in last March and still waiting for refund.Never ever fly with lutfansa again.I been called them more than 20 times and still not refunded

  16. Frederik

    Waiting for the 777s is too long for a new product. They need to start the new business class with all new planes from now. Otherwise it will be like the AF a380s, a dated product when it was delivered was even more so by their premature retirement last year.

    The current product being put onto delivered aircraft (especially when there is no First product to upgrade on their other new wide body planes)...

    Waiting for the 777s is too long for a new product. They need to start the new business class with all new planes from now. Otherwise it will be like the AF a380s, a dated product when it was delivered was even more so by their premature retirement last year.

    The current product being put onto delivered aircraft (especially when there is no First product to upgrade on their other new wide body planes) just isn’t good enough if Lufthansa want to be marketed and still pricing as a top class, full service airline.

  17. David

    Going as well as United's Polaris rollout. What a con job that turned out to be.

  18. Peter Brown

    LH is keeping its' 747 8s. 747-400s are all going. Some readers of this blog believe there all going. Will be interesting to see if the 747 800 outlasts the A380. Quite possible as LH keeps its' planes along time. Only Emirates will flying the bloated baby in a few years.

  19. Miamiorbust

    Seem to have touched a nerve but the simple premise has never been challenged. Current business class works fine for LH as a business and provides perfectly functional experience. Where are all the Delta fanboys? Delta domestic F seats are absolutely unexceptional. They win on service. Seats on most US carriers to Asia are generally comparable or often better than Asian carriers but those “in the know” fly asian carriers. It’s the service. But flying...

    Seem to have touched a nerve but the simple premise has never been challenged. Current business class works fine for LH as a business and provides perfectly functional experience. Where are all the Delta fanboys? Delta domestic F seats are absolutely unexceptional. They win on service. Seats on most US carriers to Asia are generally comparable or often better than Asian carriers but those “in the know” fly asian carriers. It’s the service. But flying from US to EU is different? It’s not. Seat is not everything.

  20. Max

    The new LH Business Seat has one game-changing advantage over all the other on-the-shelf seats:

    It's size is tailored to tall European people, not to small Asians like all the other seats. It will be 5-10 centimeters (that's 2-4 inch for those backwards-thinking people across the pond) longer and have a bigger hole for the feet.
    May not look as fancy as other seats, but the correct sizing alone will guarantee it will do well for Lufty's European core market.

  21. Florian

    The "new" LH business class seat, the Duke Nukem Forever of the airline industry: Nothing but vaporware.

  22. Der Fliegende Amerikaner

    Miamiorbust, you are absolutely correct. The most important thing for Lufthansa's core transatlantic business customer "is about being able to take a few hours to clear the head and refocus."

    :rolleyes:

  23. DavidO

    @Miamiorbust
    It’s not easier to clear your head and focus with no one next to you? I (pre-covid) was a frequent BUD-SFO traveler and I’d go out of my way to fly UA 58/59 through Frankfurt, even though I massively prefer Munich as an airport, just to make sure I got UA’s real Polaris product over any other *A option specifically because of the privacy. I, and most people “in the know” I talk...

    @Miamiorbust
    It’s not easier to clear your head and focus with no one next to you? I (pre-covid) was a frequent BUD-SFO traveler and I’d go out of my way to fly UA 58/59 through Frankfurt, even though I massively prefer Munich as an airport, just to make sure I got UA’s real Polaris product over any other *A option specifically because of the privacy. I, and most people “in the know” I talk to would always prefer more privacy when shelling out 4-5x the price of an economy ticket. I say “in the know” because the percentage of business class fliers who take the time to actually learn this stuff is still the minority. Also, when BA introduced their J seat, it was industry leading. Granted it’s been way too long but their new J seat is extremely private and once again industry leading-ish. From where the industry is heading, there’s only not a business case for privacy if you have the PR team of Emirates.

  24. BrightonChris

    Please just stop mentioning that rating organisation. Even mentioning it gives it a credibility it does not deserve.

    I rate seat g*** above that other organisation and I don’t rate seat g *** at all.

  25. Aida Kraja

    Lufthansa should pay back customers money they owe. I was never refunded my 4k after Lufthansa canceled their trip. Worst company I ever delt with

  26. eponymous coward

    @ Miamiorbust:

    Which is why BA definitely is not going to have a J suite years before Luft-oh wait, (checks notes), they are.

    BA also has a dominating position in a hub at one end of the most profitable J route on the planet (NYLON), which goes a long way in guaranteeing they'll do fine even if they stay stuck on a business product for 15+ years, along with the dominant position in the #1...

    @ Miamiorbust:

    Which is why BA definitely is not going to have a J suite years before Luft-oh wait, (checks notes), they are.

    BA also has a dominating position in a hub at one end of the most profitable J route on the planet (NYLON), which goes a long way in guaranteeing they'll do fine even if they stay stuck on a business product for 15+ years, along with the dominant position in the #1 European destination for the entire US and Canada (LON), plus dominating market share ex-UK.

    Similarly, LH has zero real competition in German markets ex-Germany for longhaul- even less than BA (who has VS trying and failing to be David to BA's Goliath). AB flopped, DE is a leisure airline flying old planes. FR and EZ aren't about to do TATL or longhaul soon.

    So I am unsurprised that airlines that really don't have competition for their corporate business (seriously, if you're a German firm with a .de HQ, would any airline other than LH make a great deal of sense for worldwide travel?) don't innovate for corporate customer experience. It's the airlines like the ME3 who had to invent markets ("come make midnight stops in our scissors hub on the way to Australia or Asia! There's lie flats and really good IFE! Our sheikh just dropped a large sum on A380s with showers!") that innovate on the experience side, and it's BA and LH who are dragged along for the ride.

  27. No Name

    Only reason for flying LH J going forward without new seats would be that it's one of the few chances left for flying upstairs on the B747.

    Soon the Queen will be gone for good. RIP.

  28. shoeguy

    Once again, LH proves itself to be little more than a "meh" airline. From the pointless livery redo (claiming it would further accentuate its premium branding) to the uninspiring business class seats, it is so surprising LH can't get this right. They could have gone for the UA seat now used in Polaris or the one in the LX Business Class, but rather keep kicking the can down the road.

    1. Apsø Eyot

      I don’t think they’d want to go for the Swiss business class seat because the Swiss seat isn’t that great aside from the furnishings and decor. It’s 2-2-1 or 1-2-2 so most window seats do not have direct aisle access. And the ones that do are throne seats with uncomfortably tight footwells. Generally the seats are tight given that they’re staggered. Not much better than the 2-2-2 that Lufthansa currently has. 1-2-1 or less, or...

      I don’t think they’d want to go for the Swiss business class seat because the Swiss seat isn’t that great aside from the furnishings and decor. It’s 2-2-1 or 1-2-2 so most window seats do not have direct aisle access. And the ones that do are throne seats with uncomfortably tight footwells. Generally the seats are tight given that they’re staggered. Not much better than the 2-2-2 that Lufthansa currently has. 1-2-1 or less, or at least direct aisle access from all seats, should be the goal in business class these days.

  29. Uwe

    Like last time when LH was introducing their actual business class - it took them nearly 10 years (!!) from the announcement of a new" biz seat till the first flight....

    Maybe LH will top that this time....to become a 6* Airline...

  30. Miamiorbust

    You lost me at redemption point cost. If there was an actual business case for privacy, BA would be bankrupt. IAG is arguably the most profitable airline in Europe over a full business cycle. Excluding US airlines, among most profitable in the world. What people say the want and what they buy are often different. Hard to escape price/density trade off.

  31. pushslice

    who cares, no one will spend $$$ to fly J to Europe anymore anyhow. The Asian Century will now kick into high gear once travel revs back to life.

    Perhaps LH should retain the same cabins and just package the J cabin as a 'premium premium economy' to lure in the budget-constrained Biz travelers.

  32. john

    Remember next time you're sitting in an Oasis AA plane with no IFE, that's a five star airline too.

  33. The Original Donna

    LH and it’s inflated great reputation have been riding on past glory dating back to the ‘90s. Flights to the EU from the USA are neither “relatively short” nor a “refocus” but rather an opportunity to sleep in the most most comfortable and private J seat available on competing airlines at similar prices. LH in its current state is the J class bottom feeder.

  34. Jon B

    Nothing is less fun when sleeping than a drunk German in window seat falling on you when he needs to use bathroom

    I avoid their long hauls both for bad seat and food is never particularly good

    On top of that they are almost always higher redemption points cost.

  35. St James

    There is something to be said about ANA's new 777 J seat utterly destroying Lufty's "future" J seat by all measures. And ANA's seat has already been a reality for well over a year.

  36. Miamiorbust

    This is a fun post and definitely a reflection of this strange wrinkle in time but...you are all wrong. Or at least bloggers’ obsession with privacy bunkers in business class misses the point. Business class is not all about the seat. On the relatively short flights to Europe it is about being able to take a few hours to clear the head and refocus. Seat is part but definitely not the central feature in the...

    This is a fun post and definitely a reflection of this strange wrinkle in time but...you are all wrong. Or at least bloggers’ obsession with privacy bunkers in business class misses the point. Business class is not all about the seat. On the relatively short flights to Europe it is about being able to take a few hours to clear the head and refocus. Seat is part but definitely not the central feature in the experience. I will gladly take a LH seat and one of their functional FAs over the dysfunctional train wreck AA will staff on your flight from CLT (or every living soul staffed at EWR). Overall, LH is thoroughly middle of pack experience if you can stop hyperventilating about the privacy screen.

  37. Shaun

    Six years wait for a standard business seat which has already been utilized by other airlines for years before it saw the light of day at LH. Oh, Lufty....forever playing catch-up but never actually catching up. I'll never waste my hard earned money on such an unrepentantly mediocre airline.

  38. Sean

    New biz class seat needed ASAP. The current offering is wholly uncompetitive. Only okay if you’re flying with significant other.

    Personally, I’d fly AA CLT-MUC any day over LH w current offering. Would even prefer routing via IAD or EWR to fly UA. Think about that. LH biz is pretty poor these days.

  39. David

    I have a number of European business trips waiting for me post-COVID, but none of them will be on LH, given the awfully dated seat config.

  40. Claus

    The mystery really is why they didn’t just buy the United Polaris seat years ago and called it a day.

  41. Jacob McCarthy

    "5 star airline"...

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Apsø Eyot

I don’t think they’d want to go for the Swiss business class seat because the Swiss seat isn’t that great aside from the furnishings and decor. It’s 2-2-1 or 1-2-2 so most window seats do not have direct aisle access. And the ones that do are throne seats with uncomfortably tight footwells. Generally the seats are tight given that they’re staggered. Not much better than the 2-2-2 that Lufthansa currently has. 1-2-1 or less, or at least direct aisle access from all seats, should be the goal in business class these days.

Peter Brown

Put the new biz class on the 747 800s.

SC

Completely unsurprising to anyone who knows the utter stinginess and lack of imagination in German corporate culture.

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