Lufthansa’s first Boeing 787 will enter service shortly, after being delivered to the airline several weeks ago. This is a pretty exciting development, as this will eventually become a significant portion of the carrier’s long haul fleet. This plane will also feature yet another new type of interim long haul business class product. Let’s go over the details.
Lufthansa has 32 Boeing 787-9s on order
In the past few years, Lufthansa has ordered dozens of new long haul aircraft from both Airbus and Boeing. These are all Lufthansa Group orders, which is to say that some planes are likely to go to Austrian and SWISS, though we don’t yet know that exact breakdown.
Lufthansa currently has a total of 32 Boeing 787-9s and an additional 26 Airbus A350-900s on order (in addition to the carrier’s current A350-900 fleet). Furthermore, Lufthansa also has 20 Boeing 777-9s on order, though those planes are now delayed until 2025 at the earliest.
While most of the A350 and 787 orders are for “factory fresh” planes, Lufthansa also opportunistically picked up some planes intended for other airlines:
- Lufthansa picked up four former Philippine Airlines Airbus A350-900s; the airline was in bankruptcy protection and wanted to get rid of some long haul jets, so presumably Lufthansa got a great deal on these planes
- Lufthansa picked up five Boeing 787-9s that had already been manufactured and were intended for other airlines; specifically, these are planes that were initially intended for China’s Hainan Airlines, and then intended for India’s Vistara Arlines, before eventually being purchased by Lufthansa
With the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) having in August 2022 approved the resumption of Boeing 787 deliveries, Lufthansa took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9, with the registration code D-ABPA (and the name “Berlin”), at the end of August. So far the other four Boeing 787-9s are still in Washington, and haven’t yet joined Lufthansa’s fleet.
The first Boeing 787-9 has spent the past several weeks undergoing cabin refurbishments at Lufthansa’s maintenance facility in Frankfurt. While the plane already had cabins installed, Lufthansa added some carrier-specific touches.
Lufthansa’s Boeing 787 routes
Lufthansa’s Boeing 787-9 will be entering passenger service shortly. On October 8 and October 9, 2022, the jet operated a bunch of training flights around Germany, as the plane operated a total of 23 flights. These ranged in length from 14min to 1hr52min, and were presumably intended for pilot training.
Next up, the plane will be deployed on passenger flights, initially on domestic routes within Germany. This is also presumably intended to continue crew training of both pilots and flight attendants. As of October 19, 2022, the Boeing 787 is expected to operate daily between Frankfurt (FRA) and Munich (MUC). The plane will operate up to three daily frequencies, though the exact flights to feature the plane vary by day.
While it hasn’t been scheduled yet, the plan is for the first Boeing 787 to enter long haul service as of December 2022. Currently the plan is to operate the plane between Frankfurt (FRA) and Newark (EWR) initially, with Toronto (YYZ) possibly being the second destination for the plane.
Lufthansa’s new interim Boeing 787 business class
In 2017, Lufthansa revealed its new business class product, which still isn’t actually available on any planes. The product was initially supposed to debut on Boeing 777-9s, but with that plane now delayed by a minimum of five years, that’s not exactly going as planned.
Currently the plan is for Lufthansa to start installing this new business class product on A350s and 787s as of mid-2023.
So, what should we expect from the five Boeing 787s that Lufthansa takes delivery of in the coming months, which were intended for other airlines? On the plus side, the planes will feature direct aisle access for all business class guests, unlike most of Lufthansa’s other planes.
Since these planes were initially intended for Hainan Airlines, they feature Collins Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone business class seats. These are fully flat seats with direct aisle access, so it’s an excellent hard product.
Of course as part of Lufthansa’s work, the cabin finishes were changed, so they feature a lot more blue than before.
This is of course a massive improvement over Lufthansa’s current standard business class product, which is in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Still, it’s interesting that Lufthansa will have product inconsistency in long haul business class. Keep in mind that Lufthansa’s newly acquired A350s also feature yet another new business class, inherited from Philippine Airlines. These are staggered Vantage XL seats, also featuring direct aisle access.
Isn’t it interesting that for so long Lufthansa was a Skytrax 5-star airline, yet seemingly the only way the airline could improve its business class product was by “inheriting” premium products from other airlines? Fortunately in June 2022 the airline was “downgraded” to a Skytrax 4-star airline.
Lufthansa took delivery of its first Boeing 787 in late August, and since then the plane has been undergoing cabin updates, in addition to some training flights. This plane will now be entering passenger service in the coming days. The plane will initially fly between Frankfurt and Munich, before starting long haul service (likely to Newark) as of later this year.
Since the first five jets were initially intended for other airlines (including Hainan Airlines), Lufthansa has just keep the original interiors intended for these planes. In this case, you can expect a reverse herringbone configuration in business class, which is the second interim business class product that Lufthansa is introducing this year.
In 2023 you can expect Lufthansa to launch its new business class product that was announced back in 2017, on newly delivered A350s and 787s.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s Boeing 787-9?
Any seat maps for the new 787 from Lufthansa? We got bumped from the 747-8 to the 787 and new seat look suspiciously close to the restrooms on the general 787. Fight is "full" however I've bid on a premium economy seat. What a racket!
Hi Ben - I was wondering how much value you place on the consistency of a hard product? It used to be the case that if, for instance, you stepped on a BA long-haul aircraft you knew exactly what you would get with the 'ying/yang' design, same with the Qantas Skybed, or the Virgin reverse herringbone - but now airlines might have different products on each type of aircraft, or might start a new refit...
Hi Ben - I was wondering how much value you place on the consistency of a hard product? It used to be the case that if, for instance, you stepped on a BA long-haul aircraft you knew exactly what you would get with the 'ying/yang' design, same with the Qantas Skybed, or the Virgin reverse herringbone - but now airlines might have different products on each type of aircraft, or might start a new refit before they finished the last one, and the experience can vary significantly. If you are connecting, then both flights could be wildly different in terms of hard product, or if there is a last minute swap you might be changed to an 'inferior' product. Does this matter to you?
That is seriously a joke, by now Ben surely your "love affair" with Lufthansa has ended, they are an extremely customer unfriendly airline, have a shocking business class product, don't allow changes on these new fares, and eliminated food on some shortfaul flights.
So basically, European airlines are incapable of providing a competitive hard product unless it was selected or intended for an Asian customer... LH really needs a creative director...
Not European airlines - just Lufthansa, the airline is a shambles, BA, AF, KLM all have great business class and other products.
Lufthansa are incapable of providing a competitive hard product unless it was selected or intended for a 5-star airline.
LH doesn't need a creative director, they just need to pay Skytrax more.
You may not like Lufthansa’s older seats, but you may appreciate that style of seats when your son is a few years older…
Probably never occur to @Lucky how to handle Miles in a suite with doors.
My guess is either he or Ford would take the two center seats when traveling with a child
I know we're only 5-10% of the population but many of us over 6 foot tall find these seats to be a backward step, not an improvement. I like my knees and shins, and these seats destroy them.
Okay? and the old seats are better?
A tad off topic, but you may want to look into LH group’s no longer allowing “flexible” changes on its “flex” fares.
I think the story about LH's 787s (and some 359s), improving the product because other airlines ordered so, and the one about "flex" not being flexible are really related. Related to the strategy, which basically is "pretend to be premium, rip off the customer, don't deliver what you promised".
As Hainan's interior coverings are in a striking color of red surely Lufthansa won't be using them and re-cover all those seats in Lufthansa colors. They're probably changing seat covers no matter what airline seats they're repurposing.
Will any of these be diverted to Austrian? Their fleet is basically just milk crates with duct-tape wings at this point.
The five “white tail” 787-9s that are being acquired first will later be transferred from LH to another group airline after factory fresh 787-9s are delivered. These five have different engines than the rest of the fleet. Speculation is that they will go to Austrian.