Five Lufthansa A340-600s With First Class Return To Munich

Five Lufthansa A340-600s With First Class Return To Munich

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In the coming months Lufthansa will temporarily be bringing back a second aircraft type with first class. While this was initially announced back in June 2021, these planes have been loaded into the schedule as of today, so let’s go over the details.

Lufthansa will fly five A340-600s out of Munich

Lots of airlines prematurely retired aircraft as a result of the pandemic. In September 2020, Lufthansa revealed that it would retire its fleet of 14 Airbus A380s and 17 Airbus A340-600s. These planes were in long term storage, and it was stated that they’d only be reactivated “in the event of an unexpectedly rapid market recovery.”

Lufthansa’s A380s are all in storage

Lufthansa will be temporarily reactivating five Airbus A340-600 aircraft, which will be based in Munich in the summer of 2022, and will be retired after the summer of 2023. For airline purposes, the summer schedule starts in late March and ends in late October, so I’d imagine the service timeline for these planes will roughly match that. These planes could be in service for roughly 19 months, give or take.

Lufthansa seems pretty committed to dumping the other Airbus A340-600s — I doubt there’s much of a secondhand market for acquiring these, though. It seems like Lufthansa is following through on its plans to retire A380s, at least as of now.

The A340-600 holds a special place in the hearts of many avgeeks. Visually it’s one of the coolest-looking planes — it’s long as heck (it’s longer than the 747-400 and A380), and it has four huge engines. There aren’t many airlines flying the A340-600 anymore, so this is quite a rare plane.

Lufthansa will continue to fly A340-600s

Lufthansa is flying A340-600s because of first class

Why would Lufthansa reactivate five Airbus A340-600s for just a couple of seasons? As it’s described, this is being done due to “growing premium demand, for both business as well as leisure travel,” and so that Lufthansa can strengthen its premium product out of Munich, and offer first class.

The reason this temporary solution is needed is because currently Lufthansa’s only planes with first class are the Boeing 747-8s, and they’re based in Frankfurt. In late summer 2023, Lufthansa plans to take delivery of some A350s with first class, which will be based in Munich.

Lufthansa’s future A350-900s will have first class

In other words, without reactivating the A340-600s, Lufthansa wouldn’t be able to offer first class out of Munich until the end of the summer of 2023. Other than the A380, the only planes in storage that have a first class cabin are the A340-600s.

Lufthansa’s A340-600 first class

Which routes out of Munich will feature first class?

Lufthansa has updated its schedule to reflect which routes will feature the A340-600s. As of March 27, 2022, Lufthansa will fly these planes from Munich to the following destinations:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • New York (JFK)

Interestingly two A340-600s are also scheduled out of Frankfurt, but with a twist. Specifically, the following flights out of Frankfurt will also be operated by A340-600s:

  • New York (JFK) as of January 13, 2022
  • Washington (IAD) as of February 1, 2022

What’s interesting is that Lufthansa isn’t selling first class on these flights. Instead the airline is selling business class as the highest cabin, and then passengers can pay extra to assign a seat in first class. It looks like the cost is 450 EUR per flight. Service will be identical to business class in terms of food, lounge access, etc.

Lufthansa is charging to assign seats on A340s from Frankfurt

While it was initially stated that A340-600s would be flown to similar destinations as pre-pandemic in both North America and Asia, it’s not surprising to see the focus on North America, given continued travel restrictions in Asia.

Lufthansa’s A340-600 first class

Bottom line

Lufthansa will be bringing five Airbus A340-600s back into service. The planes will mostly be based in Munich from the summer of 2022 until the summer of 2023, and will once again allow Lufthansa to offer first class service from Munich. As of now these planes are scheduled to fly from Munich to Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and Newark. On top of that, a couple of A340-600s will fly out of Frankfurt to New York and Washington, but first class service won’t be sold on these flights.

These planes will then be retired after the summer 2023 travel season, once Lufthansa takes delivery of Airbus A350-900s featuring first class cabins. I can’t wait to hopefully have another flight or two on the A340-600!

What do you make of Lufthansa’s decision to reactivate A340-600s?

Conversations (23)
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  1. RB Guest

    Just saw one flying into IAD! First time I've seen a 4-engine plane flying to Dulles in 2 years! It was D-AIHT. Welcome back, even if the stay will be brief.

  2. Leslie Hlatshwayo Guest

    So glad that the most beautiful machine in the sky is back in service. Been on that long stretch bird twice, flew between Johannesburg and London on SAA in 2011. If only they can, maybe, replace the engines with more fuel efficient engines, just to give the princess of the sky another 10 years of lease on life - LT Hlatshwayo

  3. Martin Guest

    LH just canceled the 2nd MUC - NYC connection with A340-600, LH412/LH413 before it even started

  4. Conny Guest

    As communicated in their recent PPB newsletter, LH sells the first class seats from Frankfurt to New York (starting Jan., 13th) and Frankfurt to Washington (Feb., 1st) on selected flights where they use the A346. Prices are starting from 350 EUR per leg. Of course, no first class onboard service or lounge / FCT access.

  5. BEN Guest

    Seriously, Lufthansa first class is outdated. I’ve been flying with them for years. I had to find an alternative when I flew from Houston to Europe and used Air France. That is a First Class seat, more than Lufthansa. One pro for Lufthansa is still their First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. The Caviar on Lufthansa not always available on Air France. But Lufthansa should really rethink the seats in First Class, they are simply outdated.

  6. Florian Guest

    Heard that LH will be selling the F seats w/o F services on the FRA to JFK route for a hefty premium of 450 EUR to C clients:

    https://www.frankfurtflyer.de/rueckkehr-des-lufthansa-airbus-a340-600-first-class-feeling-nach-new-york-fuer-450e/

    (In German)

  7. Snake Guest

    I loved getting to work that plane when I worked with LH…Ops hated it because of weight and balance but it was such a cool aircraft to be around. Unfortunately, I only got to travel on it as a passenger once.

  8. mick Guest

    Sheesh that final photo does make LH First look very old and dumpy! Suspend your own experience and you would prob look at that and think no thanks!

    I am no expert by any stretch but thought the retirement of all these planes seemed somewhat kneejerk.

    1. Super Guest

      You just voiced both of my opinions! Seats look... not great.

      I feel like Lufthansa in particular was over-dramatic in reacting to the pandemic and doom & gloom about recovery demand. I get they have many very intelligent people doing analysis to base their opinions on... but my gut feeling was always that demand recovery would be swifter than predicted.

    2. Daniel from Finland Guest

      Oh, it was Lufthansa. I thought the image was of Air India.

  9. Joes Guest

    The economy bathrooms are below the seats on LH A346 plane!
    Yes #avgeek

    1. Klaus Guest

      And the business class lavatory has a window

    2. SBS Guest

      Yes, that bank of downstairs bathrooms is the coolest feature of the plane!

  10. Klaus Guest

    The A340-600 will be flying from FRA to JFK starting January 13th.
    On these flights, You can reserve a first Class seat for an additional 450€ as a business class passenger. The service class will be business class.

  11. Kevin Guest

    The A340-600 is also coming to JFK starting January 13th on LH400/401 from Frankfurt

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Kevin -- Interesting, thanks for the heads up!

    2. tipsyinmadras Gold

      Surprised you didn't mention that the 747-400 has been back in service between Frankfurt and JFK for the past few weeks.

  12. Yannick Laniel Guest

    My guess would be Mexico City will be on the list, as there is solid First Class demand from there.

  13. Jacob McCarthy Member

    I see them scheduled for service from MUC to BOS, EWR, JFK and LAX starting in the end of March.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jacob McCarthy -- Great catch! Swear that was only loaded after I drafted the post. :p

    2. TL Guest

      You’ve typed “Frankfurt (JFK)” - might want to fix that!

    3. TL Guest

      You’ve typed “Frankfurt (JFK)” - might want to fix that!

    4. Super Member

      Great to see more First capacity out of LA! Been miserable trying to find award space to FRA.

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mick Guest

Sheesh that final photo does make LH First look very old and dumpy! Suspend your own experience and you would prob look at that and think no thanks! I am no expert by any stretch but thought the retirement of all these planes seemed somewhat kneejerk.

1
Joes Guest

The economy bathrooms are below the seats on LH A346 plane! Yes #avgeek

1
Kevin Guest

The A340-600 is also coming to JFK starting January 13th on LH400/401 from Frankfurt

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