Yay: Lufthansa Reactivating Five A340-600s With First Class

Yay: Lufthansa Reactivating Five A340-600s With First Class

21

This news is going to make a lot of aviation geeks happy.

Lufthansa will fly five A340-600s out of Munich

Lots of airlines prematurely retired aircraft as a result of the pandemic. In 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 has announced that it’s 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. In other words, these planes will fly for a bit over a year. The planes will primarily serve destinations in North America and Asia, as we saw pre-pandemic.

Lufthansa is already in the process of trying to sell the other 12 Airbus A340-600s. There’s no further news on A380s being reactivated, so as far as I know the plan is still for them to be retired.

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

Bottom line

Lufthansa has made the decision to bring five Airbus A340-600s back into service. The planes will 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.

These planes will then be retired in 2023, 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?

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  1. Michael L Blakley

    I flew the A340-600 SFO-MUC a few years ago on Lufthansa. We lucked out with the bulkhead seats in Economy on the left side of the plane. There must have been at least five feet of legroom. Since Premium Economy wasn't full in the next cabin forward, the flight attendants served the left over PE meals to the first few rows of our cabin (basically the same (tasty) meal, but served in crock ware with...

    I flew the A340-600 SFO-MUC a few years ago on Lufthansa. We lucked out with the bulkhead seats in Economy on the left side of the plane. There must have been at least five feet of legroom. Since Premium Economy wasn't full in the next cabin forward, the flight attendants served the left over PE meals to the first few rows of our cabin (basically the same (tasty) meal, but served in crock ware with real silverware and glasses instead of plastic cups). As Neil said, the downstairs lavatories are convenient and keeps the loo lines and orders out of the main cabin.

  2. John Ebert

    Lufthansa aircrafts have one of the top FCs available. Especially the business world and the prime executives of it in the Bavarian capital will welcome the decision.

  3. Randy

    It makes no sense to fly first class as long as masks are required. No one has said when that will change - since it is up to various countries and companies. Until then, sitting it out.

    1. Charlie

      I know. It's hard to get excited about flying in any of the premium classes with the reduced service levels caused by covid.

  4. Terence

    Very exciting news indeed! Another year to (try to) fly A346s. Hopefully, next year when travel recovers, LH will throw a proper farewell party for them.

  5. Robert Steen

    4 Strahler ist das beste was es gebt.!!

    4 reliable engines is the best.!!

  6. tipsyinmadras

    4 engines 4 long haul.

  7. Flyoften

    A346 is The. Best. Plane. Ever. to fly intercon.

  8. Greg

    It is a matter of due course that Germany’s five star airline would offer direct first class service to its top travelers from the fertile and productive lands of Bavaria.

  9. Felice

    Any chance these will fly to Chicago? Did Lufthansa fly them from Munich to Chicago before?

    1. Florian

      They did. In 2019 both 359 and 346 were flying to Chicago from Munich, the latter usually on days with more business travellers i.e. beginning and end of the week.

  10. Stealthknight21

    Is there any indications or reasoning why they chose the A340-600 over the A380? My only guess is that the A380 offers too many seats?

  11. A380-800

    They choose to reactivate A346 instead of me? So sad...... Tired of airlines accusing me of being too fat and inefficient!

    1. John Ebert

      The gorgeously unique A-380 will be back soon enough. Especially on highly travelled, popular routes like FRA / MUC >> JFK / EWR , MUC / FRA >> SFO , MUC / FRA >> LAX , FRA / MUC >> ORD , FRA / MUC >> SIN , FRA / MUC >> NRT.

  12. John

    I wonder if this will impact the decision at Swiss on whether to retire A330’s or A340’s.

  13. Gus

    Don’t you think it might be helpful to post the start date and routes it will fly?

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ Gus -- It sure would! Unfortunately that hasn't been announced yet.

    2. Neil

      The A -340 downstairs lavatory loo area is really convenient for those who like to stretch their legs on a long flight . 5 toilets are downstairs and the rear galley and flight crew rest area . Neat arrangement indeed .

    3. The Jizzler

      This! I remember a really long flight to Hong Kong being able to go downstairs and spray a load of malted milk 6 hours in, I don't remember having the space to stretch out and do that in economy on any other flight.

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A380-800

They choose to reactivate A346 instead of me? So sad...... Tired of airlines accusing me of being too fat and inefficient!

Neil

The A -340 downstairs lavatory loo area is really convenient for those who like to stretch their legs on a long flight . 5 toilets are downstairs and the rear galley and flight crew rest area . Neat arrangement indeed .

Michael L Blakley

I flew the A340-600 SFO-MUC a few years ago on Lufthansa. We lucked out with the bulkhead seats in Economy on the left side of the plane. There must have been at least five feet of legroom. Since Premium Economy wasn't full in the next cabin forward, the flight attendants served the left over PE meals to the first few rows of our cabin (basically the same (tasty) meal, but served in crock ware with real silverware and glasses instead of plastic cups). As Neil said, the downstairs lavatories are convenient and keeps the loo lines and orders out of the main cabin.

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