Lufthansa has this week revealed more details about its new “Allegris” product generation, whereby we’re seeing refreshed seats in all cabins. In particular, this includes a new first class suite, as well as a new business class product.
The Allegris experience will debut in 2023 on select newly delivered Boeing 787-9s, and then in 2024 on select newly delivered Airbus A350-900s. Existing A350s should also eventually be reconfigured with these cabins. Furthermore, the product will be installed on Lufthansa’s Boeing 777-9s, due to be delivered in 2025 and beyond. However, what happens to Lufthansa’s other aircraft? Well, we now have some more details…
In this post:
Many Lufthansa planes won’t get new first & business class
First let’s start with the bad news. Among Lufthansa’s existing long haul aircraft, there aren’t plans to introduce the new product on Airbus A330s, Airbus A340s, Airbus A380s, or Boeing 747-400s:
- Lufthansa has brought back A340-600s temporarily, to operate flights out of Munich with first class until Lufthansa’s A350-900s with first class are delivered
- Lufthansa is bringing back Airbus A380s this summer, though there are no firm plans to install new cabins on these jets, at least as of now
- Lufthansa A340-300s will eventually be retired, while A330-300s will likely eventually leave Lufthansa’s fleet (and maybe be used by Eurowings Discover), so there aren’t plans to invest in these cabins beyond the current generation business class
- Lufthansa has only a small subfleet of 747-400s remaining, and they’re expected to be retired in the coming years, so won’t be reconfigured
Lufthansa 747-8s will get new first & business class
As reported by Executive Traveller, the good news is that Lufthansa has plans to retrofit its Boeing 747-8 fleet with all-new cabins. Lufthansa has 19 of these jets, and they’re an average of well under 10 years old.
While other airlines are largely retiring Boeing 747s, Lufthansa was one of the few airlines to order the updated 747-8, and it seems the carrier is committed to keeping these planes around. They’re an average of well under 10 years old, so they’re still quite young.
Also keep in mind that Lufthansa is obviously committed to these jets because they’re all based in Frankfurt, and they’re the only planes based at the airport to feature first class. Lufthansa also plans to base its Boeing 777-9s in Frankfurt (if/when delivery happens), but those planes won’t feature first class (I can’t help but wonder if Lufthansa might reconsider that decision). Lufthansa Group has now also ordered Airbus A350-1000s, and those are expected to feature first class, but we don’t know anything beyond that.
What remains to be seen is with what timeline 747-8s will be reconfigured, as that hasn’t yet been revealed. Based on the fact that it has been over five years since Lufthansa first announced its new business class, I feel like it’s a race between these planes being reconfigured, and me being eligible for Social Security. 😉
How will Lufthansa’s revised Boeing 747-8 configuration work?
While we know Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8s are getting new cabins, what we don’t know is exactly how they’ll be reconfigured. The 747 is a tricky plane when it comes to installing cabins, given the curvature of the “nose,” plus the upper deck, which is significantly narrower than the lower deck.
Lufthansa will reportedly continue to have first class in the nose of the 747-8, though the airline will have a modified product compared to what’s on the A350, given space constraints. Lufthansa currently has eight first class seats on the 747-8, with three seats along the windows on each side, plus two seats in the center.
Lufthansa’s new first class looks like a huge upgrade over the old product. On the A350, there will be a total of just four first class suites that will be able to accommodate up to four travelers — there will be two single suites by the windows, and a double suite in the center.
For context, Korean Air also flies the 747-8, and has just six seats in first class, in a 1-1 configuration (there are no center seats).
I’m not sure how exactly Lufthansa will go about doing this, but I’m sure the airline can fit at least six suites in this space. Then again, since there will be a modified first class product on the 747, it’s hard to make an educated guess at this point.
Then that brings us to business class, which seems equally challenging. Installing it on the lower deck is super easy, since the 747 lower deck cabin is even wider than the A350 or 787 cabin, so there will be room to spare.
However, how do you install this on the upper deck of the 747-8? The upper deck is somewhere between a wide body and narrow body in terms of width, and you have a single aisle. There’s simply no way to introduce a staggered product with direct aisle access for each passenger here.
The only thing I can think of is that Lufthansa moves premium economy to the upper deck, and instead installs business class exclusively on the lower deck. However, this would have to represent a massive increase in the footprint of premium economy.
Lufthansa has 32 business class seats on the upper deck, while Lufthansa currently has 32 premium economy seats on the lower deck. Lufthansa would presumably have to nearly double the size of the premium economy cabin for that to work. Otherwise, I suppose the airline could install a mix of premium economy and economy on the upper deck, but at some point this all seems overly complicated.
Then again, the Allegris product overall seems complicated, given that the airline is promoting seven different kinds of business class seats.
Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8s will be getting the new Allegris cabins, which is exciting. However, we don’t know the timeline with which that will happen.
It’s expected that the planes will feature a modified first class product, given the space constraints in the nose of the 747. Then there’s the challenge of installing the new business class on the upper deck, which might just be the biggest challenge of all, given that it’s fairly narrow and has a single aisle.
There are a lot more questions than answers as of now, though as a Boeing 747 lover, I can’t wait to see the jumbo get new interiors! Then again, I imagine it’ll be several years before the first plane is reconfigured.
What’s your take on the logistics of Lufthansa reconfiguring Boeing 747-8s with new cabins?