First Boeing 747-8 equipped with Premium Economy Class – Exclusive preview of the largest product upgrade of all travel classes in Lufthansa’s history.
At 11.00 a.m. on October 2, LH 9880 a special flight took off from Frankfurt Airport. On board the Boeing 747-8 was the new Premium Economy Class. The aircraft, with the registration number D-AIYQ, is the first in the Lufthansa fleet to offer the new class of travel on board. Experts from Lufthansa Technik have fitted the Boeing 747-8 with the 32 new Premium Economy Class seats and performed all the necessary quality checks.
The aircraft, which is called the “Schleswig-Holstein”, flew over the German region of the same name in a two-hour special flight.
“Today, we are seeing a genuine première”, said Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Member of the Executive Board of Lufthansa AG and CEO of Lufthansa German Airlines. “We are launching a new travel class for the first time in 35 years.” Garnadt stressed that Premium Economy was an important part of the “biggest product upgrade in Lufthansa’s history”. By late summer of next year, Lufthansa will have modified First, Business and Premium Economy Class on its entire long-haul fleet according to schedule and as part of its quality campaign. “With Premium Economy Class alone, we will be able to offer some 1.5 million passengers per year the opportunity to choose extra comfort and quality at affordable prices,” said the German Airlines CEO.
From as early as 1 December – nine days earlier than scheduled – Lufthansa customers will be able to enjoy Premium Economy Class on all flights on the Boeing 747-8 fleet. The “dash-8 fleet” will then offer by far the most cutting-edge and exclusive travelling experience available at Lufthansa.
Premium Economy Class seats will make up some ten per cent of the entire seating capacity on each wide-bodied aircraft. Over the next few months, Lufthansa will thus fit between 21 (Airbus A330-300) and 52 (Airbus A380-800) new seats in each of its aircraft. On board the Boeing 747-8, 32 seats will be modified in line with Premium Economy Class specifications. The airline commissioned a total of 3,600 seats from the manufacturer ZIM.
“Booking levels to date have significantly exceeded our expectations”, Garnadt added. “This shows that we are striking a chord with customers with our new offering. As well as cost-conscious business travellers, we’re also attracting the rapidly growing target group of leisure travellers who don’t want to skimp on on-board comforts during their holidays.”
Alongside Premium Economy Class, Lufthansa is also working intently on upgrades to First and Business Class on board its long-haul aircraft. All these quality-related measures are set to be completed by late summer 2015. Lufthansa will then be in a position to offer its guests in all classes the exclusive travelling experience of a prizewinning five-star First Class as well as the new Business Class, where aircraft seats can be transformed at the touch of a button into a comfortable bed with a horizontal sleeping area of 1.98 metres long.
“I firmly believe that, with this package of products and measures, we will undoubtedly achieve our objective of becoming the first Western five-star airline”, said Garnadt.
Lufthansa is currently offering special introductory prices for Premium Economy Class flights. For instance, return flights to Washington D.C. are available from as little as EUR 1,199, while passengers to Beijing can enjoy the new travelling experience for a mere EUR 1,249.
In addition, no rebooking fees are being charged to passengers looking to rebook from Economy to Premium Economy Class. As soon as Lufthansa Premium Economy Class becomes available on a flight route, an existing Economy Class booking can be upgraded to Premium Economy Class. Passengers will only have to pay the difference between the fares of the two tickets, provided that no changes are made to the original flights that were booked. This applies even if the original ticket was booked for a price that did not permit rebooking.
To increase global awareness of the new Premium Economy Class on the market, Lufthansa launched a broad marketing campaign already in mid-September. At the heart of this campaign is its “Recorder” TV advertisement. This shows the British musician Duncan Townsend experiencing the extras available in Premium Economy Class for the first time. Brandishing a sound recorder, he combines many different snippets of sound that he hears on his journey into a rhythm, which ultimately evolves into a re-interpreted version of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”: “More, more, more…”
On social networks, the “more” that Premium Economy Class offers can be experienced and shared using the hashtag #premiumtime. The benefits of Premium Economy are being turned into a creative experience in collaboration with artists and celebrities.
Information on the new Premium Economy Class:
Depending on the aircraft type, the seat is up to three centimetres wider and provides greater privacy as well as approximately 10 centimetres more room at the side thanks to each seat having its own wide armrest and a centre console between the seats. The back rest can be reclined further and the seat pitch is a significantly more spacious 38 inches, or 97 centimetres. As a result, passengers have around one-and-a-half times as much room as Economy Class. The head rests can be set to the exact height desired and folded at the sides for added comfort and support. Height-adjustable foot rests from the second row back and – for technical reasons – leg supports with an integrated foot rest in the first row provide extra comfort. Practical features around the seats such as a water bottle holder, electrical socket and lots of storage space for passengers’ belongings also help to ensure a relaxed and pleasant journey.
With a baggage allowance of two items weighing up to 23 kilogrammes each, passengers can take twice as much free luggage with them compared with Economy Class. For an extra EUR 25, passengers can also enjoy the comfort of the many Lufthansa Business Lounges before their departure. Access to the Welcome Lounge in Frankfurt is available for a fee of EUR 50. Check-in and boarding procedures as well as hand luggage regulations are the same as in Economy Class.
On board, an enhanced service awaits Premium Economy passengers. They are greeted with a welcome drink and will find their own water bottle as well as a high-quality amenity kit with practical travel accessories at their seat. Meals are presented on menus commensurate with the new travel class and served on porcelain tableware.
Passengers can navigate the extensive in-flight entertainment programme using their own touchscreen monitor on the seat in front of them. This can also be done using a remote control, which serves as a controller for video games as well. The screens are 11 to 12 inches (28 to 30 centimetres), which makes them at least 2 inches bigger than the screens in Economy Class, depending on the aircraft type. Each seat also has a USB socket and an individual plug socket for passengers to use their own devices. A wide selection of magazines and newspapers completes the range of entertainment on offer.