The ITB 2014 in Berlin was the scene of a world premiere on its opening day, with Lufthansa unveiling its new Premium Economy Class, which can be booked from May onwards and will be available from November 2014, initially on the Boeing 747-8. The new seats will gradually be fitted on the entire long-haul fleet within 12 months.
“Our Premium Economy Class will create a completely new travel experience that combines affordability with greater comfort – the seats offer up to 50% more room than Economy Class and will position us in a premium segment within the international competitive environment,” said Jens Bischof, the Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board in charge of Sales, Product and Marketing.
Following introduction of its new full-flat Business Class, Lufthansa created a much wider gap between Economy and Business Class. As a result, there is now room for its new Premium Economy Class, which offers considerably more space and comfort as well as many additional product features, but is closer to Economy Class than Business Class in terms of its average prices. The move also means that Lufthansa is introducing a completely new travel class for the first time in 35 years.
“The design and features of the new seat in particular are based on extensive passenger surveys and workshops with sales partners – a process that has been successfully used at Lufthansa,” added Jens. “Following the upgrade of our First and Business Class, the installation of 3,600 seats on all 106 of our long-haul aircraft in just one year will mean another step towards becoming a 5-star airline. We expect to see more than 1.5 million passengers per year in our new Premium Economy Class.”
Depending on aircraft type, the new seats are up to 3cm wider and provide greater privacy as well as approximately 10cm more room at the side thanks to each seat having its own wide armrest and a centre console between the seats. The backrest can be reclined further and the seat pitch is a significantly more spacious 97cm (38”). 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 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 €25, passengers can also enjoy the comfort of the Lufthansa Business Lounges before their departure. Lounges were previously only open to status customers and are otherwise unavailable on a paying basis. Check-in and boarding procedures as well as hand luggage regulations are the same as in Economy Class.
On boarding Premium Economy passengers will be 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 inflight 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 28cm to 30cm (11” to 12”), which makes them at least 2” bigger than the screens in Economy Class, depending on the aircraft type.