We are at the midst of a fascinating First & Business Class evolution for the passenger experience. What may have started with the Qatar QSuites, is informing the industry with a new precedent. Recently we’ve had a plethora of new cabin announcements from Air France’s new First & Business Classes, Japan Airlines new First to Qantas’s new First aligning with the launch of project Sunrise, a new era of Super long haul flights of 20 hours!
Lufthansa has now finally revealed more concrete detail of it’s long awaited cabin refresh (Something that has been in the works over the years then stalled yet that did not stop the airline getting a 5* ranking from Skytrax, a airline consultancy business, purely on the basis of the plans it had) Never mind that it never came to life on a single plane.
Lufthansa ALLEGRIS A Closer Look
Marketed as something that is “Enlightening”, this huge 2.5 billion Euro investment just on product rejuvenation is big news indeed. It will be coming on over 80 brand new aircrafts as well as supposed retrofits to 747-8 aircrafts. British design agency PriestmanGoode was selected for this project. They’ve done a Steller job with several other airline products from Turkish, United to WestJet’s smart long haul Business Class
We are now also seeing something interesting within the Group of airlines, in that this product refresh project while marketed with different names, essentially will be using the same hard products across the airlines in the group. So for the first time there will be commonality in the bones of the products across Lufthansa, Swiss & Austrian et all. The colours, material and finish will be used to differentiate each individual airlines branding and unique characteristics.
I will cover these mostly for Lufthansa here, and may follow up with Swiss as we have more details..
Lufthansa ALLEGRIS Business
We saw various renderings of this years ago and perhaps by and large this has broadly stayed the same.
For the first time Lufthansa will be offering direct aisle access in Business (better late than never!?) but it is not stopping there, these will essentially also be their own Suites with closing doors..
These renderings do look chic and with a very muted but stylish colour palette. However, I can’t help but wonder how narrow the actual seat looks here in comparison to the space taken up by the side consoles.
Lufthansa states each Suite also has it’s own wardrobe and mini bar, though it is not clear where this is from renderings.
What is perhaps astonishing is that there, will allegedly be not 2, not 3 but 7 different types of seat types in their Business Cabin. SEVEN?! This will surely be a head spinner when it comes to choosing where to sit if you decide to book Lufthansa Business !
What are the different seat types then?
- First front/bulkhead seats will have the largest amount of space and storage options with bigger IFE 27 inches, which makes sense, given many airlines end up in this situation where they have unusable space in front. Few airlines however monetized this but is starting to change now with like of Virgin upselling this product.
- An extra-long bed measuring 2.20 meters, from what I can tell, this look like will be all window seats as they appear to be longer.
- Extra space and work area, these look like will be all the middle throne type seats that Swiss and Austrian already have.
- A seat with a baby bassinet,
- An exclusive seat directly by the window – I am guessing this is the last row in the cabin?
- A double seat, in which the center console can be retracted to transform it into a reclining surface for two, is also available.
- Last but not least is what is now the standard seat
One stand out feature for me is all Business and First seats are equipped with a heating and cooling system… I don’t know about you but for me personally this is huge!! I’ve had one too many sleepless redeyes due to cabin’s being far too warm. Finally we are seeing for the first time business class having ability to set their own temperature.
Further to this, these seats will provide extra comfortable side sleeping, seats that will feature some sort of a shoulder sink-in, allowing the shoulder to sink into the seat, increasing sleeping comfort for side sleepers.
Another thing that is more First Class territory is a tablet-sized control pad provides access to all seating, lighting, heating/cooling and entertainment functions. Which is handy as some people prefer to have everything in one place rather than remember which physical buttons control which aspects.
Lufthansa ALLEGRIS First Class
Given the impressive features and changes coming to Business, you might have been wondering how can First Class be made much better..
Well the answer to this seems that First Class will now be a super super exclusive cabin. How exclusive? Well it would seem there will just be 3 First Class seats in A350s but the centre seat can be used by a couple, making it 4 First Class passengers max.
And boy does it look special..
I just love the design of this. Sleek modern lines accented by a deep blue and wooden door panels. I see clever mood light here too. Even though it is a complete refresh, it still looks very Lufthansa First Class, because they have retained the signature lit rose in the front of each Suite..
In keeping with the times, each Suites have full length closing doors to create your very own cocoon in the skies..
The centre seat is where things get interesting, this is will be marketed as a SUITE PLUS option, so can accommodate 2 people
It appears to be 2 joined but independently movable seats
Which can turn into a (hopefully) proper double bed in your very own private room in the sky!
Wow, this surely some very impressive and sophisticated products. Admittedly, I have never really been a Lufthansa fan as such. Besides flying their First Class in the nose of the Queen, their product offer for last 5 years has just felt dated and out of keep. It’s great to see Lufthansa will finally be offering a very competitive product in Business and a modern 21st century First Class offering. Being able to customise your cabin temperature as a Business passengers, is definitely a First. This uniquely positions Lufthansa Business as offering something that even the likes of Qatar/Singapore do not.
The significant change here will be just how less accessible their First Class will be going forward, just purely from virtue of going from 8 First Class seats to just 3 or 4 seats. Lufthansa is set to be even more exclusive than Air France First Class. What impact would this have on pricing point? And dare we think to award availability?
With all said and done, we know little of one major aspect to a flying experience. The service and soft elements. Crucially, the human touch in my opinion is the weakest point in the air for Lufthansa. It actually felt entirely absent in very robotic service I had in both Lufthansa First Class flights I’ve taken recently, which left me with no yearning to fly them again. Will this change? We will maybe find out in a year or so !