Lufthansa unveils new Premium Economy Class with up to 50% more room

BERLIN — The ITB 2014 in Berlin was the scene of a world premiere on its opening day: Lufthansa’s new Premium Economy Class was presented to industry experts.

The new travel class 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, during a presentation at the Lufthansa booth in hall 25.

The new product will enable Lufthansa to meet the requirements of many business and private passengers who travel with other airlines in a similar travel class or who fly Economy Class due to travel specifications. Following the 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. 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 five-star airline,” continued Bischof. “We expect to see more than 1.5 million passengers per year in our new Premium Economy Class.”

The new seats were designed in partnership with the company müller/romca Industrial Design in Kiel and produced by the seat manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz near Lake Constance. Depending on the aircraft type, they are up to 1.2 inches wider and provide greater privacy, as well as approximately 3.9 inches of more room on the side due to each seat having its own wide armrest and a centre console between the seats. The back rest can be reclined further and a seat pitch of 38 inches offers significantly more space.

As a result, passengers have approximately one-and-a-half times as much room as compared to Economy Class.

With a baggage allowance of two items weighing up to 50lb each, passengers can take twice as much free luggage with them compared to Economy Class. For an extra 25 euros, passengers can also enjoy the comfort of the Lufthansa Business Lounges before their departure. Previously, lounges were only open to status customers and were otherwise unavailable on a pay-to-enter basis.

Check-in and boarding procedures, as well as hand luggage regulations, are the same as in Economy Class.

An enhanced service awaits Premium Economy passengers onboard: 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 inflight entertainment program 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, which make them at least 2 inches bigger than the screens in Economy Class, depending on the aircraft type. A wide selection of magazines and newspapers complete the range of entertainment offered onboard.

Lufthansa Premium Economy Class is located within the cabin as a clearly identifiable, separate compartment between Business and Economy Class. It has a high-quality design and contains between 21 and 52 seats, depending on the aircraft type. Installation of the new travel class, which is to be carried out on a gradual basis, sub-fleet by sub-fleet, will begin this autumn and conclude in summer 2015.

The first sub-fleet to be fitted with the new seats will be the Boeing 747-8. Ticket prices in the new Premium Economy Class will be closer to Economy Class than Business Class – a return flight across the North Atlantic will cost an additional 600 euros on average.

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