Lufthansa has unveiled its new Premium Economy Class, at the International Travel Bourse (ITB) 2014 show in Berlin.
The airline’s new travel class will be bookable from May and will be available for travel from November, initially on the airline’s Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jets.
The new Premium Economy seats will be fitted throughout the entire Lufthansa long-haul fleet by summer 2015, according to the airline.
“Our Premium Economy Class will create a completely new travel experience that combines affordability with greater comfort,” said Jens Bischof, the member of the Lufthansa German Airlines board in charge of sales, product and marketing. “The seats offer up to 50 percent more room than Economy Class and will position us in a premium segment within the international competitive environment.”
According to Lufthansa, when it created its new flat-bed seat Business Class, the airline created a much wider gap between Economy and Business Class.
As a result, Lufthansa says there is now room in its service offering for the new Premium Economy Class, which offers more space and comfort as well as 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,” said Bischof.
“Following the upgrade of our First and Business Class, the installation of 3,600 [Premium Economy] seats on all 106 of our long-haul aircraft in just one year will mean another step towards becoming a five-star airline,” added Bischof. “We expect to see more than 1.5 million passengers per year in our new Premium Economy Class.”
Lufthansa designed the new seats in partnership with the company müller/romca Industrial Design in Kiel. Seat manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz, based near Lake Constance, is producing them.
Depending on the aircraft type in which they are installed, Lufthansa’s new Premium Economy seats are up to 1.2 inches wider and provide greater privacy than its Economy seats, as well as approximately 3.9 inches of more room on the side due to each seat having its own wide armrest and a center console between the seats.
The seat’s back rest can be reclined farther back and a seat pitch of 38 inches offers significantly more legroom. As a result, passengers have approximately one-and-a-half times as much room compared to Economy Class, according to Lufthansa.
Head rests can be set to the exact height desired and folded at the sides for added comfort and support. The seats also have height-adjustable foot rests from the second row back and – for technical reasons – leg supports with an integrated foot rest in the first row.
Each seat surround also has practical features such as a bottle holder, an electrical socket and more storage space for passengers’ belongings.
Premium Economy passengers will have a checked-baggage allowance of two items weighing up to 50lb each, twice as much free luggage as in Economy Class.
For an additional €25 ($34.34), Premium Economy passengers can also obtain access to Lufthansa Business lounges before departure. Until now, the airline’s Business lounges have only been open to status customers and have not been available to passengers on a pay-to-enter basis.
Check-in and boarding procedures, as well as hand-luggage regulations, are the same as in Economy Class.
Upon sitting in their seats, 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 seats.
Meals will be presented on menus commensurate with the new travel class and will be served on porcelain tableware, according to Lufthansa. The quality of food will be higher than in Economy Class, the airline says.
Each passenger can navigate the in-flight entertainment program using the touchscreen monitor on the seat in front. This can also be done using a remote control, which serves as a controller for video games as well.
The in-flight entertainment screens in Lufthansa’s Premium Economy Class will be 11 to 12 inches in diameter, at least 2 inches bigger than the screens in Economy Class, depending on the aircraft type. A wide selection of magazines and newspapers completes the range of entertainment offered onboard.
Lufthansa’s Premium Economy Class will be located within the cabin as a clearly identifiable, separate compartment between Business and Economy Class. It will have a high-quality design and will contain from 21 to 52 seats, depending on the aircraft type.
Ticket prices in the new Premium Economy Class will be closer to Economy Class than Business Class – a round-trip flight across the North Atlantic will cost an additional €600 ($824) on average, according to Lufthansa.