New Premium Economy takes off
LUFTHANSA launched its new Premium Economy Class with a special flight last month.On board the Boeing 747-8 was the new Premium Economy Class with 32 seats. The aircraft, with the registration number D-AIYQ, is the first in the Lufthansa fleet to offer the new class of travel. Called the Schleswig-Holstein, the aircraft flew over the German region of the same name in a two-hour flight.“We have just seen a genuine premiere,” 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 December 1 – 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 10 per cent of the entire seating capacity on each wide-bodied aircraft. Over the next few months, Lufthansa will 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. Return flights to Washington DC are available from €1,199 ($1,199), while passengers to Beijing can enjoy the new travelling experience for €1,249 ($1,575). 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.