Lufthansa is set to operate the Airbus A340 between Frankfurt and Dublin on select flights from July. The widebody aircraft will see a three class aircraft operating on what is sold as a two class route.
Lufthansa was the launch customer for the A340, an aircraft which has seen a global decline in use. The Frankfurt to Dublin route is typically operated by Lufthansa’s A320 family aircraft. Indeed, as it is a short haul route, it seems strange that Lufthansa would schedule the A340 for such a route. The strange aircraft schedule was spotted by @IrishAero on Twitter.
Lufthansa’s A340 fleet
Lufthansa, along with Air France, was the launch customer of the Airbus A340. As such, Lufthansa is fairly fond of their A340s. Indeed, according to AirFleets.net the carrier currently has 28 A340s active in their fleet. This is split between the -300 and -600 variants, as the carrier’s -200s have been retired.
The main difference between the two aircraft variants is their layout in the Lufthansa fleet. Indeed, the airline’s 12 A340-300 aircraft are all outfitted with a three-class configuration. This comprises Business, Premium Economy, and Economy. By contrast, the 16 A340-600 aircraft have a four class interior. Interestingly, the A340-600 aircraft have a toilet area accessed by descending a staircase in the economy cabin.
Frankfurt to Dublin
Those who were excited to learn about the cargo hold toilet will be disappointed that it will not be found on the route between Frankfurt to Dublin. In fact, this route will be operated by the Airbus A340-300 with a three-class configuration. This also means those hoping to fly in First Class by booking row 1 will also be disappointed.
On Wednesdays from July 3rd, the Lufthansa A340 will start serving the cities on LH978 and LH 979. The flight schedules for the route is as follows:
- LH978 is set to depart from Frankfurt at 0955 local time. Following a two hour five-minute flight, it is due to land in Dublin at 1100.
- LH979 will depart Dublin at 1210. After another two hour and five-minute flights, the flight touches down back in Frankfurt at 1515.
Huge experience upgrade
Passengers onboard the A340 are set for a huge experience upgrade. Those in business class will be able to utilise reclining beds, although how useful this would be on a 2 hour day flight is yet to be seen. Of course, the business class cabin has nothing on the new Boeing 777X Lufthansa business class product.
For those in economy, there is the chance of sitting in premium economy. The premium cabin has a 2-3-2 layout, while economy is 2-4-2. There’s no word on if passengers will be charged extra for the premium cabin, however, we have asked Lufthansa.
When approached about the A340 schedule, Lufthansa confirmed that it was not an error, adding that business passengers can use first class if available at no extra cost, and economy passengers can use premium economy on a first come first served basis. The airline’s full comment was:
“Due to operational reasons Lufthansa will operate between July and October 2019 a long haul aircraft on a few flights within continental Europe. Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft will operate on a few selected flights with high demand all from Frankfurt to Dublin (DUB), Lisbon (LIS), Vienna (VIE) and on the intercontinental route Cairo (CAI). These aircraft will replace the usual continental A320 fleet.”
“For our passengers this is a good news, because they will benefit from more space in the cabin and long-haul seats in Business and Economy Class. The fares and booking classes remain unchanged. Economy Class passengers can also fly in Premium Economy seats at no extra charge, these seats are also available for pre-reservations. The same applies to Business Class passengers flying on Airbus A340-600, who can also reserve seats in First Class with their tickets. The standard catering for these flights remains unchanged.”
Future of the A340
While it looks as though Lufthansa has no plans to scrap their A340s soon, the aircraft is generally being shunned in favour of newer models. The A340 was originally envisioned to operate long water crossings avoiding ETOPS restrictions. This is the reason for the four engines on each aircraft.
However, ETOPS restrictions have generally become more relaxed with the increased reliability of engines. The latest aircraft can fly 330 minutes from a diversionary airport. Only a small portion of Antarctica is outside this range.
Additionally, two-engined aircraft are generally much more fuel efficient. In an age where fuel prices are on the rise, many are looking to replace these aircraft with their two-engined counterparts.
Do you want to fly on the Lufthansa A340 between Frankfurt and Dublin? Let us know in the comments!
Updated 9th May at 13:20 with Lufthansa Statement