Forget Premium Economy, Lufthansa Is Considering Premium Business

Lufthansa is expecting its first Boeing 777-9 in about a year, hopefully. With this aircraft comes a brand new business class product, as the airline revealed towards the end of last year. However, along with the new product comes a brand new concept… and it shall be called, premium business.

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Coming on the 777X – premium business? Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa’s premium dream

We’ve seen endless amounts of unbundling of services at the back of the plane, and even some airlines beginning to unbundle business class offerings. At the same time, we’re seeing a proliferation of premium economy, giving a little bit extra to the discerning coach class flier. However, Lufthansa is rumored to be considering a brand new product that no other airline has yet considered. Premium business.

A report in the Aero Telegraph claims that, along with the stunning new business class product due to arrive on its Boeing 777X, Lufthansa will introduce a new business class tier too. With no first class cabin on board this shiny new aircraft, the airline is contemplating making a ‘first class-like’ product within the business class cabin itself.

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Lufthansa’s business class looks nice, but what about something better? Photo: Lufthansa

Passengers opting for this so-called ‘premium business’ product will not only be met with a better seat, but also with superior food, bedding and service. In the business class cabin. While their neighbor has to make do with the ‘standard’ business

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Where will these premium business class seats be?

When Lufthansa revealed the new business class cabin set to appear on D-ABTA, its first Boeing 777-9, one thing was clear; it’s going to be a huge improvement. Direct aisle access from every seat is becoming the must-have in premium cabins, and Lufthansa have obliged by choosing a 1-1-1 and 1-2-1 alternating configuration in business.

The interesting thing about this particular layout is that, every second row or so, the configuration allows for one mid-cabin seat with no neighbors. Not only does this seat have more privacy due to its isolated nature, it also has way more real estate, thanks to featuring the side console on both sides of the seat.

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The ‘throne’. Photo: Lufthansa

The copious amounts of space provided have afforded such seats the title of ‘the throne’. It is these seats that will become premium business, if that happens at all.

Flying the throne

Of course, Lufthansa isn’t alone in offering a throne seat in certain cabin configurations. SWISS has throne seats on its Boeing 777-300ER, Malaysia Airlines on its A330 and A350 and even British Airways has nine thrones on its long haul configured A321.

The difference here is that Lufthansa has deliberately made the throne seat a part of its cabin configuration. Whereas Malaysia Airlines’ A350 has just four throne seats out of 35 business class seats, and SWISS just 12 out of 62 on its 777-300ER, Lufthansa’s appear every second row.

The other big difference, clearly, is that Lufthansa plans to charge a premium for these seats. In many cases, you can fly the throne seat on other airlines simply by making a good seat selection at booking. Although SWISS have started to charge a premium for the privilege.

Lufthansa hasn’t said how many thrones will be available on its 777-9, but we can get some idea from Boeing’s preliminary layout diagram:

Boeing 777X layout
The preliminary layout for the 777X. Image: Boeing

In this, the manufacturer suggests a standard two-class would have 42 business class seats in a crazy 2-3-2 layout and through seven rows. Clearly, Lufthansa are developing a better layout than this, but will still want to keep the economy load high. We’d assume there will be perhaps eight or nine rows accommodated, which would leave roughly four or five throne seats available.

Whether these plans to present a different choice of business class come to fruition remain to be seen. However, it’s an interesting concept.

Would you pay more to fly ‘premium business’, or would you feel conspicuous getting better treatment than your neighbor? Let us know in the comments!

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Sam Rittler

Premium business? Isn’t that just first class?

Pingy

Considering that LH business class is worst in Europe, their ‘premium business’ will be just what other airlines call ‘business’

John

My bet is that is related to the FA Union contract. An AA FA told me that if they put a curtain between PE and E, it would become a seperate premium cabin, and would require additional senior crew. This allows them to still have the more junior FAs in E, and be responsible for PE meals as well. The distinction between Premium Business and First would be that there would likely be a “monument” and curtains separating the two. By calling the throne seat Premium Business, they can charge for a higher class of service with superior hard and… Read more »

ROBERT TOD

Even if they were to charge 50% premium for “Throne” seats they would generate 50% less revenue than selling 2 side-by-side business seats. If someone is going to want to pay an additional 50% (or more) for “Premium Business” then they would want to be in their own dedicated cabin – this defeats the integration of First & Business within a single cabin. Since business class across the industry has gotten so much better in more recent years, if a carrier really wants to delineate between business and premium business (or 1st, in which case why even call it Premium… Read more »

John

Lufthansa is actually only losing 6.25% gross J revenue here compared to not having a throne seat. A Staggered J 1-2-1 is about equivalent in space to a 2-4-2 arrangement where everyone lays flat next to each other. Here they are alternating between 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 layouts. This is about equivalent to a 2-3-2, if the seats were aligned rather than staggered. In each set of 2 rows, they are having 7 seats instead of 8. A 50% premium would mean that their sales are roughly 7.5 seats worth. This is 93.75% of the typical revenue. Compared to seats like… Read more »

Rob Chambers

As a frequent flier I do around 100 flights per year with 3 to 4 different airlines Air New Zealand in economy has seat and bag only or the Works so I’m watching TV eating and drinking while your neighbor could be drinking water watching the back of the seat and eating their own food it’s what you pay for

Sundeep Kapadia

Brilliant idea…why don’t they call it FIRST Class?

Emmanuel

Isn’t it these future businesses class seats that give to LH the five start rating at Skytrax ??

Henning

Finnair has 3/4 of those Throne Business Class seats on their A330-300, and they dont charge anything extra for those seats.
The industry standard for business class layout on long haul wide body jets is a 1-2-1 layout with direct aisle access. Anything less than this is seen as an inferior product. The throne seat is just an ordinary business class seat with a small table on both side of the seat, I don’t think many people would pay more than an ordinary business class ticket just to get that extra table, it’s not a first class product.

John Rogers

Prepared to pay more.

Jps pretorius

No why must the customer always pay more and the airlines cant help the customers with better prizes then thy will fly more.I think lufthansa must get a better customer service because its very very bad because I had complains last year and they did nothing about it. Still waiting for answers

Andie

Yeah…no. Just keep the regular business seats flat, lower the lights after take-off, and I’m good…

Sam

Umm…. this already exists. It is called British Airways First Class, Malaysia Business Suite, or even American Airlines Flaagship First – all of which are just minor evolutions of their business class products.

On many aircraft Korean Airlines First Class is the same exact seat as business class on the same aircraft (Apex Suites), but with better service, food and amenities.

There is nothing innovative here from Lufthansa.