Lufthansa is rolling out its new ‘premium economy’ class on all flights to and from the Gulf this winter.
The German carrier is introducing the new cabins across its fleet, on all B747-8s, A380s, A330-300s, A340-300s/600s and B747-400s.
Located between business and economy, each premium economy area will contain between 21 and 52 seats, depending on the aircraft type, with a 38-inch seat pitch and a width of either 18 or 19 inches.
Premium economy passengers can be entertained on the touchscreen (11-12 inches), keep their gadgets charged through USB ports and electrical outlets and check in a second bag up to 23kgs. Lounge access is available at Lufthansa lounges for a €50 fee.
The airline’s regional director for Gulf, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan Karsten Zang was confident that its new premium economy offering, part of a €1m on-board investment, will enable it to be “more competitive” in the Gulf region. It will be installed on all 106 long-haul aircraft by mid-December.
“We want to make sure that the customer, regardless of which aircraft they’re flying, will have the same grade of service,” said Zang.
The airline is also unveiling a refreshed first class (eight seats that convert into 208cm long beds) and new-look business class whereby trays and trolleys are gone and passengers can order dishes when they want it, more akin to “high end restaurants”, a position taken by several Gulf carriers.
The good news for Dubai travellers is that the airline will soon open a “substantially bigger” lounge at the upcoming Concourse D for its first class, business class and Senator members.
The carrier isn’t taking its eyes off the other end of the market, however, and Eurowings (formerly Germanwings) will start three-times weekly flights from Cologne to Dubai International on A330s from December 17, not Al Maktoum International as previously stated.
A succession of pilot strikes have impacted operations but Zang insisted it is “quite efficient”. The airline makes sure most passengers’ bookings are changed before disruptions occur. “We don’t see a huge impact at the moment, but for sure, if it continues it could damage your reputation.”
The airline has 260 aircraft on order including 34 B777-9X and 25 A350-900s and the fuel-efficient Airbus planes will enter into service from next year.
Competition remains fierce with Emirates set to raise Munich to triple-daily next February. Realistically, Lufthansa’s premium economy won’t match Gulf carriers’ premium offerings but it will hope to target economy passengers looking for more space and privacy.
Earlier this week Singapore Airlines announced it will start premium economy flights from Dubai to Singapore next January.