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Lufthansa‘s 1st Dreamliner brings more inconsistency to business class

Aug. 31, 2022
6 min read
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Lufthansa just added a new aircraft type to its fleet, and yet the latest jet still doesn’t sport the airline’s much-anticipated new business-class product.

The German flag carrier took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, registered D-ABPA, on Tuesday, Aug. 30. The plane left Boeing‘s production facility in Everett, Washington, on Monday at 4:38 p.m. and flew for nine hours and 34 minutes to the airline's hub at Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

This is the first of 32 Dreamliners that Lufthansa is adding to its fleet. In fact, the entire Lufthansa Group, which consists of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines, has a stacked order book of new long-haul jets, ranging from the Airbus A350 to the Boeing 777 to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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While we don't yet know exactly how many of these planes are going to fly with Lufthansa's livery, one thing is certain: There is going to be a lot of inconsistency in the premium passenger experience on the airline in the meantime.

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Lufthansa Boeing 787 business-class product

Why will there be discrepancies in what passengers experience? The first batch of Dreamliners, along with four new A350s Lufthansa took delivery of late last year, both feature interim business-class products that look nothing like the underwhelming seats Lufthansa has historically offered.

Lufthansa picked up this newest batch of Dreamliners as "white tails," meaning that they were originally supposed to fly for other airlines. The carrier likely got a great deal on the jets. Plus, the airline was able to get some pretty early delivery slots, especially considering that Dreamliner deliveries just resumed in the past few weeks after a nearly two-year halt due to quality assurance concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration.

LUFTHANSA

Since the airline may have opportunistically picked up new Dreamliners, they seem to feature the business-class product of the original intended recipient, Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines.

Lufthansa promises “an improved business class" that features "direct access to the aisle," so it's likely that the planes will feature the well-above-average Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat, which is what Hainan Airlines had ordered. Although the seats will seemingly be the ones ordered by Hainan, Lufthansa promises that it will add its own branding and touches to the cabin over the next few weeks.

Etihad's A350 features a modified Collins Super Diamond business-class product. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

This situation is similar to how Delta recently outfitted its first batch of used Airbus A350s that it picked up from LATAM. While the planes still feature the old LATAM cabins and seats, you wouldn't know it from the moment you stepped on board — Delta added its color scheme and branding touches throughout the jet.

After Lufthansa's interior modifications are complete, the Dreamliner will fly its inaugural flight Oct. 19 from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to Munich Airport (MUC), according to the airline's Instagram account. Later this year, the airline will bring the 787 to Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) for its long-haul debut.

Lufthansa Airbus A350 business-class product

Lufthansa added some more Airbus A350s to its fleet late last year. The airline was already flying the A350 at that point, but it found an opportunity to quickly (and likely at a good price) add some more to its fleet in short order.

These specific planes were previously used by Philippine Airlines, and Lufthansa didn't retrofit the cabin interiors with new business-class seats. Instead, it put seat covers with its signature blue, white and orange color palette throughout the cabin.

SAS Airbus A350 business class. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

The seat itself is a staggered Thompson Vantage XL product, which is similar to what you'd find on SAS A350s.

The rest of Lufthansa's long-haul fleet features an outdated business-class product in a 2-2-2 configuration, meaning some passengers along the windows do not have direct access to the aisle.

Lufthansa's current business-class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. RYAN PATTERSON/THE POINTS GUY

In the meantime, if you're looking for the best onboard experience with Lufthansa, you'll definitely want to fly on a Dreamliner or one of the ex-Philippine Airlines Airbus A350s.

New business class is finally coming

All this inconsistency in the premium-cabin experience comes as the airline finally gears up to roll out its much-anticipated new business class. Back in 2017, Lufthansa unveiled a new business-class product for its long-haul fleet that was supposed to debut on the Boeing 777-9.

LUFTHANSA

Unfortunately, however, Boeing‘s newest 777 variant has now been delayed until 2025, at the earliest, so Lufthansa is instead going to launch its new business class next year on newly delivered A350s and Boeing 787s. Until then, you'll want to be especially prudent about monitoring your Lufthansa flight to see which business-class experience it'll offer.

I've compiled a handy jet-by-jet guide below to make it easier to determine the configuration you'll find on your next Lufthansa flight.

Airbus A380

All outfitted with 2-2-2 business-class product.

Airbus A330

All outfitted with 2-2-2 business-class product.

Airbus A340

All outfitted with 2-2-2 business-class product.

Airbus A350

Most outfitted with 2-2-2 business-class product.

However, four A350s are in the special "35S" configuration, which features the ex-Philippine Airlines seats in a 1-2-1 layout, You'll find the registration codes for these unique A350s below:

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

First batch to feature an "improved" business class. Beginning in 2023, some Dreamliners will sport Lufthansa's signature new business-class seats.

Boeing 777

All will feature Lufthansa's signature new business-class product when delivered.

Boeing 747

All outfitted with 2-2-2 business-class product.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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