Lufthansa Group Says It's Committed to Keeping First Class
TPG considers Lufthansa First Class one of the top products in the sky. Its large seat and stellar onboard service is matched by an amazing ground experience that includes top-shelf drinks and even being driven directly from the lounge to the aircraft in a Mercedes.
While other airlines are slashing their first class cabins and routes, including Asiana and Korean Air, the Lufthansa Group has committed to keeping its flagship product, said Heike Birlenbach, senior vice president of sales for Lufthansa Hub Airlines at Lufthana Group's annual leadership forum in New York City on Friday.
While the airline updates its fleet, it's still evaluating which aircraft will get First Class and which won't. In March, the airline group announced an order for 20 Airbus A350s and 20 Boeing 787s that will start to replace its Airbus 380 jumbos. It also has an order of 20 777-9s that will take the place of its aging 747-400s. Both Lufthansa's A380s and 747-8s have first class cabins, so there was some uncertainty whether the new aircraft would get first class, even as Lufthansa plans on installing a new and completely overhauled business class.
What Birlenbach said is that it's just a matter of how many aircraft will get first class installed, adding that the group, which owns Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines, Austrian and Eurowings, will be making a decision on that in the next few months. She said that both Lufthansa and Swiss First Class will stick around.
"There are certain destinations where there is definitely first class demand," said Birlenbach, adding that New York is one of the those cities, but noted that there are some other areas, like Canada, that has never had demand and probably never will.
One area where Birlenbach sees growth is premium economy. It's a class that attracts both business and leisure travelers and Birlenbach said that all Lufthansa Group will get the a new premium economy product.
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