Julia Buckley, CNN
A private cocoon up in the sky, with even your own heating system that you can turn up and down at whim? That’s what’s on offer in the latest groundbreaking new first class suite unveiled by an airline.
For once, though, it’s not a Middle Eastern airline laying on the glitz. Astonishingly, this new suite will be fitted in Lufthansa’s planes, in a bid to compete with the fancier offerings on the long-haul market.
The new Lufthansa Allegris long-haul product will transform the airline’s long-haul routes, with 2.5 billion euros ($2.65 bn) to be invested into the project by 2025. Changes are being made to all four cabin classes: economy, premium economy, business and first class.
Of course, though, the major changes are being made at the pointy end.
First class is, unsurprisingly, the most exciting. Seats in what the airline calls “First Class Suite Plus” are nearly a meter (3′ 3″) wide, with a personalized heating system so that guests can turn the temperature up or down to their personal preference.
They also get a wardrobe, a whopping great dining table and wooden sliding doors to pretend they’re the only ones on the plane.
Business class passengers have little to complain about, either. They also get a private suite, though it’s rather less intimate than those in first class. Walls are a mere chest height in business, meaning anyone walking past can still get a look at them. These suites also get their own wardrobe and minibar, and passengers can also set their own temperature. These seats have “shoulder sink-ins” — allowing side sleepers to sink their shoulders deep into the seat. First class, naturally, has the same.
That’s where the standard product ends. From there, business class passengers have a bewildering choice of seating. There are no fewer than seven seating options to pick from.
Do you want an extra-long bed — 220 centimeters (over seven feet) instead of a mere two meters? Extra space for working in, with a big table and bigger (27 inch) TV? A bassinet for your baby? A window seat with a “high degree of privacy” or a fancy front row space? Or are you traveling in a couple and fancy connecting suites that can be turned into what’s effectively a double bed in your own private cabin, by removing the barrier between the seats? Lufhansa has got you.
“Every guest has their own understanding of premium, which is why we focus on maximum individuality and exclusivity,” said CEO Jens Ritter in a statement.
Although having seven different types of seat (which presumably will command different prices — yes, a window seat will cost more than a regular aisle) might take some wrapping your head around, passengers can at least be grateful for the change. On some of its planes, Lufthansa still has two abreast configurations in business class, forcing window seat passengers to clamber over their neighbor on the aisle. At least that won’t be happening with Allegris.
Sadly, if you can’t afford to shell out on your very own suite, the experience will be rather less life-changing.
Premium economy seats will be hard shell — meaning that if the person in front of you reclines, it won’t reduce your leg room, or change the position of your TV, as the seat slides down within its own casing. Seat pitch is also improved a little, at nearly 40 inches.
As for economy passengers, Lufthansa promise an increased seat pitch but it’s still a measly 79 centimeters (31 inches). Seats in the first rows get slightly more room — 86 centimeters (nearly 34 inches), and you can also pay to block the seat next to you to stretch out width ways.
The Allegris product will be rolled out on more than 80 new aircraft: Boeing 787-9s, 777-9s and Airbus A350s, according to the airline. Lufthansa’s current aircraft will be retrofitted, replacing more than 27,000 seats across the fleet — its largest modernization in the company’s history.
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