For the first time in decades, Lufthansa will not offer a single flight to the USA with a first class cabin. The majority of its fleet with first class seating has been mothballed. But worry not: Lufthansa still has no plans to abandon first class.
Even During Pandemic, Lufthansa Still Commits To First Class
Zach Griff spoke to Bjoern Becker, Lufthansa’s Senior Director of Product Management for Ground and Digital Services. I see two important takeaways from the conversation.
First, first class is not going anywhere.
“First class will continue to be an integral part of the Lufthansa premium segment in the future, depending on the destination and market demand.”
With the entire Airbus A380 and A340-600 fleet grounded, a total of 31 aircraft with first class cabins, concern over the future of first class is not unfounded. Furthermore, Lufthansa still won’t formally commit to first class on its incoming 777-9s (we know the initial deliveries will not have a first class, though Lufthansa has apparently not made a decision on the later deliveries).
That leaves only 19 Boeing 747-8s with first class. And demand is so anemic Lufthansa is pulling them from Los Angeles and Chicago this winter, meaning not a single U.S. city will offer Lufthansa First Class service.
But every time Lufthansa is asked about first class, the answer is always the same: it is integral. I’ll take Lufthansa at its word and breathe a sigh of relief that it still sees a future for first class, even in the midst of the pandemic.
First Class Terminal Will Return
Second, the famed First Class Terminal and other first class lounges will be returning in due time. Becker noted, “Though it’s not yet time, the First Class Terminal will come back.”
Why hasn’t it opened? Becker’s explanation makes perfect sense:
“We need a certain number of guests to make it profitable. There are a ton of fixed costs to opening the terminal, including security, airside car transfers, valet parking services and more.”
It’s true. It’s not only Lufthansa staff, but security, immigration, chefs, waiters and waitresses, drivers, and cleaning staff…it takes a lot to run that terminal. With first class loads at 20% (ouch…), the numbers just don’t make sense.
Limousine service will also return, but Lufthansa has suspended that as well even from its A Gate first class lounge in Frankfurt, meaning if you are flying first class the best you can hope for is an escort or golf cart to the gate.
Lufthansa First Class will still be available this winter on the following Frankfurt routes:
- Buenos Aires
- Mexico City
- Sao Paulo
Hopefully by spring, demand will return sufficient to restore it to other routes.
But I am certainly breathing a sigh of relief that Lufthansa is not ready to cut first class as many other carriers have done.
> Read More: The Future Of First Class On Lufthansa
> Read More: Lufthansa Affirms Commitment To First Class, Hints At Private Suite