Lufthansa is set to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and we now have a better idea of what the business class seat onboard will look like, at least for the first few aircraft deliveries. While the seat itself will represent a substantial upgrade for consumers, predictable Lufthansa is suddenly becoming quite unpredictable in terms of offering a consistent business class product.
Predictable Lufthansa Becomes Unpredictable When It Comes To Business Class
A few months ago, whatever Lufthansa long-haul aircraft you flew featured the same business class seat. The proprietary seat was designed by PearsonLloyd, manufactured by B/E Aerospace, and debuted in 2012. A330? Same seat. A340? Same seat. A350? Same seat. 747-400? Same seat. 747-8? Same seat.
While not a passenger favorite, at least you knew what you were getting. Couples enjoyed these seats because the V-shaped configuration meant it was easy to converse with your seatmate (your feet were also just inches from your neighbor).
Then along came additional A350 aircraft featuring the Thompson VantageXL seat that Lufthansa acquired from Philippine Airlines. These are considered superior seats because they offer more room and privacy to solo travelers.
Now comes a subfleet of 787 Dreamliners that will likely feature Safran Cirrus reverse herringbone seats. Lufthansa is obtaining some Dreamliners that were intended for Hainan.
Next year, it will begin receiving factory fresh Dreamliners, which will feature its long-rumored new business class seat. Future A350 and 777 deliveries will also feature the new seat.
So in a matter of a year, Lufthansa will go from having one business class seat type to four.
What is this, Turkish Airlines? (the carrier is notorious for offering different aircraft configurations on the same plane type, particularly the A330)
That is not an inherent problem, but Lufthansa needs to do a great job of managing expectations from the start. While flights may always be subject to last-minute aircraft swaps, consumers should have a good idea of what to expect onboard and Lufthansa should make every effort to stick to the configuration from which the flight was sold.
Lufthansa will soon go from having one business class product to four. Managing expectations will be an important part of moving from a model of consistent expectations to one of more uncertainty. That makes offering a consistently stellar onboard soft product all the more important.
top image: Lufthansa