Lufthansa is known for a lot of things. Safety (it was named the safest airline in 2020 by Safe Travel), efficiency, being the biggest airline in Europe – die liste goes on.
Its “gleaming” HQ in Cologne, Germany, is also world-renowned.
What it’s not known for is philandering dwarves, epic battles and a throne so sought after it rips kingdoms apart.
This could, on a minor level, change in 2023.
Lufthansa is set to upgrade its aircraft with spanking new business class seats. This comes as part of a redesign that will give every premium passenger direct aisle access. It will also include ‘throne’-style seating in select locations.
This ‘throne’-style seating provides passengers with more space to spread out and work (and a longer bed).
You will have to shell out more for these ‘thrones’ than a standard business class seat.
There are conflicting reports as to when this upgrade will take place. Executive Traveller states it will come in 2023, while others (see: Business Travel News; One Mile At A Time) have reported it will be launched in 2022.
Right now we are still planning on introducing the new business class with the 777-9.
— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews) November 20, 2019
It’s still up in the air whether Lufthansa’s Airbus A350s or Boeing 777X’s will get the facelift first.
This upgrade was planned to happen in 2020 (and has been long-awaited) but has been delayed due to The Spicy Cough and its global knock-on effects.
Business-class bloggers are singing the new product’s praises, celebrating the German airline finally bringing its carriers in line with the expectations of The Modern Business Class Passenger (the type that has traded toasted sandwiches for chicken edamame salad, and fine wine for champagne slammers).
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The announcement comes amid acknowledgements from Lufthansa that the ongoing work from home revolution, which has been fast-forwarded massively by the pandemic, has forever changed the complexion of business travel.
In its 2020 annual report (published this month), The Lufthansa Group stated: “The assumption is that the growing acceptance of digital communications tools will be partly to the detriment of physical travel.”
The report showed the airline group, which includes Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines, made an operating loss for 2020 of €5.5 billion – the worst figure in its history.
Thanks to the pandemic kneecapping the travel industry, group revenue dropped to €13.6 billion in 2020, from €36.4 billion in 2019.
“Capacity at the group was 31 percent of 2019 and passenger numbers were 36.4 million, 25 percent of the figure from the previous year,” Business Travel News reports. “Average load factor was therefore 63 percent, 19.3 percentage points lower than 2019.”
“The group said it was making progress on cost reduction and had reduced headcount by 20 percent to 110,000 in 2020 and said it expected to reduce this by a further 10,000,” (Business Travel News).
Care for a sneak preview? Here’s a rendering of our new business class seat. More privacy & the best sleep! Every seat has aisle access, a special shoulder zone for side sleepers, and larger monitors. Comes 2020 with the @Boeing #777-9! #dreamscometrue pic.twitter.com/VsV9dW0XfA
— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews) November 23, 2017
The Lufthansa Group also said – despite the significant financial losses – the airline had been relatively successful: “Unlike competitors, who offer only point-to-point connections, the Lufthansa Group airlines were able to bundle the low traffic volumes at their hubs and thus maintain important connections.”
Carsten Spohr, the group’s CEO, said: “The past year was the most challenging in the history of our company – for our customers, our employees and our shareholders. Travel restrictions and quarantine have led to a unique slump in demand for air travel. Now internationally recognized, digital vaccination and test certificates must replace travel bans and quarantine.”
The Lufthansa Group is now focusing on sustainability and assessing how many of its 25-year-old plus aircraft will be mothballed.