1.98-metre long bed guarantees maximum sleeping comfort / Customers involved in development of the seat / 3-billion-euro investment in the new inflight product
The new Lufthansa Business Class seat boasts a horizontal sleeping surface measuring 1.98 metres in length. At the press of a button, it converts into a comfortable bed. The seat impresses with the exceptional comfort it offers as a flat bed or as an upright or reclining seat, with its intuitive adjustments, additional storage space and enhanced entertainment system. In a few weeks’ time, when the new Lufthansa Jumbo, the Boeing 747-8, enters scheduled service, passengers will have their first opportunity to enjoy the features of the new Business Class cabin.
“We integrated our customers very closely into the development of our new Business Class so we would be able to offer a product that was totally in line with their wishes and requirements,” says Jens Bischof, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board. Back in 2007 Lufthansa conducted a survey of more than 500 frequent flyers in order to find out their preferences and their requirements of a Business Class seat. With that as the starting point, the airline moved on to the next phase and developed various concepts with the aid of well-known ergonomics experts, designers and seat manufacturers. In 2010 an eight-week trial was conducted on the Frankfurt-New York-Frankfurt route. In all, 1,349 passengers and a specially recruited test crew evaluated the prototype on flights LH 400 and LH 401 in terms of comfort, ease of use and technical stability.
The outcome is a seat that meets the most discerning demands as regards seating and sleeping comfort. “The horizontal sleeping surface is a crucial factor for our passengers. This request was the focus for all our other considerations. In addition, we have improved very many details which, taken together, create maximum comfort,” Jens Bischof explains. These include ergonomically improved cushioning to ensure a high degree of comfort in a sitting or horizontal position, as well as lowerable armrests that provide more space in the shoulder area when lying down. Each sitting or horizontal position can be adjusted individually and continuously without the need for the passenger to stand up. In addition, each passenger has more surfaces to put things on and additional storage compartments on the actual seat.
Another novel feature is the innovative seating arrangement in the form of a “V”. Two neighbouring seats are angled towards one another along a central axis. This solution enabled Lufthansa to fulfil one of the main wishes expressed by customers – to sit or lie facing the direction of travel. This seating arrangement also enabled Lufthansa to virtually double the distance between two neighbouring seats at shoulder level, which in future will give Business Class passengers greater privacy.
The new Business Class seat is a major component of Lufthansa’s largest investment to date in its inflight product. Over the next few years, some three billion euros will be channelled into product improvements for passengers. The new seat rounds off the travel experience for Business Class passengers perfectly – from dedicated check-in counters and additional free baggage allowances to fast-track security lanes, access to Lufthansa lounges worldwide and preferential boarding through to exclusive inflight menus and the excellent service provided by the cabin crew. “All of that shows that we are offering our Business Class customers an exceptional experience at every step of the travel chain,” says Jens Bischof. Retrofitting Lufthansa’s entire long-haul fleet of more than 100 aircraft is expected to take four years.