Thursday 13 December 2018

Long and the short of new Lufthansa business cabin

The wider business class seat (foreground) and longer seats behind in the new-look class.
The wider business class seat (foreground) and longer seats behind in the new-look class.

Mark Evans

Lufthansa is following the likes of United's Polaris Class and Air France KLM with the introduction of direct aisle-access seats in its new-look business cabin.

It's the way forward, with no more clambering over a snoring fellow passenger to get out of your seat on a red eye flight.

Iberia's new business lounge at T4, Barajas
Iberia's new business lounge at T4, Barajas

What's different though is not every seat is equal - so it'll take a bit of investigation before booking when it comes into service.

There's a choice between seats, both with pros and cons, given the new configuration of 1-1-1 and 1-2-1. So every second row will have just one, not two, seats in the middle.

The single seat will offer a lot of width, elbow room and twice as much desk space as normal either side of your seat. But the trade-off seems to be in length - so if you're looking for a fully lie-flat seat - Lufthansa is saying up to 86.6 inches in length - it appears you'll have to share the middle space with another passenger. Well, you've got over a year to consider what's best as the new cabin won't roll out until 2020, beginning with Lufthansa's new Boeing 777-9 aircraft, and will most likely be retro-fitted to other aircraft types after that.

The new class looks interesting, with wireless technology to charge smartphones and tablets; large-screen full HD TV sets; and in-flight entertainment that can be controlled via a digital interface on your own phone or tablet.

Small touches are being rolled out next year, including new mattresses (previously just for first class), duvets and pyjamas and other, to-be-revealed innovations.

The Lufthansa Group operates up to 56 flights a week from Ireland, with the likes of Lagos, Shenyang, Tokyo and Beijing the most popular onward connections for Irish travellers.


- Iberia has upped its game at Madrid Barajas Airport, with a complete overhaul of its business lounge in Terminal 4. The new Velázquez Premium Lounge - overlooking the take-off and landing runways -should prove attractive to Irish travellers on long-haul connections via the Spanish building with the facility, which can hold 500 guests at a time in a space which is 25pc bigger than before.

Tech-wise it's offering the usual unlimited wifi, plus furniture with USB charging ports and will be introducing smart touch TVs informing of available services.

There's a traditional restaurant, plus a hot buffet area, with a healthy eating area also planned.

For the weary traveller, the showers, pictured, look smart, while if you want to unwind a bit further, the 'vinothècque' offers 22 Spanish regional wines -13 reds, eight whites, and one rosé.


- IAG boss Willie Walsh says Aer Lingus is eyeing up another 10 cities in north America - which is a huge plus for transatlantic businesses.

But Shannon Airport isn't in his thinking, he told Shannon Chamber of Commerce, which had questioned why more and more routes are going into an already squeezed Dublin Airport. His reply? "There is no way there would be sufficient demand in the local market to sustain a route to US destinations like Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia or San Francisco."

In short, there aren't enough Irish people to make those routes viable, and they depend on connecting traffic from the UK and Europe, hence Dublin's dominance. He said, however, that the airline is open to new regional services in Co Clare if it spots demand in the market.


- But there might be better news for the MidWest to the Middle East region. Cobalt Air, which flies direct year-round from Dublin to Cyprus, and onwards to Lebanon and Israel's Tel Aviv tech hub, is looking to add a regional Irish airport if so-far good load factors continue from Dublin - a Shannon executive is already off the mark, chasing the airline to secure a route.

Sunday Indo Business

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