A Surprise Ride in Lufthansa’s Premium Economy

i barely made my Lufthansa flight from Munich to San Francisco — but when i got on board the plane, i and two dozen of my friends were treated to a pleasant surprise! Lufthansa’s new Premium Economy class!

sidebar: SSSS at Munich Airport if you get the dreaded SSSS on your boarding pass from Munich, you can expect a very slow-going security screening, involving taking all electronics out of your bag (and powering them all on), a pornoscan, a pat-down with waistband search, a uhh, foot rub(?), and an explosives detection swab. they process people one by one but at least they give you a chair to sit on while you wait. by the by, Lufthansa has my TSA Known Traveler ID (via PreCheck, though they don’t participate in it) and i’m Star Alliance Gold. guess none of that mattered.

but yeah, there was a card waiting on the seat that said:

Welcome to the new Premium Economy Class
We would like to give you a special present today on your flight with Lufthansa: you are one of the first passengers to enjoy a new travel experience — Premium Economy Class with which, in future, we will be offering you more personal space and more comfort on long-haul routes. So that you can learn about its benefits now, we would like to invite you on a journey of discovery.

i did preselect a seat towards the very front of economy after i booked my flight and i thought it was odd last night when i was trying to check in (and even this morning on my connecting flights) that i couldn’t change it. now i know why! i’m not sure if they reshuffled elite passengers into Premium Economy or if the people who had seats towards the front got the upgrade, but if you’re on an A340-600 (and maybe the A380?) i suppose it wouldn’t hurt to call and get a seat towards the front of the economy section if you can.

there’s not much to say that pictures (and their website) can’t, so here goes:

the seat

the seat is definitely more comfortable than a normal economy seat. besides the extra legroom, the recline is greater and there is a footrest. it’s actually really comfortable when fully reclined with the footrest extended. there is also power at every seat, and the seatback monitors have USB ports in them for device charging. there’s a shot of the TV further below.

the legroom at the bulkhead isn’t too bad, although if you have a bag down from the overhead and the footrest up and out, it can be a bit squishy. these bulkhead seats have noticeably smaller TV sets than the non-builkhead seats (11″ vs 12″), but in any case, it’s a much MUCH improved system than the old economy screens. they are high-def and the maps are greatly improved (although erm, not functioning for most of our flight), and there are significantly more movies available than before (i’m not sure if regular economy has upgraded IFE as well?). a couple slightly annoying things: the map updates so often the numbers jump around — for example, the current distance to destination flickers between 4573/4752/4751/4750 miles multiple times a second. also, when there is a PA announcement, the entertainment does not stop so you can’t hear what’s being said. despite having the smaller monitor, the bulkhead row is definitely better than the rest because with the amount of recline, it’s quite comfortable to be able to put your feet on the calf rests and go slightly fetal, which is not really possible, despite the extra seat pitch, in the other rows.

oh, a tip for extending the bulkhead TV arm — press the TV in and it’ll pop out ready for you to lift up.

note that the bulkhead footrest does not extend downward in case you wanted to leave your leg fully extended, but i guess it’s at least better than the other rows where you don’t have calf/leg support at all.

the details

in addition to a pre-departure orange juice (with flecks of green stuff in it? sorry, i’m not classy enough to know what it is), you also get a bottle of water.

that leather bar serves to hold things into a shallow seat-side pocket.

the amenity kit has pretty standard stuff, but it comes in a super cute pouch; i love the leather accents.

you have to use the regular (downstairs[!]) economy lavatory, but that’s not a big deal.

the food

here’s the menu from the flight:

lunch was a definite step up from economy, especially the salad and dessert; the entree was less impressive. nonetheless, i gotta say, the apple crisp(? — definitely was not a brownie) was DELISH.

the pre-arrival dinner, on the other hand, was…for lack of a better word, gross. the chicken would have been ok if it weren’t for the odd polenta coating(?), and the rice was kind of mealy. 🙁 also, there was butter but no dinner roll given? harrumph.


i should note that as a German airline, they do have a pretty good selection of German music. i was listening to one of my favorite artists, Thees Uhlmann, with dinner. (if that name sounds familiar, it’s because i went to a concert in Hamburg that he took part in a couple years ago.)

a nice product

premium economy is a nice compromise between their economy and business classes. while i likely never would pay outright for it, if they price it right i can see it being a success. the food does require a bit of work, though. p.s. much better than SAS’s premium economy, but i did like their blanket and pillow.

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