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!

Lufthansa Premium Economy

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.

Lufthansa Premium Economy

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.

Lufthansa Premium Economy

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.

Lufthansa Premium Economy

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.

Lufthansa Premium Economy

Lufthansa Premium Economy

Lufthansa Premium Economy

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.

Lufthansa Premium Economy

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:

Lufthansa Premium Economy

Lufthansa Premium Economy

Lufthansa Premium Economy

Lufthansa Premium Economy

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.

Lufthansa Premium Economy

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.

Lufthansa Premium Economy

 

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.

18 Comments on "A Surprise Ride in Lufthansa’s Premium Economy"

  1. Nice man! That’s always a nice surprise. The seats do look comfy and I’m glad it’s a true premium economy product. The food is to be expected as I don’t find their J class food any better than this.

    • Haha yeah it’s been a while since I flew their longhaul J (thanks to op-up!) but shorthaul J was very unimpressive food-wise. But yeah, otherwise I really like this product!

  2. Giddy for Points | December 22, 2014 at 7:11 am | Reply

    Great write up…the seats do look nice! Since I fly economy all the time, hope I’ll get a chance to experience this too 🙂

  3. Raj Balasubramanian | March 13, 2015 at 9:27 am | Reply

    Just flew round trip LAX-FRA-BLR in Lufthansa Premium Economy.

    Awesome experience–definitely worth the extra $500 we paid over Economy.

    Almost no jet lag when we got to India, so we were able to get a lot done that 1st day.

    Return flight BLR-FRA was regular 744 without PE, but Lufthansa upgraded us to Business Class FOR FREE!!!

    Though it was old LH J class with angled flatbeds, my mother slept soundly & awoke fully refreshed for breakfast.

    Our PE Asian Veg meals were excellent, even if they might have been the same as Y class. For our J meals, we got larger portions, extra courses, and a choice of naan + paratha + Western breads, all created by a 5-star chef team–along with linen hot towels, tablecloths, napkins.

    In J, we got a variety of welcome drinks, including sparkling wine, but the orange mango juice offered in PE from LAX was unbeatable and the orange juice with mint pulp from FRA was neat.

    Certainly PE is awkwardly sandwiched between 2 Y cabins on some LH 747-8Is (SeatGuru version 4), like the ones on 3 of our 4 sectors.

    PE passengers had to compete with Y pax for 2 nearby bathrooms because there was no truly separate PE cabin, but Y pax did not try to steal amenity kits, nor try to bum rush their way into empty PE seats on FRA-BLR–and there were zero PE seats left between LAX + FRA due to inflight upgrade sales.

    LH can easily remedy this by simply expanding PE into the misplaced front Y cabin and by installing curtains at the rear of the current PE space. Demand will be heavy no doubt for these extra PE seats.

    LH must also provide priority check-in and boarding for PE pax, though we improvised by making our own PE queue at LAX and taking advantage of senior-citizen preboarding in FRA.

    Overall, flying LH PE between LAX and BLR is, for us, an obvious must-do. No other airline offers PE on all sectors for our journey. And we want an affordable PE class, with an emphasis on both “premium” and “economy “–not a pricey “Business Lite” option.

    • nice!!! sounds like a great experience — and thanks for sharing! i agree PE is really oddly-placed. i’m sure they had their reasons for it, but yeah, it’s weird. and $500 doesn’t sound like a lot for an upgrade from California to India, especially if it gets you there refreshed (AND an op-up to Business!).

      thanks again for sharing!

  4. Based on my seat and the “seat availability” map it seem I’m about to enjoy this from ORD to MUC tonight – question: Did you keep the entire amenity pouch – or do they ask for it back minus the contents? On a A340-600 in seat 25C, and the entire F “column” is missing until row 31 so pretty sure I’m on: //www.lufthansa.com/mediapool/pdf/79/media_1605747479.pdf?blt_p=US&blt_l=en&blt_t=Info_and_Services%25252525253EFlightInfo&blt_e=Content&blt_n=Our%20long-haul%20fleet&blt_z=Airbus%20A340-600%20(8%20F%2F%2056%20C%2F%2028%20E%2F%20189%20M)

  5. My comment is more a question if you care to respond regarding the PE seats on the Lufthansa A 380.
    Are the seats made of a fixed shell which does not recline except the inside where you slide forward or is it the normal standard seat which reclined like the ones in regular economy except may be more?

    Thank you

    • hi nicolas — as i recall the seat back actually did move (like regular economy), but it’s also entirely possible the seat pan moved forward as well.

  6. Hi. Thanks for posting the review I will be flying on the 747-400 and have an option between seat 24D and 26C. 24 is appealing because no one reclines into me – and there is the leg rest – but I am concerned about the legroom. Is it restricted as they say on seat guru? I’m 5ft 10in. Also, is the leg rest comfortable?
    For Row 26, I have read reviews that once the person in front of you reclines it can get pretty cramped. Which seat would you advise me to select. I have searched for a response for a long time and can’t get any. Thanks in advance.
    Here is the seat map: //www.seatguru.com/airlines/Lufthansa/Lufthansa_Boeing_747_400_V4.php

    • hi lisa! i haven’t flown on the 747 in premium economy but i would assume that the legroom is likely similar to the one on the A346 and the 747-800 — here’s an image of the latter. //wpmedia.business.financialpost.com/2015/11/1120premium.jpg?quality=60&strip=all&w=1280

      if you use the legrest (and put your feet on the foot bar), i’m pretty sure it shouldn’t hit the bulkhead? there should be enough space? regarding the legrest, it wasn’t the most comfortable i’ve ever used, iirc, but it’s certainly better than no legrest!

      i guess if it were up to me, i’d pick the bulkhead because i don’t like having people recline into me either. i’m a smidge over 5’8″, for what it’s worth.

      have a good flight!

  7. Hi Jonathan,

    thanks for the review. I will be flying from Hong Kong to Frankfurt on a A340-600: //www.lufthansa.com/content/dam/lh/documents/discover-lufthansa/lufthansa-fleet/346/201809_A346_8-56-28-189B.pdf

    Is this the same seat constellation you had? I will be also flying Premium Economy and I do not know which seat to take. On some pages they write that the seats behind / next to the exit have limited legroom, which I do not understand since it is an exit row seat and on pictures it seems like there is more legroom than usual Premium Economy seats. Which seat would you suggest exactly?
    Besides in row 26 in the middle there is a family seat, is this less favorable?

    Looking forward to your help.

    • hi there! i think this was the same layout — where the first row of premium economy is an exit row. i definitely felt like i had a good amount of room, and i do prefer bulkheads because there’s no one in front. and i agree, it does seem like there is more room in these exit rows, right?

      in any case, it looks like the last row of premium economy has a extra legroom, so if that’s a concern, maybe you can snag one of those? i think the family seat is for people who have infants so there’s always a chance you may have a infant and a cradle attached to the bulkhead wall.

      in any case, i wonder how row 31 is, with the extra legroom?

      have a great flight!

      • Hi!

        Thank you for your quick reply. I did not get any notification, (got the e-mails in my spam file :/)
        The last row 31 is an economy seat with additional legroom, thus no premium economy.
        What I did not understand was, why they were claiming in some reviews that the first row of premium economy has less legroom than the other rows of premium economy.

        Nevertheless I will now book the first rows, if possible 🙂

        Thank you!

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