New York Stories #2 – Comparing Lufthansa short-haul to BA’s new tighter leg-room

As I wrote yesterday in my initial article in this series, I am not planning to write a traditional series of trip reports from my travels in recent days.  I am going to focus on a few particular themes which I found interesting and topical.

There has been a lot of commentary in recent weeks about the new British Airways short-haul seating which is being rolled out.  In particular, the decision to reduce the seat pitch in Club Europe from 34 inches to 30 inchesBusiness Traveller recently reviewed the new seat on a flight to Kiev and were not over enthusiastic.

Lufthansa has been doing something similar for a number of years – although, in general, when other airlines start using Lufthansa as a role model then we really are in trouble!  This is the airline which decided to order its A380s with last-generation sloping seats in business class and has only just started introducing Premium Economy, a modest 15 years after Virgin pioneered it.

A Lufthansa A320 now has exactly the same number of seats – 168 – as the new British Airways A320 aircraft.  Logically the seat pitch should therefore  be the same.

This is how thin the Lufthansa seats are now – if you compare this to the current British Airways seat the difference is huge.  Look at how thin it is on the lower back:

20140712-092740-34060548.jpg

These are NOT the same seats that BA is installing, although they cannot be substantially different even though they are coming from a different manufacturer.

This is how my knees fitted in.  I am 6 foot 2 inches for comparison.  This is not terrible, by any means.

20140712-092609-33969629.jpg

As with the new British Airways seat, the magazine rack is moved to the top.  This creates a substantial amount of extra knee room

If you click on the Business Traveller review, you can compare my knees with Tom Otley’s knees in the new BA seat!  Tom is three inches shorter than me but he seems to be wedged in more tightly than I was.

All in all, despite what I imagine is an identical 30 inch seat pitch to the new BA seat, it was not entirely awful.  I was, however, travelling on my own.  If my kids had been with me, it would have been very difficult – for example – to lean forward and help them with their seat belts.

It is worth adding that my flight was totally full.  When I looked down the plane it was not pretty, to be frank.  With a very tight seat pitch and every seat taken you are really into cattle truck territory.  It was good to be at the front and with my blocked middle seat.

Finally, I leave you with a picture of what Lufthansa serves as a meal on a 5pm flight.  This was not bad at all – remember it was a domestic flight.  For the record, that huge bread roll was perfectly soft and fluffy inside unlike the standard BA offering!  On the other hand, I am not a massive fan of Luthansa short-haul breakfast which, unless it has changed in the last couple of years, remains a plate of cold meat.

20140712-092205-33725246.jpg

The next part of this series will explain how I was treated at the Hilton Munich City Centre hotel when I booked via hotels.com rather than directly …..

New fare deals: Qatar from Edinburgh, Vueling, Etihad from Paris
Is the Norwegian Gatwick to New York service really 'low cost'?
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. squills says:

    Bread looks good. In the UK, people have got too used to rubbish bread offerings and don’t complain enough about poor quality. Consequently the airlines make compromises. On my last BA flight we had a flat bread coronation chicken sandwich, the filling was OK but the bread was awful.

    I am looking forward to the summer out at Squills Towers – where the bread is fresh every day and what you would call proper bread. Proper tomatoes out there, too 😉 – something else you can’t find in the UK unless you grow them yourself.

    • Squills Towers sounds great……where is it?

      • squills says:

        Draw a circle with a radius centred on London, 2000kms long – we’re in there 😉

        Just a hot part of Europe, having some lovely rain these days so the garden will be green for once.

    • …Couldn’t agree more about bread offerings generally in the UK, also, the U.S.! Usually “pappy” & tasteless! Good bread makes a meal!

  2. Thywillbedone says:

    Flew Club Europe to Dubrovnik out of Gatwick a couple of weeks ago and I believe the seat pitch was 30 inches or close to it…not sure if the roll out has taken place yet but definitely not the usual 34 inches. Either way, with the really poor food offering on Club Europe and reduced pitch there is no sensible reason for booking Club Europe out of your own pocket. It is just Economy with a little extra elbow room.

    • Agree!

    • squills says:

      Especially as it seems you can’t reserve a European (stress EUROPEAN only) exit row seat (by paying) in advance of the free check-in – though high tiered BAEC members get a longer ‘free’ window than blueys.

      Am I right in this: T&Cs – Paid seating – Exit row seat requests are only available in our World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins (Exit Row seats available through online check in are for World Traveller customers only). Exit row seat requests are only available in our World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins (Exit Row seats available through online check in are for World Traveller customers only).

      Which would explain why in my last few BA check-ins I was easily able to find window exit seats, must say I was very hot on the check-in button 23 hrs & 59 seconds ahead of the flight 😉

      • squills says:
      • Chris Sutter says:

        “Especially as it seems you can’t reserve a European (stress EUROPEAN only) exit row seat (by paying) in advance of the free check-in”

        Wrong. Exit row seats on shorthaul do not differ in pricing from normal seats, that’s why they are not mentioned explicitly on that page, unlike longhaul where they are more expensive. Anyone can pay for an exit row seat on shorthaul, and the usual free window applies for BAEC members with status.

    • Ricardo says:

      How does the new seating on BA’s A320s compare to the pitch on the Embraers used out of LCY?

      • Andy Stock says:

        Seat pitch of the E190 is good, E170 slightly less. CE is a waste of time on from LCY, same leg room, no lounge, same 2 x 2 seating as ET.

    • Rich. S says:

      Seat pitch is 30″ throughout on the A319 -A320 aircraft taken over by BA from BMI.
      Many of these aircraft operate from Gatwick and the leg room is a joke for what us sold as business class.
      Row on the A320 G-MEDK doesn’t even have a window!
      Best seat in the house is the exit tow.

  3. Chris Sutter says:

    “These are NOT the same seats that BA is installing, although they cannot be substantially different even though they are coming from a different manufacturer.”

    Leaving the pitch discussion aside (and there I concur, 30″ is miserable), having experienced both, I couldn’t disagree more.

    There is a world of difference in comfort between the LH “camping chair” Recaros and the new BA Pinnacle seats, which have a solid seat back rather than the webbing on the Recaros.

  4. colibob says:

    Well if you’re 6ft2 then I feel a little happier about my upcoming flight. All 5ft 11.5in of me

  5. needroos says:

    OT: Can I flash my CX Gold card to get 32kg on BA and have QR on my booking or do I need to add my MP number on my boarding pass?

    • Flashing it should be OK. If they insist on changing it in your booking, just get the lounge ticket desk to reissue the boarding pass.

    • According to BA website:

      Executive Club Silver and oneworld Sapphire members

      A checked baggage allowance of two pieces in any World Traveller, Euro Traveller and Domestic cabin for the cardholder and any customer travelling on the same booking (excludes hand-baggage only fares and group rate bookings).
      A weight allowance of 32kg (71lb) per checked bag in any class of travel for the cardholder only.

      So, thats 2 bags for you at 32kg each? As well as 2 bags for other travellers on your booking (23kg). If i am reading it correctly.