Lufthansa may be having financial problems at the moment but most are self-inflicted. The list of problems is long, but high up the list was their failure to invest in a fully-flat business class seat.
I’m not sure which was most embarrassing – ordering brand new A380 aircraft with 15-year old sloping business class seats, or allowing airberlin to beat them in the race to go lie-flat?
The good news for Lufthansa flyers is that the conversion of the entire fleet to lie-flat business class seats is now due to be complete by mid 2015.
According to Lufthansa Flyer, and based on a meeting with Lufthansa management, the entire fleet should be done in 10 months or so.
Because Lufthansa does a good job of earmarking specific aircraft types for specific routes, you can already be fairly certain what you will get. By the end of 2014, only the Boeing 747-400 aircraft will be mainly ‘sloping’. Your odds of getting a flat seat will vary from 50% on an A340-600 to 100% on the new next generation Boeing 747-8i.
Once we get into 2015, the focus will switch to the 747-400’s with a view to getting all 105 long-haul aircraft converted by mid-2015.
(The photo above is of a Boeing 747-8i. Note the longer upper deck than a traditional 747-400. Lufthansa was the launch customer for this aircraft, and, edited as per the comments below – I think Korean Air and Air China are the only other customers to date for the passenger version. The biggest problem appears to be fuel economy, with Boeing’s own 787 performing better. Where the 747-8 does perform well is for cargo and this may end up being its major market.)