Lufthansa unveils its new ‘Allegris’ business class cabin – and we were there (Part 2)
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Yesterday, Lufthansa finally unveiled its new ‘Allegris’ cabin concept at an in-person event in Berlin. I was invited down to take a look.
There is so much to cover that I have split the article into two parts. Part 1, click here, looks at the new Lufthansa Allegris First Class cabin which is really something special.
This article looks at the new ‘Allegris’ business class seat. More precisely, it looks at the seven different Allegris business class seats.
Lufthansa’s new business class cabin
Things get a bit more complicated in business class, as Lufthansa will have seven (yes, seven) different seating options
- Business suites, including double suites, a ‘business plus’ offering in the first row which features sliding doors and additional privacy screens as well as more personal space
- Extra space seats, informally know as throne seats, which feature a much larger seat area
- Privacy seats, next to the window, with greater separation from the aisle
- Extra long bed seats, with 220cm of usable bed space
- Private bassinet seats, with integrated baby bassinet at seat level
- Double seats, with a collapsible centre console that allows you to be closer with your travel companion
- Classic seats, a ‘standard’ business class seat
You can see the variety of seats in the example seat map below:
Some seats, such as classic seats and those with bassinets, will be free to select. Others – such as the business suites and ‘throne’ seats (the solo seats in the centre block) – will only be available for advanced selection for a fee.
As you can see above, this is a low density seat. On the A350-900, for example, the current 48 business class seats will drop to 38. It is an interesting gamble by Lufthansa at the same time that British Airways has been reducing the size of its economy cabins to fit in more premium seats.
Only the Business Suite and extra space throne seat were on display at the event, but I also managed to view the entire cabin with the help of a virtual reality mockup.
First impressions are good. Allegris finally drags Lufthansa into the 2020s, with direct aisle access for all passengers and an end to the 2-2-2 layout still all too common on its older aircraft.
Praise where praise is due, this seat has been designed from the ground up. Rather than take an existing, off-the-shelf business class seat from one of the manufacturers, Lufthansa and its design team (Pearson Lloyd, who designed the original Virgin Upper Class seat) first designed their own seat before tendering it to manufacturers to integrate.
That means that, whilst nominally manufactured by Thompson which sells popular seats such as the Vantage and Vantage XL used by Virgin Atlantic, this is fundamentally a fully customised seat.
Lufthansa has gone for a staggered seating arrangement with alternating rows of 1-2-1 and 1-1-1, which is one of the reasons there are so many different seat types.
Unlike other airlines, Lufthansa has decided to lean into this by more clearly defining the benefits of each seat. It will be interesting to see how these are presented during the booking process, as I think this will either make or break the offering.
Like the First Class suites, all business class seats also feature in-seat cooling and heating, quite possibly the biggest innovation that the Allegris product generation is bringing to the table.
All the business class seats also feature a minimum 200cm long bed, with a cubby hole for feet which is now typical in most business class cabins.
Additional features include a pivoting touch screen with seat controls, although I’m told that going forward this will be a tethered tablet that can also be used as a second screen.
You’ll also get a personal air vent and reading light, as well as an ambient light. The seat will also continue to feature Lufthansa’s nifty glasses hook, which will keep your glasses out of the way whilst sleeping with no risk of slippage.
Wireless phone charging and Bluetooth connectivity are also standard. In-flight entertainment screen size varies from seat to seat, with throne seats and the business suites having the largest.
In bed mode the seat seems comfortable, although it’s always hard to judge properly until you spend a good eight hours or more in it. A bed extension fits neatly around the seat when flat, although the lack of padding means this isn’t as comfortable as it could have been.
The business suites obviously offer far more privacy, with a high seat surround that is much higher than on most business class seats, and about as high as you’d find on the Qatar Airways Qsuite.
What about a door?
One notably absent feature from most of the Allegris business class seats is a door. Whilst other airlines have been rushing to add privacy doors to seats over the past few years, Lufthansa has chosen not to, except for its front row business suites.
This is probably partly because this seat was designed before the mad rush of suites with doors hit the market. Early renders of this seat were released in 2017 when only a handful of carriers had seats with doors.
The design team at Lufthansa claim that doors are not actually a consideration for most passengers. According to their research passengers prefer additional space over a door, and anyone that does value that kind of privacy can pay to upgrade to one of the ‘business plus’ Business Suites in the first row.
In my personal view, this is a missed opportunity. Whilst the cabin still does a fairly good job of creating privacy, the lack of a door is a particular concern for standard aisle-side seats. This is where you’re much more likely to be accidentally disturbed by people passing through the aisle, particularly whilst you sleep.
Lufthansa has unveiled some impressive new seats across all its cabins which will transform the customer experience over the coming years.
Anyone worried, like I was, that we were going to get a 2017-era business class seat can rest easy thanks to the inclusion of the latest technology. This includes wireless charging, Bluetooth connectivity and USB-C ports.
The First Class suites are even more impressive with a genuinely luxurious offering and a unique double-occupancy cabin with true double bed thanks to the Suite Plus. This will be seriously competitive and has thrown down the gauntlet for BA’s next-generation first class product.
By far the most impressive feature is the in-seat heating and cooling for First and business class passengers. This is an aviation first and should give passengers even more customisation when it comes to seat comfort.
Overall, then, a good day for Lufthansa. The challenge now is to roll these seats out across the fleet as quickly as possible so that we can actually enjoy them.
(If you missed Part 1, looking at Lufthansa Allegris First Class, click here.)