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LH Or UA For Longhaul Business Class?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:49 pm

Hey Everyone,

I'm looking to book a trip to Italy this winter using miles and have narrowed the trans-Atlantic leg down to two options: LH business class on either a A333 or B744 (so, the "old" business class) or United on the B777 (new configuration). This is my first time flying business class so I'm not entirely sure what to expect and would appreciate your inputs on what the better experience is overall (hard and soft product). And for LH, is there any difference between the A333 and the B747-400?

I've flown both airlines in economy and tend to prefer Lufthansa, but I understand that United's business class is newer and features fully-flat seats.

Thanks for sharing your opinions and experiences!

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RE: LH Or UA For Longhaul Business Class?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:43 pm

Well, the A330 are the first aircraft to be refitted with the new business class seats:

The new Lufthansa Business Class is currently available in the Boeing 747-8 from Frankfurt and in three A330s flying out of Munich. The retrofitting of the entire Lufthansa long-haul fleet will take place gradually over the next four years.

If you're feeling extremely lucky, you can give it a shot and hope you'll end up on one of those three. If you decide in favour of the LH 744 to FRA, you'll be able to use their "Welcome Lounge" if time permits - it is in a public area, so your connection shouldn't be too tight. You can only use it if you've arrived on a LH flight, codeshares excluded.
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RE: LH Or UA For Longhaul Business Class?

Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:11 pm

Even with the older product I still prefer LH over UA in J. The seat works fine for the time it takes to cross the pond. It's the food, service, etc. with LH that has always stood over UA for me. Plus either way I stay in *A.
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RE: LH Or UA For Longhaul Business Class?

Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:23 pm

If this is your first trip in business class, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and how much easier it makes flying. Both are good.

I’ll break it down.

On the ground: Equal

You’ll likely end up with virtually the same service as the two airlines handle each other at almost all their airports. You’ll get basically the same check in staff and same lounge access. I prefer UA’s boarding process over LH’s. I think UA is a bit more organized in my opinion.

Airplane comfort: UA wins

UA wins completely on comfort with their seat. It is very comfortable if you get the window/aisle pair. The actual seat cushion width is about the same, but UA goes fully flat which is more comfortable for sleeping, but also relaxing. The PTV on UA is also bigger on the pre merger UA 777s. I find it a bit easier to step out of the window seat if you lower your footrest on the UA seat over the LH seat since you have a bit more space to stand up.

There is the perception of being narrow since it is 8 abreast on the premerger UA 777 and 6 on the premerger CO 777 (I assume you are on a UA 777). The actual seat cushion isn’t narrower, but you’ll find that UA sequeezed out all the storage spaces when designing the seat. You have no where to put anything. You can’t even store a book for takeoff and landing. No storage is the UA seat’s problem.

As far as the rest of the airplane goess, I think the 777 and A330 are equal on comfort. On the LH 747 you can get a business class seat in the nose which is somewhat interesting.

Food: Equal

UA upgraded its business class food to match the first class choices. Lufthansa has always had relatively good catering. I think it is relatively on par with Lufthansa. I don’t have a fine enough palette to tell the difference between wine offerings and types of cheeses, but I think both offer quite enjoyable meals for being at altitude. Food is far better than BA on both UA and LH.

Service: Lufthansa

LH offers bilingual crews and more attentive service in my opinion. However it is extremely variable. Some will praise some flight attendants on one airline and despise them on another based on a few flight. UA has 20,000 flight attendants. There are some good and some bad. LH has a bit more standardized service (when they aren’t on strike).

For business class, UA wins. For first class Lufthansa would have won.
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