GianiDC
Topic Author
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:30 pm

LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:23 pm

As most european airlines, LH uses Y seats as C seats with the middle seat blocked on their narrowbody fleet consisting of A32x planes. Airliners.net told me that this configuration is fine for intra-european flights up to 2 hours. But LH uses the same layout on routes much longer then 2 hours. F.e.:

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=fra-gyd-asb,+fra-amm,+fra-bey,+fra-cai,+fra-ebl,+fra-tlv,+muc-tlv,+muc-cai,+muc-lis,+fra-ist,+fra-lis

FRA-AMM
FRA-GYD-ASB
FRA-BEY
FRA-CAI
FRA-EBL
FRA-TLV
FRA-IST
FRA-LIS

MUC-CAI
MUC-TLV
MUC-LIS


So wouldn´t it make sense to install some real mid-haul C seats on a subfleet of A32x to become more attractive to business Flyer and become a "5-star" airline in those markets?
 
george77300
Posts: 1100
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 8:33 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:26 pm

GianiDC wrote:
As most european airlines, LH uses Y seats as C seats with the middle seat blocked on their narrowbody fleet consisting of A32x planes. Airliners.net told me that this configuration is fine for intra-european flights up to 2 hours. But LH uses the same layout on routes much longer then 2 hours. F.e.:

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=fra-gyd-asb,+fra-amm,+fra-bey,+fra-cai,+fra-ebl,+fra-tlv,+muc-tlv,+muc-cai,+muc-lis,+fra-ist,+fra-lis

FRA-AMM
FRA-GYD-ASB
FRA-BEY
FRA-CAI
FRA-EBL
FRA-TLV
FRA-IST
FRA-LIS

MUC-CAI
MUC-TLV
MUC-LIS


So wouldn´t it make sense to install some real mid-haul C seats on a subfleet of A32x to become more attractive to business Flyer and become a "5-star" airline in those markets?


It's the same as BA and others. Some very long flights with just the middle seat blocked. I guess if it made sense they would but if people pay for it then there is no reason to change. It also gives a lot more flexibility as the business configuration can change to match demand on the route which must be very useful scheduling wise. i.e if they don't sell all the J seats they can sell more Y seats or vice versa.
 
aviationaware
Posts: 2812
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 12:02 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:44 pm

They used to have a 'real' Business Class seat and actively decided to abandon that concept in order to have a rapid-change highly flexible fleet for all purposes. Since there is no competitive pressure to offer anything better, there is no incentive in doing so. Lufthansa would be pretty stupid to give up this flexibility without pressure.
 
planewasted
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:47 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:52 pm

george77300 wrote:
GianiDC wrote:
It's the same as BA and others. Some very long flights with just the middle seat blocked. I guess if it made sense they would but if people pay for it then there is no reason to change. It also gives a lot more flexibility as the business configuration can change to match demand on the route which must be very useful scheduling wise. i.e if they don't sell all the J seats they can sell more Y seats or vice versa.


I flew a lot between Sweden and US with my last job. Initially I flew with BA because Austin and Seattle were common destinations. But i got dead tired of the awful ARN-LHR business class comfort. So switched to SK direct to Chicago or New York. And then the much more comfortable US domestic first class.
BA lost a lot of money because of their crappy European business class there.
 
chonetsao
Posts: 251
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:55 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:16 pm

planewasted wrote:
I flew a lot between Sweden and US with my last job. Initially I flew with BA because Austin and Seattle were common destinations. But i got dead tired of the awful ARN-LHR business class comfort. So switched to SK direct to Chicago or New York. And then the much more comfortable US domestic first class.
BA lost a lot of money because of their crappy European business class there.


I wish there were more people like you to force EU3 thinking of their poorly executed business class products in Europe.
 
bgm
Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:37 am

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:23 pm

george77300 wrote:
It's the same as BA and others. Some very long flights with just the middle seat blocked. I guess if it made sense they would but if people pay for it then there is no reason to change. It also gives a lot more flexibility as the business configuration can change to match demand on the route which must be very useful scheduling wise. i.e if they don't sell all the J seats they can sell more Y seats or vice versa.


Not completely true. BA fly their mid-haul A321s to AMM/BEY/TLV/CAI and those have flatbed business class seats and AVOD in economy.
████ ███ █ ███████ ██ █ █████ ██ ████ [redacted]
 
stylo777
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:32 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:35 pm

One would think that with over 170 A32x series aircraft in the overall fleet (and more and more joining...), it would be easy to develop a subfleet of a few aircraft and deploy those to all the longish legs; and certainly LH did the math over and over again, but the flexibilty and utilization index generate more profits the way it is.

In this field, the only competition is TK with proper C seats on their narrow body fleet.
 
george77300
Posts: 1100
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 8:33 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:36 pm

bgm wrote:
george77300 wrote:
It's the same as BA and others. Some very long flights with just the middle seat blocked. I guess if it made sense they would but if people pay for it then there is no reason to change. It also gives a lot more flexibility as the business configuration can change to match demand on the route which must be very useful scheduling wise. i.e if they don't sell all the J seats they can sell more Y seats or vice versa.


Not completely true. BA fly their mid-haul A321s to AMM/BEY/TLV/CAI and those have flatbed business class seats and AVOD in economy.


Pretty much true

They are down to 4 mid haul aircraft now. Possibly all being reconfigured. TLV is mostly 777/787. AMM is sometimes normal A320. CAI is only 787 now. Granted BEY is still daily mid haul 321 although still lots of 320 swaps. DME is also a regular with the mid haul but they also go all over the network such as NCL/CPH/OSL/LIN etc in the last couple weeks. They will all be gone soon as the others get reconfigured. They now have just 4 frames left.
 
zkncj
Posts: 3171
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:57 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:36 pm

It's not just in Europe either; NZ does it with there Business Lite product offered on there A320 fleet called 'Works Deluxe' which is offered on flights like AKL-RAR, AKL-ADL, AKL-CNS which are all just under 5hours on an A320.
 
debonair
Posts: 3428
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:42 pm

GianiDC wrote:
So wouldn´t it make sense to install some real mid-haul C seats on a subfleet of A32x to become more attractive to business Flyer and become a "5-star" airline in those markets?


AFAIK, these seats are offering more legroom in the first row - but if you wanna have a real C seat on Lufthansa (group) e.g. to TLV, choose swiss which is operating the route sometimes with A330!

stylo777 wrote:
In this field, the only competition is TK with proper C seats on their narrow body fleet.


Nope, not true! TK is offering everything from "Euro"-Business to real BusinessClass all types of hardware. Actually, there product is the most inconsistent in Europe! Actually, the only Airline left in Europe with a real BusinessClass was TAROM until the took delivery of the all Economy ex Pegasus B737-800WL's!
 
zakuivcustom
Posts: 2492
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:32 am

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:44 pm

george77300 wrote:
bgm wrote:
george77300 wrote:
It's the same as BA and others. Some very long flights with just the middle seat blocked. I guess if it made sense they would but if people pay for it then there is no reason to change. It also gives a lot more flexibility as the business configuration can change to match demand on the route which must be very useful scheduling wise. i.e if they don't sell all the J seats they can sell more Y seats or vice versa.


Not completely true. BA fly their mid-haul A321s to AMM/BEY/TLV/CAI and those have flatbed business class seats and AVOD in economy.


Pretty much true

They are down to 4 mid haul aircraft now. Possibly all being reconfigured. TLV is mostly 777/787. AMM is sometimes normal A320. CAI is only 787 now. Granted BEY is still daily mid haul 321 although still lots of 320 swaps. DME is also a regular with the mid haul but they also go all over the network such as NCL/CPH/OSL/LIN etc in the last couple weeks. They will all be gone soon as the others get reconfigured. They now have just 4 frames left.


Earlier thread about the same topic:
viewtopic.php?t=1395683

BEY seems to be going 788 around October. AMM is going to see Euro 320 mixed with Mid-Haul 321. No conclusion is reached as to whether BA will convert all of the mid-haul 321 to Euro config, though.

The flexibility given by Euro business is just too great to have a dedicated mid-haul fleet, though. Those mid-day, mostly connection flights (so more Y heavy) vs. morning/evening flights with more business people focus can use the same plane; alternatively, an airline like LH can use the same A321 to/from sun destination then turn it around to a business destination like London.

Average flight stages is longer in US, though, which is why US3 can't quite get away with a product similar to EuroBusiness.
 
User avatar
eisenbach
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 12:57 am

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:46 pm

GianiDC wrote:
So wouldn´t it make sense to install some real mid-haul C seats on a subfleet of A32x to become more attractive to business Flyer and become a "5-star" airline in those markets?


Exactly a decade ago OS (Austrian Airlines) did refurbish four A320 with US style first class seats for their flights to Damascus, Astana, Tehran, Cairo, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, Erbil and they promoted this kind of service extensively. Some years later, they decided to go back to the more flexible Euro-business class style with economy seats but blocked middle seats, due to more flexibility (no oddball subfleet and business class size based on demand). I don't know if this decision was forced by LH, which in Sept 2009 finally took over OS.

For customers it was indeed a drawback in comfort (pillows, blankets and good food do not replace a good seat), but generally in my opinion business class fares went massively down the last years due to this flexibility.

Picture of the seat:

Image

From the Austrian Airlines 2008 annual report:

Due to the favourable geographical location of Vienna, Austrian Airlines can use medi- um-haul aircraft to serve destinations in the Middle East and Central Asia which can be reached by flights of up to six hours. This represents a bottom-line cost advantage com- pared to competitive carriers based farther to the west, which must deploy long-haul aircraft on these routes.

In order to make flights in this region even more attractive for a financially strong clientele, Austrian Airlines is the only carrier to offer a high quality long-haul product on medium-haul flights using specially refurbished Airbus A320 aircraft. The new Premium Service consists of a combination of comfortable Business Class sleeper seats, special in- flight entertainment and exquisite catering from DO & CO. Premium Service flights started to Damascus and Astana on 15 July 2008.
DC-6, DC9, Do228, Saab340, Twin-Otter, C212, Fokker50, AN24, MD90, MD83, EMB120, A380, A300, A343, A346, B721, B742, B744, B748...
 
mywaterbroke
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:22 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:22 pm

I fly the CAI route very regularly, both in Y and in J. Up until the Arab Spring, LH flew from FRA to CAI twice daily with A340s (plus a few flights a week from FRA to ALY and from MUC to CAI with the A320). At the time the A340s were extremely popular and very profitable too (incl. in F, which was also offered back then). Since, LH downgraded to the A321s, likely because of drop in demand. Naturally, the competition followed (LX downgraded from A340 to A320 and BA from B747/777 to A321 and occasionally B767s). The only airline that didn’t was AF (330/340 then B787 and currently A340s operated by Joon). This summer, LX upgraded CAI to A330s (until Sep) and OS even operates once a week with B777 from VIE (until Oct) but LH continues to stick with those A321s. Here’s the thing: the LH flights (both) are ALWAYS full. In both classes. There are always announcements on board that flights are full. I’m told by LH staff in Egypt that LH is very profitable on the route. LH also have gazillions of sales contracts in Egypt that are enough to keep J occupied (+ codeshare with MS). Pax obviously hate it - the product is subpar at best and the seats are extremely uncomfortable for the flight duration. LH’s reputation took a dip in Egypt (from premium to cheapest) but demand is still there (cheapest!) and there is practically no competition except from MS, BA and AF (also always full). Recently, LH also did away with the entertainment on board (BoardConnect) and began charging for WiFi. Still, unlikely for them to upgrade aircraft anytime soon with flights being full and all. Same for TLV. Don’t see them investing in a solid product on those A321s either. That’s just less seats, less flexibility and less revenue
 
User avatar
dangerhere
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:35 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:35 pm

GianiDC wrote:
As most european airlines, LH uses Y seats as C seats with the middle seat blocked on their narrowbody fleet consisting of A32x planes. Airliners.net told me that this configuration is fine for intra-european flights up to 2 hours. But LH uses the same layout on routes much longer then 2 hours. F.e.:

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=fra-gyd-asb,+fra-amm,+fra-bey,+fra-cai,+fra-ebl,+fra-tlv,+muc-tlv,+muc-cai,+muc-lis,+fra-ist,+fra-lis

FRA-AMM
FRA-GYD-ASB
FRA-BEY
FRA-CAI
FRA-EBL
FRA-TLV
FRA-IST
FRA-LIS

MUC-CAI
MUC-TLV
MUC-LIS


So wouldn´t it make sense to install some real mid-haul C seats on a subfleet of A32x to become more attractive to business Flyer and become a "5-star" airline in those markets?


That configuration is not for two hour flights, it's usually all flights that aren't long haul. Regardless of which legacy airline you fly in Europe this is what you get. The only one/two who don't operate like this are from Russia and Turkey and neither competing with Ryanair in a race to the bottom. I don't see why Frankfurt to Lisbon would be considered anything other than a short hop. The same can be said for the likes of IST, TLV, AMM and even Cairo, which is not too far off the distance from Frankfurt to Helsinki.

I think you're looking at the market from a very American-centric view here. As mentioned above, why would any European legacy give up such flexibility, when the market is demanding relatively low fares and relatively low frills. They're already fighting a losing battle against the likes of easyjet and FR to compete in Europe, why would they further weaken their position by installing something there is little demand for?
 
mywaterbroke
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:22 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:33 pm

There is one reason why they could/should: luggage & cargo. Full narrowbodies lead to pax luggage being left behind. That is precisely why LX upgraded CAI over the summer. C-Series and A320s weren’t cutting it anymore and pax were getting really angry. Same with LH - the number 1 complaint is that passengers arrive at destination without their luggage. Another reason could be that less and less pax choose to pay for J, which is lost revenue. You can’t grow in a market where you charge literally double for just an empty middle seat and a better meal
 
User avatar
dangerhere
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:35 pm

Re: LH mid-haul narrowbody business class

Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:49 pm

mywaterbroke wrote:
There is one reason why they could/should: luggage & cargo. Full narrowbodies lead to pax luggage being left behind. That is precisely why LX upgraded CAI over the summer. C-Series and A320s weren’t cutting it anymore and pax were getting really angry. Same with LH - the number 1 complaint is that passengers arrive at destination without their luggage. Another reason could be that less and less pax choose to pay for J, which is lost revenue. You can’t grow in a market where you charge literally double for just an empty middle seat and a better meal


But they don't need to grow in that market. The Euro-business product is enough to keep their A - B customers happy, and any most will be transferring to long haul business class anyway and their long haul ticket covers most of the cost. Nobody needs a lie flat seat within Europe or the Med region: there is simply no market for it. Not just with Lufthansa, pretty much every airline in Europe. Try flying Aer Lingus, there's no business class product within Europe (bar the odd flight to Malaga using a TATL aircraft), even if you wanted to pay for it.

I get the impression in this thread than people don't realise how much of an impact the likes of easyjet, Ryanair ect have had on the legacy airlines in Europe. They are stuggling to compete even when stripping away as much as they can while keeping some semblence of their legacy status. Flying in Europe is akin to taking a bus these days. Often the likes of easyjet or Eurowings are offering a better product (or rather the basics done better) than the likes of BA, KLM and even LH at times, using the same aircraft, often with more generous seat pitch. Without their long haul operations, the flag carriers would be gone the way of the dinosaurs in the intra European market. A full service airline like Germania flies to the middle east and offers a pretty good alternative to LH at a decent price with baggage included.

Us Europeans are fairly practical when it comes to travel. People want affordable convenience first and foremost. Many in Germany / France / Benelux will take the train first class rather than fly anyway.

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