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MarcoPoloWorld
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Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:16 am



Hello All -
The Premium Economy concept might possibly be the best thing since sliced bread for those of us who are willing to spend a bit extra as part of the flying/travel experience but can't quite afford business class on a regular basis. And late last year, the carrier with one of the biggest networks in the world, Deutsche Lufthansa (LH), joined a the new wave of reputable carriers in adding Premium Economy as an entirely new and separate cabin product. I found this to be a significant event, as LH is the best of the European majors and the continent's only true four-star carrier.

Having begun its Premium Economy roll-out with its 747-8i fleet, the airline began deploying the cabin on its A380s as recently as a couple of months ago. Having trouble finding reviews of LH's A380 PE cabin, I decided to upgrade a segment - trying it out for myself, and at the same time being able to relay the experience here.

A few months ago, there was a thread in the general forum about how British Airways was going to start flying to Kraków, Poland. The city hadn't really registered with me before as a destination, but after researching it a bit, now it did! Having relatives in another country in Europe, a rendez-vous in this fair city was quickly agreed upon and it was on to look for airline and fare options. I found a very decent fare on the Lufthansa site (a combination PE on the outbound and standard coach on the "return" segment to a third destination that isn't part of this trip report), and it was soon booked for an outbound itinerary involving San Francisco to Kraków via Lufthansa's mighty hub in Frankfurt - so SFO-FRA-KRK.

The LH website is fairly intuitive to navigate, and in this case, was able to price out a reverse open-jaw with a pro-rated mix of Premium Economy on the outbound and Economy on the inbound with not much problem. I found a resonable hybrid fare in this regard for about $1,250, although I needed to pay an additional fee to reserve seats. While the outbound segment(s) were free as part of being ticketed as PE, to reserve seats on the return incurred $15 for the short-haul flight, and $35 for the long-haul - which I did. That setup is a better arrangement than not allowing seat selection at all for a certain sub fare class, and probably represents a reasonable balance where PE and above still come with complementary advance seat selection.

My original itinerary had involved a connecting flight with UA down to LAX, and then flying LH's 747-800 (also in PE). However, as is typical opportinistic and short-sighted practice by US carriers, my connecting UA flight SFO-LAX was re-scheduled to a later departure time that would have been too late for connecting to the LH flight down south. So a call to LH later, and the UA piece was dumped (good riddens in this instance) and I was on a more direct routing directly from SFO - and on the newly PE upgraded A380 no less.

So lets get going....


The journey - needless to say for an urban traveler - started with mass transit. I have my issues with BART, but for this journey, it served its purpose.

Off we go...


Still marine layer overcast in Daly City...


BART charges a $4 surcharge to go to/from the airport station, and there are no exceptions such as same-day roundtrip privileges (for meet-and-greet or such). I don't think the designers of the extension to the airport had envisioned this. My view is that I've already paid my taxes toward the BART service and paid my regular fare - both of which I'm happy to do - but I just don't like that kind of singling out.

Anyway, a shot here of the airport station, which is integrated into the International Terminal at SFO, check-in level. For pax with domestic flights, ascending to the upper level and exiting the station there to catch an automated people mover (APM) ride from there is the most expeditious, while if you're headed International or to Terminal 3, you just head up front to the fare gates on the same level as the train platforms.


The International Terminal at SFO is perhaps not the state-of-the art facility that it once was when it was designed and built in the 1990s. The two boarding piers (A and G) are narrow, so vertical movement is necessary between concourse and boarding area. The two concourses are do not have a post-security connection to one another or, in the case of A, to anything else in the airport.

The terminal's centerpiece, however - the vast domed check-in area - still shines and is spacious, functional, and properly reflective of an international-class airport.


The International Terminal was designed and purposed for arriving and departing overseas flights (hence its name), and in the beginning years that was indeed the case (a passport was required to go through security). However, since about 2007 or so, this terminal seems to have been used as a perpetual dumping ground for overflow domestic flights.

This departure board shows an impressive array of international flights, most of which are intercontinental service. At the same time, if my quick calculation is correct, about 25% of departures are purely domestic and have no particular reason to be part of Int'l ops, except as overflow capacity for undersized domestic terminals. By the way, does anyone have a history as to why SFO does not use remote stand ops for overflow capacity purposes? That way, they could retain proper grouping domestic/int'l and reduce instances of aircraft having to wait for a gate to open up.


Anyways, let's move on and proceed to check-in! Having no check-in bags, I could have checked in purely online, but for a long-haul flight, physical check-in is part of the experience - plus it also serves to evaluate things for the purposes of this review. On that note, LH - as opposed to most of its PE competitors - does not offer dedicated check-in for this class. So I'm off to the general Economy queue.


Note the promotional Premium Economy banner. How timely!


The check-in service was relatively expeditious; the clerk was polite but nothing overly friendly. She did the job though. As an aside, in true organized LH fashion, a greeter was at hand to direct pax to the correct lanes and to assist with any questions.


It being still early, and me not having eaten anything yet, I was all for a light lunch. Whether by foresight or practical pier space constraints, the designers of the International Terminal placed two food courts pre-security. The eateries tenants that were selected when the terminal opened in 2000 must have been well chosen, because the original ones are all still there today. I find Japanese food to be nutricious, light, and healthy at the same time, so I chose Osho.


Their salmon teriyaki is great - but couldn't they muster a better dine-in presentation than a doggie box? Their fare used to be presented better than this.


Ok so it was time to head through security. Unfortunately, there is no Tsa Pre-Check with LH, so it was on through the regular thorough check.... After that it was on to the concourse and the gate at the far end.


Star Alliance flights depart from the G concourse (which has a new airside corridor from Terminal 3 where United operates domestic). It's fairly functional but there is no real great spot to view things. Today's gate would be 101, an A380-ready gate with triple jetways and separate boarding from and to the upper level for business/first pax.


Down the escalator to a crowded gate holding area, where a Beijing-bound Air China 747-8i flight was scheduled to depart at the same time as my flight to Frankfurt.


Podium.


And well, here's the best shot that could be had of my aircraft today, D-AIMD, Lufthansa's fourth delivered A380.


FLIGHT LH455
SAN FRANCISCO - FRANKFURT
MAY 23, 2015, 14:55
PREMIUM ECONOMY
AIRBUS A380

About 40 minutes prior to scheduled departure, boarding for the main deck was called. To my slight annoyance, the Premium Economy rows were called last (yes, last) and we were the very last group to board. When in line to board, I asked one of the gate agents about this issue, and he said that they are still trying to work out the logistics for PE boarding for this aircraft/flight, and said that I would have been welcome to board with the business class group upstairs. Of course I had no way of knowing that, but fair enough then, at least they were being nice about it.
LH received some flack last fall when they first introduced PE in their 748i aircraft and placed it in the middle of two regular economy sections with no partitioning in between. Well, they certainly took that issue to heart with the A380 PE retrofit. A rock-solid placement at the very front of the main deck, dedicated lavatories, and a galley walling off the PE section makes for a great stand-alone cabin experience, as can be seen on this seatmap, courtesy of Seatguru.


I was welcomed aboard by a friendly male f/a, and made my way toward my seat. I had selected an aisle seat in the last center row - a choice that turned out to be perfect. Despite being next to a wall behind, it had full recline, and the nearby lavs would turn out never to be an issue as their doors faced the galley area and no queuing since the two lavs were dedicated to our small 52-seat cabin. Sorry about the blurriness in the following couple of pictures.


My seat.


Fellow pax joy and excitement.


Water bottles provided.


Large, high-rez IFE screen.


A special Premium Economy amenity kit was provided.


A pre-departure drink, consisting of orange juice, was provided by the same friendly f/a that had greeted us upon first boarding. Champagne would have been even classier, but at least it was something.


Juice!... A cocktail cup "area" is provided, although there is no extension for this purpose.


Aside from the late-boarding issue, now came another annoyance. As there were a few seats vacant in the PE cabin, a p/a announcement was made about the benefits of PE, and that a limited number of seats were available for upgrade from economy for €349. During this process, prospective upgraders were shown the seats that were available, including two middle seats to the right of me. Eventually, a middle-aged couple purchased those seat upgrades and settled in, after (unintentially on their part) unsettling me. They were nice, and no disturbance at all after they were settled (in PE, no need to have the seat next to you vacant to have comfortable lateral space). But the process annoyed me - why not take care of these upsells at check-in and/or the gate?

Nonetheless, the take-off was close to on-time and uneventful (sorry, I have no external pictures, as mine wasn't a window seat) - but how could it not be, in this gentle and gracious giant that we lovingly call the A380.

As soon as the crew were set free from their jumpseats, menus were handed out. There was also a hot-towel service, although it should be noted that it was basically thick disposable napkins and of the same kind as that provided in the regular Economy cabin.


Menu. Basically the Economy class choices, but to be served on chinaware. Choice of chicken or pasta for dinner. Then no choice for breakfast.


You can always tell the sophisticated airlines from the rest of the pack by the little details and small logistics. One of those is that a separate pre-meal bar service is offered for apéritifs. LH never misses the mark on that one in any cabin class.


Whisky on the rocks.... Ahh.....


The large IFE screen was great... for viewing the flight info of course!


Took this snapshot across the opposite row to illustrate the recline of the PE seat, as well as its extension into the space of the seat behind. It may appear tight, but the pitch is actually similar to that of US domestic First in many cases. Nonetheless, this armchair CEO would have probably settled for an additional 50mm between seats.


Dinner's ready!....


Accompanied by some nice sides, including side salad, cheese, and dessert. I chose white wine to go with the dinner.


Chose the chicken. It was every bit as flavorful and grill-like as this picture suggests, except being a bit on the dry side.


Wine refills during meal service. Now, that's classy.


Following the main course, the f/a's came around with coffee, then brandy and Bailey's to accompany it all. Went with the brandy, perfectly rounding off the meal.


Duty free round....


Two effectively PE dedicated lavatories with doors that don't face the aisles or seats. Nice.


Sink was fresh enough. Electronic controls.


Night time. Nice and quiet cabin. It was a little too early for my body clock to sleep, but at least it offered relaxation time.


I think it was about 1:45h prior to landing that the breakfast service began. Maybe a little too early, but ok fine.


Simple presentation, but I guess that's ok - it's not business class after all. The omelet and hash browns tasted good. Fresh fruit is surely a better "dessert" option than a cookie, which probably would have been served had this been an American carrier equivalent.


The landing into Frankfurt was smooth and on time. We deplaned from a contact gate; we would have had good early de-boarding had they not had trouble maneuvering the main deck front jetway, but the way it turned out, we were among the last to deplane...

No matter how organized FRA is (and it certainly is), one needs to have ample transfer time due to the large operation there relative to facility size. Long walking distances, people mover train connections, customs clearance, multiple security checkpoints, and remote stand operation of many flights all add up and necessitate orienting oneself immediately upon arriving and begin proceeding for the long journey toward the eventual connection gate. This time, I was relatively lucky I guess, because the gate for my connecting flight to KRK on the other end was in relative proximity from where I started. It would entail, however, taking a bus to a remote stand.

[Edited 2015-06-23 21:20:15]

[Edited 2015-06-23 21:37:01]
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: Lufhansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:18 am

FLIGHT LH1366
FRANKFURT-KRAKOW
MAY 24, 2015, 12:35
ECONOMY
AIRBUS A319

Boarding would be from Gate A9 today. Busy, but not overcrowded, with departures from adjacent gates to other regional destinations such as Florence and such. Note the faregate style of boarding area that Lufthansa uses.


Two articulated buses would take care of the plane load, and take us to the remote stand. Boarding was through either portside door.


We departed on time. Not sure if any of the crew was Polish-speaking, but there was a recorded safety announcement in Polish to supplement the manual German and English ones. That is also common on other intra-European flights on LH. The seats on the airline's regionally configured mainline are quite frankly abysmal, let's just face it. A city bus has more comfortable seats than these thinline excuses for seating. Legroom and recline, forget it. And IFE consists of staring into the folded tray table. Didn't see any outlets of any kind either.


While LH's hard product on regional flights puts it to shame, its soft product maintains a comparatively high standard. A fresh sandwich along with a choice of hot and cold drinks - including a wide array of alcoholic beverages - is served with a smile. Service began shortly after reaching a safe altitude.


As has been mentioned and discussed in numerous other venues, regional business class with LH means the regular pitiful economy class seating but with the middle seat blocked off and with enhanced meal service.


We landed uneventfully. I was surprised that at the end of the runway we simply made a 180 and used the runway as a taxiway toward the ramp. No jetways were to be seen (and I don't think there are any at KRK), so we were bused to the terminal at Kraków.


I suppose due to capacity constraints, non-domestic flights arrive at something called "Terminal 2" - although the correct name should have perhaps been Overflow Barrack 1. Our arrving flight had been an intra-Schengen one, but customs officials were conducting spot checks here and there. Once through, you have to take a shuttle or a 10-minute walk to "Terminal 1" if you want to use public transportation into the city.


Once on the ground, you have to be ready for the take-it-or-leave-it attitude that is unfortunately on display in many European countries (with a few exceptions). The shuttle operator did not greet or even make eye contact when I entered the minibus. He did get me to the other terminal, though, so I guess I should have been thankful for that....

Route 292 is the main route into the city (although there is one more line, plus a late-night route to fill in a 24-hour clock), and is operated by high-capacity articulated buses. The rated standing capacity alone was shown on the inside placard at 124, quite a bit!... Luckily, I had done my homework prior to my trip so I knew to buy a bus ticket in inside the terminal and simply stamp it in the ticket validation machine when getting onboard the bus. Others, however, weren't as prepared, and were scrambling to figure out how to pay for the bus. The bus driver so did not want to be bothered that, as the following shot shows, he deliberately kept the front door closed. Boo...


Hardware-wise, the bus was good, and much to my impress, there were full LCD screens depicting the route's progression in real-time and which stop was coming up. Very helpful. Interestingly, this route was set up light-rail style, with the bus stopping at every stop regardless of stop request, and with enhanced amenities at the bus stops - including in many locations - electronic departure signage.

Although we continued to encounter mostly stone-faced people during my stay in the historical city, the architectural treasures more than made up for it. Other tourists in town consisted mostly of folks from other European countries during the weekend. Then transitioning more toward a domestic crowd during the week, including what appeared to be a bunch of high school excursions.

Not intended as a destination report, I'll just leave you off with a couple of city pictures of Kraków before proceeding to a brief conclusion about my flight journey...

Florian Street in the Old Town, looking south toward the main square. Although a little gloomy lighting in the picture due to the weather when I took this, the Old Town (Stare Miasto) was absolutely stunning, well preserved and in renovated condition, and exceptionally walkable due to most internal streets being pedestran malls or squares. You can see St Mary's Basilica in the background - interesting with one tower looking different than the other.


Main square, looking away from the basilica. Tourist-oriented horse-drawn carriages stand in front of Cloth Hall that has origins from the 1200s and currently containing an arcade with vendor booths.


St. Florian's Gate along the northern walled perimeter of the Old Town, dating back to the 1300s. Somehow, I was enamored with the appearance and context of this structure. Don't know why...


A mission along Stradomska Street outside of the Old Town, walking toward the Jewish Quarters.


Well, to round off, my summary thoughts about the Lufthansa Premium Economy experience are:

Reservation: The LH website is fairly intuitive and able to price out even complex itineraries. The extra charge for advance seat reservations (in my case for the non-premium return sectors) is perhaps acceptable but leaves a mixed impression.

Pre-flight experience - There is no PE priority treatment at check-in, and as the above description illustrates, they were still sorting out the boarding priority process at the time of my flight. We were the last to board and last to disembark. No lounge access (the product marketing states that lounge access is available for a fee, but there were no intercepts to offer me this at any point in the booking or check-in process).

In-flight experience - The post-boarding upsell process for the empty PE seats was disruptive and annoying; surely there is a way to conduct this at upstream points in the customer access chain. But from there, things went up-hill, with friendly and attentive cabin crew, decent food served on real china-ware, good choice of drinks, and a spacious yet clearly separated PE cabin with dedicated service and amenities, including lavs. The seat was a nicely appointed - albeit not overly luxurious - space, and reasonably comfortable. If LH added 2-4 additional inches (50-100mm) of seat pitch, they would stand out from competitors and enable a truly unobstructed workspace for a laptop or such, though. IFE was great selection, size, and resolution.

Post-flight and connecting flight experience: Airlines such as Cathay Pacific offers Premium Economy on select regional flights for a consistent long-haul+short-haul travel product experience. As things are now with airlines such as Lufthansa, booking a PE itinerary to a destination that includes a regional flight involves tumbling down to a cramped seat and cabin that is, from a hard product perspective, more comparable to a ULCC than a full-service carrier - let alone a premium cabin.

So all in all, a mixed bag. But I'm willing to give LH the benefit of the doubt in most aspects, as they are still in the burn-in phase of this completely new stand-alone cabin product in their long-haul fleet. And with not all areas perfect - including some significant ones - well, that's why they aren't a five-star airline. But I would still rank them as a reliable and solid four-star, global, cosmopolitan carrier - the best of the EU3. Biggest world network of any carrier (?) and in Star Alliance which is the largest of the three alliances... well, there you have it.

And last but not least, I can't say praise enough about the reinforced trend toward introduction of a solid, separate Premium Economy cabin class among network carriers. Eva Air and British Airways were early forerunners, but now all the major global carriers with self-respect are adding it to their portfolios with seemingly great results for both provider and receiver. I guess it would be too much to expect three-star network carriers, such as the US3, to implement the same....

Thanks for reading!
 
caleb1
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:52 am

Really nice and interesting report. I am glad that LH has upheld their usual high standards. Thank you for this nice report.
 
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mh330fc
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:12 am

Hi MarcoPoloWorld!

Very glad you posted. I was waiting for a LH PE report to find out what it's really like. The ads seems to promote a great experience.
Well done to LH for having a separate PE cabin in the front. It must feel quite exclusive.
I like the 747-8 as it is somewhat unique in the airliner world, but its PE cabin if far less exclusive compared to the A380.
Previous reports mentioned that the regional seats was "okay" for short-hall but I agree that a full service carrier should be more comfortable.
It seems like most European carriers have adopted the new very-slim-line seats which allow for a 30 inch pitch allowing two extra rows of seats.

Personally, I wouldn't pay extra for LH, Swiss or Air France's regional business class as the seats can't in anyway adjust to make it even slightly more comfortable.

Looking forward to your return report  
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:34 am

Somehow, the image of the sandwich on the regional flight didnt make it... here we go. Nice turkey cold cut.
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:38 am

Quoting caleb1 (Reply 2):
Really nice and interesting report. I am glad that LH has upheld their usual high standards. Thank you for this nice report.

My pleasure, and thanks for reading!

Quoting mh330fc (Reply 3):
Looking forward to your return report

Oh, but I didn't document the return... so sorry about that, but I'll make it up with another trip report soon again. Thanks for reading!
 
aa2mm
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:01 am

Thank you for the very nice TR.
I would like to share an experience a friend had on LH IAH FRA IAH PE cash upgrades at the airport.
Both way he was able to upgrade from E to PE at Euro 195 ( I think ).
For him, much cheaper with the airport upgrades than buying from the get go.
 
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ams747757
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:03 pm

Great TR. Nice to see the Premium Eco product... certainly looks nicer than regular Eco, I'll have to try it sometime. Is it just me or do the PE seats look a bit thicker than Eco? I found LH's Longhaul eco seats to be uncomfortable after a while (not to mention the shorthaul slimlines you criticized most accurately!).
The PE dinner looks pretty comparable to regular Y, but the breakfast looked a bit more substantial which is nice.

Was the shorthaul flight on a 737? It looks like the side of the plane said 737 but you mentioned it being an A319.
 
guitarsingapore
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:04 pm

Is it just my computer, or are the images very blurred on this TR?
 
lychemsa
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:36 pm

I find those chocolate brownies awful.

Amusing that in Y Premium you get the same thing but they give you 1/2 a strawberry and present it in a nice tray.
 
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lesfalls
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:15 pm

Hey Marcopoloworld  

Great TR   was it a lot more money to fly in Premium economy comparison to economy? Would you fly in Premium economy again? How as Kraków?

Anyways great read and thanks for posting  .
Lufthansa: Einfach ein bisschen besser.
 
hekk
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:30 pm

Very nice Trip report. I really enjoyed reading it and seeing the Premium Economy seats. I have always wondered about that class of service and wondered if it is worth paying a little extra. After seeing this report, I think I am convinced to try it at least once, if the fare difference is not significantly higher. LH's product look great.


Quoting MarcoPoloWorld (Thread starter):
Anyway, a shot here of the airport station, which is integrated into the International Terminal at SFO, check-in level. For pax with domestic flights, ascending to the upper level and exiting the station there to catch an automated people mover (APM) ride from there is the most expeditious, while if you're headed International or to Terminal 3, you just head up front to the fare gates on the same level as the train platforms.


Being from South Texas, this is something that really catches my attention and sometimes makes me envious of the public transportation options available in some other US cities. The fact that you can take the train right to the airport, WOW! I'm sure so many people that have that service take it for granted...But at the same we probably take the abundance of parking and relatively cheap parking for granted compared to other cities so I guess it evens out somehow... 
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:44 am

Quoting aa2mm (Reply 6):
For him, much cheaper with the airport upgrades than buying from the get go.

Interesting!

Quoting ams747757 (Reply 7):
Is it just me or do the PE seats look a bit thicker than Eco?

Yes, they are indeed and it makes a difference.

Quoting ams747757 (Reply 7):
Was the shorthaul flight on a 737? It looks like the side of the plane said 737 but you mentioned it being an A319.

I'm so sorry, you are absolutely right... my bad! Thanks for catching that!

Quoting guitarsingapore (Reply 8):
Is it just my computer, or are the images very blurred on this TR?

It's an older point-and-shoot camera that doesn't do too well in locations that aren't fully bright. My apologies for a few blurry images....

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 9):
Amusing that in Y Premium you get the same thing but they give you 1/2 a strawberry and present it in a nice tray.

Hehe, yeah. A bit more premium dining - and more options - would help the product stand a little further apart.

Quoting Lesfalls (Reply 10):
Great TR was it a lot more money to fly in Premium economy comparison to economy? Would you fly in Premium economy again? How as Kraków?

I'd say the price differential on an itinerary like this is probably about $300-$400 per way, and I'm seeing some r/t fares on LH to/from here and Europe as low as $1,500. In my view, that seems to be roughly commensurate with the value-add of the product itself. I'd be hesitant myself to pay more than $2k for sure.

Kraków was great, and I'd recommend it in a heartbeat for a long-weekend getaway, or longer if you'd like to visit the surroundings like the salt mine or Auschwitz. We didn't have time to venture that far, but if you have a week there, then you could.

Wouldn't go there for the people, though.... It's a place to see architecture and history more so than stone-faced natives. But as long as you're prepared for the latter, you'll have a wonderful stay.

Quoting Hekk (Reply 11):
Being from South Texas, this is something that really catches my attention and sometimes makes me envious of the public transportation options available in some other US cities. The fact that you can take the train right to the airport, WOW! I'm sure so many people that have that service take it for granted...But at the same we probably take the abundance of parking and relatively cheap parking for granted compared to other cities so I guess it evens out somehow.

Probably does even out in some scenarious huh?....   Anyhow, the fact that you are picking up on that nuance already makes you a world citizen!

Thanks so much for reading!
 
ElanusNotatus
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:16 am

Hi MarcoPoloWorld,

Great choice for a destination, Kraków. Shame that you didn't have sufficient time to visit Wieliczka Mine with its carvings, statues and chapel.

The LH Premium Economy cabin and service looks like good value. The meals may be the same or similar to that in the regular economy cabin but plating it does add a touch of refinement. The ratio of seats to WCs, and cabin crew to passengers is also worth it.

Thanks for sharing. I enjoy reading detailed and informative reportr such as yours.

Regards, EN
Crawl, walk, fly into the future
 
parisien
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:13 pm

Hi there,
thank you for the very nice report. I will be flying Lufthansa's PE soon myself, but on an A343 to Asia. I have noticed that the PE section on A380 looks better than in other types of aircrafts (separate sub cabin, whereas that's not the case in other aircraft types), though otherwise the same products (seats etc.). I will compare my experience with yours (and maybe write a report...). Anyway, really looking forward to it after reading your report.
A question: when the seat in front of you is maximally reclined, can you still see the ptv ok or easily use a portable computer on the table ?
thanks again for the report.
 
777way
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:53 pm

That really looks great, but pics are appearing as low quality jpg. why is that?
 
LH4116
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:33 pm

Nice report, good that you enjoyed Lufthansa's Premium Economy. Personally I am not a big fan of the concept since the fares often times don't match what the product offers. From Scandinavia a Premium Economy ticket on Lufthansa will set you back the same if not more than the price of a Business Class ticket on Turkish Airlines or Qatar Airways. I would say that in terms of value for the money I'd rather spend the extra on Business Class or pocket the fare difference and stay in coach, which for me equates to staying at home.

Thanks for sharing!
SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:29 am

Quoting ElanusNotatus (Reply 13):
Thanks for sharing. I enjoy reading detailed and informative reportr such as yours.

Glad you liked it, and sorry for not being able to capture more outside view type pictures.  

Quoting 777way (Reply 15):
That really looks great, but pics are appearing as low quality jpg. why is that?

Already explained above.  

Quoting parisien (Reply 14):
I will be flying Lufthansa's PE soon myself, but on an A343 to Asia. I have noticed that the PE section on A380 looks better than in other types of aircrafts (separate sub cabin, whereas that's not the case in other aircraft types), though otherwise the same products (seats etc.). I will compare my experience with yours (and maybe write a report...).

Can't wait to read your upcoming TR as well!


Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
From Scandinavia a Premium Economy ticket on Lufthansa will set you back the same if not more than the price of a Business Class ticket on Turkish Airlines or Qatar Airways.

Ahm, what total itinerary are you looking at where it prices out that high? Just curious!... Yeah, I definitely would not want to pay more for PE than Business. But I ran a quick search on the LH site for ARN-BKK r/t in November for PE, and it prices out at approx. $1,400. Surely, TK or QR won't give you a Business Class ticket under that?


Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
Thanks for sharing!

You're totally welcome, and I'm very happy that you found my simple TR a worthwhile read!   
 
LH4116
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:58 am

Quoting MarcoPoloWorld (Reply 17):
Ahm, what total itinerary are you looking at where it prices out that high? Just curious!... Yeah, I definitely would not want to pay more for PE than Business. But I ran a quick search on the LH site for ARN-BKK r/t in November for PE, and it prices out at approx. $1,400. Surely, TK or QR won't give you a Business Class ticket under that?


TK sold Business Class tickets to Bangkok from Stockholm for $1100 during a promotion which lasted from May 20th to June 21st, the normal price is around $1400. Also Qatar Airways runs promotions quite frequently with Business Class fares for around $1100-1600 to various Asian destinations from Scandinavia. From Vilnius or Helsinki it's possible to fly TK Business Class to the US or South America for around $1500.
SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
 
Aviationman777
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:49 pm

Beautiful Report
Thank you
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:15 am

Quoting parisien (Reply 14):
A question: when the seat in front of you is maximally reclined, can you still see the ptv ok or easily use a portable computer on the table ?

I had the luck of not having the person in front of me recline completely at any point during the flight, so I can't say first-hand. But from what has been reported when LH first introduced PE last fall in the 747, a fully reclined seat in front would indeed inhibit your space, particularly if trying to work on a full-size laptop.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 18):
TK sold Business Class tickets to Bangkok from Stockholm for $1100 during a promotion which lasted from May 20th to June 21st, the normal price is around $1400. Also Qatar Airways runs promotions quite frequently with Business Class fares for around $1100-1600 to various Asian destinations from Scandinavia. From Vilnius or Helsinki it's possible to fly TK Business Class to the US or South America for around $1500.

Wow, that's amazing. Well, if those fares extend beyond short promos, you are lucky indeed! Next time, maybe I should travel via Arlanda!

Quoting Aviationman777 (Reply 19):
Beautiful Report
Thank you

I'm very happy that you liked it. Honestly, it's time consuming to put one of these together, but every now and then I want to give something back in return for all the other great TR's here that I do read and enjoy a lot as well.   
 
lychemsa
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:36 pm

Frankfurt Airport is a disaster. I try to avoid it.

However I think it improved in the past few years with a new extension.

And the security there takes hours; slow as a slow worm.
 
JFKMan
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:07 am

I do love LH. Nice report overall! Would have enjoyed to see a pic of your sandwich/drink from the FRA-KRK flight.
Also, very disappointing to hear how LH handled PE boarding and the upgrade situation.
NYC
 
rwsea
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:29 am

Thanks for this excellent report. I just booked LH Premium Economy from SFO to Moscow this fall. I would much prefer business, but it's a differential of several thousand dollars on this routing (TK is the cheapest Business option, and is still $1500 more than this option, is much longer, and has much worse times). I've flown Economy Extra on SAS longhaul and, while certainly not business class, it was a nice upgrade from economy and made the flight much more tolerable. Hoping for a similar experience with LH.
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:28 am

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 21):
Frankfurt Airport is a disaster. I try to avoid it.

However I think it improved in the past few years with a new extension.

And the security there takes hours; slow as a slow worm.

Well, that might be an exaggeration, but hey let's just admit it that when transferring at FRA, you need to have plenty of time to reposition yourself and clear all the hurdles. I've made 70-minute connections there, but wouldn't recommend less than 90 - and preferably 120 min.

Having said that, they do an amazing job with the little they have to work with, and I've never gotten tripped up there so far. And free coffee and a wide selection of free newspapers near every gate certainly patches the wounds a bit....

Quoting Jfkman (Reply 22):
Would have enjoyed to see a pic of your sandwich/drink from the FRA-KRK flight.

I messed that one up in the original post, but added it in reply 4 above - check it out...

Quoting Jfkman (Reply 22):
Also, very disappointing to hear how LH handled PE boarding and the upgrade situation.

Yes... unnecessary and surprising for an airline of that caliber.

Quoting rwsea (Reply 23):
I just booked LH Premium Economy from SFO to Moscow this fall.

Hope you might be able to share the tale with us here when the time comes!

Quoting rwsea (Reply 23):
I've flown Economy Extra on SAS longhaul and, while certainly not business class, it was a nice upgrade from economy and made the flight much more tolerable.

Trying out the Premium Economy on SAS on the San Francisco - Copenhagen route is high on my list actually. Just waiting for their A340 cabin refresh to be done.

Quoting rwsea (Reply 23):
Thanks for this excellent report.

You're most welcome. I'm glad it got as many hits as it did, since I think P.E. might be more relevant as an option for many folks than, say, First Class Suites or something. Hopefully, it can help our fellow a-netters better decide whether it's worth the upgrade from Coach or not.... Thanks!
 
invaders
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:38 am

Great report!

Short comment on FRA. I think all the major hubs in Europe is a disaster. However, I would run through both FRA or LHR any day compared to connecting in the US.

Let me comment on just the onboard-product. It does look superior to WT+, it's a shame LH discontinued the BGO-service as I have to shuttle to either OSL, SVG or CPH in order to connect with LH in FRA. That is a bit inconvient. However, based on your report I might very well give it a try next year.

I have a couple of SAS IC flights coming up (reports will come, including their new HKG-service). It will be interesting to see how the new cabins to SK compares to what LH does.


O
 
LondonCity
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:48 pm

Quoting MarcoPoloWorld (Thread starter):
I found this to be a significant event, as LH is the best of the European majors and the continent's only true four-star carrier.

Yes it is significant when you consider that VS has offered Y+ for over 20 years and BA for almost 15 years !

Quoting MarcoPoloWorld (Thread starter):
about how British Airways was going to start flying to Kraków, Poland.

It's not a new destination for BA. It used to fly to KRK before the LCCs arrived.
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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RE: Lufthansa's New A380 Premium Economy SFO-FRA(-KRK)

Sun Jul 12, 2015 2:57 am

Quoting LondonCity (Reply 26):
Yes it is significant when you consider that VS has offered Y for over 20 years and BA for almost 15 years !

Yes, but VS and BA aren't four-star carriers by my assessment.

 
Quoting LondonCity (Reply 26):
It's not a new destination for BA. It used to fly to KRK before the LCCs arrived.

I didn't say that BA had never flown to KRK before, just simply what brought Kraków to my attention prior to my deciding to go there.... Is there any problem?....

Quoting invaders (Reply 25):
Great report!

Short comment on FRA. I think all the major hubs in Europe is a disaster. However, I would run through both FRA or LHR any day compared to connecting in the US.

Thanks!... Well, I wouldn't call those hubs an outright disaster, but let's just say that they leave much to be desired. I think of the biggest ones, AMS is probably the one that stands out from a convenience and amenity standpoint.

As for the US hubs, yeah nobody in his right mind would attempt to transfer through here. Sad but true....

Thanks for reading!



  

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