Earlier this week, Lufthansa announced that it will reduce the amount of destinations that will see Lufthansa’s First Class product. The primary targets for this reduction will be cities that typically do not see a high demand for First Class seats. As of now, Lufthansa offers First Class seating on approximately 90% of it’s long haul fleet (Boeing 747, Airbus A330,A340, A380). This ratio will be reduced to approximately 75% after the adjustments take place. This will fall into alignment with what most other carriers offer as far as first class seating capacity is concerned.
Looking at it in terms of actual aircraft, Lufthansa currently has 100 long-haul aircraft of which 94 have a First Class cabin. With Lufthansa’s plan that will dip to approximately 75 aircraft, ultimately not such a dramatic change. For those of us addicted to LH’s First Class services who may be affected by this, remember that you are probably a short flight away to connect to a city that will continue to see the First Class seats.
I won’t speculate on which cities may be “at-risk” for losing LH’s First Class Service since no official plan has been laid out, so I would caution anyone from reaching too many conclusions too soon!
Ultimately this should not come as a surprise since this had already been communicated to employees by Lufthansa’s Supervisory Board last year. It also makes for a great business decision because of the amount of revenue that is lost when First Class seats go empty on any given flight.
Considering that Lufthansa offers the most Business Class seats of any airline, which also experiences typically higher load factors than First Class, it makes sense to increase the amount of Business Class and also Economy Class seats as well in an attempt to drive revenues. If you recall Lufthansa announced last year that it will be introducing new Premium Economy seat which will further add to their revenue numbers.
Chances are that the current fleet will not have too many First Class seats removed, rather it will be new aircraft coming from future orders that will be configured without a First Class cabin. Lufthansa has a handful of 2-Class longhaul aircraft in the fleet so it will be nothing new that will send shockwaves when someone boards a 2-Class aircraft in the future.