This weekend, we leave for our Safari trip to the South African Bushveld and are of course flying LH from home in the States, through Frankfurt and onto Johannesburg.
Earlier this year when planning the trip, Premium Economy fares were on sale for extremely good prices and I could not resist booking a roundtrip for only $2200, especially since the fares booked into fare class ‘E’ which means 150% mileage credit. Another reason for booking this trip and fare class was to ensure that I would have enough miles to qualify for SENATOR with Miles & More. Based on my calculations, I’ll cross the SEN threshold somewhere over Greenland on the way home. More on my path to SEN in a future post….
When I compared Business Class fares that were pricing at $6000-$7000 it was a no brainer to book the Prem Eco ticket and save the $5000 to book 2 Business Class tickets when they go on sale throughout the year in the mid-$2000 area. Besides, I was not going to earn any additional miles.
I’ve flown Prem Eco earlier this year between New York and Frankfurt, and quite honestly, I was impressed with the leg room and comfort of the seat. I also felt that the cabin crew paid quite a bit of attention to us, similar to my experiences in Business class. It was that experience that had me come back to try Prem Eco once again.
However this time it is not just a 7 hour jump across the pond. With this itinerary, I fly 9 hours from Chicago to Frankfurt, spend 8 hours in FRA plane spotting (I need to track down the last 5 LH planes that I’m missing to have all of them on ‘film’) and then get on an A380 in Prem Eco and head south for 9-10 hours to Jo’Burg. Over a span of almost 30 hours, I will be in a Premium Economy seat for 18-20 hours. And the return flights are identical, which means that I’ll spend nearly 40 hours in Premium Economy during this Holiday.
It will be interesting to see if my optimism is still in place during the course of my flights. But a trip like this will allow me to put the Prem Eco travel experience to the test under different conditions (daytime vs. overnight flights for example) and come back to you with my thoughts and opinions.
My wife you ask? yep, she flying First Class on LH a day ahead of me. She kept talking about something called an ‘FCT’ and babbling about rubber ducks……weird.
LUFTHANSA is currently running a Premium Economy fare sale for travel between the USA and Europe during the 4th quarter of this year.
Fares, as usual when Prem Eco goes on sale, are attractive. For example New York to Milan can be had for only $1500.
Most departures from the East Coast range between $1550 and $1700, while departures from the Midwest and West Coast range between $1700 and $1850.
The difference between Economy and Premium Economy on Lufthansa is fairly significant. Not only do you get a much more comfortable seat with more leg room and seat pitch, you’ll also experience enhanced dining and a generous checked baggage allowance. For more details on other perks visit LH’s dedicated Premium Economy webpage.
I have experienced the new Premium Economy seat on flights between New York and Frankfurt. It is a perfectly comfortable seat and I had no problem being comfortable and getting a few hours of sleep during the flight. I sensed that the cabin crew was a bit more attentive to the Premium Economy passengers as compared to the economy passengers. Perhaps because it is a relatively small ‘cabin’, but nevertheless I had a great experience and would recommend to anyone to fly Premium Economy.
In fact, part of my segments to Johannesburg ZA next week are in Premium Economy as well……unless an upgrade clear or my wife lets me have her First Class seats 😉 .
Beginning in October, members of Lufthansa’s Miles & More program will be able to finally redeem miles for Premium Economy award tickets.
The redemption rates predictably fall in between Economy and Business Class redemption rates and actually look fairly attractive. For example, an Economy Class award ticket for travel between North American and Europe is 60,000 miles, for Business Class its 105,000 (Round Trip). With Premium Economy, the redemption rate is 80,000.
For now, redemptions will need to take place by calling the Miles & More customer service center, but we’ll soon be able to book Premium Economy award travel on line. Reservations can be made now, but ‘inventory’ is available for flights beginning on October 1.
Here is the published Premium Economy redemption table from Miles & More (Roundtrip Travel From/To Europe):
Middle East, Caucasia, North Africa, Central Africa: 55,000 Miles
North America, India, Southern Africa: 80,000 Miles
Central America: 95,000 Miles
Southeast Asia, Central Asia: 105,000 Miles
South America: 110,000 Miles.
Within Southeast Asia on 2-stop LH flights: 40,000 miles.
I expect additional redemption rates to be published shortly that will cover travel ‘transiting Europe’. For example NYC-Frankfurt- Hong Kong, etc. My guess is that the amount of miles needed for a Premium Eco seat will always fall evenly between the Economy and Business Class redemption rate, with a few minor variations.
Today marks the 50% benchmark of Lufthansa’s Premium Economy rollout. In total, 53 aircraft now combine to provide passengers with approximately 2,000 Premium Economy seats. As of today, 33 LH destinations have Premium Economy available to passengers.
Specifically, all 747-8i and A380 aircraft have been retrofitted. 15 out of 18 Munich-Based A340-600 along with both Dusseldorf-based A340-300s are complete as well.
Going forward, the remainder of the A340-300 fleet is scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks, followed by the 747-400s and Frankfurt-based A340-600s which will start their conversions by September, and be completed by year end. All A330 aircraft will also be finished by the end of the year. Additionally, all of the ‘JUMP’ based A340-300s will also be finished this year as well.
Keep in mind that these dates are soft targets and some adjustments to the timeline should be expected.
By the way, Lufthansa is currently running a Premium Economy Sale….
Lufthansa announced this week that it will delay the Premium Economy retrofit for their 747-400 aircraft until October 1. Initial plans called for the 744 fleet to have been completed by August 11. The LH reservation system has been updated to reflect this change.
Once completed, the 747-400 fleet will operate as a 3-cabin aircraft with the new Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy and will operate on the following routes:
Frankfurt – Boston (Only flight LH420 and LH421)
Frankfurt – Denver
Frankfurt – Mumbai
Frankfurt – Osaka
Frankfurt – Seattle
Frankfurt – Shanghai (Only flight LH732 and LH733)
Frankfurt – Tokyo
Frankfurt – Toronto
Frankfurt – Vancouver
Frankfurt – Washington (Only flight LH416 and LH417)