Bloomberg is reporting that Lufthansa plans to remove first class seating from about 15-20% of long-haul flights due to weak demand. Believe it or not, Lufthansa currently has first class seating in more than 90% of its wide-body fleet, something unheard of for American and European based carriers. For comparison, British Airways has first class on 80% of its long-haul fleet while Air France has 40% of its long-haul fleet outfitted with first class seating. Chief Executive Officer Christoph Franz told Bloomberg that first class will disappear from some A340-400 aircraft this year and from select B747-400 aircraft in 2014. “They’ll serve routes where there is simply no more demand for first class.” “We’re a little bit exotic here — we had first class seats on 94 of our 100 long- haul planes. Others thought we were mad.” The healthiest first-class routes currently include Frankfurt to Kuwait, Johannesburg, Riyadh and Miami.

Lufthansa first class generally has excellent availability from the US for award redemptions using United miles and Ultimate Rewards points for travel to Europe and onwards to Asia. I’ve taken advantage of their generosity several times over the last few years! If you’re willing to book your travel plans last minute, you are almost guaranteed to find LH first-class award availability from a US departure point. Take a look at flights from NYC to Frankfurt and Munich on Friday…

So, what routes are in jeopardy of loosing first class? It’s hard to say as LH will likely swap aircraft based on those markets where first class is just not working and the article mentions that only some A340-3 and B747-4 aircraft will loose the first class product. One route that is mentioned is Vancouver (YVR) – Frankfurt, currently served with an A340-300 aircraft.

North American A340-300 routes
A340-300 YVR-FRA
A340-300 YYZ-FRA

North American B747-400 routes
B747-400 – EWR-FRA (Newark seems unlikely, UA hub and prime NYC market)
B747-4 ORD-FRA
B747-4 DEN-FRA

Major North American Frankfurt bound routes served with other aircraft
A330-300 -JFK
A340-600 – JFK
A380-800 MIA
B747-8 IAD
A380-800 IAH
A340-600 BOS
A330-300 ATL
A330-300 DFW
B747-8 LAX
B747-4 SFO
A330-300 SEA
A330-300 DTW
JFK-MUC A330-300 (Munich)
EWR-MUC A340-600 (Munich)
ORD-MUC A330-300 (Munich)

Some of the more popular Asian routes
FRA-BKK   A340-600
MUC-DEL A340-600
FRA-SIN A380-800
FRA-NRT A380-800
FRA-PVG B747-400
FRA-ICN A340-600

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Oliver February 21, 2013 - 9:13 am

Didn’t US not to long ago take away he ability to book LH F with DM miles?

Jeff February 21, 2013 - 9:21 am

I predict YYZ will be among the first to go.

CX stopped offering F class here and BA, IIRC, doesn’t offer it on all flights.

I’ve flown LH to FRA and DUS many times out of YYZ and almost always full of AC mileage redeemers and HONs bumped up from C.

I have heard that even the major banks here, which are doing very well, rarely book F, even for c-suite staff. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing…

No knowledge of the YVR market.

adam February 21, 2013 - 6:21 pm

@Jeff – Agree with your YYZ prediction.

stephan February 21, 2013 - 9:29 am

A343 to YVR is winter seasonal only with A346 in summer with F so that seems likely, however they just added an A333 to MUC so who knows. YYZ is also likely – perhaps seasonal also? FRA-DEN is be very likely though IMO. Are they still flying to Mexico?

adam February 21, 2013 - 6:16 pm

@stephan – agree with the FRA-DEN thinking. Good catch, they still fly a 747-400 to Mexico.

ga February 21, 2013 - 1:13 pm

You probably want to change the title to read: “Lufthansa to Reduce First Class ON Long Haul Aircraft by 15-20%. A340-3 and B747-4 Aircraft Impacted”

adam February 21, 2013 - 2:54 pm

@ga – Good point!!! Thanks

Kris Ziel February 21, 2013 - 2:13 pm

FRA-BKK is not 777-300, that is the Thai codeshare, LH runs the 340.

adam February 21, 2013 - 2:53 pm

@Kris – Yep typo thanks. LH runs the 340

Jorge February 21, 2013 - 6:23 pm

As long as they retrofit these with the new business class, that is OK.

Lufthansa – “First Class No Longer for Mile Burners” - Point Me To The Plane November 24, 2013 - 1:10 pm

[…] February I posted Lufthansa to Reduce First Class on Long Haul Aircraft by 15-20%, where Lufthansa formally announced plans to remove first class seating from about 15-20% of […]


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