Photos: Lufthansa's new Boeing 777X business class seats revealed

Photos: Lufthansa's new Boeing 777X business class seats revealed

Here are the first photos of Lufthansa's all-new business class seats for its Boeing 777X (777-9) jets, which will begin flying from 2020.

As previously and exclusively revealed by Australian Business Traveller, the next-gen design provides direct aisle access for every passenger – with Lufthansa opting for an alternating 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 layout.

That centre 'throne' seat could be the pick for savvy travellers, not only for privacy but the added personal space on either side of the passenger.

There's a tablet docked into a recess in the sidewall to control the seat and inflight entertainment system, which displays on a much larger screen that today's business class.

Lufthansa says the seat design also includes "a special shoulder zone for side sleepers."

The computer renderings indicate Lufthansa has gone for a subdued colour palette of charcoal, cream and dusky blue with elements of chocolate brown.

However, it's believed that the new business class seats won't be installed across Lufthansa's existing jets – they'll be exclusive to the Boeing 777X family.

The fate of first class in the Boeing 777-9 fleet remains undecided, or at least undeclared.

While Lufthansa executive Harry Hohmeister has previously told Australian Business Traveller that "maybe we will have a better idea than just having first class," he has also spoken of a "more flexible" approach to what is defined as the primo cabin, due to "new business class concepts which are nearly as good as first class."

One of these could see first class replaced by a Business Plus cabin, according to an internal video presentation by Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.

This could be introduced on some Boeing 777-9 jets flying routes with insufficient demand for a full first class cabin.

PREVIOUS [EXCLUSIVE] | Lufthansa's next generation of business class seats will adopt a new design which offers direct aisle access to every passenger, in what the Star Alliance member says will be an "all-new concept" for its forthcoming Boeing 777-9 jets due to take wing from 2020.

The move will see Lufthansa abandon its current business class layout (below), in which window passengers need to do a stretching step over their seatmate to reach the aisle, and adopt a configuration that's become the norm among the world's best business class cabins.

"It will be a single seat approach so that every seat has a direct approach to the aisle," Lufthansa executive Harry Hohmeister confirmed to Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of a Star Alliance media briefing in Frankfurt.

"This single seat configuration is more or less a must for the next decade."

Hohmeister added that Lufthansa is working on this all-new "business class concept with a major seat manufacturer", with the final design to be locked down by the end of 2018.

Lufthansa wouldn't need to move to a conventional 1-2-1 seating layout, however: several airlines and seat manufacturers are now working on business class cabin designs which pack more passengers into the same floor space while still putting the aisle just one step away.

This includes United Airlines' Polaris business class; the airline-agnostic Zodiac Optima version of the same design (seen above and below); and British Airways' new Airbus A350 Club World seat due in 2019.

As first reported by Australian Business Traveller, Lufthansa's new business class seat will be shared across the fleets of LH-owned Swiss and Austrian Airlines.

Business class goes bespoke

"It's a fantastic project, it's about innovation in not just the seat but everything around it," Hohmeister enthuses.

"It's having more individual possibilities than just having a window or aisle seat. It also has to be around the inflight service, the preflight and after-flight service and all of that, to combine the human touch with the digital touch."

Lufthansa has already shared a mock-up of how a new app will let passengers use their smartphone or tablet to control the seat.

"This seat will be more than 'just' a seat. It will meet the specific needs of customers... whether they prefer to work or sleep, or whether they are traveling with their families or on their own for business."

The fate of first class

Lufthansa is less certain on the role of first class in its Boeing 777-9s, and Hohmeister admits that the need for a first class cabin could be eliminated by a vastly improved business class.

"I think we will get close to that, and this is why we have to review what we do with first class, it's being investigated," he said.

"There are good opportunities with new business class concepts which are nearly as good as first class but more flexible in terms of cabin design (and) when you have a business class that is so close to first class that the differentiation for the customer will not be relevant any more."

"But maybe we will have a better idea than just having first class, we are working on that now," Hohmeister teased.

Hohmeister also added that the Boeing 777-9's premium economy seat would also be an "evolution" of the current design.

David Flynn travelled to Frankfurt as a guest of Star Alliance.

PREVIOUS | Lufthansa will introduce an all-new business class seat with the launch of its Boeing 777-9 in 2020, with the same seat also being rolled out on the Swiss and Austrian Airlines fleets.

The move towards a unified business class design across all three sibling airlines is intended to both lower costs and provide a more consistent passenger experience, especially on codeshare flights.

"We’re starting to design it now" Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr (below) told Australian Business Traveller at this week's meeting of Star Alliance airlines in Chicago.

"Technically it will be the same seat – but when it comes to seat covers and the design of the cabin, I see an upside in being different and maintaining diversity on our aircraft, because we are not one brand."

Lufthansa has upgraded its fleet to the airline's latest business class...

... while Swiss has launched its next-generation business class on the airline's Boeing 777-300ER and will also roll it out to its older Airbus A340s.

Austrian Airlines already uses the same basic seat as the current Swiss design, with fully flat beds in a staggered configuration featuring the same popular 'throne' seat.

Lufthansa's next-gen business class will take wing in 2020 on the first of the German flag-carrier's 34 Boeing 777-9 jets, although Spohr said it had not yet been determined if the jet would also feature first class.

David Flynn travelled to Chicago as a guest of Star Alliance 

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

9 Comments

  • Bizflyer

    Bizflyer

    10 Dec, 2015 08:54 am

    I do think LH might drop the throne seat for and all 1-2-1 layout to make it seem like the best of the group.

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  • FLX

    FLX

    11 Dec, 2015 12:29 am

    By 2020, I predict many longhaul carriers, possibly including LH Group, will go to 2-3-2 layout for  business class on the 779(2-2-2 for 350/787) but still retaining  direct aisle-access for every seat(Obviously flat bed) in a semi-suite set up.....the trick is to do 2-3-2 in a staggered layout.  JL and KE have already launched this type(Branded as SkySuite and Prestige Suite respectively) about a year ago and reported right here on www.ausbt.com.au

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  • Bizflyer

    Bizflyer

    11 Dec, 2015 04:14 am

    No I beg to differ as thoose seats can be quite claustraphobic why do you think BA's 2018 re design is going 4 abrest 

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  • FLX

    FLX

    11 Dec, 2015 04:22 pm

    Claustraphobic for some can be an improvement in privacy for others.  Anyway, it's just my personal opinion based on:

    1.  For decades, the main theme for all improvements in intercon  biz class seat(I treat AVOD IFE as a separate development) has been focused on becoming more like F class std(Also evolving but @ a much slower pace in general...except perhaps the shower in F @ EK and F Residence @ EY) in pretty much all aspects.  Recall when biz class was born 30yrs ago, its std was no better than today's PY(Premium Economy) and just a tad better than today's Y+.

    2.  In the last 10yrs, the biggest evolutions in biz class seat design were going from angled lie-flat +indirect aisle access to horizontal flat bed +direct aisle access for every seat.....almost fully matching F in these aspects and nothing much can be gained fm further improvements(e.g. you can't go flatter than flat for a seat/bed in terms of sleeping comfort).

    3.  Still confined to more or less the same cabin floor area(i.e. seat count and allocated floor area per seat implications /limits per fare sustainable in biz class segment), 1 of the few real evolutions remaining will be improved privacy to close the gap with F.  This typically means more elaborate partitions(Or more claustraphobia for some) in a finite space for biz class while still maintaining current seat count....and a staggered 7 abreast layout on 779 where the only part of the seat visible to other pax/crew is a small opening to the aisle will be pretty hard to beat.

    Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying 1-2-1 reverse-herring bone layout for biz class like the future concept design for BA won't exist.  I totally agree some carriers will continue to adopt the nex gen version of such layout in 2020.  However, I just tend to believe more airlines will go to staggered 7 abreast in their quest to maintain a seat count higher than what 1-2-1 can offer AND can still improve privacy simultaneously.....also eliminate the small box /tray to put your foot in while lying horizontally which is unavoidable in a 1-2-1 layout if a reasonable seat count means anything.

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    PaulHKG

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    16 May, 2017 12:54 pm

    That's unlikely because BE Apex (the product you're discussing) is relatively low in density. 

    If anything I think we can expect the trend to be high-density-business-class, particularly in airlines that retain first class.

    My prediction is that Lufthansa will go for the Herringline/Optima/Polaris configuration in Business, and retain First Class exclusively on Frankfurt routes. The larger seat, better onboard catering and the LH First Class Terminal all provide sufficient product differentiation from Business. 
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  • eminere

    eminere

    10 Dec, 2015 09:15 am

    Consistency is a great thing.

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  • Lifestobelived

    Lifestobelived

    10 Dec, 2015 01:13 pm

    Don't know why LH's J seats have to slant towards each other so it feels like you almost play footsies with the person next to you...

     

    Austraian's is ok, i like the single throne seat although the footwell can get pretty narrow when its between the two seetas in front of you...

     

    That Swiss design doesn't look to bad...

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  • smit0847

    smit0847

    10 Dec, 2015 04:35 pm

    - Fully flat

    - Direct aisle access for all

    - Some privacy.

    Its not rocket science.

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  • eminere

    eminere

    10 Dec, 2015 09:15 pm

    Nor is it exactly "next-generation" - current generation seats from competitors already offer all of these benefits. The LH group has some catching up to the present to do.

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  • FLX

    FLX

    11 Dec, 2015 12:46 am

    It is semi-rocket science if designers try to meet all 3 of your criteria AND maximizing seat count /minimizing seat count loss within a finite business cabin floor area as demanded by airline bossess who pay their salaries /consulting fees.

    I have tremendous respect for the profession of premium cabin seat designers.  Some designs today are amazingly space-efficient yet still manage to be very comfortable & spacious/private for pax @ the same time. 

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  • hkan046

    hkan046

    16 May, 2017 06:48 am

    Let's see if airNZ can adopt a similar product! 
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    16 May, 2017 07:12 pm

    NZ already adopted direct aisle access+flatbed design std for every J seat in their longhaul fleet since 2010 1st appearing on the 77W.

    If LH adopt "a similar product" in 2020 per the article, they'll be 10yrs late.
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  • petrhsr

    petrhsr

    17 May, 2017 09:00 am

    Lufti has never been innovative. 
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  • eminere

    eminere

    24 Nov, 2017 11:48 am

    Interesting to see that LH has gone for throne seats on alternating rows in the centre section. How does this bode for seating efficiency?
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  • Steven Beale

    melbtraveler

    24 Nov, 2017 01:27 pm

    Interesting Layout. Not wanting to be negative but by 2020 I do think that the business class product will have evolved a lot further than what I'm seeing here. The 1-2-1/1-1-1 is definitely a step in the right direction though.
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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    24 Nov, 2017 02:19 pm

    I have to admit that layout looks very inefficient to me. Herringline in the 777-9 should be 4-abreast easily (for reference, United Polaris (same seating design) is 4-abreast in the 777-300, and the 777-9 is four inches wider on the inside). I could see 1-2-1/1-1-1 Herringline in an A330 but in a 777-9 it really does seem wasteful.

    Maybe this is the rumored Business-Plus cabin?
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  • David Flynn

    David

    24 Nov, 2017 02:36 pm

    No, these are LH's business class seats
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  • Joe

    Joe

    24 Nov, 2017 05:35 pm

    777 never-too loud for long haul and ultra long haul..Boeing seem not to have addressed this from what I can see. Airbus A350 wins here and everywhere else. As far as the J seats go QR and DL(not that I would every fly that horrid airline again) have got it all sewn up with their J suites. everything else is still just a 'seat'.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    27 Nov, 2017 05:52 pm

    @Joe:
    "777 never-too loud for.....Boeing seem not to have addressed this from what I can see."
    It's amazing U already "can see" noise level test data to back your claim given that the 1st test run of the GE9X prototype occurred only 1.5yrs ago @ GE Ohio and only started flight testing on GE's flying test bed(a 744) very very recently. For those(assuming U are 1 of them in order to lash out your early criticism now) who understand a bit about GE9X design, it's quite a diff animal than its GE90-115 predecessor....these 2 designs are @ least 15yrs apart in terms of e.g. materials, by-pass ratio and noise suppression tech...

    "Airbus A350 wins here and everywhere else."
    How and where? Or are we talking about typical Airbus/350 fanboy cheerleading here?
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19 Dec, 2017 09:31 am

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