On Thursday, 2 October 2014 Lufthansa presented its new Premium Economy Class cabin to the Swiss public. The carrier had a cabin mock-up placed at Zürich’s main railway station and the public was invited to take a seat and try out the new product.
According to Lufthansa, the new product can be purchased for a fare difference of CHF700.- (one way) on the regular Economy Class fare, although I’m not sure if this applies to any Economy Class fare or if only certain fares are eligible for the upgrade.
The introduction of this new, fourth cabin class by the German carrier coincides with the removal of the First Class cabin and product from some of its long-haul aircraft. One of the first routes to no longer offer a First Class is Bangkok.
All in all, this is not a bad move. Lufthansa is a very large company that usually takes a while to shift and adapt to changes in the market. And indeed, the market has undergone major changes over the last few years, with a significant and steady decline in demand for the Premium Class product.
The only concern of course, is that instead of upselling customers from regular Economy Class to Premium Economy, many passengers who currently fly Business Class may opt to downgrade to the new cabin class. And quite frankly, given the rather unattractive and uncomfortable new Business Class product Lufthansa is currently introducing across its long-haul fleets, that may very well happen.
There was a news item on Lufthansa’s new cabin class on the Swiss national evening news. The piece features a very short interview with me, which is only available in German though.