Lufthansa takes delivery of first A380 and unveils new First Class

Lufthansa has just taken delivery of its first A380 aircraft, which also features the carrier’s new First Class cabin. Lufthansa’s A380 has 526 seats, configured in three classes: eight seats in first class (the same number as on the airline’s smaller B747’s), 98 seats in business class, and 420 seats in economy class.

The airline’s new First Class offers flat-bed seats, designed with wood veneers and brown and beige leather. The flat bed measures 2.07 metres in length and 80 centimetres in width, and each passenger has an individual wardrobe. Amenity kits are designed by Porsche Design. First Class passengers will have two large bathrooms at their disposal with wash and changing areas separated from the lavatory area. The Lufthansa First cabin looks like a slimmed down version of SWISS’ First Class, which was also designed by Priestmangoode. The colors, materials and shapes used are also intended to create a smooth transition from Lufthansa’s first-class lounges to the aircraft. When departing or arriving in Frankfurt, First Class passengers are chauffeured in a Porsche Cayenne or Mercedes between the terminal and the aircraft.

Lufthansa has avoided the fully enclosed First Class suites offered by Singapore Airlines and Emirates, saying it is shunning opulence for “a warm, lean design”. The airline commented it has deliberately rejected a concept with separate cabins because at numerous in-flight tests and surveys, Lufthansa passengers expressed a clear preference for an open-plan design. First Class passengers can make use of a flexible privacy screen instead. According to Lufthansa, its A380 has “the quietest First Class ever”, as sound-absorbing curtains partition off the rest of the cabin, while special sound-insulating material in the aircraft’s outer skin and sound-absorbing carpeting block footstep noise.

Business Class on the Lufthansa A380 has an angled lie-flat seat, which is somewhat surprising as flat beds in Business Class are becoming the industry standard. Just like Air France’s A380, the relatively modest design of the first and business class seats on Lufthansa’s A380 seems to reflect the current economic environment.

In Economy Class, a newly developed seat has been installed with slimmer seat backs, which gives passengers an additional five centimetres of personal space and more legroom at knee level. All seats also have an USB connection to recharge and play content from personal devices.

Lufthansa will become the fifth airline to operate the A380, following Singapore Airlines in 2007, Emirates and Qantas in 2008, and Air France in 2009. The first long-haul flight of Lufthansa’s A380 is to bring the German football team to Johannesburg on June 6 for the start of the FIFA World Cup. The airline then will introduce the aircraft on scheduled routes from Frankfurt to Tokyo (June 11), Beijing (August 25), and Johannesburg (October 25). Lufthansa expects to take delivery of four A380s this year, out of 15 it has ordered.

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