Lufthansa uses VR to sell last-minute upgrades to Premium Economy at the gate

Airlines are becoming more creative in selling ancillary services to passengers in order to increase revenues per seat. For example, many airlines today offer passengers the option to place their bids in a blind auction for an upgrade to a premium seat, while airlines such as KLM and Emirates invite passengers to contact the tablet-equipped crew if they want upgrade to another cabin at the very last minute onboard.

Selling upgrades at the gate
Lufthansa has recently trialled an innovative way to sell upgrades to Premium Economy at the departure gate. Earlier this year, the airline used virtual reality (VR) glasses at its Frankfurt Airport hub as a way to tempt Economy Class passengers to purchase an upgrade to Premium Economy right before their departure.

By inviting passengers to put on some VR glasses and take a 360 degrees view of how the Premium Economy seat and cabin looks, Lufthansa hoped passengers booked in Economy would become more interested to purchase an upgrade.

As Lufthansa put it: “Because what legroom and premium service really mean in Premium Economy can be best demonstrated in three-dimensional form.”

For two weeks flights were selected for the VR-based promotion on a daily basis, choosing those where there were still enough seats free in Premium Economy. Up until 40 minutes before departure, passengers were given the chance to virtually try out Lufthansa’s new travel class in 3D. Read full article »

Lufthansa partners with Nespresso to offer passengers quality coffee at the gate

images by Raitis Steinbergs, Alessandro Teglia

For years, Lufthansa has been one of the very few airlines – if not the only one – to offer passengers waiting for their flight at the gate complimentary coffee, tea (image), and newspapers at main airports around Germany, including its Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

Or as Lufthansa has stated in the past: “Offering hot beverages to passengers prior to departure is a long Lufthansa tradition. Lufthansa first began offering hot coffee and tea from large thermos flasks in the mid-80s and the first automatic vending machines serving freshly brewed coffee were installed at airports in 1993.”

However, similar to any other full service carrier around the globe who is looking to rationalize every cost item, Lufthansa has to rethink these kind of free amenities. Instead of cutting costs by simply terminating the free hot beverages and print newspapers the airline has come up with a smart alternative that taps into trends such as ‘paid premium’ and digitalization.

Coffee at the gate
Following trials in the first half of 2015 at selected gates at Frankfurt and Munich airports, Lufthansa a few months ago partnered with Nespresso to bring the ubiqituous coffee capsules to the gate area.

The premium Nespresso coffee doesn’t come for free though. Passengers can choose from regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino ior latte macchiato (the latter with fresh milk), each at the cost of 2 euros. For those passengers who might consider bringing their own coffee pods: For the business market, a different pad-shaped system of Nespresso pods exists which are not interchangeable with the consumer capsules.

According to Lufthansa, a total of 20 Nespresso Coffee Points have been placed throughout Frankfurt and Munich airports so that passengers from different gates can access the machines. Read full article »

Lufthansa airport ‘pods’ let parents record a bedtime story for their kids

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This case appears in the November 2015 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly premium report by and Simpliflying that identifies the latest innovative marketing campaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

Stories are an important part of childhood. Not only do children learn language or lessons about how the world works, but storytelling also forms a strong bond between parents and their kids. Reading rituals are important, but working parents who travel a lot have to miss out sometimes. What if they could tell bedtime stories even though they have to catch a plane?

That’s the premise behind Lufthansa’s latest marketing campaign – called Bedtime Stories (video). The airline has installed a mobile recording studio – in the shape of a moon – at a departure gate at Frankfurt Airport, which invites parents to record their favorite bedtime story as an audio book in their own voice, and then send it their kids at home via email or text message. Children then click on the link and gets redirected to the microsite where they can download or listen directly. A second recording pod will be installed at Munich Airport as well.

If time at the gate is too short to read a whole book, there are pre-recorded audiobooks to choose from, narrated by well-known German voices, such as actor Axel Prahl. Moms and dads can add a personal good-night-wish and a photo of themselves to the story. Lufthansa has worked with several publishing companies to offer a large selection of popular children’s books to choose from.

The Bedtime Stories ‘studios’ can be found at the airports of Frankfurt and Munich from mid October through the end of the year and will be supported with traditional advertisements via social media (hashtag #LufthansaStories) and the Lufthansa’s magazines.

“Travelling is always an emotional experience: Farewell and greeting, a change of place and culture, wanderlust and homesickness,” says Alexander Schlaubitz, Head of Marketing at Lufthansa. “We want to make every passenger feel as though they are in good hands.”

Lufthansa’s Chief Strategy Officer shares his vision of the future passenger journey

The Next Step For Airlines_Sadiq Gillani LH
Click to watch video

The travel industry is often at the forefront of trialling new technologies, and in the past year we have seen airlines experiment with the latest digital technologies such as Google Glass (Virgin Atlantic, Spring), smartwatches (Vueling, Iberia, airberlin), Virtual Reality (Thomas Cook, Emirates), and even drones (easyJet).

Furthermore, the acceleration of wi-fi installations at airports and onboard aircraft will (finally) create ubiquitous connectivity. Combined with the large number of passengers carrying one or more digital devices (97 percent at last count), the rapid developments in digital technologies has created a perfect storm that sees many of today’s airline and airport passenger product and service innovations taking place in the digital realm.

Digital Disruption
Reflecting the omnipresence of digital technologies in the passenger journey, a growing number of airlines are aligning themselves with the creative, entrepreneurial and technology industries by participating in events such as TED (Delta) and SXSW (American Airlines), immersing in digital culture by establishing a Digital Media Lab (Ryanair), or co-create new applications by organizing ‘hack-a-tons’ (e.g, American Airlines, Emirates, Vueling).

Lufthansa at TEDxBerlin
In Europe, Lufthansa announced this summer it intends to invest a EUR 500 million in innovations groupwide in the run up to 2020. The plans should see a new ‘Innovation Hub’ established this year in Berlin – in order to be closer to the start-up and digital technology scene – and the set up of an ‘Innovation fund’ to expedite the development of promising new ideas from both within and outside the airline group.

Lufthansa’s Chief Strategy Officer Sadiq Gillani recently delivered a talk at TEDxBerlin – titled ‘The Next Step for Airlines’ (video here) – in which he highlighted how innovation and digitization can take place at all stages (that is: Dreaming, Departing, Flying and Arriving) of the airline passenger journey. Read full article »

Lufthansa opens dedicated check-in counters for ‘flying families’

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By Raymond Kollau,

Lufthansa, long known as a business traveler’s airline, has lately been repositioning itself in order to broaden its appeal to leisure and family travelers. Says Erik Mosch, director of product management, airport and passenger services at Lufthansa, “Realizing growth means broadening the carrier’s scope beyond business travel. Lufthansa discovered that, in Germany at least, consumers viewed it as a business traveler’s airline.” […] “Regular people were not sure if Lufthansa wanted its business,” Mosch told Travel Weekly. The airline now wants to appeal more to leisure travellers and “to be recognized as a family-friendly airline.”

On the ground
To cater to the growing number of ‘flying families’ on board, Lufthansa has recently opened Family Check-in counters at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs. At the family-friendly desks – which can be used by families traveling with children up to 12 years old – children can climb a few steps so they can watch the check-in procedure, receive their boarding pass and also a special ‘Best Friend’ boarding pass for their teddy or cuddly toy accompanying them on their flight.

A ‘Family Guide’ brochure is also available at check-in. It contains tips and information for parents about the location of airport play areas, baby changing facilities, restaurants that provide children’s menus, chemists, supermarkets and the nearest observation deck, as well as vouchers for special offers at the airport.

The Family Check-in desks can be easily recognized because of a large welcome arch, while the path to the counters looks like a runway and overhead monitors display the airline’s kid mascots Lu and Cosmo.
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Lufthansa alarm clock app rewards users for guessing which city’s sounds they wake up to

By Springwise

Getting up on time can be a challenge, but numerous variations on the alarm clock theme are aiming to make it easier. Now a mobile app launched earlier this year by Lufthansa adds a different twist altogether. Specifically, users of Lufthansa’s free Anywake app are awoken to the sounds of a random city — if they guess which one it is, they’re rewarded with discounted tickets to that destination.

After downloading the app — which was created for Germany-based Lufthansa by ad agency DDB Stockholm and Monterosa — users begin by selecting a standard wake-up sound, which will then wake them up each day. Every other morning or so, the app will wake the user to the sounds of a randomly selected city instead. To turn off the alarm, they must guess which city it is — if they’re right, they get rewarded with a discount for airfare to that city. This video explains the premise in more detail.
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Lufthansa lets frequent flyers become the ‘foursquare mayor’ of a route

By Shubhodeep Pal, SimpliFlying

Lufthansa’s “Blue Legends” Facebook app is one of the first ten “Connected Apps” to be offered as a product of Foursquare‘s new development platform. In a nutshell, Foursquare now allows developers to create apps that offer customized experiences to customers based on their check-ins.

Lufthansa has seized this new opportunity in the Foursquare eco system to create official Lufthansa venues (including over 9,000 flights named in the format “Lufthansa Flight LH 400″) where users can check-in virtually to get special badges, ranks and rewards.

For instance, once connected with Foursquare and Facebook, you can earn badges such as the “Early-Bird-badge” by checking in before 6 in the morning. There are more virtual goodies as you fly more on Lufthansa (and, of course, remember to check-in to their official locations).

One of the undeniably attractive features of the app is that its written in HTML5 which allows it to be accessed from almost every platform – desktop and mobile – with ease, without being confined to a closed app ecosystem (such as iOS or Android).

An increasingly “gamified” and location-aware world
As you move up the ladder, you’ll find that the badges and ranks (similar to mayorships) are increasingly targeted towards frequent flyers. Lufthansa believes that this customized experience by offering special virtual badges in recognition for flying the airline will “open a whole new dimension of social travel experience for frequent flyers who can not only track their countries and airports they’ve visited with the app but can compete with their friends to become the “Expert Pilot” on a route between two cities.” This rank is given to the person who has travelled most between two destinations – independent from the Lufthansa flight he took or airport of the city he travelled to.
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Lufthansa gives its virtual fans real discounts on A380 flights

In early May 2011, Lufthansa’s 7th A380 entered into daily service on the Frankfurt – San Francisco route. To promote its A380 destinations in the USA – New York, San Francisco and Miami (from 10 June 2011 on) – Lufthansa has launched a Facebook campaign in which it offers its virtual fans a real, tangible, reward.

Facebook members can book a virtual flight on a Lufthansa A380 flight from the USA to Frankfurt, and the more ‘likes’ their flight gets, the bigger the discount voucher. 

How it works: Participants must ‘like’ Lufthansa on Facebook, submit a ‘virtual flight’ by selecting an origin and destination from Lufthansa’s timetable, get their Facebook friends to ‘like’ their virtual flight within a 24 hour time period that begins upon the submission of the virtual flight. Participants who create a virtual flight but receive less then 10 ‘likes’ on Facebook automatically receive a USD25 discount voucher, with the amount rising to USD50 with 10 to 29 ‘likes’, USD75 with 30 to 59 ‘likes’, while those who get 60 friends to like their A380 flight, receive a USD100 discount voucher. A maximum of 15,000 discount vouchers will be awarded in each denomination and a purchase is required to use the discount voucher. 
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Lufthansa’s new 747-400 First Class consists of a seat and a separate flat bed

When Lufthansa introduced its first A380 to its fleet in May 2010, the airline’s new superjumbo also featured a new First Class cabin (as well as new seats in Economy). At the same time, Lufthansa also started an EUR400 million revamp of all classes across its entire fleet. For example, in December 2010, Lufthansa unveiled a ‘new European cabin’, adding slimmer, lighter seats on its short-haul aircraft.

First Class on 747-400s
Lufthansa has just announced it will also upgrade its First Class on its B747-400 aircraft. However, instead of installing the new First Class cabin introduced on its A380 last year, Lufthansa has opted for a radically different design for the new First Class on its B747-400s.

The airline is converting every window seat in its existing First Class cabin – which currently fits 16 passengers – into a permanently flat bed, reducing the total number of seats to just eight. The full-flat beds have a sleeping surface measuring over two metres in length and a top-quality mattress. Essentially the new First Class seat on Lufthansa’s B747-400 now will consist of two seats, with the upright seat appearing similar to an older version of Lufthansa’s First Class seat on the pictures. Cabin seating is configured just 1-1 with the upright seat adjoining the aisle to allow for easier meal service and socializing, while the bed is positioned alongside the window for more privacy.

First class passengers will also get 17″ monitors for inflight entertainment, temperature-regulating blankets and pillows and an amenity kit from Porsche Design. Furthermore, just like the First Class on Lufthansa’s A380s, sound-absorbing curtains and sound-deadening insulation beneath the carpet will make the cabin more quiet. Read full article »

Innovative airlines 2011: #3 Lufthansa

In third place is Lufthansa, which through its acquisition of SWISS, Austrian, British Midland and Brussels Airlines has aggressively led consolidation in the European airline industry. The German flag carrier has also started a new subsidiary in Italy, and is reportedly also interested in SAS and Polish carrier LOT. Serving various market segments with products ranging from low-cost Germanwings to high-end Lufthansa Private Jet, Lufthansa is a strong brand associated with quality, thoroughness and innovation by many travellers, resulting in an above-average share of high-yield premium traffic. However, the airline’s high cost base and decentralized home market makes it vulnerable to competition from low-cost airlines such as airberlin and carriers from the Gulf Region such as Emirates. 

Premium positioning
Lufthansa positions itself at the premium end of the market. In the airline’s words: “Lufthansa sees the key feature of its business in quality. Our philosophy is that, to maintain the leading position, one must be better – better in terms of reliability and innovation. Because good quality binds customers.” Says the airline’s head of marketing and sales Thierry Antinori, ”Over the next five years, we plan to invest one billion Euro to upgrade our products in all classes of service.” 

Business, First, Private
With the introduction of its first A380 in May 2010, Lufthansa has started a complete revamp of all classes across its entire fleet, spending as much as EUR400 million through 2013. The airline’s A380 is the first aircraft to feature Lufthansa’s new First Class, which according to the airline has ”the quietest First Class ever,” with sound-absorbing curtains and carpet and special sound-insulating material in the aircraft’s outer skin blocking noise. Lufthansa has avoided the fully enclosed First Class suites offered by Singapore Airlines and Emirates saying that at numerous in-flight tests and surveys, passengers expressed a clear preference for an open-plan design. 

Business Class on Lufthansa’s A380 flagship has an angled lie-flat seat, which is somewhat surprising as flat beds in Business Class are becoming the industry standard. The airline has attributed its decision to stick with the angled lie-flat concept to the delayed A380 delivery, saying the design was appropriate when the aircraft orders were first made. However, Lufthansa reportedly plans to introduce flat-bed seats on its new B747-8 aircraft from late 2011 on, with other aircraft models to follow in coming years. 
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Lufthansa (re)launches FlyNet inflight broadband on long-haul flights

After a four-year suspension, Lufthansa has relaunched its FlyNet inflight Internet service on November 30, 2010. With the introduction, Lufthansa became the first airline to offer passengers wireless broadband Internet access on intercontinental routes. The airline is initially rolling out the FlyNet service on aircraft operating select North Atlantic routes, such as Frankfurt to New York, Detroit and Atlanta. Ten Lufthansa aircraft (mainly A330s) have been readied for the service so far. 

Lufthansa is offering the Ku-band satellite-based Internet service in partnership with Panasonic and mobile network operator T-Mobile. The airline will initially provide a WiFi Internet service for laptops and smartphones and GSM capability will be added in spring 2011. No voice or Skype calls will be permitted, however. “We got a clear message from our customers that they are seeking quietness on board and we respect this,” says Lufthansa vice president product management and innovation Christian Körfgen. Besides paid connectivity, passengers can also access news, sports and entertainment for free on an inflight wireless portal.

Lufthansa will offer the FlyNet service for free until 31 January 2011. Thereafter, the price for one hour access is EUR10.95 or 3,500 miles, while the 24-hour flat rate is EUR19.95 or 7,000 miles. T-Mobile customers can use the inflight WiFi under their existing cell phone contracts, paying a fee of EUR1.80 for every 10 min. Under the 24-hour flat rate agreement, passengers can also use the FlyNet service on connecting Lufthansa flights during the period of validity as well as in Lufthansa lounges. The carrier aims to have 20 widebodies installed with FlyNet by the end of February 2011 and on all its intercontinental aircraft by the end of 2011. Read full article »

Lufthansa rewards Foursquare users for virtual check-ins at Munich’s Oktoberfest

We recently covered the first airlines in Asia-Pacific (Air New Zealand) and the U.S. (Virgin America) that are using the fast growing location-based social networks Foursquare (3 million users) and Loopt (4 million) to connect with consumers. In Europe, Lufthansa has just become the first airline to partner with Foursquare for a geo-social marketing campaign based around the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, which takes place from September 19 to October 4, 2010. 

An important status element of Foursquare are ‘badges’, which are awarded to Foursquare members that ‘check in’ frequently with their cellphone at the same location. For example, the ‘Jetsetter’ badge can be earned by visiting an airport 5 times, and the ‘Airport’ badge can be earned by visiting 5 different airports. 

Foursquare users who check in to three Lufthansa-approved venues at Oktoberfest will receive the special Oktoberfest badge. Unlocking the badge entitles them to a EUR20 flight voucher good for a future Lufthansa flight. A redemption code will be emailed after unlocking the badge. A micro-site details how to download Foursquare’s app and how to earn the flight voucher. It also includes tips on how to visit beer tents around Munich’s annual festival. Read full article »

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.
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Lufthansa puts mini-aircraft inside Kinder Surprise eggs to promote its first A380

Lufthansa will take delivery of its first A380 on May 19, 2010 and the first long-haul flight of the aircraft 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 A380 on scheduled routes from Frankfurt to Tokyo (June 11), Beijing (August 25), and Johannesburg (October 25). 

To promote its first superjumbo Lufthansa has teamed up with chocolate maker Ferrero to develop mini versions of the A380 (scale 1:1,000) to fit inside Kinder Surprise eggs. Says Ferrero: “We’re always looking for new ideas for toys, and the idea of squeezing such a giant into an egg was particularly appealing.” The special edition Kinder Surprise eggs are currently available at selected retailers in Germany and will become widely available in stores in Germany during the summer. A total two million mini-aircraft will be produced, including little A380s bearing the logos of Star Alliance partners Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines
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Lufthansa MySkyStatus lets passengers auto-tweet their flight position


Lufthansa USA has rolled out a new tool that lets air travelers share their location during their journeys via Twitter and Facebook. Called MySkyStatus, the application takes a user’s flight information, including departure and arrival data, and matches it to real-time global air traffic data. It then synchronises with their Facebook or Twitter page, posting regular updates about departure, arrival and even which country they are flying over. The messages also come with a link to a Google Maps mashup that shows their plane’s location. MySkyStatus users can choose whether to have only their departures and arrivals shared or also send messages (as often as hourly) with updates of their positions in the air.

The MySkyStatus service is part of Lufthansa’s new marketing campaign ‘Passion for Precision’, and aims to back up the carrier’s reputation for punctuality. Passengers do not have to be travelling with Lufthansa to use the service.  Every update is ‘lufthansa-branded’ (a short “powered by Lufthansa” is tacked on to every update), so those using the service for flights on other carriers will still be delivering some free promotion for Lufthansa.
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