On a recent flight from Germany back home to the US, I decided to treat myself to an upgrade to the new Lufthansa Premium Economy. I’ve flown in this class of service on other airlines and in general really like it as a comfortable option in between Economy and Business classes. I’ve had mixed experiences with Lufthansa in the past, both in Business as well as Economy and it’s largely depended on the equipment (specific aircraft) used on those particular flights. I was optimistic though about their new Premium Economy and here is my quick and very honest look at what the actual experience was like.
Space and Comfort
Boarding the plane it was obvious immediately that the Premium Economy seats were better than the standard coach class accommodations. Bigger with more space, they looked (and were) inviting and comfortable. But the section on the plane is very oddly placed in between two normal Economy class sections with no separations in place. (We were on a 747-8i) That meant two things: 1) it was very awkward flying a few rows in front of folks who didn’t splurge for the upgrade and 2) most of those people didn’t realize that there was a price difference and kept trying to move seats throughout the flight. For 8 hours the flight attendants acted as Premium Economy police, keeping folks out and eventually giving up, letting anyone sit there. As someone who paid more for the perks associated with Premium Economy, I wasn’t at all happy about that and the fault really has to do with the cabin design. Why would you put a premium class in between two regular class sections like that? It makes no sense and just leads to unnecessary strife.
The chair was indeed comfortable and I was happy with the extra space and room, much needed on a longer flight. We didn’t fly overnight so I can’t say whether or not it’s great for sleep, but the chairs didn’t seem to recline nearly as far back as other Premium Economy sections I’ve flown in.
Food and Perks
A good Premium Economy section should have some perks, it should feel special. I usually equate it Business Class lite. I sort of got that feeling with Lufthansa, but not completely. We were offered a welcome drink, which was nice along with bottles of water in our seats, which for me is an absolute necessity when I fly. On other airlines each section, including Premium Economy, has its own menu with special dining options. While I was presented with a menu during my Lufthansa flight, I quickly realized that the food was the same as what was offered to those in Economy. All they did was print out the choices for us and put it in menu form. It’s another oddity on a flight full of them. How hard would it be to give me better food options since, presumably, that’s what I paid for? Our snack before landing was indeed different, but ironically enough not nearly as good as what was offered to those in coach so many of us just went with that instead.
There was an amenity kit, which was nice, and included the usual items needed for a restful and comfortable flight. There wasn’t a lotion, but I understand their desire to keep perks like those reserved for Business and First class. Again though, the flight attendants couldn’t stop regular Economy class passengers from pilfering them since the kits were left even in empty seats and once again I wasn’t happy that my expensive perk was free for the taking, further demanding some sort of separation between the classes of service.
Flying in the new Lufthansa Premium Economy was fine but I am not totally convinced that I would upgrade again. At the time of writing, I think Lufthansa needs to do a little more to make this class of service feel more special, although having extra room on a night flight is certainly well worth the extra expense.
Have you flown in Lufthansa Premium Economy? What did you think?
48 thoughts on “Quick and Dirty Review Of The New Lufthansa Premium Economy”
Thanks for the honest review, Matt. It sounds as if they did a very poor job of thinking this through – especially with the placement of the section. As someone who’s only 5’2″ I may as well squeeze myself into Economy and save the extra money to be spent on something more enjoyable! (I have to admit that I’m not a Lufthansa fan anyway as twice in the last year they went on strike on days I was scheduled to fly them to Europe.)
Premium Economy is basically about more space not about feeling “exclusive” , that’s what business or first class is for. As the name premium ECONOMY says it is still economy. I have to agree that the concept of putting it in between of other economy rows does not seem very practical though.
it’s about space AND perks I think. Better food and so on. Otherwise I would agree with you.
what about drinks? usually this is something that is provided (wine, etc) in premium economy but not regular economy. What did they do?
They offered normal wines, beers, spirits and a welcome drink
U r not kidding.
It is a BS Business class, I will never fly with Lufthansa in Premium Economy, it is a scam, the seats r wider and I could recline more but there is no partition between the 2 classes, the food was the same.
I paid twice the amount of money to get 2 inches of seat room and 6 inches of extra leg room.
I pay extra to get the peace and quiet from the economy class.
In my flight that I took last week was just the opposite of that.
I felt like they ripped me off.
Compare that to the other airlines, there is a regular partition between the 2 classes, food is better, u could call the hostess and they show up.
In this flight the hostesses treated us exactly like economy class.
So I guess I paid so much more money to be treated the same, shame on them.
I always fly either Business or Premium economy depending on my financial position and sometimes my mood, since I am self employed.
I do fly a lot, but this experience is the most rotten I have had with this airline.
It looked like the airline was ripping me off with a smile on their face.
Begging u guys and I don’t know how much distribution does this blog gets but do not fly with Lufthansa Premium Economy, not worth it.
That is so odd re the placement of the section on the 747-8. On the A380, it is the front of the main deck so it is completely separate from regular econ and is its own section.
I agree and SO awkward
Absolutely agree. Was flying business on LH using miles (and skyhigh taxes). Was initially thrilled that I could finally fly nonstop PE from LA to Frankfurt instead of Air New Zealand through London. I looked at PE and was VERY disappointed. Looks ridiculous jammed in between a few rows of economy in the front and back. Only difference is that the chairs have a little more legroom and their own armrest. Check in is economy too.
Air New Zealand MUCH better, has it’s own cabin, check in business, great menu, and feels like business lite. Lufthansa has a screw loose if they think they can charge the same amount as ANZ for such a sub-par product. What a letdown.
I agree obviously, and several airlines have wonderful PE classes – Air NZ, Cathay Pacific, the Virgins and so on. Makes a HUGE difference when executed well.
Just flew round trip LAX-FRA-BLR in Lufthansa Premium Economy.
Awesome experience–definitely worth the extra $500 we paid over Economy.
Almost no jet lag when we got to India, so we were able to get a lot done that 1st day.
Return flight BLR-FRA was regular 744 without PE, but Lufthansa upgraded us to Business Class FOR FREE!!!
Though it was old LH J class with angled flatbeds, my mother slept soundly & awoke fully refreshed for breakfast.
Our PE Asian Veg meals were excellent, even if they might have been the same as Y class. For our J meals, we got larger portions, extra courses, and a choice of naan + paratha + Western breads, all created by a 5-star chef team–along with linen hot towels, tablecloths, napkins.
In J, we got a variety of welcome drinks, including sparkling wine, but the orange mango juice offered in PE from LAX was unbeatable and the orange juice with mint pulp from FRA was neat.
Certainly PE is awkwardly sandwiched between 2 Y cabins on some LH 747-8Is (SeatGuru version 4), like the ones on 3 of our 4 sectors.
PE passengers had to compete with Y pax for 2 nearby bathrooms because there was no truly separate PE cabin, but Y pax did not try to steal amenity kits, nor try to bum rush their way into empty PE seats on FRA-BLR–and there were zero PE seats left between LAX + FRA due to inflight upgrade sales.
LH can easily remedy this by simply expanding PE into the misplaced front Y cabin and by installing curtains at the rear of the current PE space. Demand will be heavy no doubt for these extra PE seats.
LH must also provide priority check-in and boarding for PE pax, though we improvised by making our own PE queue at LAX and taking advantage of senior-citizen preboarding in FRA.
Overall, flying LH PE between LAX and BLR is, for us, an obvious must-do. No other airline offers PE on all sectors for our journey. And we want an affordable PE class, with an emphasis on both “premium” and “economy “–not a pricey “Business Lite” option.
I appreciate the review. I often fly around the world in business class if I can get a good deal. I have toying with the idea of going with premium economy. I was unsure if it was really worth it. I think I will go with the BA premium economy instead. The LH seems like they did not put the real effort into it. They should have placed the section right behind the business class.
LH put PE between two ECO compartements as the front compartement – according to route/demand – can be turned into a BIZ class cabin. Went BIZ to Hong Kong but tried the new PE and just by the feel of the seat it was indeed an upgraded experience from ECO. So, depending on the route and demand the front part might be BIZ or ECO.
I flew LH PE on an A380 a couple weeks ago (LAXFRA), and the PE section was completely separate from Y (including curtains).
Great review. I flew the Air France LAX-CDG A380 PE and was very impressed. Not overly thrilled with the seats, but the kindness of the crew, the food, and overall experience was worth it.
Just flew Premium Economy on Lufthansa A 380 IAH-FRA.
All I can say is, fantastic! Well worth the extra $ 300 each way. Plenty of legroom.
Extra service noted that is not offered in economy. Food is more than adequate.
Been on premium economy on some American carriers–no comparison. This far exceeds anything on stateside airlines.
Hi Matt, just found your blog while I was surfing the web searching experiences in the premium economy class in Lufthansa. I live in Brazil and intend to make a long trip from Sao Paulo to Singapore, and considering it is a 25 hours-flight and the business class price is totally out of my possibilities now, I was very up to buy this economy upgrade. Unfortunately, you convinced me to not do it, reading your post I see that it is not worth it anyway for the price. Thank you for you flight review. (And I invite you to visit my blog either! It is in portuguese but you may use Google translator).
SIA fly direct with an hour break at Barcelona. SIA Economy is the best.
I’m a Million Mile flyer with United and only travel with Lufthansa occasionally. This past week I flew from Frankfurt to Dallas on a Lufthansa A340 with a ticket that I had booked with reward miles. I was booked in coach and wasn’t aware that the airline had a premium coach class. I was puzzled when I got to the airport and saw that my boarding pass had a different row number than I had originally reserved. Once I boarded, I saw the “premium” signs on the seats and was immediately pleased about the upgrade. Normal coach class on the Lufthansa A340 is 2-4-2 across, while premium economy is 2-3-2. The extra seat width (and leg room) was greatly appreciated. I had a much bigger video screen than regular coach class, plus an amenities kit, a bottle of water, and a blanket. There was also a foot rest. The in-flight service was wonderful and the flight attendants were constantly coming through the cabin to check on the passengers. The beverages were served in real glasses and the meal had metal utensils.
On the A340, premium coach is located directly behind business class, and in front of regular coach. There was no curtain between the two coach classes, but there was a quasi-divider suspended from the ceiling. I was quite pleased with the entire experience and considered it very close to business class. I arrived after the nearly 11 hour flight very refreshed.
Thanks for your comment, we are booked on the A340 for Xmas Tpa-Frankfurt. So glad is not as bad of an experience as shared in the rest of the comments here. Good to know coach people were not coming to take seats on this type of plane….I would be haywire about that…..
Hi Matt, I’ve read over your review of Lufthansa’s premium economy several times and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve decided to splash out for my upcoming trip home to see the family so I’ll be flying Lufthansa PE – Bangkok to Frankfurt return.
When I decided to book it on-line, the PE ticket was just 30% more than basic economy, but thanks to a glitch with the Lufthansa website and the two weeks it took to sort out a problem with the credit card payment, I’ve ended up paying almost 80% more for the luxury of flying PE (which I’m not too happy about)
I do hope it’s worth it. I’ll let you know in October.
Thanks for the review
I’m going to add my 2 cents woth
I’ve tried the Turkish Airlines PE,& it was out of this world, the seat is the best PE product in the world as I,m typing this reply, food was great
Thank you Matt for this great review – made my decision and saved some 100 USD! There are similar reviews of “rather not”.
I have travelled on LH business class between Beirut and Frankfurt. It was just the regular European style business class — the middle of the three seats with the headrest cover marked “Reserved for your comfort” and a curtain between Y and C cabins. OK, many companies do this, I have no problem, even if the flight is not the shortest one.
However, the service was in the “Luftwaffe style”. I boarder, nobody even pinpointed to my seat. I was the first C class passenger to board (I think there were about 3 passengers altogether in the front section), but when I attempted to store my fully complaint cabin luggage, there was no space in the overhead bins. The cabin crew did not take care, so I asked one of the flight attendants where can I put my luggage, and his answer was: “Other passengers boarded before you, so there is no space”. He pointed me to the Y cabin, to look for a space, what I definitely did not want to do. So I solved my carry-on luggage storage problem equally politely as he behaved. I have thrown out of the overhead bin everything what was not luggage (journals, cushions, blankets, etc.) on one of the sof-far empty seats and stored by luggage there, passing the problem to the cabin crew.
It is not about how far should go Premium Economy from Economy. It has to go as far as the real economy class was at the beginning of 1990s or end 1980s. Otherwise, companies should forget about the “Premium” and concentrate just on the “Cattle”. So, as I said, it is not about how far the Premium Economy should go, it is about the poor client orientation of Lufthansa, it is about the low level of Lufthansa’s corporate culture. Lufthansa goes the wrong way to save itself in the dying European market. While this way will help them to survive of a couple of month longer, as the same time will this way dissuade more passengers flying Lufthansa. European companies more and more can attract only the segment of passengers seeking the lowest segment. Of them Ryanair does not openly, others in a hidden way. I use rail transport in Europe whenever my car would not do it. I use non-European companiew, whenever I have such option.
Thank you Matt. I was thinking about upgrading to premium economy and pay the $500 or so extra but other than leg space I did to see any other comfort as I used to walk by. The 1990’s economy and this premium economy is about the same. Other carriers like United atleast make no illusion about service level it is only about leg space and a little more comfort.
OK, I’ve just flown Lufthansa Premium Economy from Bangkok to Frankfurt return so I’m now in more of a position to make qualified comments.
Firstly, I think Matt’s review is spot on and I agree with most, if not all, of what he says.
When I first boarded the plane and set eyes on the seat, I was a tad disappointed. There was just no wow factor there. However, during the flight, I did venture down into the economy section to remind myself just how cramped cattle class is. And you do then tend to see Premium Economy in a different light.
As Matt says, as a PE passenger,you are not made to feel ‘special’ in any way. There is no priority check-in and although you are offered lounge access for a fee, Lufthansa doesn’t have a lounge at Bangkok Airport anyway.
Although the seat is 50% bigger and you certainly have more leg-room, we were not in a separate section of the plane (the PE and economy class sections were ‘divided’ by three small mesh screens) In addition, if the PE seat had more recline than the standard economy seat, then I didn’t notice it. It felt about the same to me.
I couldn’t really tell the difference in how the food was served in PE compared to economy class either. Probably a little bit less plastic and polythene, but not so much as you would consider paying a premium fee.
Plus points of PE economy – obviously the 46 kg allowance is very nice. You are in the front section of the plane so you are one of the first off. You get your food served before most other passengers. There was plenty of room in the overhead bins because there were fewer passengers who needed it.
In conclusion, would I fly Lufthansa PE again and how much would I be willing to pay for it? The answer to the first question is yes, but I only think it’s worth about 30%-50% more than the cost of regular economy. I say this because I ended up paying 80% more for my PE ticket and Premium Economy certainly isn’t worth that.
Flew Lufthansa PE – Sing to Frankfurt and return. We were disappointed, although the comfortable seats were great especially with your own armrest.
However when the seats in front recline, it is hard to get out of your seat especially those in the window seats because the armrest “box”doesn’t lift up. This holds the meal tray for each.
Meals were ordinary, nothing special. We have had better meals in Economy on other airlines. In our opinion, PE on Lufthansa is not worth the extra cost.
can you tell me what an average bid amount is to upgrade to premium economy?
No clue, I bought it outright
When I flew to Germany in March 2015, I bid $300 which was not taken. Once boarding was complete, they offered a left over Premium seat for $350. I was already fairly comfortable in economy and did not take it but am considering it for my next flight, right now it is about $400 more than the regular ticket (LAX to Frankfurt)
I was just wondering if anyone has flown on an Airbus A340-300 in Premium Economy? I’m traveling from Philadelphia to Frankfurt in April, and I was wondering if there are movable armrests in the seats? It looks like the tray table is within one side of the seat, but my question is, is the alternate armrest movable? Thanks! :)
Thanks for your review, I’m looking at Sydney-Singapore-Frankfurt return, and will be on 747, 747-400, A380 and A330. Would you expect the PM cabin to be in front of Economy on those planes? Thanks
You’ll have to check either SeatGuru.com or the Lufthansa seat charts for that
I have flown economy, premium economy and business class on many airlines in recent years. The worst of them in several ways has been Lufthansa. The very best has consistently been Air New Zealand. Whenever possible I choose to fly long haul with ANZ, the service, food and comfort are always a pleasure. Reading Matt’s review reinforces my decision to avoid Lufthansa when ever possible, even if it involves longer end to end travel times.
We started using PE when it was only a $100 more so definitely worth that . Now the difference is much higher . Air Frances PE was very good certainly Business lite . Brit Air was horrible and you had to pay even more to reserve a seat ! Was to use Singapore Airs PE buy they upgraded us to Business ! Glad to hear about Lufthansa , I too have had bad flights with them. Emirates economy is almost as good as some PE .
You are spot on, flew from Sydney 2 years ago, and will fly same route again end of this year. The only reason I have booked Lufthansa again, they are sharing the flight with Qantas,so that means I can experience at least the Sydney – Singapore trip in Qantas premium economy. Top class , no comparison with Lufthansa.
They must have received so many complains by now, it will be interested to see how long it will take them to move all the PE Seats to where they should be.
The British PE is a disappointment – had to pay extra to reserve seats after I booked my ticket – $50 per seat! And that after paying double the price compared to normal economy. I felt nickled and dimed. Lufthansa PE from philly to Frankfurt was nice – A340 with PE between Business and Economy. Crew was great and meals were good. Separate check-in would be nice….
I lucked out as Premium Economy was the only option left when I booked a business trip in July 2015. I was VERY pleased and would pay for the upgrade on my next trip. The PE section was behind business class and in front of economy on my flight. I had a row to myself and was disappointed at first that the wider armrest didn’t raise. Then I discovered the adjustable foot rest. Not like a lounger foot and leg rest, but a very functional pivoting bar which allowed me to change leg positions frequently. Bliss. Plus the tray table was in the armrest and the seat back entertainment screen was huge. And there was a convenient niche below the screen for items like a pen, chapstick, gum, etc. And a remote for the entertainment which seemed silly at first, but was great once I reclined with my feet elevated. Best flight ever, aside from those where I’ve nabbed an entire row and could lay down…can’t sleep sitting up. Flying to Europe in June and will seriously consider PE on Lufthansa. I’ll check the seat map to ensure it’s not sandwiched between 2 economy sections, for sure. Thanks all for sharing.
I am looking to purchase ticket for my parents for a long flight from India to US, almost 20+ hours. In order to keep them comfortable started by looking at business, its too expensive for me :(. Lufthansa PE was an option but reading all the posts I am questioning spending $400 more is worth or not. Has anyone tried upgrading from PE to Business, does it turn out cheaper ?
Has anyone bid on an upgrade from PE to Business? My PE ticket was quite expensive, so I don’t mind the incremental cost. Flying EWR-MUN on one of the new planes, so I think PE will be satisfactory but I prefer business. :)
I’m with Martin Chambers above..in my view, (LAX – MUC 8 May).Lufthansa’s PE effort, compared with Air New Zealand’s , is bordering on the pathetic. SO bad after what we were used to, that we made the (somewhat painful) decision to upgrade to business on the way back…and guess what? With the exception of the fact that the Lufthansa seat does in fact go completely flat, I think NZ PE has them beat …better food, better service, better entertainment system and (yes, I’ve measured it) a wider seat with more headroom at the fuselage side seats. NOT impressed, Lufthansa.
I have flown Lufthansa PE transatlantic twice now. While it’s definitely a better experience than economy (LH economy seats are just plain bad), PE is really a slightly better economy class rather than an “in between” class like on some other airlines. The seats were comfortable and the the foot rest was a nice addition (LH economy had this 20 years ago). The entertainment system was also good but I kept bumping the call attendant button with my leg by mistake, each time a visibly agitated flight attendant would bark at me “did you call me?” Sorry, not my fault. The food also seemed a little better than economy but it could be down to the nicer tray presentation. The bottle of water and welcome drink are all good. With just a little effort on behalf of the airline, the Lufthansa PE experience could be much more impressive than it is. No, I’m not expecting business class level for this price either. German service culture with its clearly defined limitations really shines through here.
Premium eco.a total rip off.Horrible hard stiff backed seats. legroom ok ,Seat so far from window i couldnt rest on it.lousy tiny pillows and blanket. Mixture of Premium and Economy .Why?.
Long uncomfortable trip on 747 400.from Denver to Frankfurt.
well… Already took a lot of flights with LH in this Class… I’m 6.3 tall …. so for me it worths a lot…. I mean huge diference!!!… the service in general I dont care so much….. and the TV is bigger and better than regular economy,,,,, So My advice would be…. If you are 6.1 / higher…. It pays!!….. Cheers!
I have just returned from a long haul flight on premium economy with Lufthansa. Every negative comment above I agree with. I will never travel with Lufthansa again if possible. I feel duped. Air New Zealand premium economy was far superior in every way.
Ps. Oh yes, and my suitcase had not arrived on the evening flight from LA to Toulouse via Munich. I had to stay overnight at a hotel near the airport as I missed my transport to Rocquecor. Disappointing, frustrating and costly.
I agree with you about the econ comf. seating on some of the Lufthansa planes, but economy comfort in the A380 is unbeatable. Separate cabin, way up front downstairs, lots of room around the cabin. Unfortunately for me the connecting flight from Florence to Frankfurt is too unreliable, and, they only use the A380 in the Spring, summer of the Fall periods.
We flew Lufthansa premium in May. We were very disappointed in that they gave us different seats that were not premium seating. The hostess told us PE seating enables us to get aisle seats for leg room. We paid a lot of money for that and received nothing in return. Will never fly Lufthansa again.
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