Photos: On-Board Lufthansa’s New Airbus A380
Economy Class, which fills the main deck, features 420 slimline seats configured in a 3-4-3 layout. The slimline design provides two inches of additional personal space within the same 31in seat pitch found on most other Lufthansa aircraft. Personal in-flight entertainment displays deliver movies, music, games and even language courses at each seat.
The A380′s 98 Business Class seats on the upper deck, laid out 2-2-2, are nearly identical to those on Lufthansa’s other aircraft types. The airline’s Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental will feature a newly designed Business Class product, which will subsequently be retrofitted to the A380 and all other Lufthansa aircraft types.
The A380s First Class cabin, on the other hand, is unique. Eight seats at the front of the upper deck are configured in a 1-2-1 layout and convert to lie-flat beds. There are no overhead bins, adding to the sense of spaciousness: storage is accomplished within the seat’s ottoman and by a set of personal closets behind in the alleyway connecting Business and First Class. In addition to passenger-operated dividers to give the elite flier a sense of personal space, sound-dampening curtains at the front and rear of the First Class cabin add to the exclusivity and sound absorbing flooring materials reduce the sometimes startling noise of passengers and crew walking about. Dual electrically controlled window blinds give the passenger three levels of control of their personal light: open, closed with a white semi-translucent shade, or closed with a blackout shade. Mattresses constructed by German luxury bed manufacturer Paradies are optimized for comfort and while remaining lightweight. And while they don’t have showers, the bathrooms in First Class are as large as some I’ve seen in hotels, fitted with the world’s first men’s urinals ever installed on a commercial aircraft.
Crew accommodations are not too shabby either. A dozen sleeping compartments and a crew-only bathroom fill part of the plane’s belly, accessible by a stairway hidden behind one the galleys on the main deck. Our tour guide, Lufthansa’s Director of Corporate Communications for the Americas, Martin Riecken, says this employee amenity reduces the amount of cargo they can haul, but they feel it is worth it for the happiness of their crew on longer flights like their services to Beijing, Tokyo, Johannesburg and soon, San Francisco.
Captain Pruess Gaert proudly showed off the flight deck, which he says he’s been training in for about 14 months. Other than a couple of cool new bells and whistles, the A380 cockpit is nearly identical to the A330s and A340s he’s flown previously.
Mr. Riecken also took us on a tour of Lufthansa’s elite lounges in Terminal 1, renovated in 2009. Huge floor-to-ceiling windows face out over the ramp area, allowing passengers to keep an eye out for their flight. DO & CO provides catering to the clubs, which offer complimentary snacks and meals. The first floor features basic amenities such as snacks and beverages for Business Class passengers, with the Senators Club for elite frequent fliers on the second floor offering showers and food. The third floor for First Class passengers offers sit down meal service and showers.
We’re excited to eventually fly on one of these because from the ground Lufthansa’s A380 certainly looks like a fun ride for passengers.