Aviation

FLIGHT REVIEW: LUFTHANSA PREMIUM ECONOMY HKG-MUC

Daisy Melwani

Travel Weekly flight tests Lufthansa’s Premium Economy Class, an upgrade of a mere 300 Euros.

Flight: Hong Kong to Munich on Lufthansa

When: Wednesday 15 June 2016

Aircraft: A340-600, Flight LH731

Class: Premium Economy (32 seats in total)

Configuration: 2-3-2

Seat: 26G (aisle seat, last row of Premium Economy). Fast fact: Premium Economy seats feature an additional 50% more space compared to economy class.

Duration: 11.30 hours

Verdict: 8.5/10

Frequency: Lufthansa operates daily flights between Hong Kong International Airport (Terminal 1) and Munich International Airport (Terminal 2)

Frequent Flyer: Lufthansa Miles & More. Premium Economy passengers accrue more miles than compared with regular economy customers. Lufthansa Group is part of Star Alliance.

Lounge:

Premium Economy customers can gain free access to Lufthansa’s Business Class lounge with a valid voucher and boarding pass for flights departing on the same day. This option was not provided on my flight.

Baggage:

A shopper’s delight! Premium Economy passengers are allowed to check-in two bags weighing up to 23kg (doubling what’s offered to Economy class passengers). But buyer beware, each bag separately can only weigh a maximum of 23kg, so be sure to pack equal proportions per case.

Checking in:

Having already completed the online check-in, I proceeded to one of the numerous Lufthansa bag drop counters available at Hong Kong International Airport. The staff member assisting me was very courteous and while being overlooked by a senior staff member, was surprisingly able to check-in my bags for my onward journey from Munich to London, despite being on a different ticket and non-interlined carrier.

Onboard:

This Lufthansa Airbus 340-600 is operated in a four class configuration with 8 First Class seats, 44 Business Class seats, 32 Premium Economy seats and 213 Economy seats. There are additional lavatories located on a second level of this aircraft.

Lufthansa Passage Magazin - Cover Shoot - Premium Economy Seat
Lufthansa Premium Economy Seat

The configuration of Premium Economy on the journey from Hong Kong to Munich was 2-3-2, but on Lufthansa’s Airbus A330-300 aircraft, the 21 PE seats are in a dedicated cabin wedged in-between Economy and the remaining Economy seats. The airline plans to fit 52 premium economy seats on its A380-800.

Lufthansa A340-600 seat map

I was seated in the last row of PE, in an exit row aisle seat, with the Economy seats starting directly behind. The positive thing about being in this last exit row was the extensive space between my seat and the back of the seat in front of me (it appeared to be almost double the space of regular PE seats).

Lufthansa Premium Economy Class window view
Lufthansa Premium Economy Class window view

This made for a very comfortable journey, in particular because as soon as boarding had completed we were advised of an unfortunate 4 hour wait on the tarmac in Hong Kong due to inclement weather on the flight path.

On top of a 11+ hour journey, this did not bode well for any of the passengers, but cabin crew did their best to ease the unpleasant situation by starting F&B service (while we were still grounded) and commencing the use of entertainment systems, however the WiFi which would have been available had we been up in the air, was for some unknown reason unable to be connected.

Frankly, I was expecting an uproar from passengers for the considerable delay, but there didn’t seem to be any audible complaints and it appeared everyone (myself included) remained seated for the majority of the 4 hour delay. As soon as the weather cleared, which was well into the wee hours of the night in Hong Kong, we were given the clear to take off.

Service:

As mentioned prior, the Lufthansa service was extremely pleasant and consistent. They were helpful and courteous during the flight, and able to assist passengers with onward journey bookings due to the delay (for those on LF and sister airlines).

Meals:

Lufthansa PE Food

This is an area in which Premium Economy passengers fared better than their fellow economy seated counterparts. By sitting in the front, we were the first to be offered F&B service, and a non-alcoholic welcome drink. We also received a water bottle, already placed in the seat pocket. Despite being served the exact same meal as economy passengers, ours was plated differently – making for a better experience.

Premium customers have a menu depicting the meal service, which is served on porcelain tableware and glassware. I had pre-ordered an AVML (Asian Veg meal) which was served before anyone else, and was piping hot and rather tasty on the late night flight. There were also plenty of snacks offered in the service area for anyone keen for a tasty treat, I wandered to the back mid-flight and was kindly treated to a cup of tea by the crew – I’ve been on other flights where they’re usually non-existent or uninterested in making something that aren’t on the trays offered.

With regards to the beverage selection, there was a good array of alcoholic (European wines and such) and non-alcoholic choices, but I also thought it was a nice touch to serve Chinese jasmine tea on the Asian-leg service.

Entertainment:

Lufthansa Premium Economy Double Seat rear view
Lufthansa Premium Economy Double Seat rear view

Premium Economy passengers can navigate what to watch on an 11-inch personal touchscreen monitor – around 2 inches bigger than the screens in economy class. A wide-array of channels and choices are available and I settled in for a TV box-set marathon before succumbing to sleep.

Also good to know, seats are also fitted with an electrical socket so passengers can recharge their personal devices should they prefer to watch movies on their iPads. Also great for anyone surfing the web, which is offered at rather economical rates.

Comfort:

Lufthansa Passage Magazin - Cover Shoot - Premium Economy Seat
Lufthansa Premium Economy Seat

When you’ve chosen to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy, you’re expecting a better travel experience, and Lufthansa do not disappoint. Their premium economy seats are certainly more comfortable than economy class – but it’s the ample space (my row offered even more than usual) but even passengers in other PE seats, it’s obvious how much more spacious and luxurious the seating is in comparison with Economy class. With seats 3 centimeters wider and given 10 cm more room at the side thanks to each seat having its own wide armrest and a centre console between passengers, it makes all the difference for long-haul flying. The personal space alone makes it a much more enjoyable resting, dining and entertainment viewing experience.

The back rest reclines further than economy and seat pitch is 38 inches, which makes it around one and a half times as much room as economy. The adjustable headrests and side flaps are usually wasted on me, but I did welcome the additional footrest.

Passengers are provided with a travel accessories kit filled with the usual earplugs and eye mask and socks.

Did you know?

Lufthansa has recently completed the addition of 3600 Premium Economy seats across its entire range of 106 long-haul aircraft.

Lufthansa’s A380s now fly from Frankfurt to Delhi, Houston, Johannesburg, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore, Boston and Chicago. The A340-600 fleet flies from Munich to Los Angeles, Mexico City, Newark, Beijing, San Francisco and São Paolo.

Bonus fact:

Lufthansa Economy Passengers are offered the option to upgrade to Premium Economy after boarding for around 300 Euro (the same cost at the time of booking) depending on space availability. Announcements are made just before take-off.

Daisy flew to Munich as a guest of Lufthansa.


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