LH423 Boston to Frankfurt in Lufthansa Premium Economy featuring the Boeing 747-78i – APEX Expo and The Lufthansa Flying Lab
In this adventure
- A call from Germany
- Off to Heathrow T2. Wait. Terminal 2??
- LH2473 London Heathrow to Munich Airport
- Exploring innovation on the ground at Munich Airport
- LH424 Munich to Boston with Lufthansa and Recaro Aircraft Seating
- Into Boston, The Holiday Inn Bunker Hill
- Exploring Boston
- Robot and Bowl Food – Exploring Spyce… and lessons for the Passenger Experience?
- Oodles of Noodles – Pho and Ramen in Boston
- The APEX Conference and Expo – What you missed
- Back to Boston Logan International airport
- LH423 Boston Logan to Frankfurt-am-Main
- The joy of Frankfurt Airport
- LH924 Frankfurt to Heathrow… with a neo
- Train? Thataway
- The outlook for the next six months
LH423 Boston Logan International Airport to Frankfurt Airport
Lufthansa, Boeing 747-8i, Seat 21K – Premium Economy
Heading down the jetway, there was a delay boarding the plane with a backlog of those stuck in the queue, and those adding to it.
I was welcomed aboard and headed down the cabin.
So onto surprises, and this to me sums up the Lufthansa Premium Economy experience – as the airline decided that sticking a Premium Economy Cabin between two Economy Cabins is the greatest idea in the world.
And I’m sorry. Who in their right mind thought this was the best placement of a product???
A poor design to say the least, and near enough zero difference apart from a wider seat in Economy class.
I’d say it’s a very disappointing implementation to say the least.
Water was already at the seat, and eventually welcome drinks were offered. I say eventually because the flight attendant waited until boarding was mostly complete before offering them.
Onto the seat. I’m at the exit row this time (which is nice, to say the least), and the 747-8i has a major difference to a lot of exit doors I’ve had in the past – there’s actually room to stretch out without the emergency slide impending into your personal space.
The seat remains the ZIM Flugsit Premium Economy seat… and I continued to struggle to find a comfortable position in it. That would have consequences down the line.
A pre-depature beverage was offered, and menus given out
Onto the menu
The plane was finally loaded just after pushback time. Therefore we were delayed out of the blocks slightly, before we could head on our way. .
The safety video played – and at least this time I could see it thanks to the overhead monitor above.
Speaking of safety – this is a totally new type to me. Time to study the safety card in detail
With the video complete, the plane pushed back and we were underway.
Thankfully, the plane would not have a long taxi to the runway, and soon enough, the GEnx engines of LH423 powered up for the short hop over the pond.
With the plane clearing the cloud layer quickly, the plane climbed to its cruising altitude.
That’s the signal for me to explore what’s what on this plane.
Firstly, onboard Wi-Fi. There’s onboard Wi-Fi with this plane which is a T-Mobile/Panasonic system.
This time – I didn’t partake of it – mainly because I wanted to rest and try to get some shut-eye on this flight (and on reflection, I should have to keep sane).
Next up is the IFE system, and it’s a new system to me with it being a Zodiac RAVE system. I’ve seen this demonstrated at a few Aircraft Interiors Expo shows, s it would be good to try this in a live situation.
The system itself very similar to the Panasonic ex3, as it’s a capacitive touch system as opposed to resistive touch. This gives an experience that’s like a smartphone or tablet. Annoyingly – it uses a two-pin audio connector.
It seems Lufthansa can’t even standardise its own audio output systems on its planes – let alone anything else
As for the headphones, I’m still working out which stone age these have come out. They look like something that is post-air-tubes, but pre-in-ear headphones (which are popular with a lot of carriers in terms of both cost and ease of obtaining parts)
The content on the Boeing 747s is in line with what was loaded on the A350 – except I found a lot more content than the A350.
And more importantly – content that was suited to my taste. And not just 2001: A Space Odyssey.
We had Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One. Four Episodes.
Well, it’s better than a kick in the teeth – and it’s good to see Enterprise 1701-D again along with Jean Luc Picard and co.
Drinks and snacks arrived during the first service, with a round from the bar with some blue packaged cheese cracker things. Perfect to digest when watching the Captain “Make it so”.
It made for a good entertainment option as the sun went down.
A hot towel service followed. Again, a paper towel – but welcome to see in Premium Economy (and probably in Economy Class).
Dinner followed, with a choice of beef or pasta. It was interesting watching the crew switch from an Economy service to a PE service, and back to economy service as they progressed through the cabin.
So onto the meal. It’s red and there’s beef. That’s pretty much the sum of the meal. It’s described as a BBQ Beef, Green beans and sun-dried tomato polenta. It was beefy, but … not what I’d call inspired.
With the service cleared down, the crew came round offering additional drinks and nightcaps. And I couldn’t resist a Bailey’s and Ice at the crew’s suggestion.
Ah. Good and bad university nights come flooding back. This was a good night on LH423.
With the meal service cleared down, the lights went down. I let Star Trek play in the background whilst I tried to get comfortable in the seat.
Heck, I reclined the thing, extended the leg-rest, tried sleeping against the bulkhead. Even tried the sleeping mask in the amenity kit.
And how many hours sleep did I get?
In the end, I found The Big Bang Theory loaded on the IFE system to keep the brain going until the breakfast service. Normally, this is a show I can just shut down to – but again – it seems my body clock shifted to Boston time in a matter of 3 short nights.
I could have done some work, but I just wasn’t in the mood to. I was in that odd spot where I couldn’t focus, yet couldn’t relax. Which was annoying to put it bluntly.
And the seat doesn’t help. I was constantly trying to find a comfortable spot that I could relax in, and struggled for a lot of the flight.
Eventually, the lights came up with the breakfast service commencing. And it’s very… Germanic breakfast.
Hmm. Well. There are some reasonable things here, there are some things that are questionable. This was described as “Watermelon with crumbled feta cheese, served with Brie, Walnut and Black forest ham”. Another interesting tray from LSG Skychefs here.
Mints were handed out too.
With an additional coffee in me, I was feeling awake at least – so when we land, I’d be ready to go on the ground.
With the plane being prepared for landing, headphones were collected (although why Lufthansa insists on using the things from the stone age is beyond me).
I also popped into the bathroom to see how larger or not these things are. Not that bad…
I hoped onto the LiveTV to see what was going on with the world… but sadly, that ended quickly enough as LH423 begun to decent out of signal range.
With the plane landing in darkness, it made a gentle approach over the Frankfurt area.
With ease, LH423 landed safely at its home base of Frankfurt-am-Main Airport.
With the plane on the ground, it began its taxi over to Terminal 1 and the B gates. Seemingly with speed, the plane was directed to a gate at the airport.
Once at the gate, the four GEnx engines shut down, completing LH423’s flight from Boston to Frankfurt.
With the lights up I gathered my items whilst I could and prepared to disembark
I thanked the crew, and headed off rather bleary eyed into the bright lights of Frankfurt Airport.
Overall: Lufthansa’s Premium Economy product continues to confuse me. The implementation on the Boeing 747-8 isn’t what I would call great at all, with the Premium Economy Cabin between two economy cabins. Whilst the ZIM Seat is passable as a recliner, sleeping on this seat was a tough ask for me. The catering could had been a stronger touch, but again – felt half-hearted.
At least the crew were friendly on this segment – a small highlight.
Sadly, I think Lufthansa has plenty of work to do on its Premium Economy product.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Recaro Aircraft Seating kindly invited Economy Class and Beyond, as a guest on the Lufthansa Flying Lab, as well as paying for the flights as part of this.
Economy Class and Beyond attended Apex Expo and Aircraft Interiors Expo North America’s as a media delegate
All opinions and thoughts are the author’s own, and are not directed by Recaro Aircraft Systems, Lufthansa Systems, APEX or Aircraft Interiors Expo.
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