This Hanseatic airline has taken another step towards turning its dreams of more comfortable economy class into a reality, as it begins trials of a life-flat beds through cabins.
German carrier Lufthansa is using the extra room afforded by the Corona crisis to test out its "Schlafcouch konzept" aboard flights between San Palo and Frankfurt.
The old Boeing 747-8 planes are the test bed for a product that could be rolled-out across the long haul fleet. The Schlafcouch was the airline's response to the most popular request of customers on the network that carries 145 million passengers a year – a more comfortable place for some shut-eye.
The airline said the couch is "ideal for couples or travellers with children" and is being trialled at a special price of 220 Euros or $374 from December. Though – if all goes well – there are plans to install it on the busier A380 route from New York to Frankfurt and charging upwards of 530 Euro or $900 - around a 200 Euro step up from the "extra-room" fares.
However Lufthansa is late to the economy-class pyjama party.
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The concept of transforming three seats into a lie-flat couch is nothing new, and with the Skycouch being first launched by Air New Zealand in 2011 and later by German low-cost competitor Condor Airlines. The sister airline of Thomas Cook Airlines was trialling a remarkably similar lie-flat solution at the time of its going into Insolvency. A spokesperson for Condor told the Austrian trade paper AeroTelegraph the bed "worked remarkably well" and was popular on trials – even if they no longer could take the concept forward.
Earlier in the year Air New Zealand showed off designs for the next version of the lie-flat economy option called the "nest". The Kiwi carrier had proposed permanent sleep pods in the direct 787 service from Auckland to New York, which was due to be launched last month. However the airline had to hit snooze on these plans in the disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.