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Lufthansa Premium Economy Introduced in 2014

by Lux Joseph 27. September 2013

When selecting the appropriate airline to transport a patient back home there are several factors to consider. We always want to look for the most direct route available and the class of service that will be suitable for transferring the patient. Typically all patients are transferred in first class or business class due to the nature of their injury or disability, but there may be situations in which the treating physician does not feel that upgraded seating is necessary for transport. In these situations premium economy may be a better fit as the seats offer additional room for the nurse or physician to assist the patient compared to the standard economy. Premium economy cabins are fairly new to the travel industry and not all airlines have introduced this product on their flights. Therefore, when a medical escort is requested for this class of service we are often limited to what airlines we can choose. However, the recent breaking news from Lufthansa shows a positive result in the near future.

Lufthansa is one of the airlines that Commercial Medical Escorts (CME) uses very frequently when moving patients to/from Europe. Their dedicated medical desk is open daily to assist us with travelers that require medical clearance. This is very convenient and provides tremendous support to our operations and medical team. Lufthansa currently only offers three classes of service on its A380 aircraft; economy, business, and first class. Lufthansa recently ordered 3,000 seats from ZIM Flugsitz GmbH and has intentions to upgrade approximately 10% of their economy class seats to premium economy in 2014. The premium economy product will offer additional seat pitch, additional benefits for the passengers in flight and on the ground, and the seats will be wider. Other airlines that offer a premium economy product offer similar services with extra leg room, priority boarding, complimentary alcohol beverages, and other perks for the traveler.

Lufthansa is making efforts to attract more travelers. As you may have read from previous blog postings, many of the airlines are attempting different marketing strategies to acquire more business. Lufthansa may be the second largest airline in Europe, but they are still behind in terms of offering particular products. British Airways introduced premium economy in 2000, over ten years ago. Lufthansa claims to offer the largest number of business and first class seats in the industry, but even when you look at their business class product it is still behind their competitors. Many of the airlines offer full lie-flat bed in their business class as well, but it wasn’t until now that Lufthansa is looking into that product.

Implementing and designing a new product or service can take a long time. You don’t want to create a product/service that is the same. You want to ensure that your product stands out amongst your competitors and drive business away from them. Lufthansa’s premium economy will offer extra luxury and comfort for those travelers who wish to pay for it. This will be a new product that CME will definitely look into in addition to the lie flat bed. Currently if we have a patient that requires to be lying flat throughout the duration of the flight we have to look into airlines other than Lufthansa. The debut of this new product will add additional flexibility as we determine the best flight to bring our patients safely to their destination.

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