Star Alliance carrier Lufthansa has revealed it is offering a new option for increased comfort in Economy Class from 2nd August 2021 on its longer flights, including between Singapore and Frankfurt, with designated ‘sleeper rows’ for an additional fee.
This follows a successful trial of the concept late last year on the carrier’s Frankfurt – Sao Paulo – Frankfurt route, which Lufthansa says “received much positive feedback from passengers and was in high demand”.
The Sleeper’s Row
On Lufthansa long-haul flights of 11 hours or more, which includes the carrier’s two routes to and from Singapore, up to three ‘Sleeper’s Rows’ will be available, subject to the booked load and distributed on a first come, first served basis at the check-in desk (advance reservations are not allowed).
The option to ‘upgrade’ may also be available at the departure gate, if there is still availability when it comes to boarding time.
If there is availability, you’ll get a row of three or four seats to yourself for the whole flight, for a payment ranging from EUR 159 (~S$255) to EUR 229 (~S$368).
You’ll also be entitled to priority boarding, so you can get settled ahead of other Economy Class passengers, and on arrival at your seat you’ll find a kit including a Business Class quality pillow, blanket and mattress topper.
The specific seat rows featuring this option are fitted with a special seat belt, which remains fastened even when you are lying down. There are also separate safety instructions provided.
The key point to remember? Reservations in advance are not possible.
Is it worth it?
For a flight duration of this length, we think pricing for the ‘Sleeper’s Row’ is quite reasonable, given the increased comfort on offer.
For taller passengers, the difference between a three-seat or four-seat combination will be an important consideration.
Lufthansa is currently operating flights between Singapore and Frankfurt using Airbus A340-300s (yes, they still exist!), which have a 2-4-2 configuration in Economy Class.
That’s good news for the ‘Sleeper’s Rows’ on this route, with a width of around 6.2 to 6.8 feet across the four seats between the aisle armrests on either side, depending on Lufthansa’s exact seat dimensions.
From October 2021, however, Lufthansa is planning to use the Boeing 747-8 on its Singapore – Frankfurt route, with a 3-4-3 configuration in Economy Class.
In this case the row of three by the window typically offers just shy of 5 feet width across, which won’t be great for taller passengers. Hopefully the middle four will still be available.
Note that Lufthansa’s Singapore – Munich route is currently suspended, but if it returns using the Airbus A350 like before, the 3-3-3 configuration in Economy Class will unfortunately mean no opportunity for the ‘Sleeper’s Rows’ to feature four seats.
It’s not a new concept
Lufthansa isn’t the first airline to try up-selling adjacent seats in Economy Class for passengers to convert into a bed.
Air New Zealand (ANZ) has the ‘Economy SkyCouch’ option on its Boeing 777s and 787s, which also have a special footrest that extends to form a larger flat surface for sleeping.
These are more expensive than Lufthansa’s version, largely because they are bookable in advance and therefore the airline has to account for the potential loss of revenue on busier flights.
ANZ also revealed its ‘Economy Skynest’ concept last year, which in future could allow passengers to book bunk-style seats ‘by the hour’ for some in-flight rest.
The ‘Sleeper’s Row’ in Economy Class is quite a smart move from Lufthansa.
Offer confirmed flat sleeper rows in Economy before departure and you devalue the benefit of Business Class and First Class products.
After all, if your priority is purely sleep (as if often will be on a flight of 11h+), and you can practically guarantee that by reserving one of these rows of seats in advance, why would you pay for Business Class?
On the other hand, if the flight is fully booked, the airline simply won’t offer the sleeper rows (since it won’t be able to), maximising revenue while disappointing only a few customers who were hoping to pay for one of these ‘beds’ at check-in.
It’s a win-win for the airline.
In COVID-19 times, when passengers are looking to prioritise personal space for hygiene reasons, especially on long-haul flights, this is also an easy way for the airline to generate additional revenue from otherwise empty seats, even while load factors remain low.
Tall passengers beware though – this option may only be worth considering if a row of four seats is on offer, not three.
(Cover Photo: Lufthansa Group)