Would you pick one airline over another based on seat comfort?
Germany's Lufthansa thinks so, and it has spent five years working with passengers to reimagine the space associated with its business-class section. The move is part of the airline's $3.69 billion investment over the next several years in redesigning planes, security lanes, baggage claim and the check-in process to improve customer satisfaction.
The new seats featured on Lufthansa's long-haul Boeing 747-8 aircraft are almost six and a half feet long when fully reclined, and include ergonomic cushions that can be adjusted to personal preferences.
Neighboring seats are angled in a "V," so you're not staring your seat-mate in the face when you want some privacy. Other plane designs rotate the chairs, so they face either. The shoulder area of the seat represents the open end of the 'V', with the foot-end of the seats pointing toward each other. The distance at the shoulder end is about twice the industry average on other planes.
Each seat is configured with its own entertainment system featuring a 15-inch screen, which is pretty big considered what you normally find on other airlines.
Another thoughtful feature for those sick of limited overhead storage is additional storage space associated with each seat area.
As a starting point for the seat redesign, Lufthansa worked with more than 500 frequent flyers to gather preferences. It also conducted an eight-week trial of the concept in 2010 on its New York to Frankfurt (and return) route. So, close to 1,400 passengers have helped get to the bottom of what worked -- and what didn't, ergonomically speaking.
The seat retrofit for Lufthansa's long-haul fleet will take about four years.
(Image courtesy of Lufthansa Group)