In July, Lufthansa invited Simple Flying to discover how it was adapting to the current situation. As part of the experience, we got to learn how aircraft are reactivated, and also to tour one of the airline’s Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Let’s take a look inside!
Business class at the front
While Lufthansa does offer a first-class cabin on some aircraft, this is not the case on the Airbus A340-300. As such, the plane that we toured was in a three-class configuration. Airlines typically place their most premium cabins at the front of the aircraft, with the lowest-paid passengers towards the rear of the plane.
Lufthansa doesn’t buck from the trend with its Airbus A340-300 fleet. As such, the business class is located at the front of the aircraft. According to Lufthansa, there are three layouts of the Airbus A340-300. The plane we visited had 30 such seats. These were located in between the first and second set of doors with galleys at either end.
While suites are slowly becoming the standard onboard full-service long-haul aircraft, this is not the case on the A340-300, with the cabin feeling slightly dated in design. The business class seats are laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration, meaning that two-thirds of the seats, that is to say, all bar the window seats, have direct aisle access.
The 30 business class seats do turn into beds, perfect for long night flights. This is controlled via a touch panel located in the armrest between the two seats. While the middle seats are slightly angled towards each other, both sets of seats at the side of the aircraft point towards the fuselage. Additionally, if passengers are traveling with a baby, the seats 1A and 1K have space for a bassinet. The business class seats have an IFE screen on a bracket that can be repositioned by the passenger.
The premium economy cabin in the middle
The Airbus A340-300 has a reasonably sized premium economy cabin located just in front of the aircraft’s wings. This sees 28 passengers accommodated in rows of 2-3-2. At first thought, you may ask what the upgrade from premium economy to business class is, considering that there is only one more seat per row.
The big difference between the two classes is the seat that you will get. While the business class seats will fully recline to flatbeds, these premium economy seats only recline part way. However, they do feature a decent amount of legroom. This will make it easier for those seated in rows A, E, and K to clamber out to go to the loo.
Passengers traveling in the premium economy can access a water bottle holder located in the back of the seat in front of them. Meanwhile, the tray table is found in the armrest, much like business class.
The first and last rows of the premium economy cabin (10 and 14) lack decent window placement, meaning that rows 11 and 12 are better suited for if you like to watch the world go past from 36,000 feet. For all passengers in premium economy, there is an in-flight entertainment system. This is controlled by a remote in the side of the seat. Only one seat has a bassinet, 10G.
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Economy at the rear
As is traditional onboard long-haul aircraft, the economy cabin is located at the rear of the plane. On this configuration of the A340-300, it is split into two. Toilets separate the two at the emergency exit just behind the wing. The majority of the cabin is laid out in a 2-4-2 layout. This narrows to 2-3-2, where the fuselage tapers at the rear. Additionally, the first row has a 2-3-2 configuration.
For those looking for extra legroom, the airliner has 11 seats with the privilege. All seven seats in row 16, in addition to A, C, H, and K in row 30, have more space. Although, in the case of the seats in row 30, the area is due to an emergency exit.
The German flag carrier has listed 50 seats in rows 18-22 as its preferred zone. All in all, there are 221 economy seats in the aircraft. This means that onboard the plane, there are 279 seats throughout the three cabins.
All of the aircraft’s economy class seats have a small IFE screen, with most located in the back of the seat in front. The legroom on the regular seats is relatively standard compared to other airlines. With the toilets situated in the middle of the cabin, the galley is located at the rear of the aircraft.
Some facts about the aircraft
On the day of our visit, D-AIFD was in the hangar being reactivated after an extended period on the ground. According to Planespotters.net, this aircraft was delivered to Lufthansa in March 2001. Having taken its first flight in Toulouse in February 2001, the plane is 19.6 years old. Lufthansa has named the aircraft Giessen, after a town located to the north of Frankfurt.
The Lufthansa A340-300 has a length of 63.66 meters, while the wingspan is slightly shorter at 60.3 meters. The four CFM International CFM56-5C engines will travel a maximum of 12,300km (7,626 miles) with a maximum takeoff weight of 271 tonnes. The aircraft will cruise up to a height of 41,000 feet, with a top cruise speed of 890km/p (552mph).
While Lufthansa is currently reactivating its fleet of Airbus A340-300s, the future isn’t so rosy for the Airbus A340-600. All of these aircraft have been sent to Teruel in Spain for long-term storage.
Have you flown on Lufthansa’s Airbus A340-300? Let us know how you found it in the comments!