Lufthansa premium economy review – The Points Guy

Quick take: Lufthansa has not done much to differentiate its premium economy cabin or service from economy.


  • A tasty onboard meal
  • The Boeing 747 is always a pleasure to fly
  • On many routes, premium economy is a modest upcharge over economy


  • No priority check-in
  • The premium economy cabin is simply the front few rows of economy
  • The pillows and blankets are the same as in economy

First introduced in 2014, Lufthansa premium economy is currently available on most of the airline’s widebody fleet, operating to a range of destinations in North and South America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Lufthansa remains the world’s largest operator of the passenger version of the Boeing 747, the jumbo jet lovingly titled the “Queen of the Skies,” with a fleet of 27 of them. Eight are the older -400 variant and 19 are the much newer -800 type.

This iconic aircraft becoming increasingly rare to fly as more airlines opt for twin-engine long-haul jets. So, I decided to try out Lufthansa’s premium economy on a Boeing 747-400 from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to see if it was worth the extra cash or miles over economy.

Here’s what the experience was like flying Lufthansa premium economy.


How to book premium economy on Lufthansa

My first indication Lufthansa’s product may be more economy than premium was the pricing.

While some airlines like Emirates charge double or triple the price of economy for premium economy on their flights, Lufthansa sells premium economy seats on this route for about double the price of economy.

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I booked a one-way premium economy flight from Delhi to London City Airport (LCY) via Frankfurt for $928 — only a few hundred dollars more than economy on the same itinerary. Here are the round-trip airfares on the route from Delhi to London on Lufthansa over the next 12 months:

Round-trip prices Economy Premium economy Business class
Cash $408-$1,342 $1,237-$2,321 $1,811-$3,391
Miles & More miles plus taxes/fees 60,000 plus $230 80,000 plus $432 112,000 plus $505

Premium economy awards on Lufthansa are currently unavailable through Star Alliance partner programs like United MileagePlus and Air Canada Aeroplan. However, they can be booked through Lufthansa Group’s own Miles & More program.

Unfortunately, Miles & More miles are harder to earn than some other airline miles. The loyalty program doesn’t have credit card transfer partners and cannot be converted from hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy. But that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to earn.

In the U.S., Lufthansa and Miles & More offers a cobranded credit card issued by Barclay’s called the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard. You can use this card to earn Miles & More miles on all your purchases, and it includes some added benefits, like two Lufthansa Business Class Lounge passes and an annual companion ticket.

Further, the card has a welcome bonus that usually hovers around 50,000 Miles & More miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. Plus, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on Miles & More ticket purchases and 1 mile per dollar everywhere else.

This card has an $89 annual fee and can be a good option for earning Miles & More miles.

The information for the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Checking in to premium economy on Lufthansa

A premium economy ticket on Lufthansa (whether booked with cash or miles) includes the following benefits:

  • Two checked bags of up to 23 kilograms (50 pounds) in weight each
  • A carry-on of up to 8 kilograms (18 pounds)
  • Priority boarding

Lufthansa charges 44 euros ($47) and up for seat selection on flights to and from India.

Although this might not represent all the airports Lufthansa operates from, my ground experience in Delhi was not very smooth. The airport was architecturally beautiful but not especially functional. I arrived at the airport just before 1 a.m. for my 3:35 a.m. departure, which was scheduled to land about eight hours later in Frankfurt at 8 a.m.


You must first line up to enter the terminal, as only ticketed passengers have access. This is not unusual in various parts of the world, but it took more than 10 minutes just to get in the door.

Unlike with many other airlines, Lufthansa premium economy passengers do not receive priority check-in and must join the economy line.


I had checked in online but had not received my electronic boarding pass by email or text. I needed to check a bag, and as I looked for the correct line to join, the ground staff monitoring the check-in lines asked if I had a boarding pass. When I explained my situation, the staff insisted I needed to use a kiosk in a different part of the terminal to check in and print a boarding pass before I could drop my bag off.


Repeating that I had already checked in, I asked if I could drop my bag at the bag drop counter or check in at the check-in desk. The airport staff refused to allow this, so I went to a separate kiosk, printed my boarding pass and returned to the bag-drop counters.

I have never had a check-in agent refuse to print a boarding pass when flying in a premium cabin, and I am unsure why the agents at the check-in counters could not both print out my pass as well as check my bags.


Security was just a few steps from Lufthansa’s check-in desk.

Although some airlines offer premium economy passengers fast-track security, Lufthansa does not.


While the security lines were short, they moved at a snail’s pace; the screening belt was barely moving, and many passengers’ bags were being pulled for secondary screening.

Although Lufthansa premium economy passengers do not receive lounge access, my Delhi airport experience improved significantly once I passed through security and entered the spacious, airy, modern terminal.

The boarding gate had plenty of seating and space, even with all the passengers that a 747 accommodates; the bright carpeting helped soften the noise of a busy terminal.


After business class and Star Alliance gold passengers (Lufthansa’s 747-400s don’t have first-class cabins) boarded, premium economy passengers were invited to board in Group 3. Boarding started a little late, just after 3 a.m.

How comfortable was premium economy on Lufthansa?

The 23-year-old Boeing 747-400 aircraft operating my flight to Germany had 371 seats across three cabins as follows:

Economy Premium economy Business class
Layout 3-4-3 2-4-2 2-3-2 and 2-2 on the lower deck / 2-2 on the upper deck
Seat pitch 31 inches 38 inches 64 inches
Seat recline 6 inches 8 inches Fully flat, 78 inches
Seat width 17.3 inches 19 inches 20 inches
Screen size 9 inches 11.7 inches 15 inches

I was disappointed to see no cabin divider between the premium and regular economy sections; there were only a few small, transparent shades hanging from the overhead bins to delineate the separate classes of service. Like priority check-in, a dedicated cabin has become the industry standard for premium economy, but not on this Lufthansa aircraft.

The seats were in good condition, featured comfortable padding and were noticeably wider with more legroom than regular economy.

The seats reclined 8 inches, which made them good for lounging and relaxing, but if you have trouble sleeping upright, you might not find them to be a huge improvement over coach. A small footrest extended from the seatback in front for extra comfort, though if you have long legs or big feet, you may enjoy more personal space under the seat in front without using it.

The 2-4-2 layout is great for couples who can take the window pairs or families traveling together who can take over the four seats in the middle of the cabin.

A manual button on the side armrest could recline each seat. There was also a remote control for some inflight entertainment and seat features (like lighting and a call button), a small open storage pocket below the seat recline button and a universal charging plug for each passenger between pairs of seats.

Pulling out from the armrest, below a drink rest, was a tray table large enough for a Macbook; however, given the generous recline of the seat in front, you may wish to ask the passenger in front to notify you before they push their seat backward to avoid damaging your electronics.

The dated design of some cabin elements, like the overhead bins and reading lights, was a reminder that this aircraft was old enough to have graduated college.

Still, Lufthansa has done a good job maintaining it, and everything worked.

Amenities in Lufthansa premium economy

Waiting on my seat were a thin pillow and blanket (the same as economy passengers received) and a bottle of water in the holder between the seats.

Some airlines offer more comfortable overhead headsets in premium economy. However, Lufthansa only handed out earbud headphones that were neither comfortable nor provided good sound quality.


Given the lackluster experience thus far, I was impressed to see a Porsche Design laundry bag-style amenity kit containing an eye mask, sleep socks, earplugs, dental kit and refreshing towel.


The 11.7-inch inflight entertainment touchscreen was sufficiently modern, responsive and crisp. The 66 new release movies available included “No Hard Feelings,” “Fast X” and “About My Father.”

I was also impressed to see Wi-Fi on this older plane, though prices were steep. Costs ranged from 5 euros ($5.34) for messaging only (free on some other airlines even in economy) to 25 euros ($26.71) for a full-flight pass. While I could easily connect, with speeds of just 1.41 Mbps down and 1.13 Mbps up, this was not worth paying for.

There were eight bathrooms to share among the 272-seat economy cabin on the 747-400. Since the flight wasn’t full, there were rarely lines to use them, and they were kept clean.


How was the food in Lufthansa premium economy?

During boarding, the crew offered passengers printed menus and a choice of pre-poured orange juice or water in plastic cups. No sparkling wine was offered.


Around 45 minutes after takeoff, the crew wheeled trolleys through the cabin to serve the main meal. There is no obvious meal to eat at 4 a.m., and this was a light dinner service with no appetizer, a pineapple upside-down cake for dessert and two choices for the entree:

  • Honey-glazed chicken with tomato-olive sauce, spinach-tossed pasta and grilled vegetables
  • Bhindi masala (spiced okra), steamed rice and mixed vegetables

Spotting sparkling wine on the menu (no specific winery was mentioned), I asked for a glass, curious to see what would arrive. The crew members didn’t have any on the cart, so they disappeared into the business-class cabin to find some. They returned with a plastic cup of what I assume was the business-class Champagne based on the taste.

Only one beer was available (Becks Lager), which seemed meager for the home of Oktoberfest.


I ordered the chicken dish, and while the foil tin did not make for an attractive presentation, the meal itself tasted great. Though small, I appreciated how balanced the entree was. I enjoyed eating it with metal cutlery rather than plastic or wood.


I took a quick peek at the economy seats behind me and noticed they had only been served a single pastry in a cardboard box for their meal. At least Lufthansa offered an elevated meal in premium economy.

Ninety minutes before arrival, the lights came on, and breakfast was served. It consisted of fresh fruit, a cup of mango yogurt, a muesli bar, juice and a choice of tea or coffee, as well as two entree options:

  • Scrambled egg with herb-tomato sauce, cocktail sausage and hash browns
  • Chana aloo masala (chickpeas and potato spiced gravy), cauliflower paratha and beetroot patties

I again chose the Western option, which was a far less appetizing affair than the dinner served a few hours prior.

The cocktail sausages tasted like little hot dogs, and the rubbery, brick-like scrambled eggs were pretty grim.


The crew was efficient and friendly on this oddly timed overnight flight, and the main meal ended within 90 minutes of departure so passengers could rest.

Some passengers in the premium economy cabin were quite demanding, pressing the call bells repeatedly with various requests, ranging from free upgrades to medication for headaches and upset stomachs.

The crew was professional and helpful with each interaction, answering call bells quickly and quietly throughout the flight.


Was Lufthansa premium economy worth it?

I have flown and reviewed some of the world’s best premium economy products for TPG, and unfortunately, Lufthansa’s was not one of them.

While the frustrating check-in and security experience at Delhi Airport might not represent the overall Lufthansa premium economy service, it set the scene for a decidedly un-premium experience.

Not offering priority check-in seems like a clear way Lufthansa lags behind competitors. Also, the fact that the premium economy section on this aircraft type is not really separate from economy detracted from the overall experience. If an airline wishes to tempt passengers to pay to upgrade, these small perks should be offered as standard.

Lufthansa’s premium economy seats are noticeably larger and more comfortable than regular economy ones. If you can book premium economy for only a few hundred dollars more, it would be worth it. If you face fares twice the price of economy, though, other airlines offer a better way to fly premium economy to Europe.

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