Lufthansa Unveils Thinner, Lighter Seats With More Legroom – Review

By Jonathan Spira on 5 October 2011
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Two weeks ago, I traveled on a Lufthansa flight from Munich to Brussels and something looked different.Lufthansa NEK seats At first glance, it seemed as if all of the seats had been pushed closer together and indeed they had, but that was only part of the story.  In fact, the Airbus A319’s entire interior had been completely redone.

The Neue Europa Kabine (New European Cabin) was first announced in 2010 and features an airplane seat that is so thin that it allows for the addition of roughly 8% more seats (one or more rows of seats depending on the aircraft) without reducing the living space allocated to each passenger.

The seats are closer together, 30” using the standard industry pitch measure, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story.  The seats have less padding and the manufacturer substituted a strong mesh that is similar to what is used in many higher-end office chairs today.  The seat designers moved the magazine pocket to the top of the seatback to provide for additional knee room and the seats themselves are more comfortable.

As a result, passengers eLufthansa A319 NEK main cabinnd up with more useable room than they had in the old configuration with a 32” pitch.

The airline, in this case Lufthansa, benefits as well as it has more seats to sell per flight and therefore more potential revenue.

I was assigned seat 3J but the Business Class cabin was almost completely empty so I moved to the first row.  I did spend a few minutes seated in row three, however, and the amount of legroom was not objectionable for the short flight to Brussels.

The seat itself was very comfortable with excellent thigh and back support.

In Business Class, while the middle seat is still blocked, it no longer has a fold-down table that I found to be convenient for drinks.   Despite the short duration of the flight, a complete light meal was served. In keeping with the start of Oktoberfest the day before, the meal included a pretzel and a piece of decorated chocolate with the words “Wiesn 2011.”

The A319 is not the only aircraft to benefit from the Neue Europa Kabine.  The design has been implemented on all of the aircraft that service the airline’s European flights including the Boeing 737-500, the Boeing 737-30, and the Airbus A320.  Indeed, adding seats to aircraft is an inexpensive alternative for airlines where an additional six or twelve passengers can actually make or break a particular flight’s profitability.


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