German flag carrier Lufthansa is to install much larger overhead lockers and new seats on 38 of its older Airbus A320 short-haul aircraft in an effort to address two significant passenger pain points – the struggle of finding space for hand luggage and shrinking legroom.
The retrofit program will start in 2025 and will see the airline carry out a significant interior upgrade with the installation of new overhead lockers, which are around 40% larger than the bins currently installed on these aircraft.
The additional space means that larger bags can be placed on their side in the locker, freeing up room for 60% more hand luggage than at present.
Generous hand luggage allowances are fast becoming a key differentiator for full-service airlines to compete against low-cost rivals who strictly enforce baggage rules and impose significant fees on passengers with nonconformant luggage.
The problem, however, is that the overhead lockers on older aircraft just can’t cope with the amount of hand luggage that passengers bring with them nowadays – that means slow boarding, delays and a poor passenger experience when hand luggage that is meant to be permitted onboard has to be checked in because there’s no space left in the overhead lockers.
Lufthansa is already taking delivery of new Airbus A320 series aircraft with these new overhead lockers, so Lufthansa has probably quickly realised that the benefits of a pretty significant investment in retrofitting older aircraft is definitely worth it.
Alongside the larger overhead lockers, Lufthansa will also install its latest generation of short-haul seat made by Italian manufacturer Geven, which includes a USB port at each seat, and a tablet / smartphone holder.
The seat also affords a small amount of additional legroom due to the way the seatback has been sculpted to free up space at the knees.
Although the retrofit program is set to start in 2025, Lufthansa did not say how long it will take to refit all 38 aircraft. It’s also worth pointing out that the current retrofit program only accounts for less than 30% of Lufthansa’s older A320 series fleet, so the majority of the airline’s planes will still have smaller overhead lockers.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.