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This article was published on December 1, 2021

Lufthansa’s posh plane can’t match the halcyon days of luxury aviation

Give me retro glamour and Campari cocktails any day

Lufthansa’s posh plane can’t match the halcyon days of luxury aviation
Cate Lawrence
Story by

Cate Lawrence

Cate Lawrence is an Australian tech journo living in Berlin. She focuses on all things mobility: ebikes, autonomous vehicles, VTOL, smart ci Cate Lawrence is an Australian tech journo living in Berlin. She focuses on all things mobility: ebikes, autonomous vehicles, VTOL, smart cities, and the future of alternative energy sources like electric batteries, solar, and hydrogen.

Lufthansa Technik recently shared a teaser for their latest luxury plane cabin. It’s called the EXPLORER and is the brainchild of the VIP and Special Mission division. This division makes luxury cabins for jet planes, including Boeing 737, Airbus A320 family aircraft, A350s, and 747s. 

But what’s on offer, and how does it compare to the halcyon glamour days of flying before you had to take your shoes off at the airport? I’ve had a look, and I have to say, I think earlier generations of rich people had it better for all its tech bells and whistles. 

Lufthansa’s EXPLORER flying hotel

Lufthansa luxury plane like an aquarium
When your luxury plane meets underground aquarium.. but in the sky.

Lufthansa has created your very own personal “flying hotel” to provide you with all comforts and amenities that you can expect from a five-star hotel on the ground. The design owes its genesis to the superyacht (otherwise known as a large and luxurious pleasure vessel).

The company invites you to: 

Do your business but also enjoy life and explore the world or party with family and friends. Therefore, you have your own dedicated areas for mission briefings [not sure what that is], dining, fitness, or even a dance floor and SPA area.

Even better, each design is modular: 

You can take all your special equipment with you. No matter if it is a car, offroad vehicle, wingsuite, wine cellar, exploration laboratory, or even an emergency medical room – or anything else you might dream off.

 — Yep, you could bring your car on a plane, folks. 

Cream leather, really?

But there’s way too much cream leather for my liking. Surely you’d just slide right off one of those seats when you hit turbulence? I prefer this old-school style with cushions you can sink into.

A luxury plane from the 1970s
Interior of the Qantas Captain Cook plane – yep, it has a pirate ship helm decorating the wall…
funky old plane
This is much funkier, especially the carpet.

The window to roof projector seems a bit meh

The plane includes a large-scale integrated projection system for virtual content, extending from the windows to the ceiling in the multifunctional lounge area.

the Lufthansa explorer plane
The big ass projector so you can see the sky or pretend you are somewhere else if you desperately need to escape all that luxury

You can even make it simulate a disco – but, that looks like a pretty dull party to me, even if the plane comes with its very own DJ.

all about the disco plane
I think I’d expect a disco on a plane to be a bit more lively, Lufthansa. It’s Grim.

I think this is more my kind of party:

luxury class
Make mine a Campari and soda, please.

At least in the days before we relied on digital devices for our in-flight entertainment, we could spend our plane time flirting and drinking.

Where’s the bedroom?

Surely, we can agree, the best part of a private plane would be the ability to lie flat in a bed?

But, beds aren’t configured into the original EXPLORER design from what we can see. Weird.

Even these in-flight beds of yesteryear look pretty chill:

luxury sleeper plane
Credit: Flickr/SAS Museet
Aww love the idea of the sleeper plane


But the plane veranda is cool 

If you want bizarre, part of the plane where the plane opens to a veranda. So you can stand around waiting for a president or something.

the waiting balcony of the Lufthansa luxury plane
Just hanging out drinking wine, waiting for the plane to disembark… Why would you want to do that on a plane? Because you can.

Despite private planes getting a ribbing at COP26, the industry is thriving

Wieland Timm is Head of sales at VIP and Special Mission Aircraft Services at Lufthansa Technik. He told Aerotime that the VIP division’s revenue has increased over the last three years with extra staffing:

We are sold out of production, there’s no shortage of money in the market. We are negotiating contracts with delivery dates out to 2025.

I think I’ve clarified that I like my flying green. But I’m also a hypocrite when it comes to flying. Sorry, but I do like the idea of being able to lie flat instead of seated (by the third flight and 25th hour I’d sell my cat to lie flat), and being served cocktails and super fancy food will never not appeal.

We can look forward to more info about this luxury design at the upcoming Dubai air show.

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