Lufthansa sold me a business class upgrade on a flight that had no business class seats.

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Jun 11, 2019
Background. I took a group of 49 people to Israel on March 22 on Lufthansa from Chicago to Tel Aviv connecting through Frankfurt. Group tickets covered 45 of the people and 4 were on individual tickets including my son. My son developed a medical condition after I bought the original ticket that made it very painful for him to sit for an extended period. On March 17 I bought an upgrade to business class for him. I paid $1380 for the leg from Chicago to Frankfurt. I paid $580 for the segment from Frankfurt to Tel Aviv.

I asked the Lufthansa phone representative if the business class seats lay flat and she assured me they did. I asked her twice specifically about the second leg and she said they did. In fact, there was no real business class. All the seats were the same as economy. They had 3 seats across and they simply did not fill the middle seat. They did not recline any more than an economy seat. If all I wanted was an empty middle seat, I could have bought a second economy seat cheaper. This was fraud. Just calling a section business class does not make it business class any more than calling a chicken a duck into a duck.
Sep 19, 2015
Lufthansa unfortunately does not have lay flat seats on short and medium haul business class seats.

Business class on Lufthansa varies significantly between long haul flights (separate cabin with seats that recline almost into a flat bed) large jet and short to medium haul flights narrow body jets. Short to medium haul on (less than 6 hours generally) narrow body business class on Lufthansa has no real difference in seat size, but there is no person in the middle, more baggage allowance, use of lounge, better food, and such. The Lufthansa seat maps for short and medium haul flights clearly show the configuration

Lufthansa has started some medium haul routes with a larger two aisle passenger jet (with fully reclinable seats) but Tel Aviv is not the destination.

You should not have been given incorrect information by a telephone representative— but the problem is that the information is available on the website along with seat maps.

You can write to Lufthansa but I doubt you will get any relief other than an acknowledgement of your complaint.

I do not know if you could have added an extra seat to Economy long after purchase — it may not have been possible or equally or more expensive.

Most European airlines have the same types of business class seats on short and medium haul flights.

Did you pay an upgrade for the return?

It is not fraud as there is a description of medium haul business class online
Likes: jsn55
Jul 13, 2016
Unfortunately, not all business class seats lie flat. The error was with the res agent that assured you the second leg lay flat. A quick visit to SeatGuru would show the business class configuration and the non-lie flat seats of your specific flight. If you have the res agent's name, you may be able to have Lufthansa listen to the recorded conversation, and get some compensation.
Good luck!
Likes: jsn55
May 1, 2018
What steps have you taken to resolve this issue? Have you reached out to anyone at LH to request a refund?

This sounds like a miscommunication issue with the phone agent. Looks like LH only uses an A321 for the FRA-TLV flight and none of their single aisle planes have lie flat seats.
Sep 20, 2015
Biz class within Europe and immediate surroundings on European airlines usually means exactly as the OP stated...three seats with the middle seat open, and enhanced service. Sometimes a little extra legroom, sometimes not. (It's not even to the same seating level that US airlines have in theirBiz/first class domestically). Looking at SeatGuru, it looks like LH flies A321 aircraft, with a standard economy layout with the middle seat blocked. This is what European airlines do--you have to determine if it's worth an extra $600 for this (personally, I would say no).

The leg from ORD-FRA should be in a lie flat seat (again, SeatGuru says it's a 747-800, so this does have lie flat seats).


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
My colleagues have outlined the reality here, I'm so sorry this happened to your poor injured son. Airline agents will tell you anything to get you off the phone. That's why websites like SeatGuru exist. Everything an airline agent tells you has to be verified using an outside source. You deserve a refund of the upgrade fee. But Lufthansa will counter with the fact that your son did sit in their "biz class". It's just unnerving to deal with airline agents who may or may not be telling you the truth. It's been going on forever, but has gotten much worse in the last few years as agents are pressured to take care of more customers than ever. Be polite, patient and persistent.