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Rival German airlines Air Berlin and Lufthansa
announced upgrades to their business- and first-class cabins, respectively. Air
Berlin, which operates business class only on long-haul flights, from November
will install roomier seats on its Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The seats will
recline 170 degrees compared to the existing 150-degree recline.
Originally a low-cost, leisure-based airline,
Air Berlin is attempting to improve its appeal to business travelers as it prepares to join the Oneworld alliance in 2012. Most of its long-haul destinations from Berlin and Düsseldorf are leisure-oriented, but it does fly
to Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa plans to scrap the 16
first-class, lie-flat seats on its 10 Boeing 747-400s and replace them with
eight berths featuring both a seat and an adjacent bed. The beds are more than
2 meters (78 inches) long and have "top-quality" mattresses,
according to the carrier. The refurbished cabin also will have sound-absorbing
curtains and insulation. The first revamped 747-400s are scheduled to take to
the skies in April, with conversions completed by November.