Welcome Onboard: The Story Of Lufthansa’s Yellow Box

Have you ever noticed a yellow box next to the door while boarding a Lufthansa flight? At first glance, this might just seem like a part of the aircraft’s livery. However, on Lufthansa’s jets, this small panel is intended to welcome guests onboard the plane with a gesture that is unique in the airline world.

When flights are boarded via a jetbridge, only a tiny portion of the fuselage is visible to passengers boarding the flight. With this in mind, carriers usually try to pit this small portion of fuselage to good use, often displaying their alliance or perhaps information about whether the aircraft is equipped with WiFi. Lufthansa has a relatively novel use for this space.

Welcome onboard

The purpose of the yellow box painted on Lufthansa’s aircraft adjacent to the doors is to welcome guests onboard the aircraft. A Lufthansa spokesperson told us that the box is called the Welcome Panel. It is designed to green guests as they board the plane.

The Frankfurt skyline might be drawn for a flight departing from Frankfurt. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The aircraft’s crew can leave small messages for passengers to read as they step foot on the plane. These are typically tailored to the time of day or the origin/destination of the flight. Sometimes, special holidays are also observed. The only limits on the crew’s creativity are personal things and political topics. Messages following either of these themes are not permitted.

Why have a box at all?

Believe it or not, this yellow welcome panel is a relatively new addition to the German flag carrier’s aircraft. The airline first introduced them in early 2019, meaning the yellow panels have been flying around the world for around three years now. The panels can be found across the fleet from narrowbodies like the Airbus A320, all the way up to the largest aircraft, the Airbus A380. Panels are only painted adjacent to doors that would normally be used for boarding, so they would only be found on the left of an aircraft. In the case of the Airbus A380, this would be the two forward doors on the main deck, and the 1st door on the upper deck.

The yellow welcome panel has been in use for more than three years now. Photo: Alex Tino Friedel via Lufthansa

Lufthansa wanted the box to be a personal surprise for passengers as they stepped foot on the plane. Pursers and captains are allowed to leave a message or doodle with dry-wipe pens. Of course, putting a note up is optional and not required of the crew.

What happens to the message?

So what happens to the message once all of the passengers have boarded? The creation may be saved forever in the form of a photo taken by crew or passengers, but otherwise, the message gets removed. Removing the message is far more straightforward than you might expect. The crew is asked to wipe it off once boarding is complete but before the doors have closed.

As mentioned, some of the designs can live on forever as photos. Recently, Lufthansa asked colleagues to send their best welcome panel photos in. Two of these were then printed on bags and mugs to be sold. The money raised from the sales went to the Help Alliance, the Lufthansa Group‘s aid organization, founded by cabin crew in 1999.

Have you seen a welcome panel message on a Lufthansa flight? Let us know about your favorite design in the comments!

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