Lufthansa Follows GDS Fee With New Europe Airfare Structure

Lufthansa has announced a new price concept for flights in Europe. Starting October 1, passengers will be able to select from three new Economy Class fare options -- "Light," "Classic" and "Flex" -- that will offer different services depending on the price. 

The move is part of Lufthansa's recent shift in strategy to focus more on earning revenue through flight operations rather than ticket sales, which kicked off in June with the announcement of a controversial EUR 16 distribution charge on all tickets booked outside direct channels for Lufthansa Group airlines. 

The three new Economy Class fares will differ in the areas of free luggage, seat reservations and rebooking and cancellation options. There will also be a fully flexible Business Class fare. 

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"The price options, Light, Classic and Flex, are more transparent and allow customers in Economy Class a selection of fare options within Europe," said Jens Bischof, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board and chief commercial officer (CCO) of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

In addition to the actual flight itself, all of the fare options include one piece of hand luggage, snacks and drinks on board, a reserved seat at check-in from 23 hours before take-off, as well as Award, Status and Select Miles. For bookings in Economy Class, all three fare options will always be available, allowing different option packages to be combined on an outward and return flight. Additional services, such as seats with more legroom or an upgrade to Business Class, can be booked separately at any time, even after ticket purchase.

Economy Light

The new light fare is meant to be the most economical option, for those traveling with only hand luggage and not needing any ticket flexibility, Lufthansa said. The Light fare can be booked from 89 Euro for a return flight. No rebooking or refund is possible with this option. If desired, customers can additionally book a piece of luggage (from 15 Euro for the outbound and return flight respectively) or book a seat (from 10 Euro per flight) at any time between booking and start of the journey.

Economy Classic

The Classic fare includes the opportunity to check in a piece of luggage of up to 23 kg. This option also offers a new, additional opportunity for many passengers to secure their desired seat, free-of-charge, at booking. Finally, the Classic fare is more flexible than the Light fare because it can be rebooked to another flight on the original connection for a fee. The Classic fare can be booked from 129 Euro for a return flight.

Economy Flex

The Flex fare is focused principally on passengers that require more flexibility in their travel planning, Lufthansa said. In addition to the free seat reservation, the Flex fare offers the opportunity to rebook the flight at no extra cost or change the itinerary. If the originally planned booking class is no longer available, it is possible that an extra payment is necessary. In this fare option, frequent fliers will get an additional 50 percent of Premium Miles credited in the framework of a Miles & More promotion. The extra cost of the Flex fare as compared to the Classic fare is between 60 and 160 Euro, depending on route.

Business Class

Besides the three Economy fares, there continues to be a Business Class fare which includes all the usual services of the class, such as access to the lounge, increased luggage allowance of 2 x 32 kg, seat reservation and an open seat next to it, and priority boarding. As part of the new price concept, all Business Class fares will also be re-bookable without a fee and refundable free-of-charge. If the originally planned booking class is no longer available, an extra charge may be necessary under certain circumstances. The Business Class fare is available from only 399 Euro for a return flight.

Lufthansa is introducing the new fare concept together with Austrian Airlines. SWISS has already used the new concept since the end of June. Brussels Airlines introduced a fare concept with various options in 2014. The fare concept for long-haul flight tickets remains unchanged.