Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian follow BA with a new short-haul fare structure
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Lufthansa, Austrian and Swiss (all of which are owned by Lufthansa) have decided that the British Airways ‘hand baggage only’ model for short haul ticketing is the way to go.
For flights from October 1st which are booked from June 23rd (Swiss) or July 28th (Lufthansa or Austrian) you will be presented with three different ticket types:
Light – no baggage allowance (irrespective of frequent flyer status), no seat reservation (irrespective of frequent flyer status), non-refundable
Classic – baggage allowance, seat reservation, non-refundable
Flex – as per Classic but refundable and changeable
Oddly, Lufthansa describes the Classic fare as having ‘free seat reservations and free baggage allowance’, which is an interesting definition of the word ‘free’ since in all other respects the ticket is the same as the cheaper Light.
There is no change to Miles & More earning rates and passengers will continue to get lounge access if they have status irrespective of ticket type.
What we won’t know until ticket sales begin is how big the fare difference will be between Classic and Light.
As far as I can tell, the Lufthansa set-up will now be virtually identical to British Airways. Lufthansa has already adopted the ‘super-thin, no leg room’ seats on short haul – seats which are generally seen as less comfortable than the ones BA introduced.
Given my general lack of enthusiasm for Lufthansa lounges (see my review of the Terminal 2 lounge from earlier this week), BA may well be the better option on routes where they compete. I don’t know enough about the Lufthansa short-haul food options to compare those. I have never been desperately excited by the plate of ham and cheese that passes for breakfast in their short-haul business class on the few times I have flown it.
If I were easyJet, I would now be tempted to start offering everyone free seat reservations in order to claim they are offering a better deal than the legacy airlines ….