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Eurowings ending all long haul flights as its low-cost strategy turns to dust

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Eurowings is suspending all long-haul routes.

Luthansa has announced a significant strategy u-turn at its poorly performing low-cost offshoot Eurowings, which is to suspend long haul flying.

Previous plans to merge Brussels Airlines into Eurowings have also been dumped.  Brussels Airlines will now instead align itself more with Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and the other network carriers the group owns.

The transition of long haul routes from Eurowings to its parent carriers will start in Frankfurt and Munich this winter.  It isn’t yet clear how far the rebranding will go – Eurowings uses the same Business Class seat at Lufthansa so it may be a relatively cheap process:

Eurowings long haul fleet transferring to Lufthansa

Lufthansa is the second large airline group in Europe, after Air France, to announce that it is dropping low cost long haul.  Unlike BA’s sister airline LEVEL, which operates as an entirely independent airline within IAG, Eurowings seconded some pilots and crew from Lufthansa which led to substantially higher costs.

LEVEL has also benefited from operating at airports where it does not compete with other IAG airlines, whereas Eurowings cannibalised existing routes from Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines.  I would not be surprised to see LEVEL succeed where Eurowings and Joon (the Air France venture) have failed, although whether we ever see it expand into the UK market is a different matter.  Launching LEVEL at Gatwick would hit Norwegian, but would also cannibalise BA – it would make more sense to launch out of, say, Amsterdam instead.

Of course, even Norwegian is struggling financially to keep its low cost long haul operation afloat.  With oil prices continuing to rise, we may soon find out whether there is any sort of business case for such services across the full economic cycle.

Comments (169)

  • BJ says:

    OT bit: For those frequent travellers between Edinburgh and Haymarket, the latest Nectar offers on LNER and VT is for “up to 1000 bonus points”. I am wondering if they have finally closed that little gem but I’m unable to check the details as I’m overseas and cannot access nectar account. I would be grateful if somebody else checked it out and reported back. 10x points on the other three participating rail operators which is probably quite decent as I imagine it can be stacked with other opportunities.

    • pablo says:

      These bonus points rarely post automatically. I always need to contact Nectar 2 months later and ask for the bonus. Sometimes they ask for screenshots to prove I had the offer on my account. You may find Nectar quite reluctant to give you 1000 points for a £1 ticket though.

      • BJ says:

        Sorry you are having problems pablo, they have so far posted fine for me, usually a month and a few days after the offer expiration date as opposed to transaction date. I always clear cookies then follow the link from within my nectar account but I am not sure if this is even necessary.

      • Simon says:

        Yeah mine never posted last time I tried this.

      • Rob says:

        Always get mine but you must book a Virgin Trains train – on the Haymarket-Waverley run 80% of tickets VT sell online are not for travel on VT.

    • paulm says:

      Mine states 1000, no mention of up to. I took my first journey on this route yesterday! Standard points posted so will see if the bonus posts in a month or so.

    • Shoestring says:

      1,000 bonus points when you book your next adventure with Virgin Trains.
      How to get this offer
      Click ‘Book now’
      Make any booking on the Virgin Trains West Coast mainline between 20 – 26 June 2019
      Ensure you enter your Nectar card details at checkout
      1. To qualify for 1,000 bonus points you must book your journey on the Virgin Trains West Coast mainline between 20 – 26 June 2019 inclusive. 2. Bonus points will be awarded on your first booking made during the promotional period. No further bonus points for multiple bookings are available. 3. Bonus points will be awarded within 28 days of the offer expiry date. 4. You will need to enter the last 11 digits of your Nectar card number at the checkout on virgintrains.co.uk or the Virgin Trains Mobile App to collect Nectar points. 5. Incorrect Nectar card numbers or invalid Nectar cards will not be awarded points. 6. Virgin Trains usual booking terms and conditions apply.

      • Shoestring says:

        For any others tempted to try it: get the *right* train Edinburgh to Haymarket, the wrong one gets you nothing
        https://www.shopperpoints.co.uk/2019/05/14/how-to-hack-nectars-virgin-trains-1000-points-offer/

        • EwanG says:

          A previous offer a couple of weeks back with VTWC did have a minimum spend of £8 to get the 1000 points, but this weeks’ offer doesn’t!

          • BJ says:

            Cheers Ewan, will keep a close eye on the t&c going forward now, I think the offer you mentioned is probably the one I missed.

          • Shoestring says:

            Gave it a go – ! Nectar point = 1p at times (Sainsbury’s, Ebay offers) – so 2x 1000 points = £20 – minus the £2.50 2x tickets = £17.50 profit for 2 mins’ work

          • Rob says:

            I bought one yesterday 🙂

          • Drew says:

            I imagine you can use any railcards you may or may NOT have too?

      • BJ says:

        Thanks Harry and paulm, I only seen the email which is where it states up to 1000. Will need to book directly on train website this time as currently overseas so at least that will confirm whether we need to go via the link within nectar accounts or not.

        • Shoestring says:

          should be enough free GB within Tunnelbear free version to VPN it

          • BJ says:

            Never used VPN but I’ll probably look into it. Cannot access Tesco from overseas either but that’s hardly a problem anymore.

          • Aslan says:

            Second the use of TunnelBear – very reliable and handy for “overseas” transactions

    • Craig says:

      The last time the points didn’t post, I contacted Nectar and they added them manually. I always take a screenshot and have done the same this time. Imagine my surprise though when the points did arrive but two days after the T&Cs said they would which was a nice result.

    • John says:

      If you can use UK mobile data to go online, it should show up as being in the UK regardless of which country you are really in

      • Lady London says:

        Sadly, sadly that is rarely the case. Websites can sée through to physical location in a variety of ways.

      • BJ says:

        @John, followed your advice on IHG the other day and got my IHG bonus points packages so thanks for that.
        @Lady London, presumably can be partly resolved by turning off location services but I’m sure they get round that in other ways as you point out.

        In Europe I tend just to use my Vodafone sim but elsewhere I usually pick up a local one.

  • Roger says:

    OT – Gold supplementary card on new Amex Platinum.

    1. Is the Gold card issued as supplementary card a charge card or credit card?
    2. Do I receive higher MR points as per Gold card page i.e. 2 MR points for spend directly with airline if I spend on Gold supplementary as opposed to main Platinum card? The platinum card only gives 1 point even directly with airline and 2 using Amex Travel.
    3. Is it possible to get Euro or Dollar Green card as supplementary card on the Amex Platinum charge card?

    • Doogie says:

      Charge, no, 99% sure no

    • David says:

      It’s issued on the same account as your main card.
      So if your main card is a charge card (which plat is) the sup is just another card on that charge account.
      And if the charge account is in GBP, so are the sups etc.

  • Mike says:

    Anyone have any idea why the greatest female tennis player the world has ever seen has resorted to entering competitions on hfp?

  • jane says:

    OT – I know Hilton don’t charge resort fees on award stays – but can anyone confirm whether IHG or Bonvoy do ?. We have a trip coming up with stays at all of those and I don’t want to pay if I don’t have to. Thanks.

    • E says:

      Bonvoy do. Don’t know about IHG.

    • marcw says:

      IHG do as well.

    • Lady London says:

      If you are not notified of resort fées when you book then not valid, surely? As reward bookings would be. In particular if booking direct where nothing to argue about full disclosure by agency.

      • jane says:

        Good Point. There seems to be a random $5 per night on the Bonvoy ones (2 different hotels) and nothing on the IHG one – I guess we’ll see what happens when we check out. Thanks.

        • Lady London says:

          I have had resort fees removed in the US a few times in similar circumstances. If i see one when booking (rare, and I read the small print) and if i dont regard it as a resort location then i for sure would have booked elsewhere.

    • Bloomers says:

      Sadly, IHG do still charge the resort fee on reward nights. On a recent reward stay at The Palazzo in Las Vegas it was $50 a night!!

      • Roger* says:

        Yes, the Palazzo charged us last year. It was a particularly mean offer, e.g. ONE small cup of coffee per stay – we were 2 pp for several days.

        Amyway, after our stay we complained and like LL got a refund.

      • BJ says:

        Must be resort-specific policies then because I’ve stayed in IHG res ortsin Thailand and Indonesia without any fees being applied to reward stays.

    • MICHAEL PALIN says:

      IHG Intercontinental San Juan. No resort fee in May this year. I think IHG charge by % ( % of $0 is $0 ) not a fixed fee

      • APPL says:

        Kimpton San Diego. No amenity fee ($25/day) charged on redemption. It was showing on the reservation though, and I did get $10 dining credit which is included in that fee.

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    There are other airports in the UK outside of LHR and LGW. Critically, all airports outside London do not have a BA presence except potential shuttles to LHR. Level could launch at one of those.

    Not saying they should mind, just that LGW is a poor example. For example, Manchester would better test the hypothesis.

    • Doug M says:

      Manchester tests everyone unfortunate enough to travel through it.

      • qwertyknowsbest says:

        +99999999😟

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Thereby implying there must be a reason people still do use the airport and along with necessity (business) there might be price sensitivity (leisure) which could be the encouragement they need….

        • Anna says:

          Because where there are alternative services it means not having to drive (at least) 4 hours to LHR or LGW, people will put up with a lot to avoid that!

          • RussellH says:

            Driving 4+ hours to LHR or LGW when they are at least as unpleasant as MAN, makes no sense at all. The problem is that as airports expand and serve more destinations, the worse the experience gets.

            And talking of reasonably civilised airports, flights start from CAX to DUB in 9 days time. I am a little surprise that there has not been even a passing mention. [I have no idea whether DUB is still small enough to be not too unpleasant, as I have not been there since 1973. I was flying to BOS to start a new job. Came back in 1976 by ship.]

          • Lady London says:

            There was a passing mention. But IT passed and it was a long time ago.

          • RussellH says:

            There was quite a lot mentioned here when Loganair first said that they were about to start flights from CAX. I thought that Rob did a whole article [looks…] yes, he did https://headforpoints.com/2018/03/16/loganair-to-fly-from-carlisle-lake-district-airport/ on 16 March 2018. Tickets on the initial flight are now silly money!

          • Rob says:

            There is a reader booked on one of the early flights who promised to write something about the airport.

          • Nick M says:

            Weren’t these originally meant to start last summer? I’m sure I was considering it for a stag do last October!

    • Chris L says:

      Level unlikely to launch at Manchester as it would cannibalise BA connections to LHR and LGW. Same true of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Aberdeen. Birmingham maybe?

      • Dougie Forde says:

        Cardiff please!

      • Anna says:

        What connections to LGW?!!

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        There is not a MAN/LGW connection.

        Not sure if Level would significantly hurt the MAN/LHR traffic. It obviously depends which routes Level picked but there is a lot of point-to-point traffic out of MAN so most likely this is where a lot of their traffic would come from assuming they could compete with the existing operators.

        Sample size of one, but I take MAN direct short haul over a LHR connection every time. Long haul I’ll take direct if offered, maybe LHR if flying west but flying east with a connection and LHR is just one of many European/Middle Eastern hubs. Since I last went through LHR I have done Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Doha, and Dubai.

        • Anna says:

          +1 – I’ve been actively planning summer breaks around the BA CityFlyer MAN flights so that I can still earn avios and tier points but avoid LHR. It’s just a shame they don’t operate at Easter and October half term.

        • Rob says:

          Virgin implied to me that, despite what I thought, MAN is slot constrained – this is why Virgin wants to buy Thomas Cook rather than just competing against it.

          • Charlieface says:

            My understanding is MAN is slot constrained at peak times only. Also the night time when only the south runway is open, but there’s not usually a lot of flights so late anyway.
            I’ve sai this many times: VA should just move to MAN altogether and beat BA at their own game with a fortress hub.

        • Chris L says:

          The short haul market at MAN is fairly well catered-for isn’t it? I think if there is demand for LH it’s mostly already filled by the combination of Virgin, Thomas Cook and then various connecting services (LHR, AMS, CDG etc). Stansted may be a better bet for LEVEL?

          • Memesweeper says:

            +1

            Stansted is the ‘fit’ for Level. But long haul from Stansted is graveyard of failed previous operations…

          • Charlieface says:

            Long haul is poor from MAN. At one point a couple years ago MAN-HKG was the highest demand route with no direct flight in the world apparently. Fortunately now has Cathay, but the lack of a network carrier at such a big airport is painful.

          • Chris L says:

            The new supposed Virgin Atlantic with added Flybe may begin to provide the benefits of a network carrier and start to turn MAN into more of a hub.

    • Andrew says:

      There are indeed other airports in the UK outside LHR & LGW.

      I’ve flown:-

      Virgin from Glasgow to Orlando
      United from Edinburgh to New York, Chicago & Washington
      Delta from Edinburgh to New York and will be flying to Boston (full flight) next week.
      BA from Edinburgh to Majorca and Glasgow to Genoa.

      I’ve even connected with an AA flight from Glasgow to Philadelphia via BA from Heathrow. On the return it was so nice to be through immigration in just a few minutes at Glasgow and be able to walk out Heathrow as a domestic passenger.

  • Roger says:

    OT – new Visa / MC
    Rob or anyone,

    Is there going to be a new card launch within next 1 month or so, with any attractive signup bonus either as Visa or MC? If Virgin is extended to end of july (6 month gap for me), it will indeed be attractive.
    I am holding off a very large purchase and some other payments and can easily put through £10k worth of spend in a quick time.

    Any pointers / speculation welcome!

    • Rob says:

      No launches I am aware of. SPG Amex will rebrand but no-one is telling me much will change (I have told Marriott to get the bonus rules changed but ….)

      No news on the Creation / Marriott card.

      • Waddle says:

        My wish would be for Amex to do a one-off rebrand promo for the Marriott card. Get the sign-up bonus once if you’ve not had the SPG in the past 24 months even if you hold another type of Amex. Similar to BAPP or Platinum sign-up rules but maybe for just a promotional period. One can wish I suppose…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Night credits like the other Marriott cards would be great.

    • PJJ says:

      Any news on an Emirates card after the reports a short while ago

  • Pierre says:

    OT: New metal amex plat, has anyone else started to get issues with contactless?
    Having received the metal card for a week now, it seems that the contactless functionality is less efficient than with my plastic one.

  • David says:

    If PP T2 is the best that third-party lounges have to offer, I’m glad I make the effort to maintain BA Silver. I’ve been there a couple of times in the last few months (thanks Lounge Club), and while the hard product is good, the service is not. Constantly running out of food, lots of used crockery lying around, and bar staff that would rather you weren’t there. It’s also all very dark – fine for my visits in the evening, but I wouldn’t like to be there for long during the day with no windows…

    • Lady London says:

      Skytrax results give me the impression they’re rigged, in most years.

      Having said that I regard Plaza Premium as a pretty reliable beacon in a sea of lacklustre style-free miserable basic third party lounges. If a Plaza Premium turns out to be less quality than some others then it’s probably still the best third party lounge in the location.

      Btw I’d put most BA and LH contracted lounges at outstations in the ‘lacklustre third party’ category and would generally seek out a Regus or Plaza Premium instead if there is any alternative.

      Is the service in T4 Arrivals Plaza Premium any better?

      • Roger says:

        Have used T4 PP Arrivals lounge and equally impressed.
        It is a-la-carte too, IIRC.