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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)

  • Roger says:

    Amex Platinum Insurance (from PDF):

    “Missed departure. You miss Your flight, train or ship due to an accident or breakdown of Your
    vehicle, or an accident, breakdown or cancellation of transportation on a Public Vehicle and no
    alternative is made available within 4 hours of the published departure time;”

    Now the definition of
    “Public Vehicle” means any air or land vehicle, river or sea-going vessel operated under licence for the transport of fare paying passengers. Public Vehicles do not include vehicles chartered privately.

    Key question: A taxi booked for airport pick and drop-off, can be Uber or conventional taxi.
    Is that still considered Public Vehicle or Can Amex get out by saying it is a private charter vehicle?

  • Mark1980 says:

    OT but my mum has always wanted to go to Switzerland so looking at booking for her 80th next year. Where would be the best place to go for that true Swiss / Alpine experience? Can obviously find hotels etc to suit budget myself but looking for recommendations of which areas / towns to visit as I’ve never been.

    • Mark1980 says:

      Should also clarify – looking at going end of August rather than skiing season. What would weather likely be like then?

      • Shoestring says:

        boiling hot first half of August (25-30C), generally cooling down to 20-25C second half – continental heat, obvs cooler the higher up you go

        • Anna says:

          A few years ago Geneva was 34C in July – we went swimming in the lake to cool down! I would definitely head to the mountains for a longer stay.

      • Simon says:

        Jungfrau region, Grindelwald particularly (where Tolkien based LOTR on). Very Heidi, very authentic Swiss charm, wonderful absence of apres-ski idiots.

        • RussellH says:

          Heidi came from Maienfeld in the northern Graubünden, just south of the Liechtenstein border. Heidi would not have understood a word that people from Grindelwald said!

      • RussellH says:

        Do remember that most of Switzerland is NOT alpine! And it is an amazingly diverse country. My favourites? The Rhine Falls at Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Stein am Rhein a few miles upstream from there – both in Canton Schaffhausen. Both are still tourit traps though 🙁

    • IndiaCharlie says:

      Meiringen – beautiful village, lots of Sherlock Holmes trivia (if that’s her thing!), easy trips to the Jungfrau, lovely walks. Approx 2-3hrs transfer by mostly scenic train from Zurich (easiest) or Basel. Enjoy.

    • Roger* says:

      I suspect that if she’s always wanted to go, she’ll be happy wherever!

      Having said that, does she have any knowledge of languages? Of course, almost anybody she’s likely to meet will be able to speak English with her. I ask because ‘culture’ may have an effect; e.g. most visitors will probably be happier in a French-speaking region than German-speaking.

      My elderly (German-speaking) relatives love the Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Locarno swould be a good example, though a rail transfer would probably be necessary. Lake and mountains onsite. The Centovalli train line makes for an interesting excursion to Domodossola in Italy. IIRC the line is Swiss-managed.

      Is she reasonably fit for her age? You could do worse than think of a tour.

      • Dev says:

        Interlaken. Very touristy but that means that there are many restaurants and cafés. Direct train from Zurich, possibly also from Zurich Airport. There is a train from Interlaken to Grindelwald, the Alpine village that has stunning views of Jungfrau.

        Another option is Zug, with its lake and the Alps beyond. The lake front has lots of bars, cafés and restaurants. Direct train from Zurich Airport.

        • Mark1980 says:

          Thanks everyone for your comments. She is very fit for her age but doesn’t like it too hot. She’s never flown and doesn’t speak any languages other than English. We’ll be going with her but are restricted to school holidays due to kids. I will look into all of the options you’ve suggested.

    • Lottie says:

      We went to sass fee for the late August bank holiday. Shorts weather in the day jacket at night, the temperature drops quickly. Nice village good food and walks. Had live music early evenings.

  • AJA says:

    Lufthansa has a habit of trying to introduce low-cost airlines into its legacy airline structure and then failing at it.

    I think it’s done because it is trying to reduce the salaries it pays due to existing contracts in place at Lufthansa. New airline means new contract and therefore lower salary.

    I think Air France tried the same trick with Joon. Though that name sounds odd, who would travel on that?

    BA has been more successful at reducing salaries by making new contracts for new staff though I’d argue that is not great for staff morale hence the potential strikes in August.

    • Shoestring says:

      https://www.lci.fr/conso-argent/mais-pourquoi-la-nouvelle-compagnie-aerienne-low-cost-d-air-france-s-appelle-t-elle-joon-2059148.html

      Un son court, percutant, facile à retenir et surtout international pour s’adresser au monde entier. Le mot ressemble au mois de juin, il porte une idée de printemps, de soleil, de fraîcheur…elles ont été chargées de trouver un mot qui colle avec la cible jeune et dynamique que vise la compagnie. En effet, cette nouvelle filiale s’adresse “aux millennials, une clientèle de jeunes actifs de 18-35 ans, qui place le numérique au coeur de ses modes de vie”.

      OK, for those who just daydreamed in class: A short, striking, easy to remember and above all international sound to address the world. The word looks like the month of June, it carries an idea of ​​spring, sun, freshness … the agency was responsible for finding a word that resonates with the young and dynamic target market. Indeed, this new subsidiary is aimed at “millennials, a clientele of young people aged 18-35, who puts digital at the heart of their lifestyles”.

      • Lady London says:

        I thought that was marketing cr*p the first time I saw it at thé launch of Joon. Well up to French standards of travel industry hyperbole.

        • Dev says:

          The millennial did not take to it either. Plus they put the flights on main routes as the only option, which didn’t appeal to the travelling public, so it was not as successful as they had hoped.

      • AJA says:

        It sounds like a Korean name to me. That it sounded like the month didn’t even occur to me. That “creative” agency made fools out of Air France, and a lot of money too.

        That said I don’t really rate Level as a name for an airline either. I guess some other creative agency made a fortune out of that too.

        • David says:

          JOON sounds like June?! Genuinely hadn’t noticed that before either – mind blown…

          Still wouldn’t entice me to fly with them though – I’m wary enough of Air France proper, let alone a bargain basement cousin…

          • Anna says:

            It doesn’t even sound like June in French though! (Juin, I was listening Shoestring!)

          • David says:

            Also sounds like Dune, a sandy place where it might take you on holiday. I wonder if the marketing guys got that in too…?

          • John says:

            JOON meant to be jeune (young). “Oo” having a “u” sound is unique to English, think about how you pronounce zoo in German

          • David says:

            “der Tiergarten”

            Hmmm?

        • John says:

          And LEVEL is Spanish, so meant to sound like LEBELL

    • marcw says:

      But wasn’t Joon in reality created to build some negotation-pressure on contract on AF mainline?

  • Gringo says:

    FYI anyone who tried replacing their Platinum card online with metal and got a message that they weren’t able to – I’ve just tried again and it worked fine now.

    • Gringo says:

      Under Account Management –> Order a Replacement Card there was now an option to “Replace Metal Card”

      • Michael Blume says:

        I’ve somehow received two metal cards in the household referral flip we did to beat the annual price hike, but my shredder is too new to chance it on a metal card.

        @Rob @Anika: Time to run an article on how to shred an Amex Platinum Metal card…?

        • Lewis says:

          I’d be interesting in the methods for securely destroying them too!

          • Ssndgrounder says:

            Mine came with a freepost envelope to return when done, so give them a call if you need to dispose.

          • Shoestring says:

            if you don’t have a set of bolt cutters (I do, they come in useful), could I ask: are they flimsy enough to bend backwards and forwards rapidly so that the metal falls apart at the crease?

  • Chas says:

    OT: currently sat in the Aspire Lounge in Luton, and overheard the staff talking about a re-furb which they were meant to be having in November has now been delayed until January.

  • Jimmy says:

    Quick Q regarding Amex – If I get referred for the Green Charge Card, but already have a platinum, will the platinum be downgraded or will it be treated as a new card account?

  • nick says:

    Planning a flight – 2 adults 2 kids for summer holidays

    I can buy a cash ticket from BA for total £1180

    Or Avios using 50,000 Avios + £650 taxes + use up 2 x 2-4-1 vouchers (both expiring in the next couple months)

    Thoughts?

    • Grant says:

      If you’ve got a very healthy Avios balance and no other use for the 2-4-1s then it might be worth doing, but you are not getting much value from your Avois or the vouchers.

      • Lady London says:

        If you have loads of Avios yes. It’s borderline in value. But this is all your family in school holidays which often takes a bit of work to get. Plus remember Avios bookings are more flexible if you need to change plans.

        On balance if you’re full of Avios and these are J tickets I think I might do the Avios booking.

        • Shoestring says:

          yep but I’m a bit confused – is it 4x £1180 vs using 2x 2-4-1s? (@ 50K Avios + £650 each ie 2x = 4 tickets?)

          If the latter, then points seems the better option

    • BigSi says:

      Don’t do it!

    • Jonathan says:

      I’d probably take 1p/Avios and using shortly expiring 241’s but I’m sat on 600k Avios and accumulating quicker than using as majority of trips are to USA & invariably a better deal to go ex EU/INV for cash & maintain status. Also let my last 2 241’s lapse. I’d certainly cash all my Avios in for £5k if that was an option.

      If I had kids & needed to travel shorthaul in school holidays then I’d probably value them more as this seems to be the sweet spot for outsized redemption value.

      As always, horses for courses.

    • Anna says:

      Where are you going? £1180 sounds like a bargain for 4 of you but £650 taxes doesn’t sound like a RFS route.

      • BJ says:

        Given what Nick stated it is somewhere in zone 4 in economy on a peak date. If he has time to play with and the kids are young enough to be enthused by Nessie there might be a case for spending avios one way to INV for an overnight if the same money (or close) got him Club exINV and returning to LHR (which I’m just assuming is his starting point). If the kids are young enough they might enjoy a cruise on the Loch a visit to the visito⁹r centre and the castle.

    • Shoestring says:

      @nick – depends how big your Avios stash is, how much you can use them in future & how easy you find it to acquire them. Plus of course how desperate your cashflow situation is: if every month is a struggle, use the points for sure.

      the cash tickets look cheap plus you’d earn more Avios – cheap-ER even if you can easily use the Avios in future and like many here will find it increasingly harder to accumulate 50K Avios now Amex has gone hostile

      don’t worry about 2-4-1 vouchers expiring, plenty here let that happen if they can’t find a good use

      • Anna says:

        Another option is buy 2 tickets for cash and use one voucher and avios for the other 2.

  • Chris says:

    O/T – stupidly managed to miss payment on my gold Amex (credit), was due on Saturday paid on Monday. Should I expect a late payment charge and mark on my credit file? First time I’ve missed one. Thanks in advance.

    • Whizz68 says:

      Try contacting Amex Customer services, they may be able to help you, and waive any charges.

    • Matt says:

      I was a couple of days late a few months back and haven’t heard anything from them, haven’t been charged.

    • Charlieface says:

      BTDT. Payed 2 days late and received interest charge but no late payment fee. They waive interest once in 12 months