Lufthansa Bringing Basic Economy Fares to US Routes
Another one bites the dust. Lufthansa, Europe's biggest airline, is jumping on the basic economy bandwagon. The German carrier will be introducing "Economy Light" fares this summer on select routes.
According to a press release, the airline will start selling basic economy fares on North American routes served by Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines. The three latter carriers are all subsidiaries of the Lufthansa Group.
Economy Light fares will work similarly to other basic economy tickets. All that will be included in the fare is a carryon bag. You'll have to pay extra if you want to check a bag or select a seat. Tickets won't be changeable either.
Economy Light fares don't appear to be available for purchase yet, and Lufthansa did not say when they would be launching other than in "summer 2018." Checked bag or seat selection prices weren't shared, but judging off other carriers with basic economy fares, you'll be pay around $100 more to get what used to be included in a regular economy ticket.
Fortunately once onboard, passengers will still enjoy the same soft product as regular economy customers —meaning complimentary food and drinks will still be included.
The move appears to be a way to directly compete with the rise of low-cost carriers, like Norwegian and WOW, and other mainline carriers. Delta started charging for bags on its transatlantic basic economy fares in December, and British Airways and American Airlines introduced their own basic economy fares on transatlantic routes in March. The only large American carrier to still not offer basic economy on flights to Europe is United, although considering that United and Lufthansa are in a joint venture, it's likely just a matter of time before United joins the fray.
Lufthansa launched Light fares on select European routes in 2015 and started testing Light fares between Scandanvia and North America last year.