Finally some good news: Lufthansa resumes selling first class tickets
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Nearly every major airline has announced that they’ll emerge from the coronavirus pandemic smaller than they went in, shedding hundreds of aircraft and tens of thousands of staff in the process. First to go have been old planes that were slated to be retired soon anyway, and large jumbo jets that will be difficult to fill in a world of depressed demand for travel.
We’ve already seen a number of airlines send their superjumbos off to an early retirement, including Air France’s fleet of A380s and Qantas’s 747s, as well as airlines announcing that they’d be grounding their A380 fleets for at least the next several years.
All of this raises serious questions about the future of international first class, which was already falling out of favor with many airlines around the globe. Adding to this speculation, both Lufthansa and Etihad removed all first-class award availability on select routes (including paid and award tickets), suggesting they were considering grounding or retiring larger sections of their fleet.
Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.
Fans of Lufthansa’s incredibly refined and consistent first class product can breathe a sigh of relief, as the German flag carrier has resumed selling first class tickets on U.S. routes. While there’s certainly the chance of an equipment swap if demand remains low, this suggests that Lufthansa is more confident in its fleet planning now.
With the A380s out of the mix until 2021 at the earliest, you’ll find a first-class cabin on Lufthansa’s 747-8s, as well as some A330 and A340 aircraft. Capacity downgrades mean that not all routes that used to offer first class will do so for the near future. For example, Lufthansa used to operate a daily flight between Frankfurt (FRA) and Washington DC (IAD) with a first class equipped 747-8, though that flight is now scheduled to be operated by an A330 without first class when the route resumes in September.
Lufthansa only releases first class award space to partner programs like United MileagePlus and Avianca LifeMiles 15 days before departure. While now is not an ideal time to travel, especially with the EU closed to American travelers, it is once again possible to book Lufthansa first class awards between the US and Europe:
Based on current schedules, here are the U.S. cities that will offer Lufthansa first class service this year:
- Chicago O’Hare (ORD): 5x weekly 747-8 flight (moving to daily in August)
- Los Angeles (LAX): 3x weekly 747-8 flight (moving to 5x weekly in August and daily in September)
- San Francisco (SFO): daily A340-600 flight (beginning October 25)
- Houston (IAH): daily 747-8 flight (beginning October 25)
- New York (JFK): daily 747-8 and A340-600 flight (beginning October 25)
- Newark (EWR): daily 747-8 flight (beginning October 25)
These routes are all subject to change based on local government regulations and the spread of the coronavirus. Absent from this list are cities like Boston (BOS), Miami (MIA), Detroit (DTW) and Washington DC (IAD) that used to receive Lufthansa first-class service before the pandemic.
As if the rapid disappearance of travel wasn’t hard enough, AvGeeks have had to watch airlines retire or indefinitely ground some of our favorite planes knowing that we’ll never get to fly them again. While it was highly unlikely that Lufthansa would entirely discontinue its first class offering, the lack of availability for cash or award tickets was suspect. While there’s still a lot of uncertainty right now, Lufthansa once again selling first class tickets (and making them available for awards) is the first piece of good travel news we’ve had in a while.
Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees