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Finally some good news: Lufthansa resumes selling first class tickets

July 04, 2020
4 min read
Finally some good news: Lufthansa resumes selling first class tickets
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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.

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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.

Photo courtesy of Google Flights
Photo courtesy of Google Flights

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.

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Related: 6 tips for booking Lufthansa first-class awards

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:

Photo courtesy of United
Photo courtesy of United

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.

Bottom line

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 Asiana offers one of the cheapest ways to book Lufthansa first class, but they do pass on massive fuel surcharges. Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy

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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more