Lufthansa halves baggage allowance for Economy Class flights between India and North America; other airlines may follow suit

NEW DELHI: Flying between India and North America – which costs a fortune these days anyway due to sky-high airfares and a weak rupee – could now become even more expensive for those who don’t not really travel light.
German mega-carrier Lufthansa will allow only one check-in bag up to 23kg at no additional cost to economy class passengers booking tickets from Monday (August 1) to fly between India and America North, a reduction of half compared to the previous allowance of two bags. Passengers who booked tickets before July 31 will not be charged extra for this.
For those booking now, checking the second bag will cost 200 euros if purchased online in advance or 250 euros to do so at the check-in counter. Thus, a person booking a Delhi-New York or Vancouver-Delhi ticket in economy class on Lufthansa will now have to pay an additional 400 euros for the return trip to check in the second piece of luggage if it was purchased in advance; or 500 euros if you pay for the second bag at the check-in counter.
Senior EU airline officials say soaring oil prices have forced them to maximize cargo revenue by forcing passengers to pay extra for the second bag and/or allow more space for freight charges by deterring many from checking two bags. More airlines around the world could follow suit.
For the past few years, US carriers have allowed only one checked bag at no additional charge for Economy Class passengers. Air India allows two, and it’s one of the factors that has made its North American non-stop flights a favorite with travelers despite a suboptimal onboard experience on its relatively old fleet of planes that were poorly maintained at the time of the Maharaja’s ownership.
A leading travel agent shared a communication from Lufthansa which read: “As of August 1, 2022, the Lufthansa Group free checked baggage policy has been aligned with our Atlantic joint venture partners, United Airlines. and Air Canada. On all routes between India and North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, etc.), the Lufthansa Group and its partners will offer free checked baggage in economy class.
“The baggage policies for all other compartments as well as the additional free baggage allowance for statutory customers will remain unchanged. All reservations that have been issued until July 31, 2022 will be accepted in accordance with the current baggage allowance,” the communication adds.
Co-Secretary of the Federation of Travel Agents of India Anil Kalsi points out other ways flyers are now being forced to shell out more. “Virtually all of the lowest international airline fares are now non-refundable, in both economy and business class. Buying a refundable ticket – that too after cancellation fees or penalty – about Rs 20,000 extra has to be paid compared to the lowest fare class,” Kalsi said.

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