Lufthansa will charge for seat selection on Economy Light tickets

In an effort to increase revenue, Lufthansa has introduced a “change fee” for passengers wishing to change their seat assignment. Those traveling in Economy Light, the base fare, will now be randomly assigned a seat and will have to pay to change that. It’s the same system as Ryanair and other low-cost European airlines, but with much higher seat charges.

A step down for travelers

First spotted by One Mile At A Time, Lufthansa has a new seating policy that brings it much closer to its budget rivals. From June 21, the German carrier will charge a €25/$35 fee to anyone wishing to change seats to Economy Light. Currently, seat selection is free at check-in, 23 hours before the flight, and chargeable at any time before that.

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However, from Wednesday, Lufthansa will randomly assign you a seat during check-in, potentially leaving you in a middle seat on a short, medium or even long-haul flight. The €50/$70 “change” fee on return flights could be a huge factor for those choosing between full-service Lufthansa and low-cost airlines on shorter flights.

Light economy is available on routes within the Lufthansa network, with some exclusions for longer flights. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Single flight.

Notably, while Lufthansa has adopted the tactics of its competitors, the fees are considerably higher. For example, seat prices on Ryanair cost as little as €3 ($3.2) and go up to €14 ($15) for extra legroom options. At €25/$35, Lufthansa’s prices are sky-high on a short haul across Europe and can only be sustained for long-haul service.


What else do you get?

In fact, the differences between low-cost and full-service airlines keep getting smaller every day. Today, Lufthansa’s greatest short-haul advantage remains that it flies to and from Europe’s largest airports, which generally offer better connectivity and amenities. While frequent flyers and status miles are also useful, Economy Light fares generally only attract a percentage of usual revenue.

Lufthansa specifies that it includes a hand luggage of 8 kg and snacks with its tariff, two paying offers in the low-cost companies. However, given the usual fare difference between these airlines, passengers may be advised how logical it is to fly with a seat fee of €25/$35 each way and no possibility of refund or of change.

Economy class on Lufthansa is a bit more comfortable thanks to better seats. Photo: Lufthansa

However, the dynamic changes in medium or long-haul flights, where the importance of cushioned seats and hot meals is much more important. Even then, paying for each seat and each bag can make other airlines more attractive.

Facing the pressures

While Lufthansa uses the phrase “of course” while explaining the policy, the real reason behind the policy is obviously to increase revenue. Given the difficult two years it has had, the carrier now wants to take advantage of returning passengers and maximize the ancillary products it sells. Unfortunately for passengers, it seems the only thing to do is think carefully about which flight to take and prepare for a middle seat.

What do you think of Lufthansa’s new seating policy? Let us know in the comments!

Source: One Mile at a Time


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