Light low fares vanish

BANGKOK, 13 December 2019: Lufthansa Group Airlines says it is selling discounted fares from Thailand to destinations in  Europe effective 12 December.

But it doesn’t give examples in its publicity to tease us into checking out the websites of the three airlines that make up the group.

Tagged an “Economy Light Fare” the deal is available on intercontinental routes operated by Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS.

The Economy Light Fare is supposed to suit price-conscious passengers who are prepared to travel with just hand luggage with fixed travel dates.

If they want to book luggage for the flights, they will have to pay an additional sector fee. However, meals and beverages are included in the fare. Other rules and conditions apply.

The new tariff can be booked through the websites of the three airlines as well as Lufthansa Group’s sales partners that have access to the fares through a direct interface (Direct NDC API).

However, when we followed the link to the Lufthansa website as stated in the press statement, the “Economy Light Fare” wasn’t jumping off the page with flashing icons. The lowest fare category clearly identified was the Economy Flex fare, and when we checked out a roundtrip fare to Munich, the cheapest fare started at THB49,515, certainly not a fare to shout from the rooftops.

Lufthansa Group airlines will have to do better to make their “Economy Light Fare” visible to travellers who want to book direct and travel with seven kg of carry-on luggage. Usually, travellers heading for Europe at this time of the year are baggage heavy.

It gets worse. We checked with the popular fare comparison site Skyscanner where a Lufthansa economy flex fare for a roundtrip to Munich started at THB21,304. Skyscanner transferred us to the official Lufthansa website where we had the option to sign off on the deal and pay THB22,185 for an all-inclusive fare that came with 23 kg of checked-in luggage.  Kind of makes a mockery of flying light?

Lufthansa and Thai Airways International, both Star Alliance airlines, compete aggressively on the Bangkok-Munich route, but invariably Lufthansa betters the Thai airline. Skyscanner quotes the best roundtrip fare to Munch on THAI this month at THB29,430, definitely a non-starter.