Today the Lufthansa Group announced that it would be offering fares that do not include any checked luggage – aka Light fares – on routes from Europe to Asia, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. Previously, these fares were only available on flights to the USA and Canada.
Update 1: Lufthansa has added Asia in its press release, which means that the Light fare will now be rolled out on almost all long-haul routes. Only Central America hasn’t been mentioned yet. But most likely, Lufthansa will add it to their list soon.
Update 2: In fact, a few countries are still excluded from the Light fare. A list can be found in our article.
This change will be effective for all flights with Lufthansa, Swiss, and Austrian Airlines as of October 30th. For trips departing out of ASG (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), the company communicated November 6th as a deadline.
It won’t come as a big surprise that Lufthansa is trying to sell the new fare type as a great and positive innovation and as “the cheapest choice for price-conscious passengers who want to travel with hand luggage only”. But the truth is: passengers who usually travel with checked baggage are now likely to face higher fares.
Airfares to many destinations worldwide are at a new low. Departing from European Airports, the Lufthansa Group regularly offers flights to South America and Africa for less than €400.
Introducing such a Light fare is, therefore, not completely incomprehensible. However, these changes won’t affect super-cheap tickets only. Even a €900 flight to San Diego can be a Light fare. And as a result, travelers will be forced to pay extra if they want to bring more than just a carry-on bag.
Lufthansa recently announced at an investor conference that it intends to increase its ancillary revenue by 2022 significantly. By expanding the Light fare to three more regions, baggage fees should make a significant contribution to this.
These are the Light Fare Routes
The Lufthansa Group has now put the plans into concrete terms. Although the Light fare is being introduced worldwide, there are a few exceptions. Checked luggage is still included on flights operated by Eurowings or Edelweiss.
Flights to the following destinations still include checked luggage:
- Central America
- Costa Rica
- Republic of Equatorial Guinea
- South Korea
After comparing the route networks of Swiss, Austrian, and Lufthansa with the announcement, we identified the following destinations as those that will offer a Light fare without checked baggage in the future:
- North America
- South America
- Middle East
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Hong Kong
Light Fare to North America Since 2018
Since the summer of 2018, the joint venture consisting of the Lufthansa Group, United Airlines, and Air Canada has been offering a Light fare for flights to North America. Although, the fare is not only defined by a lack of a checked baggage allowance. In Basic Economy, for example, United randomly allocates a seat, and it is not possible to change this selection during check-in.
Status Benefits Still Granted
Fortunately, Lufthansa won’t go quite as far as its North American partners – at least not yet. Check-in is possible between 24 and 30 hours before departure. And you can still choose your seat. The usual status advantages, such as priority boarding and lounge access, will also continue to stay in force.
As Lufthansa confirmed to Travel-Dealz, the rule that Star Alliance Gold passengers are able to check-in a 23 kg suitcase free of charge on Light fare flights will continue to be in place. However, this is only officially communicated by Lufthansa and Austrian. If you’re traveling with Swiss, you might need to pay extra in the future.