Have you ever dreamed about traveling in economy class and still arriving at your destination fresh and relaxed, just like the passengers in the front rows? Well, this dream might just come true. Lufthansa seems to be planning and testing significant changes to their current economy class product. The most sensational one must be a sleeping couch, similar to what some of you might know from Air New Zeeland. But also other perks such as priority baggage handling, premium cushions or access to the frequent traveler lounge for passengers in economy class could be on the list of extras one can purchase. At least that is what Lufthansa’s management seems to be thinking about.
Everything mentioned here is rumors that we deviated from a customer survey that our colleague Adrian from Travel-Dealz.de was asked to fill out by Lufthansa. So it is not actually a guarantee that those services will be introduced. But maybe a hint of what could be implemented in the future. Unfortunately, we can only show you screenshots in the German language. Please excuse any inconvenience this might cause.
Lured with the chance to win a trip to the USA in Premium Economy, Adrian accepted to fill out the questionnaire. But instead of asking about experiences with his latest flight, Lufthansa wanted to know what travelers think about a new fare concept and a potentially new booking system.
And the list of extra that the carrier allowed testers to accept is long and exciting:
- Seat configuration
Next to the current standard seat, the test mode offered seats with extra legroom (+8 cm), like United Airlines and other carriers have already implemented them. Also, the free seat next to you, known from European business class, was an option. The fanciest innovation is a sleeping couch that was promoted as “ideal for couples or people traveling with children”.
We have no idea if the pricing in this test survey is anywhere near what Lufthansa is planning on charging, should the product get to market. But prices around €30 for extra legroom should be a no-brainer while €530 for a sleeping couch might be a touch too much for many travelers.
- New fare packages
While most airlines introduced the (unpopular) “Basic” or “Light” fares in economy class over the past months, Lufthansa seems to be thinking about making a u-turn here.
The new concept still seems to include the fare without checked luggage (now called Base+). But you could also choose from two other options, Classic+ and Comfort+. While one could consist of free WiFi onboard and complimentary seat selection, the most expensive one gets you checked bags, priority boarding, fast lane at security as well as lounge access.
Especially the Comfort+ fare sounds pretty much like business class. At least until you actually board the aircraft. And surcharges of up to €130 (again – this is only what it would have cost for the test booking) sound very reasonable.
- Other extras
Adrian, our test person, was able to select most perks without a package as well. And here are a few examples of what he would have had to pay if it was a real booking:
- Priority luggage handling – €8
- WiFi onboard – €17
- Amenity kit – €20
- Lounge access – €35
- Priority Boarding – €8
Ancillary Revenues on the rise
While the new concept revealed might just be a market research procedure, some hints make us believe that what Lufthansa is testing on selected passengers could be closer to reality as some might think. In the course of the 2019 Capital Markets Day, Lufthansa presented some measures to become more profitable. The PDF sheet that has been published gives an outlook o the increase of ancillary revenues and show examples of how this can be achieved:
One option is the New variety of seat options. This could include arrangements such as forcing customers to pay for the “throne” seat in business class. But it might also mean that an economy+ product or the sleeping couch is on the way.
There is also talk about an “Efficiency Package” that could be sold to business travelers. More flexibility, seat reservations, and priority services seem to be feasible fare options for the future. Not that big of a step until we arrive at the options mentioned above.
Sure, there is no hard evidence that really backs up the rumors about a sleeping couch or lounge access for economy class passengers. But some hints are out there. And since prices for flights, especially to North America, have been in free fall for quite a while now, it only seems logical that airlines are looking for ways to make more money again.
And if this results in more options for uns travelers – who would not appreciate these steps. In the end, it will all come down to pricing. If Lufthansa implements these service and extra and charges a moderate amount of money, it sure is a great idea and something we can look forward to.
Cover Picture: © Lufthansa