I thought Lufthansa’s decision to operate an A319 from Germany to India and charge ridiculous prices was incredible, but now it has done something outrageous.
A couple weeks ago, when booking a last-minute Lufthansa first class award with Aeroplan, I noticed the fuel surcharge was higher than normal. The routing was LAX-SFO-MUC-MAD. Normally, taxes/fees run about 700-800CAD for a one-way ticket in Lufthansa First Class to Western Europe. But this time, the cost was 962CAD.
I did check other routings, like LAX-FRA-MAD the following day, and saw the rate was in the usual range. Thus, I chalked it up as either a glitch or routing-specific oddity, but did not give it further thought.
But apparently that was just a precursor with what was to come, for Lufthansa has now raised first class fuel surcharges by as much as 89%! The higher fuel surcharges are across the board now. A round-trip ticket from the USA to Europe may now run you over $1300!
When using miles, you can still save money by booking two one-ways instead of a round-trip award.
> Read More: How I Saved $600+ On Aeroplan And STILL Booked Lufthansa
Even so, you’re going to be paying more now on all flights departing North America. Interestingly, flights departing from Europe still have significantly lower fuel surcharges, provided that your itinerary originates in Europe (i.e. not the return of a round-trip originating in North America).
Business class fuel surcharges are up as well, though not as much. Traditionally, business and first class fuel surcharges were identical. Now, first class carries higher fuel surcharges.
You can avoid these fuel surcharges by redeeming with Avianca Lifemiles or United MileagePlus. Due note, however, that saving out-of-pocket expenses may not always be a wise move. Aeroplan charges 70,000 miles for a one-way first class ticket to Western Europe on Lufthansa. United charges 110,000 miles for the same ticket. Perhaps that extra $700 is not worth 40K miles…
It’s true that fuel costs are up generally, but they are not up 89%. Hong Kong has just eliminated a government ban on fuel surcharges, but these sorts of games may lead to more governmental scrutiny.
While I hate the thought of paying more to fly on Lufthansa First Class, the increased fuel surcharges still do not represent a deal breaker for me. Even so, I consider the move outrageous considering that fuel prices have not risen anywhere close to 89%.
Is this increase in fuel surcharge a deal breaker for you?
(H/T One Mile At A Time / image: Lufthansa)
Personally, I find things like fuel surcharges to be nothing more than a total ripoff. After all, fuel is an everyday cost of doing business for an airline. Why have a frequent flyer program at all if you’re going to promote *free* travel and then ladle on fees like this? BA’s Avios rewards to the UK are so absurd (with confiscatory taxes and abhorrent fuel surcharges) that you would be a fool to use Avios on anything to the UK. Taxes are one thing, but charging for fuel is the equivalent of a coffee shop that promotes “buy 9 get 1 free” coffee, only to charge you 40% of the normal price for the water used to brew it. It’s dishonest and it’s BS. And the Europeans are the worst when it comes to this bait and switch.
Agree in principle with the sentiment, would caveat that for last minute TATL flights avios can still represent a hecking good deal, even in economy. especially to/from the west coast
I had a thought yesterday that dovetails with this. How long until the fare-based award programs stop counting surcharges towards fares? For some flights that’s half the miles earned.
“Even so, I consider the move outrageous considering that fuel prices have not risen anywhere close to 89%.”
I guess that depends on when you set your initial price. Of course we’re still well below the ’07 peak, but WTI oil is up 180% since the 2016 cycle low ($26 to $74 per barrel), while Brent is up 200% (from ~$28 to $83). Jet fuel spot rates have increased similarly.
It’s not only Lufthansa. This summer I flew ORD – LHR on a business class award ticket.
Ord -LHR on BA, LHR – ORD on AA.
My “FREE” ticket cost me just under US $900 in taxes and fees.
I know flying through LHR carries the highest taxes and fees…but it’s outrageous,
Basically, you bought yourself an economy ticket and upgraded to business class…
At least it’s not like qantas who charge outrageous fees and incredible amounts of points.
I’d rather fly Swiss business and avoid all the fees or usage of points. Or I’d book through lifemiles. 87,000 Miles and no close in booking fees like United.
Ugh you’ve caught Ben’s incredulous disease. It does not mean what you think it means. And you’re so erudite I’m surprised …