Germanwings today announced the changes that will take place throughout 2013 that will rebrand Lufthansa’s “Low Cost Carrier (LCC)”.

Effective 1 January, Lufthansa’s European and most intra-Germany (Except for flights to and from Munich and Frankfurt) will be operated by germanwings.

Beginning 1 July, germanwings will be officially launched as the sole “LCC” within the Lufthansa Group. At that time, all the product enhancements will also take effect which includes changes to Fare Options (see chart below) and an updated logo.

A brief video showing off the new look:

For passengers, the biggest change will be the 3 fare structures. Beginning 1 July, passengers will have a choice of 3 fare options, each with different features and benefits. This chart clearly identifies the similarities and differences between the 3 options:

As you can see, the Basic-Fare will be the lowest cost fare class with options to purchase premium seating and refreshments. Passengers will also pay to check luggage. Fares will be non-refundable but will be eligible to earn either Miles&More miles or Boomerang Club miles (at reduced rates).

The Smart-Fare will be the standard germanwings fare class who’s benefits will include additional leg room for your seat, complimentary refreshments and free checked luggage (subject to limitations on quantity and weight).

The Best-Fare will be germanwings’ premium fare class that involves several great amenities including an empty middle seat, lounge access, reserved space for carry-on luggage, fast-lane security, lounge access, priority boarding and bonus miles.

Looking at the chart, it’s also made clear that Miles & More Senator and HON level members will have access to lounges even when flying with a Basic or Smart fare ticket. That should come as a relief to those concerned with that issue.

Germanwings has provided the follow Q&A to help answer our initial questions:

According to the press release, germanwings plans to continue offering it’s €33 fare basis for a one way ticket which I suspect will fall into the Basic-Fare category.

At first glance, it seems that germanwings has done a really nice job by providing several layers of benefits for passengers based on the fare class that is chosen. I especially like the fact that passengers will have the option to earn bonus miles and have lounge access when booking “Best-Fare” tickets. Another good benefit is that the booking of these tickets will integrate with Lufthansa so there will not be a need to book these tickets separately when you have other Lufthansa flights on the same itinerary. This means that you’ll be able to select your seats in advance as well.

To learn more about these changes including route details and more information on the streamlining of germanwings, please visit this presentation from germanwings and Lufthansa. Please note that this presentation is in German.

If you have any questions regarding the “new” germanwings, please forward them to me, and I’ll get the answers from germanwings!