Due to the demise of Air Berlin, and the fact that many Air Berlin loyalists are ‘stranded’ without their favorite carrier, LH Group has announced that it will continue to send widebody aircraft to Berlin in order to accommodate travelers wishing to travel to and from Berlin. This announcement follows on the heels of Lufthansa’s use of the 744 during certain flights between Frankfurt and Berlin during September.
Lufthansa in their press release feigned surprise at the fact that they’re seeing increased demand from Berlin, but with AB’s shutdown looming what was to be expected? With LH being able to buy a significant chunk of AB’s operations, aircraft, and staff this obviously did not really come as a surprise to anyone.
So with that in mind, here are the changes that are coming for the next few weeks:
From October 23 to October 25 SWISS, Austrian, and Lufthansa will schedule most, if not all flights to be operated by A321 aircraft in order to increase capacity from Berlin to Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, and Vienna.
During this 2 day period, Lufthansa flights not being operated by the A321 will see the A346 operate the flight between October 23 and 25. For it’s part, SWISS will send their A333s to fly between Zurich and Berlin on October 24 and 25. Austrian will run their 767s between Vienna and Berlin on October 24.
Austrian has announced that their first 767 slated for the upgrade to a Premium Economy cabin is now in the shop and the update has begun. At the same time, Austrian has now opened Premium Economy booking for all of their long haul flights scheduled for March 6, 2018 and onward.
The seat is identical to the one found aboard Lufthansa long haul birds except that the seat colors match the Austrian cabin decor.
As with the current product found aboard LH, the Austrian Premium Economy experience will be nearly identical as far as seat pitch, baggage allowance, and dining is concerned:
- Increased seat ‘pitch’ as compare to Economy
- Foot rests
- Amenity Kit
- Fold old tables with dedicated arm-rests
- 12 inch IFE screen
- One standard and one USB power port
- Checked baggage allowance of 2 pieces at 23kg (50 lbs) each
- Enhanced dining options
- Welcome aboard drink
In all, 12 aircraft will be retrofitted between now and March 2018. Once the €15 million retrofit is complete, Austrian will offer a total of 252 Premium Economy seats on their long haul 767 and 777 aircraft.
I suspect during the next few months (until March 2018) while the upgrades are taking place, Economy Class passengers will be offered low-cost or free upgrades to Premium Economy seats. Miles & More Senators & HON Circle members may receive complimentary upgrades as well. This will be take place on a flight by flight basis while the fleet is being upgraded. At least this is what happened while LH was going through the process of upgrading their fleet.
If you haven’t acted yet, you have 2 days left to take advantage of Lufthansa’s fare deals for travel to the USA. The fares cover travel on Lufthansa Group airlines as well as Air Canada and United.
The sale covers Business Class with fares starting as low as €1500 from most Lufthansa / SWISS / Austrian origination cities in Europe. Most of the USA’s east coast can be reached for only €1500-€1600, while the midwest and west coast can be booked for only €1800-€2000.
Canadian destinations have even better pricing with fares to Montreal or Toronto coming in at only €1300.
This fare sale is set to expire on September 6 so there is are 48 hours to take advantage.
The rules and fine print of the deal:
Minimum stay of 7 days is required
Tickets must be booked 60 days prior to departure
Travel must be complete by October 12, 2018
Austrian Airlines announced that it is set to return to two destinations next year.
Beginning with the Summer 2018 schedule, passengers will once again be able to fly Austrian from Vienna to Tokyo, Japan (Narita) and to Cape Town, South Africa. In their comments, Austrian suggests that market dynamics have once again made it lucrative to serve these long haul destinations. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ll be adding another Boeing 777 aircraft to the fleet next spring. At that point they’ll have 6 777 aircraft that can be deployed on their long haul routes.
Flights to Tokyo will begin first with 5 flights per week starting on May 15, 2018. Cape Town will be launched later in the year with 2 flights per week beginning on October 27, 2018.
In ceremonies held during the Paris Airshow at Le Bourget, Lufthansa and Austrian walked away with impressive awards from SKYTRAX, affirming their dominant position in European aviation.
Austrian was awarded ‘Best Airline Staff Service In Europe’ that includes staff and crew both on the ground and in the air. This marks the 4th consecutive year that ‘OS’ has been given that honor. Some might consider this kind of streak a dynasty.
Austrian’s COO Andreas Otto and Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr join in receiving Austrian’s award.
Lufthansa walked onto the stage to accept several awards. The most meaningful being recognized as the ‘Best Airline In Europe’. In addition to this award, Lufthansa also received hardware for being the ‘Best Airline In Western Europe’ and for ‘Best First Class Dining’.
Lufthansa’s Carsten Spohr is on hand to receive LH’s awards……
18 million people from 160 countries took part in the annual Skytrax balloting. SKYTRAX has been rating and awarding Airline performance since 1999.