Swiss launched their late Spring fare sale with attractive pricing to most of their European destinations. By far the best deals are found for flights out of Boston or New York, where $480-$550 can get you to Paris and other ‘Western’ European cities. Fares to the rest of Europe from the East Coast range in the $550-$650 range.
From Chicago, expect to pay about $100 more than the East Coast fares to get to the same destinations. From the West Coast, you can get to Greece, Budapest and other cities for as low $720.
As usual, SWISS is fairly cryptic with the terms and conditions for the fares, and the website is not helpful as far as navigating multiple options without needing to reset the page each time to a certain departure city. What I was able to gather was that the fares are valid for travel between April 7 and June 5, with weekend surcharges if flying on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.
As a reminder, SWISS is still running their Spring Business Class fare sale with prices starting at $2500 from the East Coast to most of Europe. You can find more details here.
During my trip to Munich for the A350 Roll In Event I had a chance to tour the aircraft’s interior and got my first close up of Lufthansa’s new Economy cabin that will be featured on the A350.
The changes are not subtle when compared to the most recent iterations of the typical Lufthansa Economy cabin. The biggest difference that will strike passengers immediately when they board will be the color scheme. Lufthansa has gone to great lengths to improve the ambiance of this 224 seat Economy cabin, featuring new color schemes and lighting technology. Not to mention, the new IFE system provides passengers with fantastic on-board entertainment.
First, let me show you the new interior. As I mentioned above, the color scheme is what draws the most initial attention. You’ll see that Lufthansa intentionally shaded the seats from darker seats along the windows to lighter colored seats in the center of the cabin. This was done to create an optical effect to help the cabin appear larger than it is. You’ll notice that in these shots:
You’ll notice the change of tint from the darker seat along the window, to the very light colored seat in center of the middle section. This was designed intentionally to give the cabin a sense of width and roominess.
The darker outer seats……
Perhaps the biggest improvement that comes with the A350 is the IFE system that the Economy class cabin will enjoy. Based on the Panasonic EX3 system, passengers will now be treated to the largest display ever to be installed on a Lufthansa Economy class seat. With this new system, passengers will be able to access upwards of 100 Movies, 200 TV shows and hundreds of Music and other entertainment options (games, reference, etc).
As I wrote in this post, this new IFE system will also allow passengers to pre-plan their viewing menu by using an App on their smart device. The ‘Lufthansa Companion App’ allows you to see your flight’s IFE menu up to 6 weeks ahead of your flight and you’ll be able to build your favorites list via the app. Then once on board, you’ll sync your device to your seat-back display and watch the things you wanted to see. With the new IFE system, you’ll also be able to stream the content directly to your smart device as well. Another first for Lufthansa.
Bigger, Better, Faster…..Lufthansa’s new IFE system aboard the A350.
One final special feature found aboard the A350 that will apply all 3 seating options (Economy, Premium Economy, Business) will be the use of special ambient cabin lighting. With this, cabin crew will be able to adjust cabin lighting from a menu of 24 different options. Each geared towards a specific on-board event or time of day.
For example, a ‘Boarding mode’ will feature natural tones of lights along with blue and yellow hints to suggest Lufthansa’s corporate colors. For takeoff, the mode would be set to reduce the brightness of the lights and create a neutral lighting environment. Another example would be the ‘Dining’ mode where passengers would be reminded of what lighting would be like in a restaurant. Sleeping mode would off course darken the cabin, but leave accent lighting on. Wake mode would have a gradual increase in cabin lighting, simulating a gentle sunrise so that passengers can awake naturally instead of being startled by a sharp change in cabin lighting.
From my time aboard the A350, I came away impressed with the strides that Lufthansa has made in making Economy class better. In my opinion, the new IFE system is what makes this Economy cabin so much better than other LH versions. Having a large screen with a retina quality display will help the hours fly by during a flight. We all know that a long haul flight in Economy can bring with it a certain level of stress. However, with the new features that LH has introduced to help passengers, it should make even the longest flights enjoyable.
Related: The Lady in ‘Blau’
Lufthansa launched a fare sale today that offers about the lowest prices that you’ll find between their US gateways and Europe. The fare sale lasts until midnight, Novmember 16.
The best fare for this promo is a $450 ticket thats available between Washington DC and Stockholm, Sweden. Denver – Amsterdam comes in at a close second for only $480. From the west coast the best deal appears to be Los Angeles to Prague for only $829.
Most fares between the US and Europe for this sale fall between $700 (East Coast / Mid-West) and $1100 (West Coast).
The fare sale covers departures taking place between November 18 and December 13, while return travel can take place all the way out to June 13, 2017. The only other restrictions include a Saturday night stay and 3 day advance purchase requirement.
United announced a new ‘enhancement’ that takes it one step closer to turning Economy class into something akin to what a Low Cost Carrier would offer, or worse.
In their announcement, they are now going to restrict certain low-level Economy fare buckets to only allow one piece of carry-on luggage which has to fit under the seat in front of you. In addition, seats will not be assigned until check-in and it is even possible that passengers traveling together on the same itinerary will not even be able to choose seats next to one another. ‘United Friendly’ right?
Also, this new fare class will have to refund or rebooking options. If you don’t fly on that ticket, you’re out the amount that you spent. According to UA, these fares will also not be eligible for upgrades no matter what your elite level may be.
On top of all this, these ‘low class’ Economy fare buckets will not be eligible to earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM). How’s that for being ‘Friendly’? AND you’ll get to automatically board with Group 5, meaning you will be the last person on the plane. More insult to injury.
Why not just charge for water while you’re at it, United?
Is this next?
United suggests that this will add approximately $5 billion to their bottom line annually by 2020. I guess someone has to pay for the Polaris product that is coming next month. So let the back of the plane subsidize the front! 🙂
It’s an obvious cash grab since in my mind I have no doubt that the other Economy Fare classes will have substantial price increases to exploit the passengers wishing to avoid this enhancement. I can also see Advance Seat Reservation (ASR) fees going up. Instead of $19 for an ASR or upgrade to Premium Economy from GRR to ORD, maybe it moves to $50. Good times.
From a passenger point of view, I can only see this as a disaster. Especially once on board the aircraft.
For example, lets say 25% of the Economy cabin is booked in this new ‘Sheeple’ class, where passengers can only bring aboard one bag that HAS TO fit under the seat in front of them. This will theoretically create quite a bit of over head bin space. What’s to stop someone in this fare class from putting their bag into the overhead since it’s empty anyway? Are the flight attendants who already don’t care about passenger well-being going to police the cabin during the flight and use the passenger manifest to enforce whose bag goes up top, or whose goes under the seat? C’mon.
On the optimistic side of things, United has done a piss poor job in enforcing previous passenger enhancements. Remember when your bag had to fit into the sizer next to the gate? Yep, fail. In 2 years and dozens of flights, I still see Hockey Bags, Backpacks destined for Everest, and babies still board aircraft! 🙂
This may very well fall under the heading of all bark and no bite since getting their crew to enforce these measures will be the hardest part as far as policy enforcement is concerned.
Lufthansa’s current fare sale brings prices down to historical lows for certain routes, especially from the East Coast and Mid-West gateways.
The best fare is New York – Frankfurt that can book booked for as low as $625.00. Chicago – Stuttgart isn’t too bad at $749.00. Otherwise most east coast fares, especially from the Northeast gateways range between $800 and $900, while the Southeastern gateways run from $950 to 1200, making them less attractive, especially since most fares from the West Coast range between $1100 and $1300.
This sale has an extended timeframe and runs until September 15.
Departures must take place between September 13 and October 29.
Returns must take place between September 13 and April 29.
Tickets must be purchased 21 days ahead of departure date.
Weekend surcharge of $60 may be applied if traveling between Thursday and Sunday.