Lufthansa has added a new destination to the Americas beginning with the Spring timetable for 2018.
Beginning March 29, 2018, Service will begin between Frankfurt and San Jose, Costa Rica. Two flights per week will connect the cities and the route will be flown by Lufthansa’s mainline A340-300. The flights will operate on Thursdays and Saturdays.
The flight details are as follows:
Flight LH518 will depart Frankfurt at 1:45p, arriving in San Jose at 5:55p.
Flight LH519 will depart San Jose at 7:50p, arriving in Frankfurt at 3:10p the following afternoon.
This new route is open for booking via Lufthansa.com.
Due to the ratcheting up of security measures instituted by the TSA at airports worldwide, passengers bound for the USA are being asked to arrive at the airport earlier than normal to account for the extra scrutiny.
Specific to Lufthansa, it is asking passengers flying to the USA from Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and Munich to be at the airport at least an hour prior to their flight if flying in Economy or Premium Economy, and 40 minutes prior if flying in Business or First Class. LH is referring to this as the minimum time needed for ‘Check-In Acceptance’.
It may be a good idea to make sure you check in to your flight before coming to the airport. Easy to do via Lufthansa.com or the LH App. This way you can bypass the check-in process at the airport and head straight to your gate.
According to LH, this additional time requirement is not being instituted at any other airport where Lufthansa Group flights depart for the USA. Their press release also suggests that your small electronic devices may be subject to additional scrutiny before you are allowed to board your flight. That however, is a small price to pay for the ability to at least take your electronics on board.
Minimum connection times at the affected airports will not change.
The release did mention SWISS flights from Zurich, and is asking passengers bound for the USA to show up in ZRH at least 3 hours ahead of departure.
Lufthansa has quietly lowered fares between Dusseldorf and Newark in a direct response to British Airways dumping fares on the route. The only thing with BA is you’d have to transit LHR, which is not exactly ideal if you just want to get from point A to point B.
For travel between November and March you can book DUS – EWR for only $368. You can buy this ticket then bid for an upgrade to Premium Economy and most likely fly roundtrip in Prem Eco for the price of what Economy usually costs on the route.
Since it’s not a fare sale, I don’t know how long this fare will be in place. Other routings from Germany to New York are also priced attractively in the low $400 range for the same travel period (November – March). This fare is available for most days, but your odds increase with Monday-Thursday departures.
Lufthansa has announced that it will make life a bit easier for passengers flying from Munich’s Terminal 2 to a handful of German cities.
For passengers flying to Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, or Dusseldorf, they will be able to bypass the main security screening checkpoints and go to the gate area for the flights where security screening will take place.
Dubbed ‘SmartDepart’, this new screening process is now in place during peak travel times of 6:00a to 8:30a and from 4:00p to 6:30p. In addition to the security ‘shortcut’, the gates for these flights will be located in the central area of Terminal 2, further reducing the amount of time passengers need to take to make their flights. In fact, the aircraft will park at gates closest to the exits of the destination airports as well.
But there is one theoretical restriction to the program. Signage indicates that passengers traveling with ONLY ONE carry on piece of luggage will be allowed to use SmartDepart. But in practice I find it hard to believe that passengers will be penalized if they have a purse or small briefcase in addition to their carry on bag. We’ve come to know that barks have always been worse than bites when it comes to such things.
If you are traveling on one of these flights, look for signage that reads ‘Smart Depart Fast Lane’ inside of T2 in Munich. That will take you to the express security check point.
The service is open to all passengers on these flights regardless of Miles & More status or class of travel.
If I understand LH’s press release correctly, it appears that this program will be expanded to more LH flights starting on October 31.
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