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 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.
Lufthansa has begun to tweak their operations for Spring/Summer 2018. Typically the changes in aircraft that fly certain routes are as a result of seasonal demand on a route, scheduled maintenance, or aircraft retirement.
Thus far, Lufthansa has made changes on 10 of their routes that will see different aircraft fly he routes for at least the Spring and Summer next year.
Frankfurt – Beijing: Beginning on March 25, an Airbus A346 will take over for the 747-8i / A380 that currently fly the route.
Frankfurt – Hong Kong: Beginning on March 25, an Airbus A346 will take over from the A380 that currently flies the route. Specifically, the last A380 flight to Hong Kong will take place on October 27, and between October 27 and March 25 the 747-8i will be deployed on the route until March 25.
Frankfurt – Los Angeles: Beginning on March 25, an Airbus A346 will replace the A380 on flights LH456 and LH457. The 747-8i will continue to fly flights LH450 and LH451.
Frankfurt – San Diego: Beginning on March 25 an A343 will be deployed on the new route that begins on that day.
Frankfurt – Seoul: Beginning on March 25 the A346 will take over for the 744 and A380 that currently are scheduled on the route.
Munich – Beijing: Beginning on March 25 the A380 will take over for the Airbus A346.
Munich – Hong Kong: Beginning on March 25 the Airbus A380 will take over for the Airbus A346.
Munich – Los Angeles: Beginning on March 25 the A380 will replace the A346 on the route.
Munich – Singapore: Beginning March 27, the new (resumption of service) route will be served by an Airbus A350.
Over the last few days, German media has been reporting a new concept being considered by Lufthansa to further enhance cost savings when it comes to flight operations out of the hubs in Europe.
Lufthansa’s Harry Hohmeister has unveiled plans that will create a potentially new ‘Flexible Routing’ fare that will allow Lufthansa to change already issued tickets for passengers willing to be more flexible in their trip routing.
The reasoning behind this concept will allow Lufthansa to self-direct passenger flow through hubs based on demand and pricing. For example, Frankfurt Airport charges Lufthansa up to 20% more for handling long haul LH flights and passengers than Munich, Zurich, or Vienna charge. Having passengers reroute through lower cost hubs obviously would net a positive impact on LH’s bottom line. In their planning, LH would be able to determine in advance if other hubs and flights have capacity to handle last minute changes. If not, the flex fare passenger would fly their original ticket.
An example could look like:
A passenger books a flight from Chicago to Berlin. The original booking would have the passenger transit through Frankfurt enroute to Berlin. Under a flex routing fare, Lufthansa could re-ticket the passenger a few days before the flight to have them fly Chicago – Munich – Berlin, Chicago – Vienna – Berlin, or Chicago – Zurich – Berlin and thus avoid the extra costs associated with routing a passenger through the more pricey Frankfurt.
Passengers flying under a flex routing fare would be informed days or weeks ahead of their trip, letting them know if their original routing has changed.
Please understand that only a ‘flex routing’ fare class would subject a passenger to a last minute rerouting. Passengers flying on traditional fare classes would not be subject to these kind of changes.
Lufthansa has already sent a ‘shot across the bow’ to Frankfurt by announcing a transfer of 5 A380 aircraft to Munich, thus already reducing capacity at Frankfurt and potentially preparing for the roll out of the new flex-routing fares and increasing capacity in Munich.
In his comments, Hohmeister indicated that passengers agreeing to a flex routing fare would be well rewarded for their willingness to be flexible.
Plans are in place to unveil the new program for Lufthansa and Austrian operated flights at the beginning of 2018.
Earlier this morning, LUFTHANSA released a series of announcements including the launch of a new USA destination, the introduction of A380 aircraft to Munich, a return to Singapore and more flights to Chicago!
First, Lufthansa has announced that it will begin flying between Frankfurt and San Diego in 2018. Though no specifics were announced, they did indicate that the flight will be operated 5 times a week. I suspect that the flights will begin sometime in the March-April timeframe.
Next, LH also announced that 5 A380 aircraft will be transferred from Frankfurt to their new home in Munich and will serve ultra-long haul destinations such as Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Beijing. This will take place in time for the Summer 2018 timetable.
Additionally, LH indicated that it will once again offer service between Munich and Singapore beginning with the Summer 2018 schedule. Initial plans indicated that the flight will operate 5 times a week.
And lastly, Lufthansa has announced that it will increase service between Munich and Chicago. Currently, LH flies to ORD 7 times a week, with the new announcement, there will be 10 flights per week beginning with the Summer 2018 schedule.