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.
Lufthansa has launched a Premium Economy sale for early summer travel for flights departing Germany.
Delhi and Dubai lead the way with Prem-Eco fares as low as €820. Most of Lufthansa’s US and Canadian destinations can be booked between €1000 and €1300, however New York can be booked for about €850 .
Beijing, Tokyo, and most of Asia is also attractive with fares ranging between €1100 and €1300.
African destinations can be reached for as little as €800 for Nairobi, €1200 for Johannesburg, or €1400 for Capetown. South American fares range between €1200 and €1500.
The fares are valid for travel between now and June 30, 2017.
Lufthansa is running a deal until midnight tomorrow that allows you to book a Premium Economy seat from Munich or Frankfurt to New York (JFK or EWR) for approximately €650.
Unfortunately the deal does not work ex-NYC but Prem Eco fares are only $1200-1300 from this side of the pond for the same travel period.
The deal has a narrow travel window. Travel must take place between January 30 and March 31, 2017 and a Saturday night stay is required.
AUSTRIAN announced several major initiatives under yet another new plan, this time referred to as ‘Next Level Austrian’……
Beginning with the Summer 2018 timetable, Austrian will offer Premium Economy seating aboard their 777 and 767 long-haul aircraft. The retrofits will begin in the Winter of 2017 and should be completed by the end of Summer 2018. The seats will be similar to what we already see in Lufthansa’s Premium Economy. With the new seat will come improved leg room, better recline angles, and enhanced dining as compared to Economy. The 767 will have 18 Premium Economy seats installed and the 777 will have 24 Premium Economy Seats on board.
This comes at the expense of both Business and Economy seats: To make room for the Premium Economy cabin, Business and Economy class will both have a reduction in the number of overall seats. According to Austrian, the pricing will fall in between Economy and Business fares. I expect this to be very much like the Lufthansa Premium Economy product which has been very successful for the airline.
As part of the same announcement, OS has also indicated that their aircraft will begin an upgrade process that will see the installation of WiFi throughout the entire fleet. The first aircraft will be have Wifi available for passengers by mid-December of this year and the entire fleet will have connectivity by Summer 2017.
With the broadband system, passengers will be able to use their smart devices for any internet-based purpose including live streaming, email, etc. Per the existing policy using the service for phone calls will still not be allowed. Pricing is yet to be determined.
Lufthansa’s current ‘Y+’ sale wraps up in about a week, and in the mean time there are some deals that come close to what regular economy class tickets would cost during peak summer travel.
The sale to Europe covers most of the summer travel period and has fares starting as low as $1550 for New York – Milan and goes up into the mid-$1900 range for East Coast and Midwest departures. West Coast fares start in the low $2000 neighborhood. Compared to Economy fares during this ‘summer peak’ book period, the Premium Economy fares are only $400-600 more and you certainly get a good value for that premium, including better seats, additional free ‘check-in luggage’, and more miles for your frequent flyer account in most cases when compared to Economy.
At the same time, Lufthansa is running specials to Africa where you can get from the USA to Northern Africa for less than $1000 in Economy. But this fare sale covers departures for mid to late May only.
For the Premium Economy sale to Europe, the sale ends on May 17 and covers departures taking place between May 22 and August 22. Return travel must take place between June 5 and November 22. Weekend surcharges may apply for Thursday-Sunday departure or returns.