I thought Lufthansa’s decision to operate an A319 from Germany to India and charge ridiculous prices was incredible, but now it has done something outrageous.
A couple weeks ago, when booking a last-minute Lufthansa first class award with Aeroplan, I noticed the fuel surcharge was higher than normal. The routing was LAX-SFO-MUC-MAD. Normally, taxes/fees run about 700-800CAD for a one-way ticket in Lufthansa First Class to Western Europe. But this time, the cost was 962CAD.
I did check other routings, like LAX-FRA-MAD the following day, and saw the rate was in the usual range. Thus, I chalked it up as either a glitch or routing-specific oddity, but did not give it further thought.
But apparently that was just a precursor with what was to come, for Lufthansa has now raised first class fuel surcharges by as much as 89%! The higher fuel surcharges are across the board now. A round-trip ticket from the USA to Europe may now run you over $1300!
When using miles, you can still save money by booking two one-ways instead of a round-trip award.
Even so, you’re going to be paying more now on all flights departing North America. Interestingly, flights departing from Europe still have significantly lower fuel surcharges, provided that your itinerary originates in Europe (i.e. not the return of a round-trip originating in North America).
Business class fuel surcharges are up as well, though not as much. Traditionally, business and first class fuel surcharges were identical. Now, first class carries higher fuel surcharges.
You can avoid these fuel surcharges by redeeming with Avianca Lifemiles or United MileagePlus. Due note, however, that saving out-of-pocket expenses may not always be a wise move. Aeroplan charges 70,000 miles for a one-way first class ticket to Western Europe on Lufthansa. United charges 110,000 miles for the same ticket. Perhaps that extra $700 is not worth 40K miles…
It’s true that fuel costs are up generally, but they are not up 89%. Hong Kong has just eliminated a government ban on fuel surcharges, but these sorts of games may lead to more governmental scrutiny.
While I hate the thought of paying more to fly on Lufthansa First Class, the increased fuel surcharges still do not represent a deal breaker for me. Even so, I consider the move outrageous considering that fuel prices have not risen anywhere close to 89%.
Is this increase in fuel surcharge a deal breaker for you?
(H/T One Mile At A Time / image: Lufthansa)