Travel buyers take flight from Lufthansa in the wake of booking fee

10 September 2015

Half of travel managers said they intend to cut spending with Lufthansa because of a new booking surcharge.

The €16 (£12) per booking surcharge applies to tickets not bought on Lufthansa websites, its service centres or airport ticket counters, and came into effect on 1 September. In addition to Lufthansa, the group includes Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss.

In a poll of members of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), 50 per cent of travel managers who include Lufthansa in their travel programme as a preferred carrier, plan to decrease spending with the airline as a result of the fee.

In addition, 51 per cent of respondents polled before the introduction of the charge said they definitely or probably would not use Lufthansa as a preferred carrier if the group implemented the fee.

GBTA said the strategy would negatively impact corporate travel programmes. “It is a direct price increase to managed travel programs with no corresponding benefit. It could also ultimately lead to decreased price transparency if carried out by not only Lufthansa, but other airlines in the industry,” the organisation said.

Announcing the charge in June, Jens Bischof, chief commercial officer of Lufthansa, said: “Until now, the percentage of revenue generated from the sale of flight tickets by our airlines has continuously decreased. While other service and system partners in the value chain are recording increasing margins and returns, our airline’s earnings have been compromised over time, even though they are the actual providers of flight services. We want to counteract this trend by refocusing our commercial strategy.”

GBTA has more than 7,000 members who manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditure annually.

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