Another swipe at the GDS channel with Lufthansa’s latest fee

Another swipe at the GDS channel with Lufthansa’s latest fee

TORONTO — Starting June 13 passengers flying Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Swiss will pay a higher fee for their first bag, plus that fee will also be subject to a surcharge if booked through the GDS via Sabre, Amadeus or Travelport (Worldspan/Galileo).

According to industry reports first bag fees will increase from £12 (Cdn$21) up to £21 (Cdn$37). For first bags paid for through GDSs, Lufthansa is levying an additional £4 charge, for a total of £25 (Cdn$44).

So far the extra fee applies to Economy Light fares, a fare class typically booked for the airline group’s flights within Europe.

Lufthansa says the move is a “further step towards a personalized and differentiated offer within airline distribution”.

The Lufthansa Group implemented a 16 euro surcharge on GDS bookings in 2015, a move that was widely criticized by travel agent groups. Two months after Lufthansa’s surcharge came into effect, some 42% of business travel agencies said they had cut back on booking the Lufthansa Group.

In the intervening months Lufthansa has hammered out direct booking arrangements with industry players including major travel agency chains.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has said he would be “very surprised” if other airlines don’t bring in GDS surcharges of their own. Last month British Airways parent IAG announced that British Airways and Iberia bookings made through indirect channels including GDSs would be hit with a £8 (Cdn$14) surcharge effective Nov. 1.