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Another Major Airline Introduces Basic Economy Fares

Another Major Airline Introduces Basic Economy Fares
Joe Cortez

Budget-conscious travelers now have a new option aboard Lufthansa for international travel. The airline will soon roll-out “Economy Light” fares across their network, a version of basic economy offering lower fares in exchange for flying with only carry-on luggage.

Flyers who don’t mind traveling light will soon be able to take advantage of low-cost fares across the entire Lufthansa network. First reported by the blog Economy Class and Beyond, the German carrier will soon roll out their “Economy Light” product across their network. The fares will soon be available on flights to and from the United States, as well as flights to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia and South America.

“Just Grab Your Hat, We’ll Travel Light; That’s Economy Light Style.”

The discounted fares were originally offered on intra-Europe routes, then expanded to flights between Europe and North America. For the lower price, flyers can carry on one bag weighing up to 17.6 pounds. Snacks and beverages are still provided and flyers can earn miles from the flight.

Like most other “basic economy” packages, flyers can’t select their seats during the booking process. Instead, “Economy Light” flyers can only select seats at check-in, based on availability. Flyers can select an upgraded seat with more legroom for a price while checking one bag up to 50 pounds will cost an additional $60 each way.

“All That Glitters Is Not Star Alliance Gold.”

Although the flights earn miles towards free flights and elite status, FlyerTalkers soon found out that their Star Alliance Gold benefits do not necessarily apply to the flights. The Star Alliance website notes that the extra baggage allowance is not granted to “Economy Light” flyers, and FlyerTalkers experienced the changes as soon as the fares became available.

“The standard [Star Alliance] allowance of an extra bag for status customers has been dropped,” noted FlyerTalker johnirvine back in 2015, when the fares were introduced in Europe. “This means that any [Star Alliance] cardholders booking ´light` fares will only be able to travel with hand baggage like any other passenger.”

Another quirk of the fares is that all luggage–even carry-on bags–are weighed at check-in. FlyerTalker oonchie reported on their flight from San Francisco to Rome aboard Lufthansa-owned carrier Swiss International Air Lines and back on Lufthansa, they had a strict 17.6-pound weight limit.

“At both [San Francisco] and [Rome], the check in counter wanted to weigh each of my carry-on luggage for weight (8kg),” the forum member wrote. “[They] put it on the scale so they can weigh each one, with mentioning of charging if overweight.”

While the fares may be cheap, it comes with plenty of restrictions. Before you book an “Economy Light” fare, it may be in your best interest to check other flyer’s experiences on the FlyerTalk forums.

View Comments (5)


  1. FlyingNone

    October 30, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    8 kg for carryon ?…..thats about 17.6 lbs. Many people (myself included) can easily have a carryon for even a week’s worth of travel but they would be hard-pressed to keep it at or below 17 lbs……so, I imagine LH will force people to check any bag over that weight ?

  2. htb

    October 30, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    These are not discounted fares. After a little while these fares cost the same as low fares previously, but without baggage allowance and other perks.

  3. largeeyes

    October 31, 2019 at 1:19 am

    Trying to compete with Ryanair, Easyjet and Norweigan Air.

  4. irishguy28

    October 31, 2019 at 2:46 am

    ” First reported by the blog Economy Class and Beyond, ”

    Strange, then, that Lufthansa had published the news on their own website 2 days prior to the purported first report!–hand-luggage-only/s/8be6c576-ca66-4777-aea6-06fc4c21d972

  5. Long Zhiren

    October 31, 2019 at 11:06 am

    “8 kg for carryon ?…..thats about 17.6 lbs”
    It makes sense for safety. It may reign in folks whose carry-on’s are so heavy that they themselves can barely put the things in the overheads, instead dropping them on other passengers, or requiring flight attendants to hurt themselves shuffling them. In the US bio-tech industry, there are ergonomic regulations whenever something is over 15 lbs. Perhaps 15 lbs is a down-rounded approximation of 8 kg.
    Under seat storage seems to be becoming a thing of the past, as more and more power equipment, etc is under the seats now.

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