Last updated: 03:30 PM ET, Fri October 23 2015

How Bad is The Backlash Against Lufthansa's Surcharge?

Business Travel | Rich Thomaselli | October 23, 2015

How Bad is The Backlash Against Lufthansa's Surcharge?

Lufthansa Group certainly expected backlash when it instituted its new policy seven weeks ago to put a surcharge of 16 euros on any ticket not purchased on its websites, service centers and airport ticket counters.

Now it has some not-so-friendly numbers to work with.

According to a new survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and its European partner network, 42 percent of travel buyers say they have decreased their bookings with Lufthansa since the surcharge went into effect on Sept. 1.

“We believe that the booking surcharge strategy has effectively backfired,” Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Of most concern to Lufthansa should be that 93 percent of those surveyed are currently not considering the option to book directly on Lufthansa’s site and 39 percent are actually seeking out alternative carriers rather than book their clients on Lufthansa.

Only two percent of travel buyers surveyed said that they would book directly with Lufthansa to avoid the fee.

“The resulting actions demonstrate the high value that travel buyers place in the existing distribution network,” McCormick said. “The efforts by Lufthansa to fragment the distribution system by artificially adding cost is not working.”

GBTA believes that the surcharge 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 also other airlines in the industry.

GBTA’s survey of global traveler buyers was conducted online between Oct.14 and 19. In total 434 travel buyers representing an estimated $44 billion in global buying power participated in the survey.


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