Lufthansa sells premium economy seats to New York on Airbnb
German airline Lufthansa is using Airbnb's platform to promote and sell its premium economy cabin for flights linking Frankfurt to New York. With a heading that reads "Luxury Awaits in the Clouds", Lufthansa's new listing on Airbnb advertises the airline's premium economy seats as if it were a lodging, or, as they put it - a luxury home in the sky.
In a move that aims to put the airline’s premium economy service on par with a homely lodging, Lufthansa has posted a listing on popular peer-to-peer accommodation website, Airbnb. It has done so to sell seats on the airline’s premium economy cabin for flights connecting Frankfurt to New York for an attractive return fare of 699 Euros, plus Airbnb’s fee which came to €75 at the time we conducted our search.
Although dates are limited (flight availability starts on 23rd August when we checked) the biggest limitation (and major drawback) on these exclusive premium seat prices is the fact that you have to fly out to New York one day and come back to Frankfurt the next day as the Airbnb platform only allows you to book a “maximum duration of stay” of one night.
With a heading that reads “Luxury Awaits in the Clouds” Lufthansa’s Airbnb listing is indeed quirky and enticing with featured details including four bathrooms, a bed, a common room, TV, air conditioning and Wi-Fi. In the listing’s description, the introductory sentence aptly reads: “Our cabin is not in the woods, but in the sky!”
To this the company adds that personalised food and beverages at 910 kilometres per hour is included as is multimedia entertainment. The extra juicy €699 price tag per passenger also includes return tickets, but, as we said earlier, comes with limitations and very specific travel dates.
Lufthansa’s AirBnB listing is a significant step for the company, especially for an airline that only less than a year ago added the Distribution Cost Charge to bookings made via the global distribution systems. This latest move by Lufthansa might be part of their announced “degrees of freedom in our sales activities” strategy, which was unveiled by Lufthansa’s commercial director, Jens Bischof. Then again, perhaps it’s just a sign of the company testing out different sales channels.
The fact that this new company initiative comes (apparently) without the help of NDC (the highly-regarded IATA standard for how airlines present fares and content across third-party channels) is also noteworthy. Like other airlines, Lufthansa has previously said that their direct connect solution makes it possible for them to use NDC and last March they revealed they were working with a German tour operator on a NDC-based pilot project.
IATA, on the other hand, announced in May that a total of 90 carriers are expected to be using the standard by the year 2020 after carrying out a consultation with 180 airline members. The remaining half said they were working on how to integrate it.
Going back to Lufthansa’s Airbnb venture, we can add that those getting in touch with Lufthansa through Airbnb’s platform, in order to make the most of their special premium economy cabin promotion, can benefit from a quick response rate of 90% within the same day (at the time of checking).
And Lufthansa is not the first airline to jump at the prospect of using Airnnb, either. Two years ago KLM launched a fun promotion on the platform offering a one-off overnight stay onboard a retiring MD-11 aircraft from its fleet.
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