Lufthansa hits GDS bookings with fee increase on bags

Lufthansa is taking another approach to putting the squeeze on passengers who choose to book through Global Distribution Systems.

The group – covering Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian – has an existing policy of not allowing free baggage on so-called Lite fares on domestic flights or on international routes in Europe, charging a £12 fee for the first bag being placed onboard.

From 13 June this year, each of the carriers will increase the fee on international flights to £21 for the first bag.

But as a part of the Lufthansa Group’s drive to create “differentiation” between its own direct-booking ecosystem and that of the existing process, via GDSs, passengers who purchase the first bag through Sabre, Amadeus or Travelport will face an additional £4 surcharge, bringing the fee up to £25.

An official says:

“Lufthansa Group is continuing to place differentiated offers in dedicated distribution channels.

“These offers are available via all LHG Direct Connect Travel Agents, via the LHG websites (,, as well as via

“The differentiation is a further step towards a personalised and differentiated offer within airline distribution.”

The extra surcharge on the bag fee for GDS bookings comes almost two years to the day since the group announced its intention to charge passengers a fee for any booking made through the GDSs.

No other brand had followed suit until last month, when two of the carriers in the International Airlines Group (British Airways, Iberia) said from November 2017 they will charge £8 on top of any booking that was not made through an NDC-enabled connection.

NB: Lufthansa image via Pixabay.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Duncan Barraclough

    Many passengers are unaware that they are actually ‘choosing’ to book through a GDS connection. They book with an OTA, a TMC or a travel agency, it’s largely those in the industry that discern the nuances of booking channel. Many point to point flights are without hold bags anyway, and longer-haul business/corporate travellers booked via TMCs will just have this cost absorbed into their generally accepted service fee, so it won’t make much difference. It may well punish the mid-long haul leisure traveller, however on longer itineraries an essentially £4 increase won’t make a large difference on a higher basket value booking.

  2. Martin Cowley

    100pct correct Joachim. Is there really no end to this stupidity? It will soon cost more for the bag to travel than the passenger- if it doesn’t already! If this is what is meant by a ‘personalised offer’ then they can keep it. I’ll stick with the old fashioned impersonal ‘bundle!’

  3. Joachim

    “The differentiation is a further step towards a personalised and differentiated offer”? Seling different classes of service per channel, to get more miles for example for same itinerary/fare, makes sense, but unless I’m idiot, a bag is a bag, and buying it through or via a GDS won’t change the service you get…
    Newspeak at its best 🙂

    • Bill Hopping

      I expect this is probably true from the passenger’s perspective – “a bag is a bag, and buying it through or via a GDS won’t change the service you get…” but maybe even the service sold is being differentiated somehow. I’d like to see if LH has put out a more detailed communication on this, for example to travel agents. Additionally, I wonder if the charge responds to additional costs or burdens on the CARRIER which are driven by direct vs. intermediated sales channels, such as commissions, or GDS charges, or labor needed to process the transactions for any purpose. Possibly, LH cannot answer this question for different reasons.


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