German airline Lufthansa and 21 other carriers will start charging passengers new service fees this autumn. The charges apply to tickets bought on the Internet, at ticket counters and travel agents.
Taking off on Lufthansa will be more expensive come autumn
Beginning Sept. 1, passengers will have to pay a €30 ($37) fee for domestic and European flights, and €45 ($55) for international tickets purchased via the Internet or at ticket counters. Travel agent customers will probably pay even more, according to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
"The fee will bring more transparency between the flight we offer and the services travel agents perform," a Lufthansa spokesman told the dpa newsagency.
The airline estimates the fees, which come at the same time it cuts the 5 percent to 9 percent commissions it pays travel agents, will save the company €100 million per year. While there are no concrete savings totals for all airlines, estimates are on the scale of several hundred million euros.
Push to Internet
Lufthansa, Air France and the Japanese carrier ANA hope an additional €10 charge for paper tickets instead of electronic tickets will convince customers to book trips over the Internet rather than through a travel agent.
Travel agents fear a drop in business
The new charges could lead to bankruptcy for many of Germany's some 4,500 travel agents, a German Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents official told the Welt am Sonntag.
Currently about 92 percent of all Lufthansa tickets are booked with travel agents.
Not the only increases
The new charges, which Lufthansa, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Iberia, Swiss, Delta, United and 13 other airlines will all introduce, come in addition to the announcement that many airlines would also be passing higher fuel charges to customers.
Last week British Airways and Air Berlin said they would begin charging passengers between €6 and €9 more after fuel prices rose 45 percent in the last year.