Lufthansa’s Budget Subsidiary Eurowings which recently emerged as the companies new child born from the ashes of Germanwings is already plagued by massive delays and operational issues.
Since December the budget carrier is offering long haul flights and the statistic for these is shocking. In early January every flight was late, 38% of them on average eight hours.
Lufthansa German Airlines which has a good reputation in terms of on time performance and product quality (apart from their labor action periods) if fighting for years to find an identity for their budget carrier market. Previously the airline ran Germanwings as their sole budget brand, however this image was tainted after one of their pilots steered a passenger plane into a mountain last year, killing everyone on board. The carrier has now been re-branded as Eurowings, a company that existed before and offered connections within Europe, mainly from smaller airports.
This week, newspaper reports in Germany such as one from the WAZ (access here – in German) show how dire the situation and on-time performance with the new carrier really is.
The article cites a case where passengers were stranded in Varadero, Cuba for three days after their flight was canceled due to mechanical issues. The airline had to organize a charter aircraft from Madrid that was flown in and picked the passengers up, however the crew attached to the carrier required another 12 hours rest period after arriving in Varadero. The case has been publicized in other German new outlets where passengers complained they were put up in shabby accommodations that had cockroaches etc. There was no proof (as in images) attached to solidify these claims however.
A very graphic image is the situation of the flight delays. Based on statistics provided by the airline (basically publicly available to anyone who wants to track departures) it showed that between December 26th and January 5th 2015, 38% of all Eurowings longhaul flights was appr 8 hours late. This pretty much entitles every single passenger onboard these flights to a EU Compensation of 600 Euro for flight delays plus expenses incurred for accommodation (usually the airline has to cater to these needs immediately).
A spokesperson for Eurowings apologized and mentioned the airline will bear all expenses for their delays (assuming that also includes EC261 Compensation Claims).
I’m not a big fan of budget carriers even if they are subsidiaries of big airlines. That has nothing to do with being snobby but simply because I hate irregular operations and lineups. I have no problem with flying Economy Class but usually the stress around traveling is due to lineups and waiting times which you can pretty much circumvent as long as you hold some status with the alliance of your choice.
If you have booked a flight on Eurowings you might as well be prepared for such circumstances and if possible get a proper travel insurance ahead of time. Even though the airline has to accommodate you, the example with Cuba showed how well that went. Better be safe than sorry!