There was an incorrect yet persistent rumor that Lufthansa held a board meeting yesterday that sealed the fate of the popular First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport and that it would close at the end of this week – this is NOT the case!
Lufthansa has however made a decision in recent days to ground a part of it’s fleet including the A380 aircraft which is cutting a lot of First Class capacity, resulting in passengers on some routes being downgraded.
Rumors that the First Class Terminal was destined to close have been circulating for years already and numerous rounds of cost cutting consultancy have always recommended that the FCT represents an enormous cost center and as such should be culled.
Now during the Coronavirus crisis paired with the grounding of Lufthansa’s A380 fleet we wrote about there were several related items on the agenda of yesterdays board meeting and subsequent decision making process.
While we obviously aren’t privy to the details of said meeting we were able to confirm with Senior Lufthansa Management responsible for First Class Services that the FCT facility will remain operational in it’s current form.
In other words the facility won’t be closed. Not this week and not in the near future.
Presently airlines are putting everything on the chopping block. Grounding planes, closing lounges, laying off staff and in some cases even shutting shop entirely. As such, Lufthansa taking the opportunity to lay the FCT matter to rest once and for all wouldn’t be too far fetched.
Lufthansa isn’t the only entity though that looks at the FCT with concern although for different reasons. Fraport, the airport operator complains for years about the ever increasing traffic (cars) on the tarmac and Lufthansa operating the First Class Terminal with their limousines and another First Class Lounge at the B Gates from where passengers can also be chauffeured all add to the traffic movements.
And with not just First Class passengers but also HON Circle members having access to the facility it’s actually quite expensive to operate, especially if said HON Circle passenger isn’t traveling on an expensive ticket but rather a cheapo Economy flight. With the already announced modifications of the Miles&More program it seems like there will be an influx of new HON members in the coming years who all seek a return of investment.
The ongoing rumor mill of the First Class Terminal going away is almost as old as the rumor that Lufthansa will eventually abandon First Class service altogether. It certainly makes for good discussions but it gets old with the time.
I always argued that for First Class to go away completely the company has to be prepared to take a massive cut in business, not because First Class is such a huge selling point but because it’s a magnet for overall sales such as tickets in Business Class, the bread and butter of each airline.
Miles&More members like the aility to upgrade to First Class and top level executives as well as wealthy individuals also enjoy their First Class flights. Germany is still a very conservative country when it comes to spending money and status symbols, I personally think that Lufthansa management knows full well that the paying elite level of customers won’t like it at all when they take away their favorite toys and that would have an avalanche impact on the sales of other travel classes should passengers start to abandon the airline altogether as a result of F-Cl. being cut.