Lufthansa Will Begin Frankfurt To Austin Service In May

Buried deep in a press release on growth and optimization plans for the Lufthansa Group is an almost throwaway announcement that Lufthansa will begin serving Austin, Texas on May 3rd, 2019.

British Airways began flights to Austin from London in 2014, and the route has proved successful for them. Increasingly larger planes have been put on the route, which is currently operated by a 747.

As a side note, that hefty capacity is part of what makes the Austin > London Heathrow route a good place to hunt for premium cabin award availability and upgrade space, but I digress.

Norwegian is the only other European carrier serving Austin at the moment, with thrice weekly service to London Gatwick.

Still, there’s clearly at least a potential market, particularly as Austin continues to grow.

Details are thin at present, but my guess will be that this route won’t be operated by an aircraft with first class. Lufthansa has been moving more first class operations to Munich lately, and reducing the number of aircraft with first class in general, but I will hope to be wrong.

Still, Lufthansa tends to have excellent business class award availability, and Austin is decently-served by domestic carriers, so this could open up some alternatives for award travel (being sure to book through a program that doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges, ideally).

We’ll update once we have more information about the schedule and frequency, but it’s always interesting to see new destinations being added.

What do you make of the increasing international service from Austin?

Comments

  1. Condor also flies the Frankfurt-Austin route, so Norwegian and BA are not the only other European carrier to service Austin.

  2. I’m based in Austin – LOVE this! It’s easier for us here, bc we can always transit easily to Houston or Dallas, but a nonstop from/to home is always nice. They just need to fix the airport situation.

  3. Condor also has service to Frankfurt on a seasonal basis. Not sure if they will retreat like they did in San Diego when Lufthansa added service

  4. @Joe
    Art- condor is a different airline. Lufthansa does not own it. There’s simply no “taking over” to be done.

  5. @JoeMart:

    Lufthansa own a minority stake (24.9%-ish, I think) of Condor whilst Thomas Cook is the “formal” parent company. They still partner on several fronts, though. I think your question has merit as the same thing happened at SAN when LH began daily service to FRA; DE essentially closed up shop and all their branding was removed fairly quickly. While @Jason is technicallycorrect, I’d imagine LH and DE have some sort of non-compete clause in their partnership that prevents them from operating to some second-tier cities – bigger than leisure destinations but not quite business hubs.

  6. Great news for AUS!

    I hope that AUS could get a non-stop to Asia soon. If that happens, I would think it would be either JL to NRT or KE to ICN.

  7. AF-KLM, it’s your turn next, especially with your partner establishing a focus city at AUS.

    For those wondering, LH and Condor share a FF has program

  8. Yes!! I am doing my happy dance! So annoying to go to Central Asia for work and have to stop in Chicago, then Frankfurt, then Istanbul then go on from there in order to get an over-water United or United partner. I could not be happier. It would never make sense for United to put this in action since their hub in Houston is right down the road, so I am very pleased to see Lufthansa step up. They are not my favorite business class but it’s still better than what United flies to Europe from Chicago and Newark!! Because it will be two years before they upgrade all the 777-200’s to real Polaris and I hate 2x4x2 as any sane person would. So- Hazzah!!

  9. @AdamR
    nope, Lufthansa sold all its shares in Condor back in 2009. For some reason Condor still partners with miles&more, but that’s all they share in mutual disrespect. You will find many routes, where they fight each other (i.e. FRA-Mauritius, FRA-Maldives, FRA-Seattle, FRA-Vancouver). Lufthansa’s subsidiary Eurowings also fights them on the leisure routes to the mediterranean destinations and the canary islands.

  10. @Neuron:

    Ah… Good catch. It appears 2010 was the final share sale, if I (re)read correctly. Thanks for the update/correction! I’m still curious why long-haul leisure-ish destinations seem to cause Condor to close up shop so quickly. Specifically at SAN. Personally, I’m not sure San Diego is a destination that could sustain traffic to FRA at least not in an ex-SAN perspective at the fares LH is asking. Condor always seemed a much more reasonable option based on SD’s economic factors. Any insight?

  11. We pleaded with American for decades to give us a London nonstop, and the success of the BA route only proved the case. Apparently, BA pays for the operation with cargo alone, and the near 100% passenger loads make it a very profitable route. It’s too bad so many of their 747s are badly in need of complete refurbishment.

    Austin is now the 11th largest city in the US, and the metro area draws from San Antonio, too – since it’s only slightly longer to ABIA than it is to SAT from many of the northern suburbs.

    Austin has a HUGE year-round business market. I am shocked that Norwegian stopped its service for the winter, but maybe now that they’ve seen the demand (my flight back last week from Gatwick was 98% full) – they will go year round. I have speculated that Lufthansa would come in here for years – and I’m confident they will be equally successful. Virtually every flight to or from Austin runs full or nearly full – and it’s time airline management actually believes this justifies the level of service.

    Ben, I challenge you to find a premium award seat on the BA flight. I search for them CONSTANTLY and they are almost never available. In fact, I just searched for next MAY and had to change my dates by four days just to find two premium seats.

    One other point – the airport’s expansion (9 Additional Gates) is well underway and it does appear they are planning to increase the size of the customs area – but I haven’t been able to find any specific details about how that expansion is going to look. One carousel just isn’t going to cut it1

  12. @Mark
    According to the DL sales staff that our corporate travel dept works with, DL’s AUS ops will be ramping up dramatically beginning late Spring 2019. Apparently, they’re even considering long haul…

  13. @ RTW Rob — As far as premium seats go, try looking close to departure. They don’t seem to be selling those seats at the same rate as the back of the plane, so if you have wiggle room in your itinerary you might be able to change as it gets closer.

  14. @AdamR
    interesting question! Condor’s major focus is on leisure travel, i.e. major seat capacity is booked by tour operators (cruise lines, Thomas Cook etc.). Unlike Lufthansa they lack significant numbers of business travelers with paid full-fare tickets sitting in the front (the typical Condor c-class travelers are honeymooners). They are also do not offer connecting flights in Frankfurt on a regular basis.

  15. @AdamR
    In return of your question, I assume the life science industry around San Diego generates significant business class travel. In combination with leisure travelers (Germans love Southern California) and cargo this could end up being profitable for Lufthansa. Time will tell!

  16. Love Austin and this news is wonderful. Hopefully another European (Turkish) an Asian (Cathay) or Middle Eastern (Emirates) airline will service this wonderful city

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *