Lufthansa May Offer Moscow Vaccine Flights

Filed Under: Lufthansa

While the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt may be closed right now due to lack of demand, IntelliNews is reporting that Lufthansa may set up a “First Class Corona Lounge” in Moscow…

We’ve heard of the concept of vaccine tourism, but that might just be taken to a new extreme with this concept. Long story short, Lufthansa is allegedly in talks with Russia’s foreign ministry about the concept of arranging special flights to & from Moscow so that people can get the Sputnik V vaccine, given the slow rollout of vaccines in Germany:

  • Lufthansa and Russia’s foreign ministry could partner to offer regular service between Frankfurt Airport and Moscow Domodedovo Airport; service could also eventually be added from Vienna Airport and Zurich Airport
  • For around €1,000, Lufthansa would sell packages that include two roundtrip flights between Frankfurt and Moscow, plus vaccines; the Sputnick V vaccine is one of the cheapest globally
  • Passengers wouldn’t even enter Russia, but rather a special transit lounge would be set up, where passengers would spend a couple of hours getting vaccinated and being observed, before returning to Germany
  • Russia’s foreign ministry needs to be onboard with the concept, though, since special transit visas would need to be arranged; this also isn’t a traditional transit visa, in the sense that you’re coming from and going to the same place (typically international transit refers to situations where you’re traveling between two countries via a third country)

Only time will tell if anything comes of these negotiations, though it sure is a unique concept.

Lufthansa could offer direct turnaround Moscow vaccine flights

Bottom line

There’s no denying that vaccine tourism will become widespread over the coming weeks and months, especially among those who are wealthy and in countries where vaccine distribution isn’t going well.

While we’ve seen the introduction of vaccine tourism, this is on a totally different level. The proposal is that Lufthansa would sell packages that include two same-day roundtrip flights to Moscow a few weeks apart to get vaccinated, and people wouldn’t even leave the airport.

I’ll be curious to see if something like this actually happens, and if so, what kind of a public reaction we see to this, given what a sensitive topic vaccine prioritization seems to be.

What do you make of Lufthansa’s Moscow vaccine flight concept?

(Tip of the hat to @noguidebooks)

  1. I’d think Russia would focus on their own population first, it’s not link they’ve nearly finished they’ve actually given fewer vaccines than Germany at this point (per capita, source: NYT)

  2. @Lucky, Why would transit visas be needed? Is that a COVID-specific thing? Normally, Russia allows visa free transit.

  3. Agree with @Mark. Per Bloomberg, Russia has given 1.5 doses per 100 people, Germany has given 6.7. To date, Germany has not given this vaccine even emergency use authorization. This is ethically questionable, and I would be disappointed if Lufthansa went down this road.

  4. Umm, instead of a person going from Frankfurt to Moscow to get vaccinated, wouldn’t it be simpler to have the vaccine come to Frankfurt from Moscow? Or even a batch of vaccines along with a nurse to deliver them could fly from Moscow to Frankfurt, vaccinate several people, and fly back after a few hours. And that would likely be cheaper than all these people flying to Moscow.

  5. Sign me the F up. I’m sitting in German lockdown in Rosenheim with no vaccine opportunity around. I was thinking of heading back to my boynton beach Walgreens or the my local pharmacy in briny breezes, but if I can hop over to ussr , sign me up DLH! I need the jab. I’m overweight and 40. Tausand Dank.

  6. This would be an epic embarrassment for the EU. You could definitely imagine Russia putting this PR win above the health of its own citizens.

  7. And with many Germans turning their noses up about receiving the Oxford AZ vaccine and with 1.4million AZ doses sitting unused in the country this is a bizarre turn of events!

  8. So, let me get this straight.

    You get on a Lufthansa flight, which is technically sovereign German ground, even if it’s technically private property. You then get off the plane into a nebulous “not Russia” non-sovereign zone that is still Russian soil so they can do whatever they like with you and detain you as long as they like if they wish…and then you let a Russian citizen inject you with something they *promise* is their reportedly not-very-well-tested COVID vaccine…

    …just a *few* issues I could foresee, off the top of my head. >.>

  9. I think this is a great idea especially considering the lousy job Germany and the EU have done so far. I would definitely go for this . Hopefully we get some follow up on this plan.

  10. Many Germans do not even want to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca. No way that there will be enough people paying lots of money for Russian vaccine.

  11. Wow – so, so many levels of stupdity and ethically questionable behavior in this “plan” I can’t imagine it actually happening.

    LOL at the idea of flying the vaccines to Germany instead of the Germans to vaccines. Of course that would be simpler, but then Lufthansa wouldn’t get to bilk desperate rich people for money.

    We’re doomed as a species.

  12. People have flying and driving themselves all over the place to get vaccines since they came out.
    It is how the at least partially free market works. No matter how much equity effort goes into a distribution plan, the most flexible, most connected, and those who are willing to research and work on their computer for hours and days on end to find an open appointment will get the vaccine before those who don’t.

  13. Russia has operated in a moral and ethical vacuum forever so it’s not surprising in the least they would prioritise an inflow of Euros over the wellbeing of their citizens.

  14. @glenn t
    Russia being involved in this is not surprising. If true, I am more surprised and disappointed in Lufthansa.

  15. @Creditcrunch +1

    Considering how fervently Russia is trying to bring back the Bad Old Days, I’m surprised that the German national carrier is seriously considering this. Handing money and prestige to a country that wants to supplant your nation’s position at best and destroy it at worst would tend to suggest a more cautious arrangement with Moscow.

  16. @Christian

    Russia is Germany’s chief supplier of oil and natural gas. If they turn off the tap, Germany pulls a Texas.

  17. @Patrick D

    My point exactly. Doing more business than absolutely necessary with a country that’s utterly ruthless and without notable principles doesn’t really seem like the best plan for Germany.

  18. @Flyer – because doing this is not the same as transit.

    Transit it A-B-C. With this you are flying A-B-A departing from and returning to the same airport without entering the country for a period of time.

    I know of people who have been denied boarding by BA to flights to Moscow doing a back to back tier points run because they weren’t actually transiting.

    Russian immigration does not regard a back to back flight as meeting the transit rules.

  19. just fly lufthansa into DTW rent a car and come down to Toledo to get your Covid19 vaccine. I had my first dose today of the moderna vaccine second dose in a month. Made the appointment a week ago. my family that lives in Florida that are really high risk are still waiting to be called. I saw it on the net a week ago called the number and could have received the vaccine on wednesday but had other plans.

  20. Here in Switzerland it’s now official that the government discriminates against urban states (cantons). Zurich received only 8.5 doses per 100 inhabitants (lasting for 4.25 full vaccinations), while rural states such as Nidwalden get 14 (lasting for 7). The official explanation is their more vulnerable population – fact is rural states already invite middle aged people …

    Back to the topic: Many people in Zurich would consider flying to Russia, given the discrimination in our own country. Changing residence to a rural state is the other option and, arguably, the government’s intention.

  21. I’m a non-Russian citizen who just finished getting vaccinated with Sputnik V two days ago (got my second injection). I’ve already spent the last few weeks trying to figure out how to make it possible for other foreigners to come here and get it (I already live here so it wasn’t a problem for me) but I guess Lufthansa’s about fo beat me to the punch! In any case, this is a great idea. Lots of people in Europe are eager to get vaccinated but can’t because of shortages, while there’s a huge surplus of Sputnik here in Moscow.

  22. As a German, I hope Germany can be free again and leave the EU soon.
    Als Deutscher hoffe ich, dass Deutschland wieder frei wird und bald die EU verlässt.

  23. To those who suggested flying the vaccine to Germany instead: That wouldn’t work because Russia still haven’t applied for the emergency use authorisation of Sputnik V in the EU. Without such authorisation you just can’t inject it into people in Germany, hence the need to fly them to Russia.

  24. @Andy, sorry but what? where in the Appenzell Innerrhoden Alabama did you get this information from. The comment section of There is no discrimination.

    Nidwalden is 35x as small as canton Zürich when it comes to inhabitants. It is impossible to 100% evenly distribute the vaccine, there are many other factors involved.

  25. Will Russia openly sell vaccines to wealthy foreigners, while they still have a huge vaccination gap in their own population? Does Lufthansa want to be associated with an ethically questionable money-jumps-the-line scheme? I doubt it.

  26. I would buy this in a heartbeat. I have a rare muscle illness affecting my entire body but since I am young I have no priority at all here in Germany and I would therefore most likely only receive the vaccination early 2022.

  27. @Lucky – I realize this is off-topic, but has LH followed through with the German government, to clarify whether points-to-miles transfers from Amex, Marriott, etc. are legal?

  28. To me this sounds like something designed to appeal to Russians living abroad. Given that many countries have had to limit movement between the EU and Russia due to Russia’s high case number, LH/LX/OS have been used extensively for transiting between Russia and many destinations and LH probably has the statistics to back such a move.

  29. It is almost impossible, since vaccination Sputnik V should take place in two stages with a difference of two weeks.
    Passengers will have to buy tickets to Russia twice for vaccinations.

  30. @Ryan. The figures from the official FOPH (BAG) statistics and the confirmation of discrimination from a Tages-Anzeiger interview with the State of Zurich Minister of Health, published today (behind the pay wall). So I do have to believe that it is factually correct.

    As a Swiss citizen, I’m not surprised.

  31. @Ben:
    Your pattern to bash Lufthansa is inappropriate here. You should correct this article as it is clearly false. Lufthansa is not offering vaccine flights to Moscow. They are flying to Moscow, but so are Emirates, Air Arabia, Pegasus, Egypt Air, S7, Air France…

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