*****UPDATE: Eurowings has now confirmed the changes to its Smart fare.
In a statement Eurowings said it will offer a “revised Smart fare” which will take effect on and from June 4.
This revised tariff will remove the free catering for Smart fare passengers who will now have a BoB (buy-on-board) service.
Their main benefit will now be priority boarding which means passengers will almost certainly be able to take their hand luggage into the aircraft’s cabin.
However Eurowings is saying that it will be a phased introduction.
The carrier says passengers flying to or from Cologne, Vienna, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Munich, Dusseldorf, Dortmund and Palma de Mallorca will see the changes during the month of June.
By September it will be extended to all Eurowings flights.*****
Eurowings’ Smart fare customers are likely to lose their free catering offer as early as next month.
The news is reported by Germany’s news magazine Spiegel Online which says the change “should” take effect from June 4.
Eurowings is the budget subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, and provides free catering to travellers booking its costlier Smart and Bizclass tariffs.
This is in stark contrast to other low-cost airlines (LCCs) like Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizzair who provide passengers with no free catering irrespective of how much their ticket has cost.
A spokesperson for Eurowings told Spiegel that the change on European flights will be made because of “clear feedback from our guests.”
However it is true to say that the provision of free catering was a chore for the cabin staff.
As the latter proceeded through the cabin they had to look at a [passenger] list to see whether he or she had booked a Basic (the lowest) or the Smart (the higher) fare.
For a flight between the UK and Germany the price difference between Basic and Smart was upwards of £20. Eurowing’s costliest tariff is Bizclass provides more amenities but at an even higher surcharge.
In truth the free Smart catering was a modest offer. Eurowings believes that customers would prefer priority boarding and being able to take their hand luggage onto the aircraft.
At present Smart passengers may have to place their hand luggage in the hold should the flight be very busy.
I noted Spiegel used the word “should.” I say that because when I checked Smart fare benefits for the coming weeks they still listed free catering.
So a definite date for when the free Smart catering will be removed is not yet decided. But it will happen … it’s just a question of when.
Cynics will say that this move is a cost-cutting exercise by Lufthansa Group. They may well have a point now that the group has cancelled plans for any expansion at Eurowings.
UK-based passengers are likely to use Eurowings when flying to destinations in Germany other than Frankfurt or Munich, which are served by Lufthansa mainline.