Reader Skudu left the following comment on the “Ask Lucky” page of the blog last night:
Lucky, DID you notice Lufthansa stopped releasing any business class seats on any route 6 months out? For any route i tried business class sets are available only till Sept end…. This just happened 2 days back?? FYI i used United.com to search award space
Over the years Lufthansa has greatly reduced the amount of premium cabin award space they’ve been releasing. It started with first class several years ago. Going back five or six years, Lufthansa first class was probably the single most readily available first class award product in the world. They used to have 16 first class seats on the 747, and it wasn’t unusual to see 8-10 of them available for award tickets. Nowadays they only release first class award space to partner airlines at most 15 days out.
Lufthansa 747-400 old first class
As far as partner business class award availability goes, there’s no doubt over the years it has been on a downward spiral. That being said, they hadn’t outright eliminated it yet or added any consistent restrictions. Until now.
It appears as if Skudu is correct, unfortunately, and Lufthansa isn’t releasing any business class award space to partner airlines on any transatlantic route from October onwards.
At first I assumed it was a united.com glitch, though I also verified with ANA, and the availability seems to match as far as I can tell.
I pulled up the nonstop award availability on some of the Lufthansa routes that historically have the most business class award space, and am seeing nothing (in the below calendar, a date marked in green means there’s business and economy class award space, while a date in yellow means there’s just economy award space).
Here’s award availability from September onwards between Detroit and Frankfurt:
Here’s award availability from September onwards between Atlanta and Frankfurt:
Here’s award availability from September onwards between Charlotte and Munich:
Here’s to hoping this is just temporary and not a permanent change. So lets mark this as “developing” for now…