With many Easter holidays starting on April 8, thousands of German holidaymakers are getting ready to jet off with Lufthansa. The Frankfurt-based carrier has made extensive preparations ahead of a booming travel period, having already risen above pre-pandemic levels, and is expected to see 225,000 travelers through Frankfurt on the first weekend alone.
Speaking to The Independent earlier this month, Chief Executive, Carsten Spohr, noted the growing demand this travel season:
“People want to travel. They seek and need personal contact – especially after two years of pandemic and the associated social restrictions. The pent-up demand for leisure and business travel was already significantly noticeable in 2021 – and this trend is set to intensify in 2022. We are now leaving the crisis behind us, mentally and – in view of the strong booking figures this year – also commercially and face the next challenge strengthened.”
Demand for Easter flights to Palma De Mallorca has been so high that Lufthansa will be utilizing a Boeing 747-8 on the route. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying
The first weekend will have 1,500 departures out of Frankfurt, with most concentrated on the Mediterranean and the United States. Demand has been so great for Southern Europe that Lufthansa will utilize a Boeing 747-8 on a 9 April flight to Palma De Mallorca to add additional capacity for the route, typically operated with an Airbus A320. The 747 will not be sitting around idly either, with 1,700 long-haul flights for its quad jets (including the recently re-introduced Airbus A340-300) planned throughout April.
Anticipating longer wait times at Frankfurt, staff have recommended arriving at least two and a half hours before scheduled departure times, and there may be extended time for baggage claim on the return trip. However, travelers are encouraged to use its online services to cut down some waiting. The carrier offers the option to upload and digitally check documents from 72 hours before departure, with online check-in offered from 23 hours, allowing holidaymakers to check in their baggage at a baggage machine.
Lufthansa notes that masks are still required onboard all flights.
Busy Easter ahead?
Lufthansa is not alone; several other European airlines have noted an increase in bookings for this Easter. Low-cost carrier, Jet2 has seen considerable demand for ski holidays, adding additional departures to Geneva from five airports across the UK and relaunching services to Alpine-local airports in France.
British Airways and Wizz Air have been ramping up Easter operations out of Gatwick Airport, too, with Wizz Air launching 18 new routes from the airport in time for the Easter holidays, now covering a total of 25 destinations from Gatwick alone. British Airways has recently launched BA Euroflyer, which offers 35 routes across Europe and is currently being launched.
With easing restrictions, demand has started to spring back to pre-pandemic levels, with Southern Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean seeing the most significant increase in tourist arrivals since 2020. One destination seeing particular focus is Spain, which saw 80 million tourists back in 2019, making it the second most visited destination. With rising vaccination numbers and decreased restrictions, the country was able to end the final quarter of 2021 at 64% of its pre-pandemic levels.
Speaking to Reuters back in January, Spanish Tourism Secretary Fernando Valdes addressed the uptick in bookings for holidays across the Iberian nation this Easter:
“The 2022 expectations are good. What we have is a great desire to travel, the first milestone is Easter week. It will give us a preview of what the rest of the year is going to be like. Spring will be very important to have a clearer picture, but I think this summer will be much better.”
Will you be flying with Lufthansa this summer? Let us know in the comments.
Sources: The Independent, Reuters
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