Seeking to create buzz for its newish premium economy cabin, Lufthansa is listing seats between Frankfurt and New York in an unusual place – Airbnb.
Without much advanced warning, the German carrier created a listing for a “couch” in what it calls a “shared room,” with access to four bathrooms. The space is actually a premium economy seat, with more legroom and a bigger screen than regular economy. The service is better, too.
“Our cabin isn’t in the woods, but in the sky,” the airline said in its tongue-in-cheek listing. “Personal food and beverage service at 910km/h.”
In the amenities portion of the listing, Lufthansa promises passengers several perks, including heating and air conditioning, WiFi and television. The minimum stay, the airline said, is four days, while the maximum is a month. Lufthansa is charging $798 for a roundtrip journey starting in Frankfurt, and usual Airbnb charges apply. The airline will cover the 3 percent host charge, while passengers pay a $96 service fee.
This may be the first time an airline has listed seats for sale on Airbnb, but it is not the first time a carrier has tried a creative promotion on the site. In December 2014, Dutch airline KLM created a temporary two-bedroom home on one of its recently retired MD-11 aircraft. Its listing was complete with house rules (“please treat our plane like you treat your own plane”) and several photographs. But travelers could not buy a night. They could only register to win a stay, and there were three winners.
Lufthansa’s plane is actually bookable, but it’s not perfect for everyone. The site states passengers should start their journey in Frankfurt, making it tough for Americans to take advantage of the deal. And connecting flights are not included, so German tourists will have a tough time getting to Los Angeles or Austin, Texas. Plus, the non-refundable booking cannot be finalized on Airbnb’s, so passengers must take time for a phone call with Lufthansa before they can fly.
Still, there is a lot of availability. On Airbnb, Lufthansa is selling seats between mid-August and mid-December, and except for a few blackout periods, mostly around major holidays, it is possible to find a seat.
While it’s a good fare, it’s not necessarily a deep discount. On many days this fall, Lufthansa is selling roundtrip premium economy from Frankfurt for $1,027.