Imagine booking a flight (granted, a discounted flight) and you don’t know what your final destination will be until you’ve paid for the flight. Does the spontaneity make you feel excited? Or does it make you cower at the loss of control? Either way, it’s exactly what German airline Lufthansa is doing, and despite the preferences of control freaks like me where everything has to be planned ahead of time, it seems to be doing quite well!
Launched in May, 2016, this is how Lufthansa describes the Lufthansa Surprise program:
Our new favourite destination? Not somewhere we planned.
The destination: a surprise! The fare: surprisingly good value!: with ‘Lufthansa Surprise’ you can bring wonderful variety into your travel planning. Simply choose one of our nine exciting travel topics. After that simply choose the dates you wish to travel and complete your booking – and Lufthansa will then surprise you immediately with an attractive destination in Europe. You can take advantage of this new offer from either Frankfurt or Munich Airport. Our tip: the more flexible you are, the cheaper your flight.
All locations are in Europe and while some are well known cities such as Rome, others are not necessarily typical tourist destinations.
Prices start at €69 (about U.S. $82 at the time of this writing) for a round-trip flight. You pick your theme (there are 9 to choose from, including “Shoes & Shops,” “Arts & Sights,” “For The Lovers,” “Go With The Bro” [read: “Bromance”] “Urban Adventures,” etc.), and you are offered a choice of between 7 and 13 European cities. The more open you keep your options in terms of where and when you’re willing to go, the cheaper your Lufthansa ticket will potentially be.
So let’s say you want to fly out of Frankfurt (remember, your choices at this time are departures out of either Frankfurt or Munich – how you get to either of those locations is up to you) and are interested in the “Arts & Sights” theme:
Once you’ve chosen your theme, you have the option to discard any choices (again, the more options you leave open, the better your chances of a lower price):
And then you can tell them what your availability is in terms of dates, weekdays vs. weekends, times of flights, etc. (again, the more flexible you are, the greater your chances are of a lower price):
Once you hit the PROCEED button, they ask for the passengers’ information and, I would think, billing info. And THEN they tell you when/where you’re going. Maybe it’s a long weekend in Helsinki. Perhaps you’re going to spend a week in Warsaw. You won’t know until you’ve committed…which is why they call it Lufthansa Surprise!
The flights are non-refundable, but that’s nothing new in buying flights nowadays. It seems like a good way to get some cheap flight in Europe, if you’re OK with the spontaneity of getting them (or as the Lufthansa Surprise program’s tagline goes, “Travel spontaneously, save spontaneously.”).
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