Lufthansa has put together an improv schedule for the next few weeks until May 3, 2020 which they call “returnee flight schedule” to initially seven long haul destinations but just days after the concept came out it’s already falling apart.

The planned flights to Johannesburg as well as Tokyo already had to be cancelled again to comply with local immigration regulations that basically seal off the country.

It looks like other destinations are on the knifes edge as well as immigrations regulations seem to get tighter by the week rather than loosen up again.

You can access the Lufthansa corporate announcement here.

Due to the continuing travel restrictions, Lufthansa today decided to extend its returnee flight schedule, which was originally scheduled to run until 19 April, until 3 May.

This also means that all remaining flights of the original flight schedule between 25 April and 3 May will be cancelled. Flights which were planned to operate until 24 April were cancelled at an earlier date.

As of today, 2 April, the route cancellations will be implemented successively and the passengers affected will be informed of the changes.

Lufthansa will thus continue to offer an urgently needed basic service. A total of 18 weekly long-haul flights are scheduled: three times a week each from Frankfurt to

  • Newark
  • Chicago
  • Montreal (Canada)
  • Sao Paulo (Brazil)
  • Bangkok (Thailand)
  • Tokyo (Japan) [ -> already cancelled ]

Flights to Johannesburg (South Africa) had to be cancelled by 16 April due to official regulations.

In addition, the airline still offers around 50 daily connections from its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich to the most important cities in Germany and Europe. …

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled or who were unable to take their flight can keep their booking and do not have to commit to a new flight date for the time being. The ticket and ticket value remain unchanged and can be converted into a voucher for a new booking with a departure date up to and including 30 April 2021. The conversion into a voucher is possible online via the airlines’ websites. Customers who choose a new travel date up to and including 31 December 2020 will also receive a 50 Euro discount on every rebooking.

Tokyo is already off the table considering Japan has just decided to cancel the Olympics for this year and is now clamping down on their isolation including having banned pretty much all foreign arrivals (some exceptions).

At least some of the remaining destinations on the schedule seem shaky as best. Bangkok really doesn’t appear to be in shape or mood to accept any travelers within 12 days which is when the first Lufthansa flight is supposed to depart.

Conclusion

This schedule will be subject to a lot of last minute modifications. I’m not really convinced of Lufthansa’s classification of these connections as “returnee flights” because there were plenty of actual repatriation flights available so I dare to say anyone who wanted to leave has now done so.

Are they planning or expecting to fly one way empty? For example I’m sure there would be a demand of flying some people back from destinations like Bangkok but as long as the country is sealed off to foreigners I don’t see any passengers on the way over.

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