According to news reports in Germany, Lufthansa has announced that the carrier will organize facilities to administer COVID tests for passengers at their hub airports Frankfurt and Munich (at a fee).
The carrier also advised that the company is working on an option to purchase empty middle seats if so desired as right now Lufthansa doesn’t follow a social distancing policy onboard.
Several airports in Europe such as Vienna and also Frankfurt already offer COVID tests for passengers in respective medical facilities however the conditions in terms of availability and pricing are a bit complicated at the moment depending what your purpose and insurance coverage is for these tests.
I assume that Lufthansa came up with this because many countries now require a recent COVID test in order to clear immigration and this might increase at least in the near future.
AFP Germany ( access here) reported that Lufthansa plans to introduce this option in late June or early July depending how fast they can get it set up with private testing centers.
According to AFP who is getting the information from the Spiegel magazine these private testing centers will be available in Frankfurt and Munich with results being available within 4 hours.
Lufthansa manager Christina Foerster also mentioned that on long haul flights passenger could possibly purchase an empty middle seat as Eurowings apparently offers it already. However she already put the caveat on it that this won’t be a cheap option.
It’s already possible to purchase a second (empty) seat so that’s not really a new option. Usually people don’t utilize this unless they are either quite heavy with larger body measurements so that a regular seat would be too small or to transport certain items such as a musical instrument on the seat.
To offer the option for travelers who need a covid test for immigration clearance is convenient especially since it will be certified with an official document. Usually the cost for this is around 200 Euro in Germany/Austria. The downside of getting this done on day of departure at the airport is what if for whatever reason the test suddenly comes back positive? That would really mess up the travel schedule.
There has been a discussion in various forms of media about social distancing on airplanes and how this would look. I always said that expecting airlines to eat the cost of blocking seats is a pipedream, at least in the long run. When planes are empty no problem but in times where airlines lose billions and are short of bankruptcy I don’t expect any such freebies from them. Especially not Lufthansa who still owes their customers an estimated 6+ Billion Euro by now in ticket refunds.