Lufthansa airline offers the "Economy Flex" fare. The listed advantages of this fare are:

Rebooking possible plus fare difference

Refundable except 70 EUR plus fare difference

What does the "plus fare difference" mean?

Imagine I buy a ticket for 200 €. Later I decide to cancel. They keep 70 Euro, so I get 130€ back. What's with the fare difference? Fare difference to what?

As a comparison, the "Economy classic" states:

Rebooking: 70 EUR plus fare difference

Refund not possible

  • 1
    On a round trip fare, that may mean that if you cancel just the return flight, the fare will be re-evaluated to that of a one-way trip, which is usually much more expensive.
    – jcaron
    Jan 21, 2018 at 16:41
  • The difference to the price of the transportation you already used at the time of cancellation.
    – Calchas
    Jan 21, 2018 at 17:31
  • The refundable may actually mean that if you buy a ticket for 1000, and then cancel it when the tickets are worth 700, you would only get 630 back. (The fare difference can be put in there to mitigate the risk of the airline that everyone cancels their original booking if the price drops, just to book a new ticket separately). Jan 22, 2018 at 16:18

3 Answers 3


The fare difference is the difference in price between the ticket you bought and the one you have after cancellation.

One case is when you cancel your entire ticket, so the difference is zero minus price paid. I'm sure they won't give you a fare credit for a negative difference, so you will get what you paid minus 70 EUR.

The other is that you cancel a portion. Say you are going A -> B -> C -> B -> A and you cancel the B -> C -> B portion, then the difference will be the price of A -> B -> A minus the original price. You can also cancel a portion so that you have no return or an open-jaw in which case the price changes.

For a rebooking, the meaning is more obvious. You are changing a ticket which you paid for will get another ticket. If the price of the ticket before and after is the same, there is no fare difference. If the price of the rebooked one is higher, then there will be a difference. I have never seen a reimbursement in such case, so if the new fare is cheaper, the fare difference will be negative but you will probably not get any money back.

The Economy basic on the other hand only allows the rebooking but not cancelling. So, in practice, you will lose the fare if you want to cancel. If you rebook, it will cost you at least 70 EUR.

  • "Rebooking" isn't cancellation...
    – Doc
    Jan 21, 2018 at 18:36
  • @Doc: but, from a "how much you pay" point of view, there is no difference. If you rebook, you pay the rebooking fee and you pay the price of a new ticket, minus a credit for what you paid before. Hard to see the difference with cancelling and buying again. Jan 21, 2018 at 19:56
  • @MartinArgerami Both the answer and your comment ignore the Economy Classic option. What you're said might be correct for an unused ticket, when availability is still available for the legs you don't want to change (and the price of those legs hasn't changed), when you've bought Economy Flex. They are WRONG in every other situations.
    – Doc
    Jan 21, 2018 at 21:06
  • 1
    Clearly the up-voters either haven't read the question, or haven't read the answer they are voting for, which is a pity given the two don't match and this doesn't answer what was asked (eg, no mention of Flex v's Classic, focus on cancel rather than rebook)...
    – Doc
    Jan 21, 2018 at 21:08
  • Will rephrase. The question appears to have been edited since my answer.
    – Itai
    Jan 22, 2018 at 0:55

The wording on that is a little odd - but not unexpected given that it's likely a German -> English translation of the fare rules.

As you're probably already aware, airfares - even on the same route - can vary dramatically depending on a number of factors, including when the ticket was bought.

Let's say you bought a ticket for a flight that cost 1000 EUR, and now you want to change it to a different day.

If the flight on that new day now costs 1200 EUR, then you will need to pay the "fare difference" between what you've paid and the new fare, being 200 euros. Based on the rules you've quoted for "Economy Flex", that 200 Euro is all you'll need to pay. With "Economy Classic", you'll need to pay 70 Euro PLUS the fare difference, for a total charge for 270 Euro.

Now, what if it happened that the fare for the new flight you wanted was only 800 EUR? The fare difference in this case is 200 EUR, but it's 200 euro cheaper, which means that (if the fare rules allow it) the airline owes you 200 euro.

From the rules you've quoted for Economy Flex, you ARE able to get a refund of that amount - minus a 70 euro fee. So you'll get a 130 Euro refund.

The rules for Economy Classic say no refund, so whilst you would still be able to make this change, you will not get any money back from doing it, and in fact would most likely still need to pay the 70 Euro fee to make the change!

If you wanted to cancel your ticket it's likely the same conditions would apply (Economy Flex you could get a refund minus 70 euro, Economy Classic no refund), but that would be covered in other entries in the fare rules that you haven't quoted so I can't say for sure.


You may rebook the ticket to another flight - in this case you'd get a refund of 70 euros, less the difference in fare to the new flight (or, in other words, all but 70 euros of your original fare would transfer to cover the cost of the new flight).

If you outright cancel, you'd get the entire fare less 70 EUR.

  • Still confused. For rebooking on the economy flex they say: Rebooking possible, plus Fare Difference. On the economy classic, refund is not possible and rebooking costs 70 eur plus fare difference.
    – zelite
    Jan 21, 2018 at 15:11
  • @zelite On economy flex, you get the full value of your original ticket, without penalty, applied to the new ticket, so if the old ticket were 200 euros and the new 200, you'd pay nothing to change. On economy classic, you can't simply get a refund, but you can change flights. If the old were 100 euros and the new 100, you'd pay 70 additional (you get all but 70 euros, i.e. 30 euros, back from your old fare if you change to a new flight). Jan 21, 2018 at 15:17
  • 1
    Ok, I agree with your interpretation. What was confusing me, is that they write "plus fare difference" on the cancelation sentence, when that should only apply to the rebooking. I'll add to the question the full information they show when booking, so it is more clear why I was confused.
    – zelite
    Jan 21, 2018 at 15:22

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