Lufthansa is ditching its short haul catering in economy and launching Buy on Board, just as British Airways did in 2016. The changes will also apply to SWISS and Austrian and will take effect in Spring 2021.
Historically, Lufthansa has provided free refreshments, snacks or a sandwich on board, depending on the length of flight. This has been replaced by a bottle of water and some hand sanitiser in response to the pandemic. Now we know that the previous ‘full’ service will not return.
We don’t yet know what the buy on board offering will be. In the press release, Lufthansa said the new menu will offer fresh, high quality and regional items.
The Austrian Airlines press release gives a little more away:
“In addition to breakfast options such as a Viennese breakfast, classic, fresh dishes such chicken schnitzel, Kaiserschmarren (sweet cut-up pancakes with raisins) and apple strudel will also be available on the menu. Cold snacks, chips and chocolate and a large selection of soft drinks, coffee, tea and selected alcoholic drinks will round off the new offering.”
Most importantly, it looks like every passenger will get some chocolate “as a gift”!
In general, ‘free’ food on short haul economy flights has deteriorated in recent years and often results in a dull, limp snack or sandwich that probably costs 20p wholesale.
Whilst BA’s decision to move to buy on board undoubtedly cut costs, it also gave us more choice of food rather than having to lump it with whatever cheap snack British Airways thought appropriate.
Where BA went wrong was in the contract they signed. We understand that the catering company, Tourvest, was initially made responsible for the cost of unsold fresh food. This meant that a bare minimum of fresh food was loaded – regular travellers will know that there was often just a couple of sandwiches for 100+ passengers – with most people forced to buy heavily processed long-life snacks.