Lufthansa Follows BA By Ditching Free Food In Short-Haul Economy

Lufthansa has today revealed that it would ditch its current short-haul catering option. The airline will follow in the footsteps of rival airline British Airways by introducing a new buy onboard menu, where passengers pay for any refreshments that they want.

Lufthansa, Short Haul, Buy onboard
Lufthansa is scrapping free catering on short-haul flights in the economy cabin. Photo: Getty Images

In reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, Lufthansa had severely curtailed its catering option on short-haul flights. While a two-hour hop may have seen you receiving a sandwich in economy in the past, since earlier this year, only a bottle of water and a hand wipe has been offered. Now we know that when catering does return, it will look very different.

What’s coming?

Lufthansa is set to roll out a new catering offer across three of its group airlines in the spring of 2021. The new offering will be found on SWISS, Austrian Airlines, and the main Lufthansa airline. Instead of offering passengers free refreshments in the economy cabin on short and medium-haul flights, the airline will begin charging.

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At the present moment in time, we don’t know exactly what Lufthansa and SWISS will offer, although Lufthansa has said that some of the snacks will have regional references. The airline will also emphasize ensuring that the products are fresh while focusing on the catering operation’s sustainability.

Lufthansa, Short Haul, Buy onboard
Austrian will begin offering apple strudel on flights. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Austrian Airlines has offered a hint of what to expect, however. The airline said it would offer apple strudel, alongside Viennese breakfast, and fresh dishes such as chicken schnitzel and Kaiserschmarren (sweet, cut-up pancakes with raisins). Austrian Airlines will be the first of the three to roll out the new offering. While all airlines are cutting the free snack, Austrian will still give every passenger a chocolate piece.

Commenting on the new offering, Christina Foerster, Member of the Executive Board
Lufthansa Group responsible for Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility, said,

“Our current snack offer in Economy Class does not always meet the expectations of our guests. The new offer was developed on the basis of feedback from our customers. With the high-quality offer available for purchase, our passengers will be able to decide what they want to eat and drink on their journey.”

A sign of things to come?

Just days ago, Simple Flying reported that Lufthansa, Swiss, and Austrian would stay as premium airlines. However, today’s announcement does seem to be a step in the other direction. While passengers are likely to get a higher quality meal, it does mean that it will now cost extra, while flight tickets aren’t expected to decrease to accommodate for the lack of a snack.

Lufthansa, Short Haul, Buy onboard
A hint of what we could expect to pay for on Lufthansa’s flights. Photo: Lufthansa

It does beg the question, would passengers rather an uninspiring free snack that they may not even want, or the option to buy something decent. While most will moan that the latter comes at a cost, surely it’s a better option?

Are you pleased to see Lufthansa move to buy onboard, or should it stick to the free snack? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!