Confirmed: Lufthansa Will Trim Its Long Haul Economy Meal Service

According to a German-language aviation forum, Lufthansa is making some sweeping changes to its economy and premium economy services. Rumor has it that the German carrier is planning to abolish the second hot meal service on long haul flights, replacing it instead with a cold vegetarian snack. The changes are said to be taking effect from the 28th of November this year.

Lufthansa is rumored to be ‘optimizing’ inflight services. Photo: Lufthansa

No more second hot meal on Lufthansa long haul?

In a forum post on German aviation site Vielfliegertreff, it was reported that, from the end of November, Lufthansa would be making some changes to economy and premium economy services on long haul flights. According to the post, the airline has described these changes as ‘optimizing’ the inflight product, and that the changes will take effect from the 28th November.

In terms of what’s changing, regardless of the spin Lufthansa is putting on it, it looks like a whole lot of cost-cutting to us. In both premium economy and economy, there will no longer be a second hot meal, rather just a cold vegetarian snack. There will be no optional choice here. This will take effect on all flights of ten hours or more.

lufthansa economy meal
There will no longer be a second hot meal service. Photo: Jun Seita via Flickr

For shorter flights that still fall into the long haul category (the Middle East, India, etc.), this same ‘cold vegetarian snack’ will replace the popular snack boxes, which often included hot food. It is thought that the vegetarian snack will be a wrap or sandwich of some sort.

As well as this, the current relatively good quality headphones given out by Lufthansa on its flights will be replaced with disposable earbuds. While Lufthansa dresses this up as saving weight, claiming it will save 500 tons of CO2 per year, the greenwash doesn’t really work, as single-use headphones are a really wasteful strategy.

On the upside, every passenger will now be getting a half-liter bottle of water upon boarding.

A significant downgrade

It’s worrying to see Lufthansa ditching the second hot meal, particularly on these longer flights. After more than 10 hours on an aircraft, most passengers will be looking for something more substantial than a measly sandwich before disembarking. At this time, it doesn’t look like there will be the option to buy something more substantial either.

LH premium economy
Premium economy is about more than just a better seat. Photo: Lufthansa

Most worryingly is that these changes look to be taking effect in both the economy and the premium economy cabin. When we look at Lufthansa’s competitors, particularly British Airways and Virgin, premium economy is about much more than a bit of extra legroom, with the upgrade very much extending to the food and service too.

Premium economy, when it’s done right, should be a proper upgrade from economy, with better seats, bigger screens, improved catering and more amenities. Some airlines even bundle in lounge access and other top perks to get customers to upgrade. When a serious downgrade such as this is applied blanket fashion to both economy tiers, it really waters down the impetus to pay for the upgraded cabin.

Lufthansa response

Lufthansa confirmed to Simple Flying that these rumours are indeed true. The airline told us:

Lufthansa can confirm that we have further developed our service on intercontinental routes and will offer the new service from 28.11 onwards. The aim is to offer our customers a cross-fleet catering concept on all our long-haul routes. Over the past few months, we have carried out over 80 flights with various test scenarios. Thus, it was possible for us to establish a modern service according to current customer wishes thanks to feedback from our customers.

Here is an overview of the most important changes on intercontinental services:

  • We are offering a 0.5l water bottles now to all passengers, which was and remains a standard in Business Class and Premium Economy and is now being extended to Economy Class. This service is very well received by customers. We use recyclable PET bottles that remain 100 percent in the recycling process. If customers have finished their bottles, they are welcome to take another bottle in the galley.
  • The first full meal is warm in Economy Class and offers two alternatives. For the second meal, there will be a high-quality cold sandwich in Economy Class from 28.11. onwards. Many customers like the possibility of either enjoying this second meal immediately or packing it for the rest of their journey. This also results in an environmental aspect, as less packaging waste is generated.