Lufthansa Operates Its Annual Oktoberfest Flights Despite COVID-19

Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 crisis has meant that the world-famous Oktoberfest beer festival has been canceled for the first time in over 70 years. However, this didn’t stop Lufthansa from celebrating its annual Oktoberfest traditions on a handful of routes worldwide.

Lufthansa, Munich, Oktoberfest
Lufthansa didn’t let Oktoberfest’s cancellation get it down. Photo: Bernd Gareis via Lufthansa

As Germany’s flag carrier, Lufthansa plays a key role in ferrying thousands of tourists and beer lovers to Munich each year from around the world. After all, Munich is Lufthansa’s second-largest hub behind the German capital of aviation in Frankfurt. However, 2020 has been a little different. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed things around the world, not least for airlines such as Lufthansa, who have to cope with a considerable drop in demand.

Lufthansa’s Oktoberfest celebrations

Every year Lufthansa celebrates Oktoberfest. This is typically observed on flights and within the airport in Munich. However, this year the celebrations will be slightly more subdued. Yesterday the airline operated one significant Oktoberfest flight.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.

The flight, from Munich to New York’s Newark airport, was operated by an Airbus A350. Last year the celebrations were focused around the Airbus A380, which Lufthansa recently said would likely never fly again.

Lufthansa, Munich, Oktoberfest
Sadly the Airbus A380 couldn’t be part of this year’s celebrations. Photo: Alex Tinto Friedel via Lufthansa

But what makes Lufthansa’s Oktoberfest flights special in the time of COVID-19? The crew on selected flights will be hanging up their usual Lufthansa uniforms. In their place, the “dirndl crew” dons traditional Barvarian dress.

For male cabin crew members, the Barvarian dress is short lederhosen accompanied by dark blue vests. Meanwhile, the ladies don the traditional Barvarian dirndl dress, which is dark blue. A silver-grey apron accompanies this. Each year the costumes are made for Lufthansa by Angermaier. Angermaier is a Munich based company specializing in designing and creating traditional Barvarian clothes.

Sad that you’ve missed out? Well, not to worry, flights with a Dirndl Crew will operate until Friday. The crew in Barvarian dress will be found on flights to various European destinations from Munich. These are Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Manchester, Santorini, Sylt, and Vienna.

Lufthansa, Munich, Oktoberfest
Each year Dirndl Crews don traditional Barvarian dress. Photo: Bernd Gareis via Lufthansa

What about beer?

Lufthansa has been operating its select Oktoberfest flights since 1957. In 2018 we saw the airline carrying beer in kegs that could be safely “tapped” in the pressurized cabin environment. However, this year things seem slightly more subdued.

Lufthansa will serve passengers in business class Weissbier on request. Oktoberfest specialties such as trout and Bavarian cream are being served up in the business class cabin on these flights.

Lufthansa, Munich, Oktoberfest
Previous years have seen beer served from kegs on flights. Photo: Alex Tino Friedel via Lufthansa

Lufthansa is also observing the tradition in its Munich Airport lounges. Passengers can choose between typical Bavarian dishes such as Leberkäs’, cabbage, or potato salad. There are also roasted almonds, pretzel pearls, and Oktoberfest beer on offer to those eligible for lounge access.

Have you traveled on a flight with a Dirndl Crew? Let us know your experience in the comments!