Lufthansa Starts Charging For Alcohol On Long-Haul Flights

With the launch of its new ‘Onboard Delights Interkont’ catering concept, Lufthansa will begin charging for spirits in economy on long-haul flights. Meals will remain complimentary, as will the beer and wine to go along with them. The concept is reported to begin trialing in mid-October and launch across Lufthansa’s intercontinental network in December.

British Airways, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, United States
Lufthansa is trialing its new ‘Onboard Delights Interkont’ concept on routes to the US in mid-October. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

‘No more free schnapps’

In times like these, and ahead of the forthcoming state-aid reckoning, airlines need to find ways of cutting expenses more than ever. While the industry seems to be bouncing back from the worst of the crisis, carriers are still a far cry from their usual revenue numbers.

Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr might take issue with the single-digit ticket fares of his airline’s low-cost competitors. However, when it comes to catering, Lufthansa is not against taking a leaf out of the LCC book. In January this year, the airline removed complimentary food and drinks in short-haul economy, replacing them with the ‘Onboard Delights’ buy-onboard menu.

Lufthansa is now also shifting its long-haul catering concept and will soon no longer offer stronger alcoholic beverages to customers in economy class without charge. Or, in the words of German-speaking aviation news outlet the aeroTELEGRAPH – ‘no more free schnapps on Lufthansa’s long-haul routes’.

Lufthansa Starts Charging For Alcohol On Long-Haul Flights
The airline has already removed complimentary food and beverage for economy passengers on short-haul services. Photo: Lufthansa

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Onboard Delights Interkont to roll out before the end of the year

The new catering menu concept will be known as ‘Onboard Delights Interkont’. Economy class passengers will still be offered beer and wine free of charge but will have to pay for any liquor they would like to consume on board.

According to One Mile At A Time, Lufthansa is set to trial the new service idea on routes to Boston and LAX starting mid-month. Meanwhile, the carrier expects to roll out the concept across all of its long-haul services before the end of the year.

Lufthansa A330
The airline says ‘high-quality snacks and beverages’ will be offered between complimentary meals. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

‘Better meet individual needs’

However, there is a distinct difference between the short-haul ‘Onboard Delights‘ and its intercontinental sister concept. There will still be complimentary food and drinks in economy on Lufthansa’s long-haul flights (apart from the previously mentioned spirits). The new menu will instead serve as an additional offering. A spokesperson for Lufthansa shared the following statement with Simple Flying,

“Lufthansa’s product management is currently working on the further development of the culinary offer in economy class on long-haul flights. It is already clear that passengers will continue to receive a range of free meals and drinks. In addition, a wide selection of high-quality snacks and beverages will be offered for purchase between meals in the future to better meet the individual wishes of guests.”

What do you make of Lufthansa’s new intercontinental catering concept? Will you miss the free booze? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.