Details Of Lufthansa’s Updated Onboard Service

Filed Under: Lufthansa

Airlines around the world are adjusting service protocols in light of coronavirus. What’s surprising is the vastly different approaches that airlines are taking.

For example, comparing premium cabin service:

Well, Lufthansa has now revealed a “simplified” onboard service concept for flights through August 31, 2020, and surprisingly little will be changing.

Lufthansa’s new onboard service

Lufthansa claims to have worked with virologists to scrutinize all processes on board planes, and has adapted them to prioritize health.

Surprisingly little is changing onboard, though it’s noted that cabin crew won’t be serving open meals in the cabin, and print material onboard is being minimized (only the menu card and safety card will continue to be offered).

Service changes on short and medium haul flights

Service in short and medium haul economy will be adjusted based on the flight time, and this is where the biggest changes to service are happening:

  • On flights of under 50 minutes, there will be no service
  • On flights of 50 to 150 minutes, there will be a bottle of water
  • On flights of 150 to 180 minutes, there will be a snack and the usual beverage service
  • On flights of more than 180 minutes, there will be an additional vegetarian sandwich option
  • There will be no pillows available in economy on these flights

We’re seeing the most service changes in short haul economy

Meanwhile in business class:

  • Food and drink service will continue as usual
  • Freshly washed blankets will be available on night flights, but pillows won’t be available on any flights

Service will continue as normal in business class

Service changes on long haul flights

On long haul flights, service changes will truly be quite minimal.

In long haul economy:

  • A vegetarian dish and the usual beverage service will be offered
  • Special meals may be ordered in advance
  • Disposable headphones will be offered

In long haul premium economy:

  • There will be a menu card, and passengers can choose from two dishes
  • Special meals may be ordered in advance
  • Disposable headphones will be offered

In long haul business class:

  • There will be a menu card, and passengers can choose from three dishes
  • All snacks are individually packaged

Service in business class won’t change much

In long haul first class:

Service in first class won’t change much

Bottom line

As you can see, airlines are taking different approaches to onboard service in light of coronavirus. Personally I respect whatever approach airlines choose to take in the short-term. Flying won’t be fun no matter what for a while, and I recognize that there’s no right or wrong answer in terms of what service should be provided.

Lufthansa is being mild with service cuts here, and in first and business class it’s more or less business as usual. That’s quite a contrast to Turkish Airlines.

What do you make of Lufthansa’s COVID-19 onboard service concept?

(Tip of the hat to James)

  1. Yet BA continues to serve a slice of pizza and a kitkat in longhaul F – with no alcohol. Total joke.

    If they can hand you a bottle of water, they can hand you a can of beer…

  2. Why can’t the airlines use their entertainment system to display the menu items on individual screens instead of printing and wasting menus?

  3. What a great news in such troubling times! I believe its LH and LX are having the same decisions to keep premium services as good as possible. We just need more postive outcomes of the pandemic, behave nicely to one another and follow as profoundly as possible the health measures and we can fly and discover the world again…I do not know how you feel…but I am excited that countries are opening up! ..

  4. Kudos LH for figuring out a way to navigate through this complex issue while validating their approach with virologists. I also agree with the aforementioned statements here: if they can serve you water etc then they can serve you a glass (or plastic cup) of wine. I agree that it is in the best interest of everyone right now to minimize contact points and streamline service but it doesn’t have to be sacrificed altogether- just some temporary common sense changes are needed.

    I was recently on a 4 hour flight on AA in F and when I asked for wine the FA told me that they aren’t serving alcohol, contrary to what the website says about it being “on request” up front. I didn’t make a big deal about it but was a little annoyed about the lack of consistency (I was offered wine/drinks on another flight on AA a few days prior). Moving forward, I think that service can potentially resume sooner than later in coach as well (baring a resurgence with the virus)- perhaps they consider using contactless payment options for drinks/food for purchase or to buy-up online prior to the flight to minimize contact? Just some ideas.

  5. Surprising / Pretty hilarious to see how the same fools who keep complaining about BA onboard services persist in… Well … Flying BA in business or First and coming to express their frustrations on travel blogs.

  6. In some countries the main catering suppliers are either closed or have significantly reduced operations. Thus inspects their customers ie the airlines

  7. Am totally sure Turkish Airlines will be reviewing & upgrading their recent decisions on catering after this.

  8. Thank you LH for not going cheap. I am a Super Elite 100K member and AC is needs to take a page from LH’s book.

  9. No pillows at all? This whole thing is ridiculous and exactly the reason I cancelled my biz class flight on Turkish. This has nothing to do with safety. If it did, the service in first class would be cut just like the rest of the classes/cabins. This is a complete cost saving measure with a little bit of less contact thrown in. The whole purpose of this exercise is to not piss off the elites/people who are still buying first class tickets. Everyone else is economy can get whatever and nobody cares. But def don’t piss off your highest paying and revenue generating customers at this time. As always, the top tier gets away mostly unscathed and the rest are the ones who have to deal with little to no service. If you can hand me a bottle of water, you can hand me a hot tray of food in business. Absolute joke. Don’t waste your money or time on premium until this is fully over.

  10. Klm offers you boxed snack in J. Despite they mentioned on their website that they offer a meal on flight longer then 9 hours,they do not.

  11. My husband and I flew Lufthansa business class from Frankfurt to Chicago when we had to return to the US after our travels got derailed by the pandemic. We were bracing for impact, thinking it would be a nasty flight, but were pleasantly surprised. LH did a great job. The food was great… we are both vegan and the special meals were excellent, mostly indian vegan curries plus interesting salads with roasted veggies. Plus good wines and reasonable champagne. Service was great! Other than wearing a mask and no lounges, still felt like business class.

  12. “Why can’t the airlines use their entertainment system to display the menu items on individual screens instead of printing and wasting menus?”

    I like the idea, and ordering items via the IFE should be possible too. However this would require a massive upgrade of many systems in terms of reliability, responsiveness and ease-of-use. “Oh you want to order champagne but your system crashed? Let me see if I can reset the whole thing…” 😉

  13. Revise the safety card to a one pager and laminate it to the seat in front.
    Get passengers to preselect meals online then skip it altogether.

  14. It‘s obvious, that cost cutting in economy is the goal. It‘s the Ryanair virus, they‘re fighting against, isn‘t it? -)

  15. Fine nice touch by LH; my question without a clear answer is so far, when will we be able to book an LH flight ending in Austria as an American citizen? As soon as I hear, I will buy a round trip ticket. Mr Kurz needs a call. American tourists are waiting; LH can stop the bleeding on their monthly balance sheet, an old man wants to spend another summer in the Alps. Thank you

  16. I was looking for details of commensurate fare reductions where the service is reduced but couldn’t find any details.

  17. Air Canada now offers only a pathetic boxed snack + water on longhaul business class. But of course Ben wouldn’t mention that as he only sings the praises of AC. I wonder why?

  18. Far too many corporations are using the virus as an excuse for substandard service.

  19. Lucky a little off topic but can you please have a look at what is going on with Lufthansa redemptions? I can’t seem to be able to get any availability for anything (trying to book through Lifemiles or Aegean). Thank you!

  20. It would be great if you could do a full list of all airlines who have announced changes so that people can compare. Or if you know of another site that has developed that, a referral to them would be great. Thanks for this info on LH. This was great.

  21. I guess nobody will fly with BA any longer? definitely not in First or Business
    Talking about LH..any idea when limo transfer will be back and First Terminal/First Lounges will be reopened?

  22. @ Ben Lucky

    Of course there’s no right or wrong answer, but some are more right than others. If LH is trying to maintain some semblance of normality they should be rewarded for it. And in your Bottom Line comments you should support that instead of dissembling to keep everyone in your reader list happy.

  23. I cant even fathom that I am considering adding a layover and flying LH over Turkish Airlines (JFK-IST)…..

  24. I am astonished at all the favorable comments towards Lufthansa. Those of us who fly economy within Europe will be screwed. We’re going to get a bottle of water — nothing more. This is inexcusable. Lufthansa used to serve us a simple cold sandwich, a second cold food item, and choice of beverages on these flights. No reason for them to do away with that. If enough of us in economy abandon Lufthansa and fly Ryanair or Easy Jet instead, they’ll have to raise fares for those smug happy points-and-milers who fly business class.

    And only a vegetarian dish in long-haul economy??? That’s absurd! We’ll be starving again before the flight is halfway across the Atlantic. Where’s the meat? Meanwhile the food in business class will be as it was before the crisis.

    And Lucky as the nerve to write, “Lufthansa is being mild with service cuts here.” He sounds like Marie Antoinette saying, “Let them eat cake.”

  25. Most of the ‘contact points’ in food preparation and service is very behind the scenes, in the galley, and in the kitchens, and delivery from there to the aircraft. If all these contact points have been scrutinised and enhancements made (and there’s plenty of scope) then you can get what LH is now allegedly providing in their premium cabins.
    Regarding the outrage here about the near non-existent offering in Y, there is no reason, other than COST SAVINGS why a hot meal cannot be offered where appropriate. They can be foil-covered, as we are all familiar with, and are delivered with tongs anyway since they are hot! Cold items would be plastic wrapped, as is the disposable cutlery. Nothing radical there.
    As for coffee and tea, you wouldn’t drink that on an aircraft in Y even in the best of times would you?

  26. “As for coffee and tea, you wouldn’t drink that on an aircraft in Y even in the best of times would you?”

    I was thinking of the wine that Lufthansa has traditionally offered in economy. But, for the record, I do drink the coffee, and I haven’t died from it, nor have I gotten sick.

  27. I don’t get this. How is plane different from a restaurant? I can get a proper meal served in a proper way on ground, so why can’t I get the same on board an aircraft?

    I suspect that airlines which cut catering are only using COVID as an excuse to save money, because nothing else makes any sense. Whenever I’ve been to a restaurant or bar in last three weeks, it was the normal service, except that staff wore face masks (and depending on jurisdiction, there may have been an increased space between tables). But somehow, certain airlines (not Lufthansa but for example BA or KL) believe that once we’re in the air, getting a salt shaker on my table will kill me and everyone around. Ridiculous.

  28. I fail to see how Lufthansa should be applauded for this? This is a reducement of economy service that you can absolutely bet will remain even after Corona. Removing the choice of two economy meals to only one vegetarian meal for everybody is absolutely a big deal. As is the reduction of almost all economy service on short- and midhaul. This is clearly a cost-cutting measure disguised as a health safety measure.

  29. Some of your coments regarding the changes in Economy class are right. It is disturbing how LH are cutting services here and probably would not come back for a while or never. I am just personally happy that regarding premium classes and services with LH/LX, they are not taking the path which SQ and TK did. I hope it did not come so condescending on my side but if it is so than I have to admit ” guilty”. I have not flown in Economy for decades and mostly fly Bus. and First. That makes you to certain aspects of flying “out of touch”. But I hope I would not be ” guillotined” here. LOL, Peace!

  30. It’s just the usual cost savings under the disguise of COVID necessities. Flying in Economy has so deteriorated in the last 40 years. Whenever you think it cannot go any lower, they find new excuses. One of the frequent topics on US television during the epidemy is: ‘Star cook prepares meals for thousands of people affected by unemployment.’ etc. Well, a kitchen is a kitchen. If he can do it, and the employees can wear gloves, and masks in food prep, why shouldn’t the big caterers be able to do the same? Serving a decent meal or drinks on a plane is not much different from me bringing food to my virus free home, just doing everything along the way with a bit more awareness to avoid cross contamination. And why no drinks? What are you able to contaminate when you pour gin out of a bottle and hand me a can of tonic, maybe accompanied by a disinfecting wipe?

  31. I must say that I would prefer to bring my own food for these flights versus continue to eat LH same old menu for the past several years which they have been serving from Germany to Newark choice of chicken or cheese pasta in economy and premium and a knockoff of a hot pocket for breakfast in economy ,and in premium a slim breakfast dish. Although within Europe their sandwiches are pretty good and I am surprised they wont serve those on long haul breakfast flights that would be the food aspect. Eveyone is worried about a pillow , alchohol beverages, but has anyone considered the cleanliness of the seats,trays,screens etc quite discusting. Prices go up for tickets lousy food, and not up to par cleanliness doesn’t matter which class. So to conclude either they should change the menu complety and clean up their interior, or serve minimal as they do anyway,but the drop the prices on airfare and luggage, because ultimately economy pays for business to fly.

  32. My question is why bother being a “ mileage whore” and play the game if the reward is substandard service?

  33. TK rolled the dice by going to the extreme on premium catering and has lost their bet. People will now actively avoid them and choose LH or another carrier with common sense. I predict the long haul snack boxes will be quickly and quietly retired as TK suddenly “realizes” that serving hot meals is perfectly safe.

  34. I just flew from MEX to FRA the last 4th of June (the day when this route re opened), I paid 75 000 Miles and Bonus miles (Aegean Air) for a first class ticket with LH and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised that the service was the same as usual with only two exceptions: they don’t give hot towels anymore, and you can not serve your own champagne, that they normally leave the bottle for self service the whole flight. Besides this unimportant changes the rest was fabulous. Also I think it is important to mention that the United Airlines lounge in MEX was closed, so no there is no access for first and biz class passengers to any lounge, even when other priority pass lounges were open, however I was offered to be escorted from the check in counter to the gate, which I reclined, and went directly to another lounge. I am so happy I chose LH to fly these days.

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