Austrian Airlines Bringing Back Flying Chefs

Austrian Airlines Bringing Back Flying Chefs

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Airlines made all kinds of service cuts during the pandemic. In many situations they started as a temporary measure, but became permanent. It’s nice to see that Austrian Airlines plans to bring back one of the best parts of its inflight service.

Austrian Airlines hiring inflight chefs

Austrian Airlines has historically had by far the best business class soft product of any Lufthansa Group airline. The airline has exceptional catering from DO & CO, and pre-pandemic the airline had “flying chefs.” These were cut during the pandemic, but will be making a comeback.

As noted by reader Klaus, Austrian Airlines is currently hiring inflight chefs, and plans to bring back the concept as of the summer of 2023. These chefs exclusively fly on long haul routes and work in business class.

Officially the requirements to be hired for this are fairly limited. The airline is looking for candidates with experience as a professional chef, who are fluent in German and English. However, there are no explicit experience requirements beyond that.

For those curious, pay for this role starts at €2,600 per month (€31,200 per year), depending on experience and qualifications. There are of course allowances while traveling, and the ability to earn more for picking up additional flying.

Austrian Airlines is bringing back inflight chefs in business class

Do inflight chefs actually make a difference?

Austrian isn’t the only airline to have this concept, so what exactly do these inflight chefs do? After all, it’s not like there’s much cooking that happens on planes, but rather meals are at best reheated, plated, etc.

Ultimately inflight chefs don’t do anything that flight attendants couldn’t do. However:

  • The presence of inflight chefs generally indicates that an airline is investing in its soft product
  • You can expect that more effort will be put into presentation (plating, garnishing, etc.) when there’s an inflight chef
  • On some level it’s marketing, as airlines that offer this market it heavily

I recently flew Austrian’s Boeing 777 business class from Chicago to Vienna. While it was a great experience, the absence of the inflight chef was noticeable. In the past there would be a trolley with appetizers and desserts, where everything would be plated at your seat. That was no longer the case.

Austrian Airlines’ current business class catering

Similarly, while Austrian has an excellent inflight coffee menu, it was significantly cut back compared to pre-pandemic.

Austrian Airlines’ inflight coffee specialties

With Austrian now bringing back inflight chefs, I imagine service will be fully restored, which is awesome. With Austrian also expected to get some Boeing 787s in the coming years with new business class seats, this will be a fantastic way to cross the Atlantic.

Bottom line

Austrian Airlines is expected to bring back its flying chef concept as of the summer of 2023, as the airline is currently hiring for this position. It reflects an overall investment in the soft product, and presumably means Austrian will bring back its full trolley service and coffee menu.

With so many cuts during the pandemic having been made permanent, it’s refreshing to see that’s not the case at Austrian.

What do you make of Austrian bringing back its inflight chefs?

Conversations (18)
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  1. Catherine McKeever Guest

    While I only fly short haul around Europe with them in Business class, I think they’re the best in Europe. The food is first class and the crew are exceptional

  2. Gordon Palmer Guest

    They will be forever let down by their antiquated hardware, and until they get some contemporary jets for long-haul (A350, 787 etc), it's going to be as much endurance as pleasure. Flying in J BKK-VIE on their 777, great food, great service, but we vibrated and roared our way across the skies - even my then 85 year old mother, who's hard of hearing, noticed. It ends up being oddly an exhausting experience.

  3. Jay M Guest

    As a frequent Austrian passenger I can say the experience is not the same without chef, and conversations with flight crew confirm that from their perspective chef added touches to improve the food. So this is excellent news. Danke Austrian!

  4. iamhere Guest

    They are probably a flight attendant in a different uniform and some chef related experience....

    1. KB Guest

      I haven’t noticed any downside to the hardware once we’re flying, but family, friends and I have encountered several delayed or canceled trips in the last year because of maintenance issues discovered while on the ground. Just three weeks ago my VIE-JFK flight on a 767 was delayed for two hours because of two maintenance issues, the later of which was apparently a faulty ABS on a brake.

  5. Christian Guest

    Austrian is bringing back the chefs or Do&Co is bringing back the chefs? I thought Do&Co paid their wages or at least a part of the wages? All I know is Austrian needs to get their catering and service back up to pre-pandemic levels. On a recent flight from VIE-JFK they had no snacks available in Business Class between the meal service and service in general was lackluster.

    1. Takhliq Khan Guest

      I just had the pleasure of taking Austrian airlines flight from VIE to EWR today. We arrived couple of hours ago.

      Crew was very charming, friendly and attentive. You can not say enough about the quality of food, menu choices, presentation and the portions. The ladies kept rolling in the carts and my family and i were stuffed. Who needs a snack in between meals when the 2 main meals are so good. Btw, one...

      I just had the pleasure of taking Austrian airlines flight from VIE to EWR today. We arrived couple of hours ago.

      Crew was very charming, friendly and attentive. You can not say enough about the quality of food, menu choices, presentation and the portions. The ladies kept rolling in the carts and my family and i were stuffed. Who needs a snack in between meals when the 2 main meals are so good. Btw, one can always approach any crew member and ask and i am sure they will find something for the passenger.

      Flew United Polaris to Frankfurt couple of weeks ago from IAD and food was a big disappointment.

    2. KB Guest

      The chefs are an upgrade option on catering packages with Do & Co. So since Austrian will be paying for that option again, technically they are bringing them back. But I believe you’re right, that their paycheck is from Do & Co.

  6. Klaus Guest

    @Bencanteur 31k is a respectable wage in Europe. Also that is usually after tax already, as customary there.

    1. Alex Guest

      Just to add, this figure will be before tax. In Europe the advertised salary is always pre tax :)

  7. Bencanteur Guest

    31k is poverty wages. Yikes.

  8. RF Diamond

    Take note AA, Delta & especially United.

  9. FMLAX Guest

    Worth noting that the degree to which a meal is reheated properly actually makes a difference. Most FAs I've flown with - with the notable exception of LH first and a couple other intl F - will just pop your main in the oven until it's tough as a boot. Fish, steak, you name it. I'm hopeful someone with actual culinary experience will take a much more nuanced approach.

  10. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Anyone have any idea which routes these will need used on? I know "Long Haul", but let's say from the US to Austria. Which city pairs? On another note: I wish OneWorld had more Central and Eastern European partners...

    1. Motion to Dismiss Gold

      Any route to the US is considered long haul.

  11. Randy Diamond

    Flew Austrian once. I thought the Chief on board was a nice touch and it made the food service seem more exclusive. Basically a FA with a white jacket and chief hat - but the food was served at the perfect temperature and more detail.

    1. Petri Diamond

      I thought that the chief hats can be worn only by native Americans.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Takhliq Khan Guest

I just had the pleasure of taking Austrian airlines flight from VIE to EWR today. We arrived couple of hours ago. Crew was very charming, friendly and attentive. You can not say enough about the quality of food, menu choices, presentation and the portions. The ladies kept rolling in the carts and my family and i were stuffed. Who needs a snack in between meals when the 2 main meals are so good. Btw, one can always approach any crew member and ask and i am sure they will find something for the passenger. Flew United Polaris to Frankfurt couple of weeks ago from IAD and food was a big disappointment.

2
Klaus Guest

@Bencanteur 31k is a respectable wage in Europe. Also that is usually after tax already, as customary there.

2
KB Guest

The chefs are an upgrade option on catering packages with Do & Co. So since Austrian will be paying for that option again, technically they are bringing them back. But I believe you’re right, that their paycheck is from Do & Co.

0
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