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