For a full-service airline, moving from an on-board catering offer included in the ticket price to an on-board purchase model is a complex task. Passengers want decent, good-value food, and at the same time don’t want to feel like they’re suddenly paying through the nose for something an airline used to include in the package. price of their ticket.
And so in Germany, where Lufthansa unveiled its new Onboard Delights menu, replacing what was in a way a relatively generous inclusive offer, in partnership with Retail inMotion and GateGourmet.
The Onboard Delights – a brand image reminiscent of the automaton style Delights to Go snack option for frequent travelers – will be offered on flights over 60 minutes, flights under 30 minutes will be offered a chocolate and those under 60 will also receive a free bottle of mineral water.
The sandwiches, salad bowls and fruit / muesli jars are co-branded with German fresh food store Dean & David, while the coffee and pralines from Munich coffeehouse Aloïs Dallmayr are a super local touch.
It’s very interesting to see a strong flavor of Munich here, given the German airline’s recent concentration on its secondary MUC hub alongside its traditional Frankfurt home.
Back on the menu, several German wines are in the spotlight: a sparkling Riesling Sekt, a dry white Riesling, a dry white Weißburgunder Chardonnay and a light red Spätburgunder Pinot Noir, priced at € 7 or € 9, alongside a southern French rosé. France and a Spanish red Rioja.
The beer, on the other hand, is a regular or non-alcoholic Warsteiner, as previously served on board, and a Wolfscraft lager. Spirits, canned soft drinks and ambient snacks are offered; you’ll find standard global dishes like Jack Daniels, Coke, and Kettle Chips, along with a few local favorites including Haribo and apfelschörle.
It is good to see a strong emphasis on environmental and social responsibility among suppliers: bottles of ChariTea green tea, organic and fair trade Lemonaid lemonade, mineral waters and an organic nut bar from Share, Wolfscraft organic beer, paper bowls for the dean & david products, and with Dallmayr “a special Ethiopian coffee whose proceeds are linked to the support of various humanitarian projects in the Dano region”.
So far so good, but then we come to the price.
The sandwiches on offer are expensive at € 5.50, and are very small, their size unfortunately allowing direct comparisons with the previous inclusive offer, the famous (or infamous) Lufthansa half sandwich.
Competitors like the British Airways offer a full sandwich for less than the price of the new Lufthansa half-sandwich, and indeed the completely fresh versions of the half-sandwich in the Dean & David central store in Munich are € 3.75.
On the direct comparison note, keeping the Warsteiner brand seems like a bit of a goal, as it’s the same decent beer that Lufthansa used to give away for free, but now charges € 3.50. Yes, there is the Wolfscraft organic beer at 4.50 €, but Lufthansa is now asking 9 € for a half sandwich and a beer very comparable to what was distributed before.
Likewise, in terms of price, Dallmayr is a great co-brand, but € 3 for an airplane coffee and € 9 for four pralines could be considered excessive, although not quite. Swiss turkey sandwich at $ 10 and cold cuts at $ 17.
There is, however, a lot to like about the rest of the offering: it is well thought out, offers a real local flavor and shows a promise of sustainability and social responsibility.
Selected image credited to Lufthansa