Feeling peckish towards the end of a long flight? On most airlines a second meal typically shows up an hour or two before landing. For economy and premium economy class passengers on Lufthansa, however, the hot meal will no longer be provided as of the end of November. It is being replaced with a cold veggie option. As a small give back those passengers will also now receive a 0.5 liter bottle of water on board. The news was first noted on a German frequent flyer message board this week.
Lufthansa will also change the headsets it distributes to passengers, opting for a lighter, disposable offering. The company expects to save 175 tons of fuel, which translates to 500 tons of CO2 emissions as a result of the shift. No word on the impact of manufacturing and disposing of the new headsets, however, to offset those emissions gains.
Delivering on the 5 Star promise??
The changes come as Lufthansa’s 777X deliveries are delayed, owing to production troubles at Boeing. The new planes were a large part of the carrier being awarded a 5 Star ranking from SkyTrax. Putting aside the part where those rankings are generally meaningless in terms of objective review of the product, the fact that Lufthansa will further delay introduction of the award-winning cabins and trim other services while waiting is not a good look.
That the cuts are also affecting the premium economy cabin is particularly unfortunate for Lufthansa passengers. Yes, the meals are the same for the two cabins so it would be difficult to not have the spillover impact in this way. But the cuts serve to highlight a focus only on the extra space as a justification for buying premium economy now. Given that other carriers Lufthansa competes with do vary the premium economy service offerings as well, the ability for the carrier to attract discretionary passengers into the premium – and best yielding per on board space – cabin could prove more difficult going forward.
Any way you slice it, cutting the on board service is a poor development for passengers. Trying to offset it with a water bottle (presumably heavier than the headsets being dropped) doesn’t solve that problem.