The Lufthansa Group of airlines dipped in to the airline ancillary product enhancement bin this week, promising upgraded meals on short-haul flights, for a price. Starting in spring 2021, passengers “will be able to purchase a broad selection of high-quality foods and beverages on board to suit their needs.”
As with other airlines that went down the same path, the airline says the move addresses customer demand. The standard, complimentary snack will no longer be served.
“Our current snack offer in Economy Class does not always meet the expectations of our guests,” explains Christina Foerster, Member of the Executive Board Lufthansa Group responsible for Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility. “The new offer was developed on the basis of feedback from our customers. With the high-quality offer available for purchase, our passengers will be able to decide what they want to eat and drink on their journey.”
The new offer will be introduced in phases as of spring 2021. Austrian Airlines will begin, followed by SWISS and Lufthansa. The new products will feature regional influences, with a mix of fresh food and shelf-stable snacks. The individual airlines will reveal their specific offerings in the coming months.
Meeting customer demands
On-board meal service is a challenge more than a decade old. Continental Airlines tried to keep “meals at meal times” for years after other US carriers scrubbed the free food from service and, while it made for a great tag line in commercials, it did not deliver any revenue differentiation.
Indeed, one can easily find parallels in the statement made by Lufthansa today and that by Continental EVP Jim Compton in 2010, “Our traditional free-food model has served us well for many years, but we need to change to reflect today’s market and customer preference.”
And the truth is that the free meal is not good. A stale half-sandwich, assuming the catering team isn’t on strike, probably is not worth fighting for.
Whether that means the airlines must start selling meals or just make the freebie better is up for debate, perhaps. But the existing catering is hard to defend as a bastion of quality or value.
Supported by Retail in Motion
The on-board sales offerings will be supported by Retail in Motion (RiM) a leading provider of retail and technology solutions for airlines. The partnership will deliver a new level of integrated passenger and crew experience on RiM’s digital platforms.
“This contract win confirms RiM’s high quality and premium standards, as well as its market-leading digital innovation capabilities, which have been consistently developed over the years,” said Stefan Patermann, Chief Executive Officer of Retail inMotion.
Retail in Motion is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LSG Group which is a subsidiary of Lufthansa Group.
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