Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian to Ditch Free Snacks and Drinks in Economy

Lufthansa Group airlines Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian will remove free food, snacks and drinks from economy class on all short and medium haul routes.


The decision to ditch complimentary food and beverages on board its flights was announced this week in a Lufthansa Group press release.

Instead of offering a free snack or meal, as well as complimentary beverages, the Lufthansa Group airlines will now move to a full buy-on-board program.

Reportedly, Lufthansa and SWISS will still offer its passengers a complimentary water bottle, but everything else has to be bought on board from the crew. According to online media, Austrian will allegedly not even hand out free water bottles.

Passenger expectations

Although the decision to remove free snacks and drinks from the flights is likely to be very unpopular with passengers, Lufthansa Group tries to spin the news to make it sound like a positive move.

Mentioning “high-quality foods and beverages” and a “broad selection” of items, the airline group thinks it is actually a move which their passengers will appreciate.

Lufthansa Group executive board member Christina Foerster said: “Our current snack offer in Economy Class does not always meet the expectations of our guests.

“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.”

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Lufthansa planes at Frankfurt International Airport. ©Paliparan


Working in journalism, I can only say that it really sounds like a lot of typical PR hogwash to me. Sure, if you ask passengers whether they want more choice and better quality food, they will answer ‘yes’ without a doubt.

Yet I’ve never encountered a passenger who would come up with “yes remove those free snacks and beverages!” or “let’s move to a Ryanair low-cost model” as proposed solutions.

To me, removing free snacks and drinks means a sad devaluation of the Lufthansa, Austrian and Swiss brand. That said, the airlines are not alone, as previously British Airways already removed complimentary snacks and drinks from its intra-European flights.

Lufthansa Group carriers Brussels Airlines and Eurowings already had buy-on-board menus on their intra-European flights as well.

swiss eu delay airline flight compensation regulation
Swiss will implement a buy-on-board menu starting in Spring 2021. ©Paliparan

What to expect on board?

The new buy-on-board menu will only apply to short and mid-haul routes, starting in spring 2021. On long-haul flights, Austrian, Lufthansa and Swiss will still serve complimentary food and drinks.

If you fly in business class on Austrian, Lufthansa or Swiss, then nothing will change as you will still get a complimentary premium snack or meal, as well as drinks.

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

2 thoughts on “Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian to Ditch Free Snacks and Drinks in Economy

  • November 19, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Currently on Swiss the business class offering from GVA is a choice from the BoB trolley. I wonder how long it will be until that is the offering across the group – and then it will be just like Eurowings.

    • Avatar photo
      November 20, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      Not only Eurowings, SAS does it as well! I’m still quite surprised by Swiss going this way as they experienced with BoB before in economy and reversed it. Must have been the LH group pressure this time! If I would be an airline executive I would anyway never have agreed with the GVA experiment. Isn’t consistency across all routes/flights the key and normally a major selling point?

      That said, if the GVA BoB was introduced by a German for the sole purpose to annoy the French I could understand it though 😉


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