Business class has had a weird couple of years. Not only are some airlines ripping out business class seats to make way for premium economy, but there have been some serious cutbacks in business class itself too.
Since 2019 we’ve seen such incidents as Noodlegate (which involved some rather disgruntled business class passengers being served noodles) as well as more recently airlines ‘unbundling’ business class and removing automatic rights such as seat selection and lounge access for certain kinds of business class fares.
Some are huge fans of this, saying it offers greater flexibility, others not so much…
Enter: Lufthansa, and their new regional business class catering concept, “heimat,” which means “homeland,” and which is a little too homely for some passengers’ liking.
Speaking about a recent Lufthansa intra-European flight, Ben Schlappig of One Mile At A Time, compared the meal he recieved to an elementary school lunch.
“The whole meal kind of felt like that kid in elementary school who would try to trade his food with others, because it just didn’t look very appealing (and I’m being polite — I think the other comparison might be to Fyre Festival).”
What exactly did the meal look like then, that he was served? We’ll let him take it from here.
“On the short 45 minute afternoon flight from Frankfurt to Paris, I was served a totally different meal than what I’m used to on Lufthansa. After takeoff, the crew presented all business class passengers with a wrapped sandwich on a plate,” he wrote on One Mile At A Time.
He added: “Hmmm, this looked very different than what I’ve been offered in the past. I unwrapped it, and basically found (not particularly fresh-tasting) bread, cheese, and some sort of a spread.”
“There were no accompaniments. That’s… it? Nope, worry not, that’s not it. Just before landing, after trays were cleared, a basket with apples was brought around.”
“Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t particularly enjoy biting into apples when I haven’t washed my hands in a while, don’t have a knife, am not sure if the apple is clean, etc.”
He is not the only one who is not super impressed with Lufthansa’s sandwitches, with Matthew Klint of Live & Let’s Fly writing (somewhat satirically) of the sandwitch he recieved in economy in 2020: “You need to bring your own food if you are traveling in Lufthansa economy class…or just embrace the ‘Lufthansa Diet’.”
“Los Angeles to Frankfurt is 10.5 hours. I was quite hungry before landing. But this was served,” he wrote.
“You think it looks bad? You should have smelled it… Lukewarm egg salad on a plane with a slice of unidentified cheese and a soggy cucumber? No thanks…I’d rather not spend all day on the toilet. Seriously, no one ate it. No one my row, no one across from me, no one in front of me. It was pure waste,” (Live & Let’s Fly).
Lufthansa is not not alone in (so it seems) spinning cost cutting as a positive, with airlines worldwide having lost an estimated 370 billion USD in 2020, and needing to run a tight ship at the moment.
Though the cliche is it’s never a good look to complain about a premium product (becasue no matter how bad it is it’s still better than economy) there is an important discussion to be had about business class’ new normal and value for money – if airlines are still charging the same for business class, passengers have a right to ask for just as high quality an experience.