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How Come European Carriers Still Offer Free Food?  
User currently offlineB777A340Fan From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 775 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7084 times:

Hi there - I recently returned from a trip to Europe and noticed that many european carriers still offered free food, even on flights lasting less than 1 hour! So I thought to myself, does offering food really help save that much money? AF, KLM, LX, to name a few, are more or less of the same as UAL, AA, DL, etc. and still offer food. So is getting rid of food services a mere cover-up to generate more profits, instead of saving?

61 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSevenair From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 1728 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6957 times:

These flights are few and far between. Between EZY and FR, they handle a vast proportion of insra european flights, together with "lite" versions of flag carriers (ie click, connect etc) none of which give food for free. I have not seen any fare reductions on the routes I use which once gave away food on. I've seen the airport tax rise significantly, but the actual fare is the same. Bit like Dyson/M+S - they introduced strict cost cutting measures, but the prices have not came down, but their profit margins have increased!

User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7503 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6900 times:

Subject to correction, one of the largest US domestic carriers offers free food on flights over a certain length also, guess who. WN

User currently offlineASFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2005, 1191 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6886 times:

Quoting Par13del (Reply 2):
Subject to correction, one of the largest US domestic carriers offers free food on flights over a certain length also, guess who. WN

I think that they mean more than peanuts and cookies and crackers.


User currently offlineTheginge From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 1132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6869 times:

A lot of the mainline carriers such as BA are still offering free food on European routes to distingusih themselves from the low cost airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair.
Sometimes their prices depending on when you book can be similar as well, never as low as £1 but around the £60 mark which you sometimes have to pay, or more, on a low cost.

The free food and drink sets them apart from the low costs.

Some mainline airlines have stopped free food and drink on shorter flights, for instance Aer Lingus doesn't serve anything in Economy between London and Dublin.


User currently offlinePanamair From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4956 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6838 times:
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Quoting B777A340Fan (Thread starter):
does offering food really help save that much money? AF, KLM, LX, to name a few, are more or less of the same as UAL, AA, DL, etc. and still offer food. So is getting rid of food services a mere cover-up to generate more profits, instead of saving?

Even though they are still offering food, even AF, KL, LX, BA, etc. are all cutting down and are nowhere near where they were a few years ago either. And the 'food' is not really that substantial anyway: LX offers a muffin for breakfast and sandwiches otherwise. KL offers a tiny sandwich for breakfast and a roll/pastry while AF offers just snacks (crackers, biscuits) on short-hauls. So yes, even those carriers know that cutting down on food is a savings and not just a ruse for more profits.


User currently offlineAJO From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 577 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6836 times:

AFAIK Aer Lingus doesn't serve anything in Economy period, except on their A330 long haul flights.


bla
User currently offlineAirbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8577 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6805 times:

Quoting Panamair (Reply 5):
Even though they are still offering food, even AF, KL, LX, BA, etc. are all cutting down and are nowhere near where they were a few years ago either. And the 'food' is not really that substantial anyway: LX offers a muffin for breakfast and sandwiches otherwise. KL offers a tiny sandwich for breakfast and a roll/pastry while AF offers just snacks (crackers, biscuits) on short-hauls. So yes, even those carriers know that cutting down on food is a savings and not just a ruse for more profits.

Well, Europeans in general eat far smaller meals than Americans do so what may seem like a "tiny" sandwich for you is not really that tiny for the average European  Smile

But I agree, they are all cutting service although you still find better onboard service amongst the European legacy carriers than you do with the American legacy carriers. Some airlines I flew with recently within europe on flights less than 3 hours were LH, KL, TP, BA. They all offered a full free meal whether it was breakfast or lunch.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31259 posts, RR: 85
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6802 times:
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My experiences on short-haul intra-Europe LH is that they serve food in Business Class, but not Economy. This tracks to most US carriers, who still serve it in First Class, but not Economy. I cannot speak for the other European carriers.

User currently offlineEI787 From Ireland, joined Jan 2006, 1513 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6788 times:
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Quoting Theginge (Reply 4):
for instance Aer Lingus doesn't serve anything in Economy between London and Dublin.



Quoting AJO (Reply 6):
AFAIK Aer Lingus doesn't serve anything in Economy period, except on their A330 long haul flights.

Yes, that's correct. Aer Lingus stopped serving free food and drink a few years back on all of its short-haul routes.


User currently offlinePanamair From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4956 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6778 times:
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Quoting Airbazar (Reply 7):
Well, Europeans in general eat far smaller meals than Americans do so what may seem like a "tiny" sandwich for you is not really that tiny for the average European

Trust me, this was a tiny one (breakfast flight ZRH-AMS) by any standard, which was half the size of the sandwich they used to serve on the same route just six months ago....

Quoting Airbazar (Reply 7):
Some airlines I flew with recently within europe on flights less than 3 hours were LH, KL, TP, BA. They all offered a full free meal whether it was breakfast or lunch.

Was this in Y? And what routes? I've done BA on LHR-ZRH, KL on ZRH-AMS, LX on multiple ex-ZRH flights and all of them offered at most sandwiches and a drink.


User currently offlineAlespesl From Czech Republic, joined Jan 2004, 583 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6697 times:

Czech Airlines still serves food. Even on their domestic routes operated by ATR 42. I flew on Brno (BRQ) to Prague (PRG) route, 25 minutes in the air and we got a snack box with sandwich, juice, coffee or tea.


Next Flight: Dec 06 PRG-WAW ATR72, Dec 07 WAW-PRG ATR42 with Czech Airlines.
User currently offlineYULWinterSkies From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2184 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6643 times:

I would rather reverse the question:
How come most American carriers don't offer free food anymore?

It's more N America being the exception than Europe... Although Europe is getting more and more N American in this domain (and others...)



When I doubt... go running!
User currently offlineKeego From Ireland, joined Jan 2006, 190 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6613 times:

Quoting EI787 (Reply 9):
Quoting AJO (Reply 6):
AFAIK Aer Lingus doesn't serve anything in Economy period

They do a real nice breakfast which costs €7, not free but its worth it.


User currently offlineSv2008 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2006, 622 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6612 times:

My dad flies to France and AMS frequently on business, the amount the company pays for the tickets, they should give them food!

I think thats the key point, is that business travellers pay so much more (triple sometimes) it makes it worthwhile to serve food and keep their customers happy.

Going to BKK this year was the first time in years I've had food on a plane! I'm sure we given meals when we used to fly to Spain in the late 1980s - less than 2 hours!


User currently offlineGoldorak From France, joined Sep 2006, 1860 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6589 times:

Quoting Panamair (Reply 5):
while AF offers just snacks (crackers, biscuits) on short-hauls

wrong : on domestic flights, you have bakeries (croissants, etc) during breakfast hours (until 9 or 9:30) and sandwiches during lunch and dinner hours.


User currently offlineMk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6565 times:

Can't comment on intra-european flights, haven't done it in a long time.

But try a flight between DEL-BOM on any of the indian carriers. Believe me, you won't be disappointed. Most serve decent Indian meals which is quite awesome as opposed to the crackers, chips or cookies on flight in the US.



come fly with me
User currently offlineANstar From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 5304 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6559 times:

I flew LHR-GLA last Saturday at 10am with BA and received a yummy hot breakfast. Bacon, Eggs, Sausage, Mushroom & Tomato with Roll, Coffee & OJ. All in economy and on a 1 hour flight!

User currently offlineWSOY From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6543 times:

Finnair serves meals inclusive in all classes on flights with a duration of more than 2 hours.

User currently offlinePanamair From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4956 posts, RR: 25
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6527 times:
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Quoting Goldorak (Reply 15):
wrong : on domestic flights, you have bakeries (croissants, etc) during breakfast hours (until 9 or 9:30) and sandwiches during lunch and dinner hours.

which makes it all the more pathetic that intra-European flights like CDG-AMS or CDG-FRA (certainly more international than the Navette) offer only the "sweet" (biscuits) or "salty" (crackers) option on AF in Tempo.


User currently offlineGoldorak From France, joined Sep 2006, 1860 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6503 times:

Quoting Panamair (Reply 19):
which makes it all the more pathetic that intra-European flights like CDG-AMS or CDG-FRA (certainly more international than the Navette) offer only the "sweet" (biscuits) or "salty" (crackers) option on AF in Tempo

I fly very regularly intra-european routes on AF tempo and I always had light meal (breakfast, sandwiches, fruit tarts, etc) during meal times. Outside meal hours, service is limited to beverages and crackers/biscuits


User currently offlinePanamair From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4956 posts, RR: 25
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6456 times:
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Quoting Goldorak (Reply 20):
I fly very regularly intra-european routes on AF tempo and I always had light meal (breakfast, sandwiches, fruit tarts, etc) during meal times. Outside meal hours, service is limited to beverages and crackers/biscuits

Come to think of it, you're right (my bad), most of my recent intra-European AF flights have all been outside of proper meal times, hence the crackers and biscuits (same ones as in the AF Salons). Thanks for the correction...


User currently offlineBigSky123 From Slovenia, joined Dec 2005, 149 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6442 times:

OS has decided to reintroduce inflight meals, staring October06, on their intra-european flights. They used to only serve a bottle of water in Y.

User currently offlineB777A340Fan From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 775 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6413 times:

Yes, I'm not talking about cheese crackers....I'm talking about sandwiches and drinks (including wine and beer that would cost $5 might I add) that most american carriers would offer on coast-to-coast flights if at all. I flew CDG-AMS; AMS-CPH; CDG-ZRH; flights that are serviced with 737s and 318s/319s and each less of an hour. Once seat belt signs were turned off, flight attendants would start serving the meals and once they get to the end of the cabin, the captain would make a general announcement about starting decent. A lot of people didn't even have time to finish. So yes, it's not just a cookie and water.

User currently offlineGoldorak From France, joined Sep 2006, 1860 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 6308 times:

Quoting Afay1 (Reply 24):
So you are saying that in economy class on AF/KLM/SK/LX you got a full hot meal with free beer/wine in economy class on these intra-european flights?

on AF, hot meals are served on EU routes only on the longest flights (more than 3 hrs). On shorter flights, it's cold meal. Alcohol is free on all AF flights (domestic, EU, long-haul) and I think it's the case for all legacy EU carriers


25 Justloveplanes : I hope BA starts serving Haggis......
26 BAStew : This is the catering schedule for BA short-haul flights in economy (ex LHR): All flights: Complimentary alcoholic/non alcoholic drinks bar 'Band 1 + 2
27 ZRH : Why such a fuss about food on short flights. I even feel disturbed by the stressed service. When I don't fly, I don't eat every two hours. Why should
28 Dank : I had a sandwich (not much of one, but something) on an LH flight from MXP-FRA last year. I'd also like to point out that it isn't as much the airlin
29 Ckfred : You have a point. If my wife is flying ORD-STL, departing ORD at 2:30pm and arriving around 3:30pm, she doesn't need a snack. On the other hand, if t
30 Asgeirs : BAStew, do you know into which category the 5-times-a-week LGW-KEF (Keflavik, Iceland) flights (BA2790/BA2791) fall? I travelled on this leg last May
31 Boysteve : The smallest sandwich I have ever seen was served to me on an LH flight MAN-FRA. I nearly called Norris McWurter to verify it's record breaking small
32 Dank : I've lived in, and also travelled fairly extensively throughout Europe and concur that the "sandwich" I had on LH was the smallest I have ever seen.
33 Post contains images BAStew : Hey Asgeirs, KEF is a band 4 service. But as the flight is out of LGW the catering is different. It has lower costs and all catering is return catere
34 Post contains images Asgeirs : Thanks BAStew for the information. It's not THAT cold here you know... Kidding aside - it would of course not be bad to get a hot meal, but at least t
35 Dean : Malev has recently upgraded its catering service on its entire European destination network. Flights up to 1:30 hrs: sandwich. Flights longer than 1,5
36 767Lover : I was charged for a soda (Coke) on a BA flight from Paris-Manchester. Ticket was 170 pounds one-way. I thought (nonalcoholic) drinks should have been
37 COERJ : I was given a hot breakfast on a 1 hour SAS flight from CPH-OSL which was shocking considering that I don't even get a meal on a 6 hour transcontinent
38 Avianca : this counds for intra-german LH flights.... on european flight you get also in Eco a small snack (small sandwich, etc...)
39 TristarSteve : SAS are strange in that hot breakfast in economy is free on Domestic and intra-scandinavian flights, but has to be paid for on European flights.
40 Ikramerica : For many travelers, it's their only opportunity to get something to eat at that time. If they are traveling for business, they may have just rushed t
41 BCAL : I recently flew LGW-MAN on an early morning BA flight. The journey was under an hour and I was surprised that they served a hot breakfast just like a
42 UpperDeck79 : To be exact it goes like this:
43 Post contains links Semobeila : Not even that many airlines are still serving food, Austrian today announced that they were going to re-introduce food on short-haul flights. http://w
44 LO231 : This week I flew WAW-BRU on LOT Polish Airlines (1h50min). We were served a hot meal, soft drinks, coffe, tea, wine, beer and liquor are free.. Regard
45 BAStew : As the domestic flighst are all one class (no club available) we get quite a mix of passengers from those paying the lowest fares to Exec Club Premie
46 PanHAM : they get more and more competition from Air Berlin and niki who still serve a fairly decent sandwich for free. The hot meals niki offers for € 7,00
47 Post contains images CRJ900 : I think early morning domestic and intra-Scandinavian flights are the big money makers in the SAS system and hence they try to woo those pax a little
48 Continental : I've always had food on my flights in Europe. Last one was in late August of 2005 on SN Brussels. We got a box with a sandwich, pasta salad, etc. It w
49 Sukhoi : To sum this up!? Flag carriers IB, OV, BT, Aer Lingus and SK (exception SK serve hot breakfast on intra Scandinavian routes) are buy onboard airlines
50 A3 : Dear North American friends , This should make you think ¡°how more low¡° will the service in your region will fall. Today Arabian , Asian and Eur
51 Ikramerica : True, but this is not as true: Well, actually, they do pay what the market will bare for their region, but it's less in many of those regions than wh
52 Malmoaviation : They don't pay such high salary to their employees, and might have a better and faster management. You get more customers by offering free food, not b
53 BMED : Hmm............ I agree, when I travel back home from uni I leave at 6am and don't get home till 3pm. By the time I get a taxi, then a bus, then a 6.
54 Post contains images Dangould2000 : Most (if not all) british charter airlines serve meals on every flight, There are some airlines like My Travel, BMI, Thomas Cook and ThomsonFly, which
55 BMED : So if I didn't pay extra for a meal I would still get one, thats brill. If the policy changed and only people who paid for a meal were allowed one wo
56 A3 : I Guess that there is some truth there. I do not imply that you lie , but traveling with several of the carriers from the regions I mentioned , I fin
57 PanHAM : when flying for little money on a low cost airline, it is better to pay extra for a good meal than having some inedible stuff free of charge. I was q
58 Icarus75 : Wrong!! I've flown LIN-CDG on AF, flight at 0620pm and I've got a salad (salmon & pasta), bread, cheese and a chocolate cake. I was offered also wine
59 BMED : Don't air berlin provide meals?
60 Pihero : Along with Icarus comment above (reply 58), Air France has a breakfast/ lunch/dinner served on meal times, to the point that on some short European f
61 Ncelhr : It is so sad to see this when I can recall the golden days of aviation (late 1990s) when BA used to offer full meals for this type of destination. We
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