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30. August 2021
As the airline industry starts returning to pre-COVID levels, a host of European carriers have been working to improve their all-round premium-cabin experiences. British Airways, Finnair, Lufthansa, and SWISS have all announced new products including fresh menus and amenities in their lounges.
British Airways has reopened its Concorde Rooms lounges at both Terminal 5 in Heathrow and at Terminal 7 at JFK Airport in New York. The Concorde Rooms are available to First Class passengers and BA’s Gold Guest List members but not oneworld Emerald Members.
New to the British Airways’ premier lounge are the Forty Winks EnergyPods – which as the name suggests – offers the airline’s top passengers pre-flight “power naps”.
BA has introduced a new lounge cocktail menu – created by Mr Lyan – which contains seven drinks including two created specially for the airline. The cocktails are also available in the Galleries First and Club lounges. British Airways has also launched a new inflight gastro-pub menu.
Finnair has announced new inflight Business Class menus on its long and short haul routes. Using the finest Nordic ingredients, the airline has striven to provide its guests cuisine that looks and tastes fabulous. On the short haul routes (an hour or less), Finnair offers a sandwich with drinks. Under three hours it is a cold, fresh dish – a (local) Benella rainbow trout salad for instance.
For longer journeys, Finnair have introduced the Japanese concept of umami – pleasant savoury dish - to its offerings. From the main courses – using local fish – to a Japanese chicken and Indian vegetarian meal and the desserts that feature Finnish recipes, the airline is aiming to offer the finest cuisine of any Nordic carrier.
While still offering 20 “special meals” – from kosher to vegan – Finnair is now also providing its passengers in Business Class on long-haul routes with oat milk as the coffee creamer. The airline has a self-service Nordic Kitchen on each flight – filled with drinks and snacks.
The German carrier Lufthansa is now taking its Business Class passengers - on short and medium haul flights – on an inflight “Tasting HEIMAT” journey. The menus are inspired by German metropolises and builds on diversity and sustainability. Traditional German cuisine – inspired from cities including Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg – with international influences.
The menu will change weekly and on both outward and inward journeys. Passengers are also offered German breads - including freshly baked rolls. Tasting HEIMAT includes dishes like Frankfurt’s classic Grie Soß - green sauce - with kale, poached egg and French Macaire potatoes. There is also a Hamburg shrimp salad – served with beetroot and potato terrine. Lufthansa is taking sustainability seriously and no disposable plastic is used and all the produce is sourced locally.
Finally, SWISS has launched a dine on demand service in its Business Class cabins, giving long-haul passengers two options. For the main meal, they can enjoy traditional restaurant-style service – one course at a time – as before, or opt to have a starter, main course, and dessert served together at a time of their choosing later during the flight.
Also, the second meal on the journey is now on the new SWISS Bistro menu. The menu has a variety of options – hot and cold dishes and light snacks – available at any time after the first meal. The flexibility will allow passengers to decide when they want to eat, not when the airline dictates it.
There is also a new “SWISS Taste of Switzerland” menu for the next six months. The airline champions homegrown talent and invites chefs from Switzerland to create dishes for its Business and First Class passengers. So, First Class passengers can now enjoy a lobster starter, with a veal main course and end on a blueberry slice with chocolate crumble. Business Class guests can order a salmon or beetroot starter, with a meatloaf main and cheesecake dessert.
All the airlines say that they are listening to what their guests want and are providing it. This is good news for anyone flying in a premium cabin.