Lufthansa Charges First Class Customer $2 For Buy On Board Chips

When United Airlines operated its economy-only low cost subsidiary Ted, it faced a real challenge with inconsistent products being sold to customers. A passenger buying international first class from London to Washington Dulles, connect onward to Las Vegas, would be on a coach-only plane from DC to Vegas. That second flight is more than half as long as the transatlantic segment.

What’s more, that international first class customer would have been asked to pay more money to be assigned an extra legroom seat in coach – since the airline had stopped providing Economy Plus complimentary to full fare passengers.

The last thing you want to do is nickel and dime your most premium customers, simply because they connect onto a flight that operates with different service standards.

Yet a reader shares that they had flown Lufthansa first class from Miami to Frankfurt, and connected to Santiago de Compostela, Spain – where they were charged €2 for a bag of chips inflight.

The intra-European flight segment offers business class, and comes with a meal. But faced with a choice they were allergic to, they asked if they could just have a bag of chips? It turns out these are sold in economy, so the flight attendant charged him.

An inconsistent product may be dictated by market conditions with a connecting product – but airlines still need to take efforts to treat the customer seamlessly. A first class customer shouldn’t be charged for a bag of chips because they can’t eat the only business class meal offered on their connecting flight.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What does being first class on the previous segment have to do with what you are getting on the next segment?

    I agree a business class passenger shouldn’t be charged for chips, but to use “first class” frankly is just clickbait.

  2. Lufthansa is a complete joke. Their business class is so outdated, and the service in every class is not better than Ryanair

  3. I would say just boycott LH – they are just getting ridiculous with the latest ” enchancement” to their Economy and Premium Economy product for LH and the already implemented short-haul changes. Maybe they should change their name to LCLH (Low-Cost Lufthansa).


  4. This guy is a gamer and now a whiner

    Come on, it’s clear it’s a business class segment for the second leg. Not a ‘business first’ segment

    Lufthansa charges biz class passengers if they want something off the coach menu

    Maybe he should fly United if he wants a freebie from coach

  5. @Pete – I think you are missing my point. You think that someone ‘becomes a business class passenger’ when they’re traveling on their connecting segment that has no first class. I’m suggesting that thinking *is the problem*, made challenging by the differentiation in products across aircraft and markets. The business should think about a first class passenger as a first class passenger.

    And “clickbait” is not “framing an issue in a way I do not like”

  6. This goes to show some airlines are potentially struggling to make money. Who in the world charges that much money for a bag of poatto chips, when at Produce Junction “for now,” you can buy 8 pounds of bananas for $2.00? Which one is healthier to you?

  7. I agree with Gary on this. The incremental cost of comping this for a pax on a first class ticket (especially if they paid full care – did this person? I missed that if so.) certainly beats souring the negative impression and future revenue loss potential.

    Now I ask Gary – how do you feel about the awkward situation this presents when a pax in a full fare bucket gets a free item while their seatmate on a discount fare who sees this asks for similar and is handed a bill? I know the complimentary thing happens from time to time, sometimes it’s actual policy to give an elite a free item. Yet it still creates a possibly risky situation, especially in our current climate of unruly travelers.

  8. You need to understand the German culture. There are no freebies. If you want it, you pay for it. If you don’t want to pay for it don’t ask for it. In Germany if a service is provided you pay for it. The only reason there is a printed bill is for us foreigners who don’t understand German custom.

    Wining does not get it your way in Germany.

  9. The crew doesn’t know or care what fare class someone is in, to them he was just a business passenger. If they load 10 bags of chips the crew has to account for all of the revenue and I don’t think they could just sell one and comp 9 to business class passengers.

    I think this passenger should have contacted passenger assistance and see how they would handle this situation. Of course he instead angrily tweets out his grievance right on the spot. Does this ever help in any situation?

  10. I love how luxurious Lufthansa business class is with its massive legroom and endless premium meal service and snacks 😉 It certainly rivals Emirates in First Class and its amenities
    I’ve never understood why folks like this airline other than their First Class Lounge I was underwhelmed in every way when flying First to Frankfurt on Luf never again!
    Lousy food BTW and poor variety & selections.Some other bloggers made it out to be the holy grail

  11. Is it in the realm of possibility that we could ever have an airline like those of the sixties again? We seem to be back to those prices anyway. How about requiring people to dress with dignity and they could expect to be treated in kind. But America was not obese then so we’d have to get selective but I believe we could and also that we require FA’s back to standard weight and appearance. All the airlines now seem the same in product they offer, a tight seat with several rockets attached.

  12. LH provides solid meals on intra-Europe biz class. The pax rejected the airline’s hospitality, so the flight attendants were right to charge him. Anyone expecting “special treatment” in Germany ist ein vollidiot

  13. He could have ordered a special meal without being charged … if you travel … get informed … easy as that

  14. European biz – scam. Shut out from lounges – scam. Sorry theyre losing money but dishonesty is not the way to fight it.

  15. I have got 6 legs with LH F transcontinental the last four years and every time I have had another leg or two afterwards to get back to Sweden.

    I have not once thought of myself as a first class passenger in business since there is no first..

    Don’t really get what the article is about

  16. Well that is a bill copy that means you gave you’re credit card and agreed to pay . plus why didn’t you order a special meal what you could in Busniss class if you are allergic..
    I never had a problem with lufthansa always got my special meal in Busniss class .. and the crew was lovely. Question maybe I missed it did the person even told the crew that he is a first class ticket holder??

  17. $2 is a steal compared to sports stadiums that charge $13 for sex on the beach – not the cocktail – Bud Light because it’s f****ng near water.

  18. “Don’t fly @lufthansa first class if you want chips (crips) Bc they’ll make you pay”

    Crips ALWAYS make you pay, Their ‘hood, their rules.

    (You need to take advantage of those typos when you can, otherwise life is unbearable.

  19. @Peter: “Lufthansa is a complete joke. Their business class is so outdated, and the service in every class is not better than Ryanair.”

    Not sure you should give up day job to be a comedian. Within Europe, LH biz class includes full service, including all wine/booze, meal of appropriate time, served on china, with no passengers swigging from duty free booze. So, exactly how is that inferior to Ryan. Also, in biz class, as Star Alliance Gold, I can bring on board two carry ons, as well as three checked bags, each one of 30 kilos. So, as I see it, you can continue on Ryan, and I will stick with LH.

  20. I’m surprised at some of the comments here. Assuming I had paid for 1st on a through journey knowing the connection only had Business, I think I would have been a bit miffed if I had politely explained that all I would really like is just a packet of crisps. Germany culture or not, to then request €2, or whatever seems particularly mean and embarrassing in my opinion.

  21. These once “legacy” airlines (BA, AF, LH and others including all U.S. Airlines) can NO longer justify a “true” first class. Corporate travel is gone and will never come back thanks to teleconferencing and companies using Covid as an excuse to illuminate headcount and many departments. Airlines are making more money in economy than upfront with all the add on fees. I foresee in the next 10 years, the complete elimination of First Class on all airlines with the exception of Middle Eastern Airlines. Airlines will operate with a Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy. Quality of meals will decline throughout all classes and Buy Onboard Meals will be the new norm in economy. All it’s going to take is one airline doing it. It’s going to happen. All of us continue to yearn for the glamour days of lavish air travel. Well it’s never coming back! I have lost complete expectations for all airlines and all service industries. All I want is to leave on time and arrive on time with my luggage. That’s it!

  22. Order a special meal if you are allergic.
    Its free of charge btw – so you don’t need to pay for crisps ‍♀️

  23. If the passenger had gotten off in Frankfurt, telling Lufthansa that he had changed his mind and no longer wished to fly on to Spain, Lufthansa would have said he was ‘skip-lagging’. They would say that they didn’t sell him two segments, but they sold him one continuous travel experience from Florida to Spain, and his early exit from the plane costs them money, and maybe they would even have sued him to make up their losses.

    But when it comes to a €2 bag of chips, suddenly the flight is obviously two separate and distinct segments, and the passenger shouldn’t think that they’re somehow connected to each other.

  24. Last time I connected through FRA from transatlantic first to domestic business class, the business class flight attendants treated us like royalty, addressed us by name, and gifted us a bottle of wine one the way out. So it’s definitely possible for LH to treat connecting first class passengers well.

  25. In fairness to Lufthansa, the food items are probably inventoried so flight attendants aren’t taking bags of chips and snacks that’s meant to be sold to passengers. The flight attendants offered him or her a business class meal and probably whatever other meals they had available. The passenger specifically wanted chips and those chips are only sold for purchase. Flight attendants on intraeurope flights are less empowered than on full international service to remedy things.

    Lufthansa may be turning into a nickel and dime airline but this is not an example of it. If I’m in first class on a train which comes with a bottle of water, I’m not going to expect to receive a free bottle of coke from the dining car (with an attendant who will bring it to my seat) if I am not happy to drink the water.

  26. If you’re in a coach seat, you have coach rules. How on earth is an FA supposed to give one pax a bag of chips and charge the next guy for them? You can’t expect the FAs to determine which coach pax are actually ‘first class’. Ludicrous. But a lovely comment on ‘entitled’.

  27. The guy flew first class across the Atlantic and was a ‘bit hungry’ on the second leg? Holy Mother of God, he is a whiner!!!!!

  28. This has happened to me and my husband flying Alaska domestic first class repeatedly. In the past they have not allowed us to preorder a plant based meal; preorder has not been an option for domestic first class. Neither of the meal options they offer in first class are plant based- so essentially we can’t eat what is available. Sometimes they have a plant based snack box in coach (hummus, almonds etc) but we’ve been repeatedly told we have to pay. Other times we’ve been given it without charge. Seems to depend on the flight attendant. This is on a revenue fare first class. Not sure if they’ve brought back the ability to preorder special meals on domestic first class. Super frustrating to pay for a full FC fare, have no ability to pre-order, have no option for food from the FC food offerings, AND then be asked to pay for a token snack box.

  29. Aric wins the thread.
    If the passenger had gotten off in Frankfurt, telling Lufthansa that he had changed his mind and no longer wished to fly on to Spain, Lufthansa would have said he was ‘skip-lagging’. They would say that they didn’t sell him two segments, but they sold him one continuous travel experience from Florida to Spain, and his early exit from the plane costs them money, and maybe they would even have sued him to make up their losses.

    But when it comes to a €2 bag of chips, suddenly the flight is obviously two separate and distinct segments, and the passenger shouldn’t think that they’re somehow connected to each other.

  30. ““Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn.”

    – Anthony Bourdain

  31. Really, with so much awful stuff happening in the world and a rich dude moaning about 2$ for a packet of crisps.
    Some people need a reality check

  32. Why didn’t the passenger order a special meal in the first place?

    I myself have a food allergy/ sensitivity and it’s a pretty straight forward operation to secure a special meal.

    I have my dietary requirements stored in my frequent flyer file at BA as well on file with my corporate travel service so I don’t have to worry, for *A on the other hand [SK Eurobonus] I have to call in or chatt to customer service to order my special meal when traveling for leisure, first world problem but still a pain.

  33. Gosh. Just order and choose one of the special meals which are available for people with allergic reactions.

  34. Sorry but if you’re “allergic” to something then you either order a special meal with ingredients that guarantees that you won’t be served whatever it is you’re allergic to, or you take your own food. Why would you leave it to chance and potentially have a long haul flight with no food? Also saves you having to go attention seeking on twitter.

  35. Is this really written by the same guy who just advocated for paid premium wines?!? What’s the difference? You can either charge for additional options or not. If you like on instance of this, you should probably like the other.

  36. Lufthansa business class leaves a lot to be desired. I recently flew EWR-FRA-KRK-MUC-SPU each flight in business class and not one flight was up to par.

    Transatlantic service was ok, but flight attendant was oblivious to flight of wine service that was printed on our menu. The details for comfort, convenience at our seats were on par with 3rd world second rate carriers.

    European service was abysmal!!! Economy class seats, 3 across, just blocking middle seats. Remember this business class!!! Food, drink were minimalist. Austrian, Turkish were much better.

  37. It’s 2 Euros. Not 2 dollars.

    Small difference in money but big difference in quality of reporting.

    McDonald’s is hiring, Gary. They don’t need attention to detail. Wait, they do.

  38. I have to give to the airline here. If the passenger has special food requirements then do your homework and put a special meal request, this way both there’s ambiguity in expectations by the passenger and the crew members.

  39. Okay, so a first class passenger on one airline flies on another and wants a product from another cabin that is accounted for by Cabinn crew inventory charges, and the world stops spinning?

    As a flight attendant, for an American carrier, I Spyker have assessed their passenger: are they nice, are they entitled, will they “get it”? If the answer is ‘yes’, ‘no, ‘yes’, I’d give it to themand let them know it was not protocol. Maybe that’s why this passenger was charged.

    One of my passengers wanted a complimentary upgrade to an empty first class seat simply because he was a major frequent flyer. He pouted when we said no. He gets several free upgrades each year to use as he pleases.

    Know the product you are purchasing and do not take advantage of the crew.

  40. The Anthony Bourdain quote is offensive and disrespectful. Militant vegans who try to shame the world do no good for the plant-based diet cause and make the rest of us look like jerks (I don’t think I am one). But painting vegans and vegetarians as radical, entitled low-lifes is as bad as, or worse than, this stupid comment. The pax in this story should have pre-ordered a special meal with LH when he booked. That’s his error. His choice to follow a plant-based diet isn’t an error and shouldn’t be questioned.

  41. He should have eaten in the excellent LH First Class Lounge before getting on the 2nd flight hungry. The 2nd flight is about 2 hours…eating before should have done the trick!

  42. Why is an airline’s problem if you’re allergic and don’t say it in advance or request a special meal? If you want something on the paid menu, of course you’ll have to pay.
    Business and First class passengers are not gods in any shape or form, and are not entitled to everything there is on an airplane.
    I’d ban this person from flying ever again.

  43. When a first class passenger has a full range of free options which does not satisfy him and wants products from the buy on board (reserved for economy mainly) then yes he should buy it, as they do in economy class.
    Come on people are becoming more and more demanding.

  44. I think it’s a slap in the face to charge a person $2 for chips in 1st class. It’s such a trivial thing to do and shows that the airline does not value their passengers in the least. Also the passenger should have been offered a second meal choice for this very reason. Shame on you Lufthansa!

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