As concerns grow about the impact of interest rate rises and inflation on consumers, some of Europe’s flag carriers are adding to their in-flight offerings in an effort to woo passengers.
Germany’s Lufthansa has announced that it would be providing more food options to business travellers while expanding the range of films and other entertainment for children in economy class.
More kids programmes are to be made available, along with colouring pages, podcasts and added child-friendly reading in the “e-journals” section of Lufthansa’s media library, including access while awaiting boarding at Munich and Frankfurt airports.
The German carrier also said it would be deploying a “new, sustainable reusable cup made of recyclable plastic” as part of its efforts to stop using plastic onboard.
The same day, Finnair said it would spend €200 million ($220 million) on upgrades as it marks 100 years of flying.
The Helsinki-based airline said some of its long-haul flights would be fitted with “a brand-new Business Class, exciting new Premium Economy cabin, and refreshed Economy Class.”
“As we approach our centenary, it is wonderful to be able to bring our new innovative long-haul cabin to more destinations, and customers, across the world,” said Finnair’s UK and Ireland market director Anssi Partanen.
Economy passengers are to get bigger entertainment screens, according to the airline, which has struggled of late with flights to Asia as it cannot fly over Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Finnair has also filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the US as part of a financial restructuring.
The flag carriers’ announcements followed Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary suggesting the battle for passengers could be about to heat up, with overall demand for travel set to wilt as consumer spending is squeezed.
“We’re concerned about the impact of these macroeconomic trends. Consumer price inflation, higher interest rates, higher mortgage rates might affect consumer spending in the second half of the year,” O’Leary said.