Austrian Airlines Wants You To Take Unsold Food Home – For A Price

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Austrian Airlines is on a mission to generate zero food waste on its flights. As part of this, the airline will be offering unsold food at a discount price towards the end of its longer European flights. The initiative is similar to one launched by sister airline SWISS last year.


Sustainability is currently a top issue for the aviation industry. Typically this means talking about emissions and fuel burn. However, an airline that generates lots of waste food isn’t sustainable. While airlines make an effort not to load more than they need, this doesn’t always pan out.


Austrian Melangerie to go

From today, Austrian Airlines will be tackling food waste on numerous longer European flights. Flight attendants will tally how much food is left at the end of a longer rotation approaching Vienna International Airport. Depending on how much is remaining, they will then package these items, potentially together with another food item.


AustrianMelangerieToGo (c) Austrian Airlines

You could leave your next Austrian Airlines flight with a cheap schnitzel. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Once the crew has ascertained how much leftover food it has, it will make an announcement to the entire cabin. Passengers will be invited to save food from waste for a small contribution (but far less than it would ordinarily cost).


These bags will then be handed out with one or two items inside, alongside a wooden cutlery set. The airline hopes that passengers will then enjoy such items at home or as a refreshment on their onward journey.

Cutting food waste

The idea of the initiative is to cut food waste. Airlines use complex software to try and calculate how much food will be needed for a flight, and thus, how much to load. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect solution, and situations arise when a flight has too much or too little food.

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While the trial will initially be limited in its scope, it will continue to be rolled out on additional routes considering what the airline learns as it goes.

A similar situation at SWISS

The situation is similar at Austrian’s sister airline, SWISS. Also part of the Lufthansa Group, SWISS partnered with Too Good To Go on a similar scheme last year. While Too Good To Go typically uses an app, this isn’t a possibility at altitude. Instead, SWISS uses a similar model where the crew bags unsold food and distributes it via the PA system. The Too Good To Go branding is used, though.



Austrian’s sister airline SWISS launched a similar initiative last year. Photo: SWISS

On the SWISS zero food waste initiative, the airline’s Head of Western Switzerland, Romain Vetter, commented,

“The first results from these trials have been promising. The new approach has been well received by our passengers on the flights concerned. We’re now awaiting a final analysis of the trials’ findings to decide if we should extend it to further routes.”

Would you buy food at the end of a flight to stop it from going to waste? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!


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