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No more Coca Cola in San Francisco?

No more drinking water in Munich?

At San Francisco International Airport Lufthansa German Airline is ready for its long-haul flight to Germany when flight attendants were informed by LSG Catering San Francisco that they are out of many regular catering items.

The reason. Coca-Cola, Water, Beer, Champaign and many other items are shipped by boat from Germany to California to be loaded on Lufthansa planes and flown back to Germany.

A caterer in Munich told eTurboNews: “They are crazy. They act like there is no more Coca Cola in California.”

LSG Sky Chefs is best known as one of the world’s largest airline catering and hospitality companies.

American in origin, Sky Chefs was founded by American Airlines in Texas in 1942, making it the oldest independent caterer in the world. In Germany, LSG was founded by Lufthansa in 1966 as an independent company. After establishing a strong market presence for Sky Chefs across the United States and Latin America, LSG first acquired a stake in the company in 1993. Already back then, the two companies started to market their airline catering activities under the “LSG Sky Chefs” brand. In 2001, LSG fully acquired Sky Chefs. Since then, LSG Sky Chefs has continued its global expansion primarily through joint ventures and partnerships throughout Asia and Africa. Today, LSG Sky Chefs delivers over 560 million meals a year and is present at 205 airports in 53 countries.

Last month eTN reported about help needed and Chaos at Frankfurt and Munich airport.

Today LSG is no longer operating in Germany. A company by the name of Gate Group took over. It meant workers losing all Lufthansa flight benefits, and lower salaries. Gate Group operates throughout many European countries now, while LSG is expanding beyond Europe, including the United States.

Even in the days when climate change is a big discussion worldwide, LSG orders many items for its onboard catering still from Germany. It works both ways. American and United Airlines are shipping American Water to Frankfurt for their flights back to the U.S.

According to an eTuboNews source and Gate Group associate, the state-of-the-art bakery at Gate Group Munich Airport is not used by U.S.-based airlines. United Airlines for example has a contract for bread and meal production with one caterer for all of Europe. Instead of having Gate Group bake fresh bread and cook fresh meals, United food is shipped frozen from somewhere else in Europe. Gate group is warming up this frozen food to cater to United flights. This constantly causes shortages and last-minute maneuvering.

Many times Gate Group runs out of Irish butter bought by United Airlines or American Airlines Ireland. As a last-minute emergency move, they have to use fresh butter from their farm 5 miles away. The passenger gets a better product, but Gate Group must still apologize to the airline.

Lufthansa is currently buying all its water in Denmark and is shipping it around the world to have a unified catering experience for its passengers. (photo)

There is also a pride in serving German Coca-Cola on a German plane or US water on a US-registered airline.

LSG note to Lufthansa flight attendants dated May 26, 2021, ready to service the flight to Germany reads.

Dear Flight Attendants,

On today’s flight, the below items are not available for uplift from San Francisco, due to supply chain issues delaying shipments from Germany. We apologize for any inconvenience.

out of stock was

  • Erdinger Beer
  • Warsteiner Beer
  • Watsteiner no alcohol
  • Koenig Ludwig Beer
  • Champagne welcome drink
  • Sparkling Water
  • Elizabeth Pure
  • Coca Cola
  • Coca Cola Zero
  • Tomato Juice
  • Milk Creamer

Apparently, this is not just a recent issue. For many years ANA shipped Japanese water to Germany, so it could be catered to its airlines for flights back to Tokyo. When Japan had the tsunami and the nuclear accident, no one wanted to have this water anymore. It was given to Gate Group staff to drink in their canteen in Munich.

However chaos continues

Staff shortage at German Catering companies

Chaos continues and may get worse for the summer season. Gate Gourmet is offering its workers EURO 100.00 bonus in addition to overtime.

According to the eTN Source, the problems are most severe in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Amsterdam, and in the U.K.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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