The holiday season is in full swing, and just like your neighborhood stores and car dealerships, airlines are getting into the festive spirit. Beyond the seat-back entertainment systems featuring movies like “Elf,” the good cheer is popping up on board in the form of food and drink offerings. While no one appears to be serving figgy pudding, there is talk of snowmen cookies, Grittibänz (more on that below), advent calendars, chestnuts and turkey.
Here are the six airlines that are going above and beyond this winter.
Lufthansa’s Christmas goose
The German airline has a decade-long tradition of serving its classic Christmas goose during the holidays, and this year is no different. From Dec. 20 to 26, passengers in economy and premium economy will have the option to try Lufthansa’s classic goose roast with red cabbage and dumplings as their in-flight meal. First- and business-class passengers will have a Christmas goose option throughout all of December.
But wait, there’s more! The festivities on Lufthansa do not end at the goose. Through Dec. 26, passengers in economy will be served Christmas chocolate, passengers in premium economy will have access to an assortment of Christmas cookies. In first and business class, travelers will get Lufthansa advent calendars, holiday sweets and winter plum liqueur.
Swiss’s Grittibänz and Christmas cookies
In addition to building reliable watches, the Swiss really know how to do Christmas. Swiss International Air Lines, or Swiss, is taking the country’s holiday traditions to the sky with edible in-flight programming. Throughout December, yuletide offerings will be available on both short and long-haul flights. The airline is swapping its normal onboard snacks with Swiss Christmas cookies and mandarins. To celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6, the airline will serve economy passengers gingerbread treats and Grittibänz, a man-shaped bread that’s eaten on the holiday. First-class passengers on St. Nicholas Day long-haul flights will receive a gingerbread Santa’s head crafted by luxury confectioner, Sprüngli.
For heartier food, Swiss will serve long-haul passengers traveling from Switzerland Dec. 18 to 31 a special Christmas menu starring a grilled chicken breast with chestnut-potato mash and red cabbage in economy, and duck and truffles in business and first class. Business and first-class passengers can also top off meals with Etter Christmas plum liqueur, a seasonal release made with rare Löhr plums that are ripened on the tree and picked by hand before being distilled into brandy.
British Airways’ mince pie
Festive food abounds for British Airways long-haul passengers traveling outbound from Heathrow and Gatwick airports between Dec. 22 and 25, and inbound to Heathrow and Gatwick from Dec. 24 to 25. Each cabin class will be served a Christmas meal featuring turkey and trimmings including Brussels sprouts, carrots and roasted potatoes.
In World Traveller (a.k.a. economy), passengers will also get a sage and onion stuffing. In premium economy, there’s an additional mince pie and fresh cream. Club World, or business, and first-class passengers will be served chestnut stuffing. First-class passengers will round out their meal with a Christmas pudding served with vanilla sauce.
Etihad’s turkey and trimmings
From Dec. 24 to 26, Etihad flights from New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD), Washington (IAD) and Toronto (YYZ) — as well as a number of international flights — will feature a holiday-themed menu served in all classes. Each cabin will be feature a roast turkey meal with seasonal trimmings and desserts.
ANA’s traditional soba
To ring in 2020, All Nippon Airways, or ANA, will serve first and business-class passengers soba on all routes from Japan on Dec. 31. Eating soba for New Year’s is a tradition, as the dish’s long noodles represent longevity in Japanese culture. The following day through Jan. 3, first-class passengers will receive sake and ozouni, another dish that represents longevity, thanks to the stretchy mochi in the soup that can be pulled long. For Chinese New Year, ANA passengers in all classes will receive matcha cookies on flights to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong from Jan. 24 to 31.
Emirates’ festive chocolate mousse
Emirates plans to serve 500,000 Christmas meals onboard flights this holiday season from Dec. 9 to 31.
In economy, there’s turkey with mashed potato, vegetables and cranberry jus lié, followed by chocolate mousse “topped with a festive chocolate button.” In first and business class, the menu features roasted turkey breast, apricot stuffing, more cranberry jus lié, of course, and festive cake for dessert.
Customers in first and business class can eat roasted turkey breast and apricot stuffing, roasted potatoes with creamy Brussels sprouts with turkey bacon and cranberry jus lié. For dessert, passengers will be served such sweets as a Santa-inspired chocolate cake or a chocolate gingerbread cake. The deal is sweeter on Emirates A380 routes, where first- and business-class passengers can head to the Onboard Lounge for treats like mince pies, gingerbread snowmen cookies and “Santa’s Spiced Amarula Cocktail."