Tui once again serving food and drink on all flights after asking passengers to bring their own

May 11, 2022

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Tui has U-turned on plans to ask passengers to bring their own food on flights because of staff shortages.

The travel operator recently said a workforce deficit at its catering supplier had left it struggling to supply enough meals to many of its flights, both long and short-haul.

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This included hot meals, cold meals, sandwiches, drinks and snacks, and would affect 15 airports across the U.K., including Manchester, Birmingham, London Luton and Bristol.

As a result, the company wrote to passengers asking them to bring their own food to avoid going hungry on flights.

But today, Tui announced it had plugged the problem and would be able to feed holidaymakers after all.

“We can confirm that the issue has now been resolved and the catering offer on board our flights will resume as normal from [today],” it said in a statement. “We know how much our customers value the ability to purchase food and drinks on board and we thank them for their patience and understanding.”

Related: Staff crisis so bad one airline is removing seats on their planes

The volte-face comes as Tui revealed a bumper season for ticket sales in spring. It said holidaymakers were not only making more last-minute bookings than ever, but are spending more on their trips to boot.

Bookings were up 11% on this time in 2019, with the U.K. being by far its most lucrative market.

Overall summer 2022 bookings are at 85% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels as the company said plans to return to profitability this financial year were on track.

“Total bookings have been trending strongly with the last six weeks’ bookings firmly surpassing summer 2019 levels, boosted by the return to a more pre-pandemic environment of restriction-free travel,” the company said.

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Tui added: “The latest positive booking trends, combined with clear pent-up demand as Omicron-related travel restrictions eased, increasing intention to holiday abroad for a beach holiday and a later booking profile, we are confident in our summer 2022 capacity assumption of close to normalised 2019 summer levels.”

It said booking inside its north European heartland had been “largely unaffected” by the war in Ukraine. Though bookings in Poland and Scandinavia remained restrained.

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Chief executive Fritz Joussen said: “The strong Easter business was already the first important indicator. The high demand for travel and the good business performance now confirm our forecasts. 2022 will be a good financial year with a strong travel summer.

“In terms of capacity utilisation, we are almost reaching the pre-Corona level of 2019. After two years of crisis, things are clearly progressing and we expect to become profitable again in the current financial year with a significantly positive underlying EBIT [earnings]. This is the basis for new growth.”

Featured image: by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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