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Airline Meals: How Do FAs Serve It?  
User currently offlineJetBlue777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 1456 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 11886 times:

Hey guys,

So, I saw that episode of "How Its Made" or is it the other one? (How Do They Do It?) about EK and it's catering facility in DXB a while back, I understand how they create airline means but how do FAs serve it?

- Do they have large ovens in the galley that heats up the food? I mean, a 77W has 300+ Y passengers, how do FAs manage to heat up all of the 300+ meal trays under an hour or two?

- For a longhaul flight, airlines typically serve you two full meals, so an A/C with 300 Y class passengers will need 600 Meal Trays inside those carts, I mean, 600 is a lot and those carts doesn't look that spacious either. And say a pax drops his/her food, do they have extra? If they do have extra, what happens to the leftovers?

- I read a post a while back about a DL FA, he said that they have "base" trays which contains the bread, salad and desert, where do they put the main course?

Additional info is appreciated!  



[Edited 2011-04-21 14:51:26]


It's a cultural thing.
12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLuftfahrer From Germany, joined Mar 2009, 1023 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 11854 times:

Quoting JetBlue777 (Thread starter):
- Do they have large ovens in the galley that heats up the food? I mean, a 77W has 300+ Y passengers, how do FAs manage to heat up all of the 300+ meal trays under an hour or two?

I have been to the galley of an airplane of a similar size (Boeing 767), and there were quite a few large ovens. After all, it's only a small carton filled with food that needs to be heated, and they can fit quite a few of them in the ovens. Furthermore, the bigger an airplane is, the more galleys it has, and therefore the amount of food to be heated is shared between the different galleys.

Quoting JetBlue777 (Thread starter):
I read a post a while back about a DL FA, he said that they have "base" trays which contains the bread, salad and desert, where do they put the main course?

Correct, I saw it myself last year. The main courses are placed on top of the cart, and the base trays are inside it.



'He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified.' Joseph Conrad
User currently offlinePolymerPlane From United States of America, joined May 2006, 991 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days ago) and read 11832 times:

Quoting JetBlue777 (Thread starter):
Do they have large ovens in the galley that heats up the food? I mean, a 77W has 300+ Y passengers, how do FAs manage to heat up all of the 300+ meal trays under an hour or two?

They don't heat up the whole tray. on most airlines I've been on (CX, SQ, JL, BR), they only heat up the main course. They have trays with the bread, dessert, fruits, etc. and separate small main course containers. Usually you have a choice (chicken, fish or beef etc.), and they will pull the main course dish and put it on your tray.

Several years ago, IIRC they have trays with electrical contact, which I assume for the built in heater for the main course. I don't think i've seen those in a long time.

Quoting JetBlue777 (Thread starter):
If they do have extra, what happens to the leftovers?

They usually have extras. But not all are available. If you sit towards the end of the aircraft, usually by the time the FAs reach your area, not all meal choices are available.

I don't know if the meal is actually reheated or kept heated. I doubt they are kept at room temperature for 10+ hours for the second meal. Probably not very safe. I'd say they are kept at elevated temperature at all time.



One day there will be 100% polymer plane
User currently offlineJackbr From Australia, joined Dec 2009, 666 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 11779 times:

In the ol' days of the 1960s, they would literally grill steaks in F class on airlines like PA and QF. They also scrambled eggs made fresh onboard.

Today, eggs come in a gooey form and are heated in the oven, then scrambled. Not so nice these days.

This thread from another forum shows before and after shots of a QF J Class meal

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qanta...ctations-when-flying-qantas-7.html


User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3532 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 11759 times:

The episode can be found here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFJXh2LdFOg

I'll try to explain this as well as I can (keep in mind I don't work directly with the catering dept at all). At the airline I work at (all Y class 737s), the average plane goes through 4 cycles daily (ie. YYZ-PUJ-YYZ-SNU-YYZ). The YYZ caterers load the YYZ-PUJ and PUJ-YYZ meals prior to departure. All catering for this flight is loaded in YYZ. This means there are at max 389 meals on the flight, plus crew meals. Catering loads the hot portions (which are in foil dishes) of the YYZ-PUJ meals into the ovens (48 meals per oven) and the non-hot items on trays into the carts you see in the video. The PUJ-YYZ hot portions are also in carts along trays which have the non-hot items. The FAs just heat the hot portions and put them onto the trays in the carts. Then they deliver them to the pax on the rolling cart. Once the service is over the FAs load the meal trays (with empty foils) into the empty carts which are then sealed until catering opens them upon arrival into YYZ. On the Northbound flight, the FAs just have load the outbound (PUJ-YYZ) hot portions into the ovens prior to service. The same process of putting the hot meals onto the trays takes place and the pax are served. Upon arrival into YYZ the caterers remove all of the carts (now full of empty trays and gabage) and replace them with re-stocked carts (as well as loading the YYZ-SNU hot meal foil dishes). In the video you will see smaller metal boxes. These slide into the galley shelves and are stocked with drinks, dry goods (napkins, coffee etc), and whatever else. There is also usually several locked boxes (only the in-charge FAs can access) which contain duty free/buy on board items such as alcohol and jewelery) . Look up some photos of aircraft galleys to get an idea of what an average galley looks like and how the carts/storage bins are configured. Most modern galley carts are interchangeable carts so it is not uncommon to find carts from 4 carriers on the aircraft at any given time.

BTW: for anyone who deals with aircraft catering/ovens, do you find that the ovens smell horrible? Almost like melting cheese/plastic? Every time I open one of the ovens on a plane they all have the same "cheesy" smell.

[Edited 2011-04-21 19:14:07]


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User currently offlinedavid21487 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 11716 times:

Quoting JetBlue777 (Thread starter):
- I read a post a while back about a DL FA, he said that they have "base" trays which contains the bread, salad and desert, where do they put the main course?

At Delta, the base trays that contain the salad, fruit, bread/butter, plastic utensils, etc are pre-set by catering and placed in the meal carts. The carts will hold up to 42 base trays (or something along those lines, so you will have to return to the galley during the service to restock or switch carts). The carts are then placed on the aircraft in the galleys. The backside of the carts have vents in them, and when placed properly in the cart slots, they'll be refrigerated and kept cold by the galley chillers.

The main courses are pre-loaded by catering in the ovens. There are multiple ovens that are rather deep and can accommodate many entrees at a time. Depending upon the aircraft type, the ovens can be located in multiple galleys. The caterers will place a sticker on the outside of the oven that will give the f/a's an accurate count of what choices are available and in which ovens they're located. Once in the air (and sometimes prior to takeoff) the ovens will be started. When the meals are finished heating, the f/a's will individually remove them and place them into bins that they'll put on top of the meal carts. (On the B767-300, there's a special wide bin that you can put on top of the meal carts that is large enough to accommodate 3 entire oven racks. When the meals are finished, you just take the entire rack out of the oven and place it into a shelf in the bin.) This is when the meals are brought out into the aisle.

The base trays are identical, so all you have to do is make a main course selection. The hot dish of your choosing is put on the base tray and handed to you.

After the meal service is finished, trash pick-up begins. The reason you're asked not to stack trays and items is because those base trays have to fit right back into those carts just as they were before they were served to you.

Quoting JetBlue777 (Thread starter):
And say a pax drops his/her food, do they have extra? If they do have extra, what happens to the leftovers?

Yes, there are extra meals, but usually you'll run out of one of your choices, so if someone drops a meal, they might not be able to get whatever it is that they had before.

Anything that's not eaten is disposed of by the caterers. I believe that any leftover food on an inbound US flight is incinerated, along with the trash.



-- Step! Jump! Slide! --
User currently onlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17044 posts, RR: 66
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 11685 times:

Quoting Jackbr (Reply 3):
In the ol' days of the 1960s, they would literally grill steaks in F class on airlines like PA and QF. They also scrambled eggs made fresh onboard.

I think they still do this on some airlines. TG did it a few years ago at least.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineskysurfer From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 1136 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 11417 times:

Many moons ago I used to work for a company that supplied the meals to various airlines. The carts don't look big but when you open them up you'd be surprised at how many trays you can fit in one. One airline used to have quite chunky trays and after we'd put the various items on the tray we'd put it into a non-standard cart. By that I mean these things were just small metal boxes that could fit 10 or 20 trays in. Then there was Virgin Atlantic that had carts with doors on either side, so we could load one side first and then the other. The reason being that Virgin had 4 different coloured napkins, so when the food was served each passenger sat next to another pax with a different colour napkin! It caused quite a headache if you made an error and had to go back and fix it! I don't ever remember handling hot meals and I don't remember ever putting a sealed meal on a tray either. When it came to extra meals what we'd usually do is provide the right amount for the passengers on the flight plus 5 extra meals in case of last minute additions. Quite often if more than 5 pax booked at the last minute we'd get a call on the PA system saying x amount needed to be prepped quickly.
Usually we made the meals for the flights up to 6 hours in advance, but some airlines that flew longhaul (I won't name them) had their meals prepped 12 hours in advance.

Hope the above is useful.

Stu



In the dark you can't see ugly, but you can feel fat
User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4833 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 11163 times:

6 meals per rack, 8 racks per oven is the standard size in most commercial aircraft. So for 300 pax its 6 and a bit ovens (that are about the size of two carryon wheelie bags each). On some aircraft it would be necessary to cook a few more racks of meals after the first lot have been cooked if there wasn't enough oven space.

Speaking of ovens, apparently NZ have a new type of oven that works more like a regular commercial oven rather than an aircraft oven to better cook food.



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently onlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17044 posts, RR: 66
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 11103 times:

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 8):
Speaking of ovens, apparently NZ have a new type of oven that works more like a regular commercial oven rather than an aircraft oven to better cook food.

Do you have more details? I thought aircraft ovens were pretty much just specialized convection ovens.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineLufthansa411 From Germany, joined Jan 2008, 692 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 11060 times:

I'll discuss intercontinental travel as that is what I am familiar with...

There are 2 main types of galley carts, full sized and half sized. Usually food trays go in full sized carts, while drinks go in half sized carts. This allows 2 FA's to serve meal trays simultaneously from both sides of the cart. The trays are designed and laid out in such a way as to allow only a couple of millimetres of vertical clearance between each tray. In economy, the hot portions of the meals are heated up in galley ovens pre-loaded and organised. The only thing the FA's have to do is read the sticker on the oven door to see what and how much is in the oven. They then heat the meals, stack them together, and assemble the trays in the aisle (tray, entree, roll).

In C and F, items may have more assembly bits required. For example, if the F appetiser is beef carpaccio with arugula and a tangy dressing, the dressing might be included in a small single-serving plastic container. The FA's then just drizzle the dressing over before serving.

Main courses in the premium cabins take even more effort. Usually the food that needs to be heated is in tinfoil containers separated by ingredient. The crew is provided with a picture of how the plated entree is supposed to look, as well as instructions on how to prepare each item of the dish. It is then their job to create.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
Do you have more details? I thought aircraft ovens were pretty much just specialized convection ovens.

Those are the new NZ ovens. Most "with the times" airlines have steam ovens in their galleys, and a few much older aircraft still have dry heat ovens.



Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.
User currently offlineLuftfahrer From Germany, joined Mar 2009, 1023 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 11005 times:

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 10):

Main courses in the premium cabins take even more effort.

Austrian Airlines even used to have a chef onboard who prepared the meals for the premium cabin... they probably still do.



'He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified.' Joseph Conrad
User currently offlinecaliatenza From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1577 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 10952 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 4):
The episode can be found here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFJXh...LdFOg

that made me hungry lol. I do miss the EK food  .


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