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Catering Screw-up?

Mon Nov 03, 2003 5:40 am

I'm an ex-DL attendant and wondered if any other Crew people had experienced a catering screw-up. I know these days, food isn't really an issue, except a lack there of- but wondered if anyone else had worked a flight with a catering mix-up. Ex:I worked a flight LGA-PBI L1011 leg and Marriott was the caterer. There also was a TW L 1011 that was using Marriott on a flight to STL a couple of gates away. This happened to be during Passover and these were both Snack flights. Our flight was supposed to have had a more Kosher friendly menu and the TW flight was to have Ham and Cheese Sands. Given the clientele that travels LGA-PBI vs.LGA-STL and the mix-up you can only guess the outcome...
Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
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RE: Catering Screw-up?

Mon Nov 03, 2003 6:17 am

Got one along those same lines...from the dispatcher perspective.

Air Florida 727-200, and it terminated scheduled service at LGA on a Saturday night. It was then supposed to position ferry LGA-JFK for a charter early Sunday morning. On the way LGA-JFK, the crew got an unsafe gear indication, and even though they landed safely (no passengers) the aircraft was OTS until MX could fix it. Make that contract MX, since Air Florida didn't have any MX of their own at JFK.

The contract MX elves at JFK worked all night, and had the 727 ready for its JFK-PHL-SXM charter on Sunday morning. The caterers appeared, but only loaded beverages and ice aboard. When the F/As questioned it, the caterers told them that "our kitchen in PHL is handling that." Off they went JFK-PHL, with about a half-full aircraft, the other half waiting in PHL. Enroute, you guessed it, the unsafe gear problem reappeared.

They land at PHL, and another group of contract MX folks goes to work on the bird. During the delay, the F/As notice that the caterers haven't shown up. It turns out that the JFK catering outfit didn't even have a branch at PHL, and had lied to cover their screw-up at JFK (where the meals, all of them, were eventually located).

The captain and F/As wisely conclude that a beverage serve service alone is NOT going to suffice for a 4:00+ flight PHL-SXM, and they start working on some alternatives while the 727 is being repaired, again. The captain sends the F/As to the duty-free shop, and they get a variety of beverages. The captain calls the local catering outfit (the one that's really there) and orders 150 ham sandwich baskets.

All this stuff makes it to the aircraft, and very shortly thereafter, PHL contract MX has the aircraft fixed. They load up, off they go PHL-SXM about 4 hours late.


About :45 minutes into the flight, the unsafe gear indications come back for a -third- time. Rather than continue to SXM and have the aircraft OTS for a lengthy period (getting contract MX in a foriegn country on a Sunday is damn near an impossibility), the decision was made to bring the aircraft to MIA so we could swap it out with another aircraft.

About :30 minutes later, as he's slogging his way down the Atlantic coast, the captain calls us again, and says, "Oh, by the way, when you have that other 727 catered and ready for us, can you make sure it's food that Jewish folks can eat?" Yep, that's right, he'd ordered 150 ham sandwiches in PHL for a Jewish tour group....

The group eventually got MIA-SXM, and when we ferried out to SXM a couple of weeks later to take them back to PHL, we went loaded with filet mignons and champagne in an attempt to make it up to them.

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
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RE: Catering Screw-up?

Mon Nov 03, 2003 6:31 am

I am running ACARS [A]ircraft [C]ommunication [A]ddressing and [R]eporting [S]ystem on my computer, and this is a common occurence at any airline with meal service.
From no forks to food poisening in first class chicked salads on long haul flights.
Most mess-ups occur with the special ordered meals.
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RE: Catering Screw-up?

Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:28 am

One incident comes to mind ... a fully loaded DC-8-63 from Icelandair departed Oslo and when the crew started handing out the meals, it was discovered that not a single tray had eating utensils ... quite a sight, 250+ pax eating beef stew and rice with their fingers .... . LOL

- I am LN-MOW, and I approve this message.

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