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Bar Service Prior To Meals On Int'l Flights In YC

Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:44 am

Greetings everyone,

I am a F/A for a US based international airline. I'm interested in how everyone feels about having a bar service prior to the meal service in Economy Class on international flights. At my company the standard is to have this service on flights scheduled to depart prior to 9:00pm. However many crews skip the pre-meal bar service and just offer the meals with the bar cart following citing a short flight time or that many of the customers have traveled all day and just want to eat and sleep as soon as possible. When I fly as Purser I try and maintain standards. Often times it's difficult to do so however I realize that on really late (such as an 11:00pm departure) or delayed flights an expedited service makes sense. Where do we draw the line?

Thoughts anyone?

[Edited 2012-06-01 17:49:16]

[Edited 2012-06-01 17:52:45]
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Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:20 am

RE: Bar Service Prior To Meals On Int'l Flights In

Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:29 pm

Quoting TR1 (Thread starter):
At my company the standard is to have this service on flights scheduled to depart prior to 9:00pm.

About a year ago, we had a reduction in the number of F/A onboard and the deal with the union was to drop the bar service before the meal. However, before having reduced crew we did a bar service before the meal at all times - although after 10pm it was at the Purser's discretion to do a combined supper and bar service.
I found that some passengers "culturally" did not receive well when we did a combined service, and heard quite a few times comments like "oh yes, they want to do the service quickly so they can have a longer break"...
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RE: Bar Service Prior To Meals On Int'l Flights In

Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:39 pm

TR1 your airline is my first choice....I am Platinum headed to Diamond this year so I fly ALOT including 3 to 5 international trips per year, and most in Y. I appreciate free access to Economy Comfort. Thank You DL for that alone!
I would like to see a more consistent beverage/meal delivery across the system. I've heard the JFK crews have a completely different serving criteria than ATL because flight times are less, but from my experience, and not knowing every single time where the crew is based, systemwide it is not consistent.
I can understand and appreciate a variance in meal and beverage service based on time of day (or night) and even length of flight. DL130 departs ATL @ 1625 so your passengers would likely expect a bar/beverage service before the meal, and a bar/beverage/coffee service afterwards. DL10 ATL-LHR departs @2230 so likely those passengers would expect an expedited service so they can relax and possibly sleep without an extended cabin activity. Likely no one would want a coffee service at midnight whereas DL130 passengers would enjoy coffee and a Bailey's as dessert at 630pm.
I have also heard that Economy Comfort passengers expect bar service throughout the flight. I am not sure that should be expected or provided; however, on a recent flight to LHR we were told the "bar was closed" when we asked for the Bailey's with the coffee after dinner, and a request for a Bloody Mary with the breakfast snack was met with the same response. While these beverages are free in Y+, are you folks turning down potential revenue by not selling cocktails in Y beyond the initial service? One remarked if she served one person, she'd have to serve the whole cabin again. So is the bar closed or you don't want to bother? Does the bar in Y officially close? It certainly doesn't up front.
If there is a standard practice, I do not always see it followed. As much as I appreciate my DL folks are a great group of professional and personable airline people I enjoy traveling with; however, I don't understand why some rush through a service and disappear or reappear and hustle like crazy to serve the pre-landing snack when things just start to get bumpy. This consistently happens on DL9 LHR-ATL so while JFK may get bad press for doing "their own thing" the folks in ATL are not to standard either.
Domestic flying seems to be more consistent and to a more "standard practice" format so maybe a look over international criteria might be in order, and include that "bar is closed" excuse if crews simply don't want to bother.
I'm headed to Germany in September if not before so will be interesting to look closely at this topic.
watch what you want. you may get it.
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RE: Bar Service Prior To Meals On Int'l Flights In

Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:37 am

I tend to do a lot of trans-Pacific flying. From the US most flights leave midday-afternoon. I definitely like to have a pre-meal drink. I find it a good way to get comfortable for the next 12-15h. From SIN, my home base, travelling to the US, I like to take early morning flights so that I arrive the same day. On these, I won't drink alcohol until I'm past HKG or NRT. But again, I like to have a pre-meal drink.

On the very rare occasions I've been lucky enough to get on the SIN-EWR direct flight which has a mid-morning departure. I tend to avoid alcohol on the return EWR-SIN flight since it has a late departure and early arrival.

US to Europe, I generally don't drink alcohol, even on early evening departures. It just makes me feel more groggy on arrival at the crack of dawn. Europe to US I will usually have a pre-meal drink.

From SIN, most Europe flights leave late at night. Generally I won't drink alcohol on these. If I'm continuing to the US I'll have a pre-meal drink after FRA or DME (on SQ). However, I usually don't like to fly these routes to the US. They always seem more tiring.

In summary, depending on departure/arrival times, if I'm going to have a meal and alcohol, I always like to have a pre-meal drink
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RE: Bar Service Prior To Meals On Int'l Flights In

Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:28 pm

When I fly Y, I do like to start and end a meal with a cocktail. On SQ (which is the airline I fly 90% of the time), most times a drinks service is offered prior to a meal, although on some rare occasions this is not the case. In any case, you can always order a cocktail even if they don't have the ingredients in the cart, both before and after the meal tray is served.

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RE: Bar Service Prior To Meals On Int'l Flights In

Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:16 am

I like a drink run before the meal. It's supposed to relax you.

But too many airlines do a quick run then start serving the meal before you had a chance to enjoy you drink. Too often it's just rushed to get it done. I expect a drink run on international flights. I recently flew TAP r/t MIA-LIS and they didn't do a drink run at all coming or going; they served wine an hour or so after take-off with the meal. I don't know about other alcoholic drinks at other times. I was refused coffee an hour before breakfast which annoyed me but since the airfare was really low I just let it slide.
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RE: Bar Service Prior To Meals On Int'l Flights In

Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:33 am

Expect the pre meal drink on any longhaul flights in all classes of travel.

Some airlines skip it due to bla bla bla, then meal service begin even before drink carts come.

Result is, I'm trying to swallow all those rubbery pieces of chicken breast and dried out rice to death as my throat is sore dry and I've been waiting for that cup of water from the drink cart which was busy selling alcoholic products down the aisle.

Sorry, it's always pain all over my arse when flying on any US carriers, anywhere, any classes of service.
Let's just blame it on yields.

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