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Birdwatching
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Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:40 am

I flew from Delhi to Amsterdam on KLM recently. The scheduled departure time was 3:10AM, take-off at 3:22AM. During take off (as usual), the cabin lights were dark and almost everybody asleep. As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, the super bright cabin lights were switched on, at the same time a lengthy announcement was made about the flight, the meals, the inflight shopping, all in Dutch and English. Soon after, a drinks service, followed by a while of waiting, then a full sized meal service. At 4AM. Most people were either asleep, or awake tired and with red eyes, children screaming. Most people didn't eat a lot or at all, meal trays were piling up on the floor and near the aisles. This was at 4AM Delhi time which is 0:30AM Amsterdam time, in neither of these time zones anywhere near a meal time.

I've noticed this practice in many cases before, but never as extreme as here. There were exactly zero, yes zero passengers who appreciated the meal at this time. KLM could have easily prepared snack boxes with sandwiches instead for those few who are hungry, and kept them in the galley to be picked up. And then maybe a breakfast before landing in Amsterdam. It would have saved a lot of money, and the passengers would have been happier. On a flight like this, passengers want to get on board, settle down and sleep without interruption until landing in Amsterdam.

Then why is it that on every flight, no matter what time of day or night, a meal service is served right after take-off?

Other similar cases I have experienced: Lufthansa Tehran to Frankfurt in 2014, departure time 3:15. Same thing, a meal in the middle of the night. And several late night ATL to Europe flights on Delta and KLM.

Very annoying!

Soren   
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MEA-707
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:59 am

They basically ignore departure times and have a standard operating procedure, something like 1 hot meal on a flight 2,5 to 6 hours, 1 hot mail at the start and a snack on a flight 6 to 9 hours etc.I guess to make things simple and predictable.

Sometimes I don't mind, say your example of ATL-Europe, most of the time it's only early evening, many people often came from meal-less domestic flights and didn't have time to eat something at the airport, in that case it's good to know a nice meal is waiting for you on board.
If they cancel meal service say after midnight it will be also a debateable thing which will cause confusion and complaints; which time zone will they look at, what if you are at a windowseat and don't want to disturb your sleeping neighbors to collect a snack in the galley etc and you end up hungry and disappointed. Now it's good to know that you can expect to be fed in case you miss dinner due to a long transfer to the airport, the airports foodcourt being closed at night etc. You can always decline the meal, put on a mask and earplugs.
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keen2fly
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:05 am

I recall a similar situation when on Air New Zealand, AKL-HKG. The flight left at around 11:30pm and instead of serving dinner as soon as possible after take-off they served it about 2 hours into the flight at around 1:30am NZ time. I wouldn't have said no to a meal shortly after take-off but 2 hours into the flight, I (and everyone else) was fast asleep and not at all appreciative of the lights being turned on, as it was the early hours of the morning!
 
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:06 am

I noticed on recent EK flights that for unsociable hours they provide a light snack and, prior to landing, breakfast.
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Bongodog1964
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:10 am

This strikes me as a case of airline idiocy, along with making life easy for the flight attendants. We serve a hot meal 1 hour after takeoff , because thats what we do. The flight attendants can then take it easy until they hand round the nearly non existent breakfast. I assume you got the usual meagre breakfast offering 45 minutes before landing ?

3am for anyone, anywhere is a time when you are at your lowest energywise, its as such as you can do to drag yourself on the plane, let alone appreciate a meal.

Why not as Soren suggests offer a snack to those who want it, and then a decent breakfast 1 hour before landing, a decent one, not 4 cubes of fruit and a cuplet of orange juice
 
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CARST
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:36 am

Two things I hate the airlines for:

1) Serving meal too late after takeoff or way too early before landing, thus taking away time to sleep.

2) Serving meals that don't fit into your biological schedule. I totally agree, some flights just need a snack, but a large meal before landing instead of the usual schedule.


One airline that is doing it right is EY, they are serving light snack boxes on late-night departures and the normal meal before landing.
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:32 pm

They serve it because if they didn't serve it, your post on a.net would be:

"I booked an international flight on KLM and got a snack box, what a disgrace."

Airlines are like hospitals. They don't care about time. It's a 24/7 operation.

6 hour flights that have two services get one just after takeoff and one just before landing. Regardless of local time.

Imagine if you started to use local time as a determining factor. A 10pm flight is 3 hours late. Then what?

Services are standardized leaving little room for play.
 
airbazar
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:58 pm

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 4):
This strikes me as a case of airline idiocy,

  
I hate when airlines do that. It drives me bananas and it completely ruins the flight for me.
This is especially bad on short red-eyes like the TATL flights from the northeast U.S. to Western Europe. IMO, any flight that is less than 8 hours and departing after 8pm should not serve any meal at all. Just turn the lights off and let people rest. People should just eat dinner before they get on the plane if they think they are going to be hungry.
 
Airontario
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:06 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 7):

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 4):
This strikes me as a case of airline idiocy,

  
I hate when airlines do that. It drives me bananas and it completely ruins the flight for me.
This is especially bad on short red-eyes like the TATL flights from the northeast U.S. to Western Europe. IMO, any flight that is less than 8 hours and departing after 8pm should not serve any meal at all. Just turn the lights off and let people rest. People should just eat dinner before they get on the plane if they think they are going to be hungry.

People already complain they don't get fed on 3 or 4 hour flights. Can you imagine the complaints that would happen if they didn't feed passengers on Trans-Oceanic flights?
 
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Ytraveller
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:08 pm

Same thing happened to me in July flying BLR-FRA on LH, departure time of 3 am. They announced they'd be serving dinner after takeoff!! I'd had a big dinner hours ago and had been awake for most of the night, so I just went to sleep. A pity though because the meal sounded good.

-Ytraveller
 
n729pa
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:16 pm

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 9):
A pity though because the meal sounded good.

Nothing worse than a noisy eater!
 

On the QF2 you get a breakfast around 3:00-3:30 am local time for a 5am arrival into SYD, but after 20+ hours on the plane you don't tend to worry too much! Far rather have something then, than not at all.
 
Andy33
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:17 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 7):
This is especially bad on short red-eyes like the TATL flights from the northeast U.S. to Western Europe. IMO, any flight that is less than 8 hours and departing after 8pm should not serve any meal at all. Just turn the lights off and let people rest. People should just eat dinner before they get on the plane if they think they are going to be hungry.

That would be fine if the people travelling all started their journey in the city the TATL flight is leaving from. But as MEA-707 pointed out, lots of them are actually coming off connecting flights, which either don't have long enough connections to get a meal, or even if booked to have a long enough connection, can end up being delayed.
Of course if US domestic flights still served meals in economy......
 
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qf789
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:30 pm

I was on a BA flight last year LHR-SIN, departed around 8pn LHR time so had dinner shortly after take off. We landed in SIN around 4pm local time. 2hrs before landing we were served a hot breakfast.
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DALCE
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:34 pm

You can actually say no.....
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Cubsrule
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:44 pm

Quoting dalce (Reply 13):
ou can actually say no.....

. . . not to the cabin lights.
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draigonair
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:45 pm

And if the light bothers you, cover you eyes with a sleeping mask..
cheers
 
DALCE
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:47 pm

flown: F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,223,E75,E90,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,
753,763,744,77W,788,319,320,321,333,AB6.
 
TKA380
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:57 pm

Personally, I am happy to eat in the middle of the night. Flew IST-HKG with TK recently, departure at 01:20, meal came right after takeoff in C class. Enjoyed it. Same in Y too, although it comes about 1 hour or 1 and a half hours after departure - still very happy with that. I'd be disappointed if they didn't serve a meal personally & expected every passenger to get up and grab a snack box from the galley.
 
TKA380
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:58 pm

Surely it must've been dinner, not lunch?
 
brilondon
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:12 pm

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 1):
in that case it's good to know a nice meal is waiting for you on board.

Unfortunately It is hard to find a "good" meal on board these days. I would rather sleep than eat the crap they pass off as food. On a BA flight I had a couple of weeks ago the food was horrific and I found it undigestable. The days of food that is edible on airplanes have long since passed. Now maybe I am flying the wrong airlines but when you get a choice that really to eat or not to eat I would rather not eat.
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global1
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:17 pm

At DL (and NW before) when we flew the Mumbai-Amsterdam flight, it was a single tray, hot, light meal with a vegetarian or non-vegetarian option in Delta One. 70% of customers opted out. Main cabin was a light snack with beverages. The services were completed within an hour or so after take off and followed by a quiet cabin environment for 8 hours or so. A full hot breakfast was served before arrival in Amsterdam.

It worked well because at that late hour most customers were tired and wanted to sleep, yet after 8 hours or so in the air, many were awake and hungry and breakfast was the logical meal to serve before a 600am arrival.

[Edited 2015-09-10 07:40:36]
 
ckfred
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:20 pm

If you look at the BA website, it indicates that on appropriate flights, afternoon tea is served. So, on LHR-ORD, departing at 4:05pm, I expected afternoon tea 45-60 minutes after the seat belt sign went off, with dinner about 2.5 hours later.

No.

After the seat belt sign went off, they started beverage service with flavored pretzels. About an hour later, it was dinner. Then, sandwiches were served about 90 minutes before landing.

It seems to me that tea and dinner, rather than beverage/pretzels, dinner, and sandwiches, would not only mean less work for the crew, but less amount of provisions for catering to load onto the airplane.

And I'm not expecting the sort of elaborate afternoon tea one might expect at a posh London hotel.

I can also say the same thing about late departures for Europe.

With an 8:35 departure out of ORD for LHR, it was beverage/pretzels, dinner, and a small boxed breakfast.

I had already had a dinner at ORD (and frankly, I wasn't that impressed with the food in Termianl 5, even though most of the options were Lettuce Entertain You, which runs a lot of great restaurants in Chicago).

I would have preferred a snack after take-off, followed by a full breakfast about 2 hours before landing at LHR. The beverage/pretzels, dinner, boxed breakfast makes sense for the 6pm departure out of ORD, but not the late departure.

But then, even domestic U.S. flights have weird meal service. I had a trip in F on AA, ORD-LAS-ORD. A 10am departure out of ORD meant lunch, even though arrival at LAS was at noon. OK, a noon arrival in Las Vegas is 2pm in Chicago.

But for the 9:40am departure out of LAS, arriving at ORD at 3:20, it was breakfast. Even with the time change, 3:20 in Chicago is 1:20 in Las Vegas. Most everyone in the cabin commented to the F/A that it was a rather late departure to load a breakfast set-up in the galley, since a number of people had breakfast before leaving for McCarren.
 
a320fan
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:34 pm

Quoting brilondon (Reply 19):
Now maybe I am flying the wrong airlines but when you get a choice that really to eat or not to eat I would rather not eat.

You must be. On QF and SQ the meals have all been really tasty except for one breakfast on SQ (Which taught me to avoid eggs on flights) Juneyao Airlines in China also served a really tender and tasty pork steak and rice dish.
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rta
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:04 pm

Quoting TKA380 (Reply 17):
Personally, I am happy to eat in the middle of the night. Flew IST-HKG with TK recently, departure at 01:20, meal came right after takeoff in C class. Enjoyed it. Same in Y too, although it comes about 1 hour or 1 and a half hours after departure - still very happy with that. I'd be disappointed if they didn't serve a meal personally & expected every passenger to get up and grab a snack box from the galley.

Same, I like eating 35k ft in the air  And it helps pass time. And not everyone has time to grab a bite before the flight, which is why I would prefer that they didn't drop a meal. KLM could have probably done better with this though. On BA if you fly the same route, they would've given you a very light dinner on a small tray, the main full meal for breakfast, and a snack box upon arrival.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:56 am

Quoting n729pa (Reply 10):
On the QF2 you get a breakfast around 3:00-3:30 am local time for a 5am arrival into SYD,

What do they do on QF1 after departure from DXB for LHR about 0230? Local boarding passengers in DXB aren't likely to be interested in food at that time of night but for passengers who boarded in SYD, that's 0830 SYD time and they could well be hungry for breakfast.

That's true on many longhaul flights that carry a lot of connecting passengers from other longhaul flights where the local tme at the connecting point may be drastically different than at their point of origin which their body clock is still based on.
 
airDFW
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RE: Why Did KLM Serve Me Lunch At 4AM?

Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:08 pm

I disagree with notion that because the departure time is at 3:00 AM, they should not serve dinner.

The problem specifically with India flights is that large number of it is family and Indian airports are not hospitable to grab a bite to eat. And even if you had a good dinner, you will be standing in the queues here and there (immigration, customs, security, security again, another security etc etc) a very big theater.

So after all that you are herded into the departure hall and where you cannot really have any rest with children running around etc.

So I definitely feel hungry when I get into aircraft. This may be different for F or J passengers or people travelling on business or alone.

But they could have made it low noise affair.

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