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AT
Topic Author
Posts: 905
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2000 12:16 pm

### How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

I fly long-haul a lot (almost always in Economy) and have to date never encountered a situation where my preferred entree was already out. Which made me wonder, for flights where you have meal services with multiple entree options, how do the airlines gauge how to proportion the entrees?

Let's say on a flight from A to B, options are chicken, fish, or vegetarian. Would an airline load 1/3 of each meal ? Or do they do research to determine which category of meats are more popular on given routes/cultures and then cater planes accordingly? I can see certain routes where there'd be obvious choices (e.g., higher vegetarian on flights to India) but how does this work on a more general basis?

And related how many extra meals would an airline load as a margin of error?

02hilliert
Posts: 479
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:52 pm

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load

Based on what I've seen at work, the airline I work for is as follows;

Premium Cabin: 50% Beef, 50% Chicken (always assuming cabin is full)
Economy Cabin: 60% Chicken, 40% Beef catered to the number of passengers expected.

A buffer of around 3 meals is added to cover spillage/wastage. No vegetarian meals are loaded unless pre-booked by passengers.
Next Up: Back to the US - Charlotte & Kansas City

jetmatt777
Posts: 4532
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

I've read they cater First/Business to 100% of each meal type. To ensure high valued customers always receive their first choice.

AA737-823
Posts: 5537
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

If you ever flew Northwest longhaul, you'd know they catered about three meat meals, and the other 400 vegetarian. Because that was cheapest.

 Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 2):I've read they cater First/Business to 100% of each meal type. To ensure high valued customers always receive their first choice.

I'm sure there's someone out there who still does this, but even on the classier (I mean, NOT U.S.- based) carriers, you'll noticed the bottom of the menu stating, "We apologize if your first choice isn't available..."

Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

Some of the relatively few carriers still operating longhaul F class may do that, but I can't imagine any airlines doing that in J class. I've been on many flights in business class where they almost always take meal orders based on passenger status, to ensure those with the highest status get their first choice. There's no way a flight with 40 J class seats and 3 main course meal options is going to have 120 meals loaded, with 80 having to be thrown away.

They have a lot of experience and data on which choices have the highest demand.

PanHAM
Posts: 9719
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 6:44 pm

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

 Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):If you ever flew Northwest longhaul, you'd know they catered about three meat meals, and the other 400 vegetarian. Because that was cheapest.

I flew NW quite often on TATL in the late 80s early 90s and never had a complaint. They actually served fresh beer from a wooden 20 Liter vat in Business. Few Airlines did that, Can't remember when Lufti stopped doing that.
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!

AT
Topic Author
Posts: 905
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2000 12:16 pm

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

 Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 4): There's no way a flight with 40 J class seats and 3 main course meal options is going to have 120 meals loaded, with 80 having to be thrown away.

I agree- that would be impractical, and both financially and environmentally wasteful.

 Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 4): I've been on many flights in business class where they almost always take meal orders based on passenger status, to ensure those with the highest status get their first choice

Interesting, but do they always know the status? And on that note, would upgraded passengers be lowest on that priority scale?
.

Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

 Quoting AT (Reply 6):Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 4): I've been on many flights in business class where they almost always take meal orders based on passenger status, to ensure those with the highest status get their first choice Interesting, but do they always know the status? And on that note, would upgraded passengers be lowest on that priority scale?

They usually know the frequent flyer status, and upgraded passengers would come last, actually 2nd last. Last are non-rev employees.

jetwet1
Posts: 3321
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

 Quoting AT (Reply 6):Interesting, but do they always know the status?

It's normally noted on the passenger manifest.

thaiflyer
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:55 pm

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

The airlines i use ( EK-TK-TG ) don't use the frequent flyer status for meal orders.
Just from start to end of the cabin.
I fly about bi-weekly long haul flights in Business and over the last 20 years or so i never had the problem that my choice was not available.
I don't know how they load but i think it is more then 50/50, more close to 80 % in my experience.

davidho1985
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:27 am

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

Extra meals can be used as spare or even crew meals, so that airline need not to prepare crew meals
as the remaining are available to crew when the load is eg. 80:80.
I am sure crews will be happy to have business class meals as their food as well.

The costs of exra meals must have been calculatedt and included in the airlines' budget.
So that customers are happy, crew are happy, Why not? (althought it may not be environmental friendly)

longhauler
Posts: 6488
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:00 am

### RE: How Do Airlines Gauge Ratio Of Entrees To Load?

 Quoting davidho1985 (Reply 10):Extra meals can be used as spare or even crew meals, so that airline need not to prepare crew meals

Crew meals where I fly, are J class hot entrees on a "Flex J Meal" type tray setup. (These are J meals served on one tray if the passenger chooses a quicker eat then sleep option.)

When passenger selections are being made, the F/As note the selections leaving three or four (depending on the pilot crew numbers) different entrees. Also, often J is over catered with hot entrees, (not really the expensive part of the meal), and the extras are given to Economy passengers on an Economy meal tray setup. So it pays to sit in the back of the bus, as the J entrees usually go to the last Y passengers served.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!

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