When the US Airways and American merger finally got the go-ahead, airline President Scott Kirby promised that US Airways would adopt American’s higher standards.
For meals, though, what’s actually happened is that the two airlines are splitting the difference.
Roughly speaking American served meals on two hour flights and US Airways on three and a half hour flights — they’ll settle in the middle at two hours forty five minutes.
Here are the specific time, distance, and offering standards that go into effect on September 1.
One additional September 1 change that I hadn’t seen reported before, but that is being discussed on Flyertalk (HT: Jeremy F.) is a change to the order in which meal preferences will be taken from customers.
Since American introduced pre-ordering of meals the procedure for taking orders in the cabin is less important for well-informed flyers than it used to be. As long as you are booked into the first class cabin 24 hours in advance you can order what you want from the choices that would be offered onboard.
But if you buy your ticket at the last minute, change your flight within 24 hours, or don’t clear an upgrade until within that timeframe you can’t order in advance.
And I generally see most passengers ordering inflight, not having pre-selected, so it may indicate there’s no enough awareness of the pre-order option.
The inflight meal order that flight attendants have been instructed to follow (and generally did follow) for years has been ‘FEBO’ —
- Start at the front of the cabin on even-numbered flights
- Start at the back of the cabin on odd-numbered flights
On September 1, ‘FEBO’ is said to be replaced by:
When an aircraft flight involves a change of time zones, take meal preferences:
. . . • Eastbound: from forward / front to aft /back
. . . • Westbound: from aft to forward
If the flight does not involve a change of any time zones, take meal preferences:
. . . • Southbound: from forward to aft
. . . • Northbound: from aft to forward
It turns out this isn’t all that different from FEBO except that during the merger process plenty of flights have been renumbered, and more roundtrips have been given the same number. The practical effect is that many flights will be restored to the former order in which meals were taken for that given flight!
If, that is, this isn’t too complicated to work with.