Marshall Jackson just wrote about American’s challenges offering predeparture beverages in domestic first class.
It’s always striking to me that legacy American Airlines crews so rarely offer anything to drink prior to takeoff. Naturally the priority is an on-time departure, and it’s difficult to move around the cabin during boarding of a single aisle aircraft. But other airlines – including legacy US Airways crews – get this done far more often than American flight attendants do.
You can call this a ‘first world problem’ and it is. But American is reminding their flight attendants that it’s part of the service, noting that “first impressions are lasting impressions.”
One of MJ’s commenters writes in to offer a flight attendant perspective that they’re going to get written up if they delay a flight for predeparture beverages — they aren’t offered because of the airline’s pressure for on-time departures. “We get written up by agents if we do them or passengers if we don’t. We can’t win”
In fact it’s absolutely possible to do predeparture beverages without delaying departure 90% of the time. The other 10% is when you don’t do predeparture beverages. (Or if the flight’s catering has been delayed.) It’s something Delta reportedly does well.
This morning in fact,
- American didn’t begin boarding my flight until published scheduled boarding time. That’s amazing.
- We pushed back six minutes early.
- And the crew managed to offer predeparture beverages — not just prepoured water or orange juice, but passengers’ choice. They had even brewed coffee for the 7:05 a.m. departure.
I tweeted this borrowing AT&T’s tagline, “#RethinkPossible”.
It’s a small thing, but when you run from one flight to the next you easily go 90+ minutes without access to a glass of water. Predeparture beverages are a nice feature of domestic first class (and there aren’t many of those). They’re appreciated when offered, and make the boarding process feel a little more civilized even.