Internal Memo: American’s Catering Progress at LAX Since the Listeria Discovery

After listeria was discovered at the LAX facility of caterer Gate Gourmet, American Airlines (and later others) stopped using them to provision food for flights.

That’s a smart precaution to take, but it created big operational problems. It’s meant double catering some flights into Los Angeles so there’d be food and beverages for flights out of LA. It’s meant providing food for passengers to bring onboard. And they’ve been transitioning to other caterers as much as possible to bring back meal services for flights.

Bring back Bistro Bags!

Via the Forward Cabin, who’s been on this like white on rice, here’s an internal memo from earlier in the week updating progress on providing food for flights that are supposed to offer it.

LAX catering update #5

The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) catering situation continues to be very fluid, but we are enhancing our service as quickly as possible. While we work through this challenging situation, we do have a couple updates for you:

As of Monday, November 13, every flight is getting wet ice and trash service in LAX.

Also as of Monday, we started double provisioning (DP) JFK-LAX for the return flight to JFK.

Starting Wednesday, November 15, we will DP all remaining LAX domestic meal flights. Please avoid using downline provisioning on flights that may be double provisioned; downline cart diagrams are printed on color paper.

LAX-MIA and LAX-Hawaii will continue to have full service from LSG

Each flight is being met by a caterer, LSG, Air Fayre or Gate Gourmet for trash removal and wet ice, prior to departure. If the planned meal is not on board, there is backup in place to provision the flight quickly with sandwiches and salads that have been produced by an alternative food service provider.

G2, our Cabin Service provider, is now provisioning amenity kits and ear buds on departures from LAX, where they would normally be provided.

Exceptions include: PVG, PEK, LHR and GRU; Air Fayre is handling those flights

To recap, with these changes above, every flight departing from LAX scheduled for a meal will have one provisioned onboard. While this may not have our full food offering in every case, we feel confident that we are continuing to improve the product. In cases where the food service has been reduced from our normal standards, we are continuing to provide generous compensation in advance to our customers sitting in a premium cabin.

Thank you for all your efforts over the last couple weeks. You have been tremendous.

I don’t think that customers flying long haul premium cabins and being offered modest vouchers for future travel would agree with the ‘generous compensation’ characterization, but I think all would agree it was a tough spot and that American’s actions otherwise have been reasonable and in the best interests of the health of their customers (and their business, of course, because sick passengers wouldn’t be good for their bottom line either).

JonNYC has more updates as well:

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  1. “I don’t think that customers flying long haul premium cabins and being offered modest vouchers for future travel would agree with the ‘generous compensation’ characterization,”

    I received $200 for a paid biz fare fromLAX-JFK. That is more than generous as far as I am concerned. We are talking airplane food here……

  2. Flew “steerage” LAX-SYD on AA73 two days ago and prior to departure, AA emailed us each a $100 voucher for the potential “inconvenience.” We didn’t know what to expect so we brought a large bag of snacks for the 15 1/2 hour journey—turns out the flight had two hot meal services (couldn’t tell who catered but it was fine for coach).

  3. This issue was preventable had AA only acted on the overt failure of its LAX caterer last July, 2016, when apparently not even its station manager knew the caterer had failed to deliver meals or top-off liquor on its long distance flights for at least one day. The outsourced gate agents had no idea to even warn passengers to purchase their meals before boarding.

    No reason by now not to have a permanent substitute caterer in place, e.g., LSG.

  4. Just flew LAX to ORD on Dec 13th in First class. I was served a ‘snack box’ with a cold bagel and a mound of cream cheese, a small plastic container of yogurt and blueberries. Definitely not a first class meal. I was sent an e-mail the previous day stating a voucher would be sent if normal standards for the meal weren’t met. Two days later, I still have not received a voucher or a response from customer service. On Nov 13th, on the same route, I received a $50 voucher 1 day prior to the flight with the sub-standard meal of yogurt, granola and fruit.

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