New: American Airlines using Samsung tablets for First Class meal and beverage orders

Last year, American Airlines adopted the use of Samsung Galaxy tablets to use inflight – up until now, they were mainly used in the Main Cabin for buy on board food/beverage, and to confirm Executive Platinum status for complimentary snacks. Flight Attendants also began using the devices to read off in-flight announcements, ditching the old spiral books.

As a point of reference, on a flight from Tampa to Chicago this summer, I was seated in First and had my beverage requests documented on the passenger manifest (interestingly, I took this picture on the ground in Moline, KS after an emergency landing due to a bird striking the window).

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Now, American is using the electronic tablets for meal orders and beverages requests in their domestic First Class cabins.

Seated in First from Dallas to Washington DC, the lead flight attendant came around initially for beverage orders, noting each in his handheld device.

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After delivering our drinks, and following hot tow service, the same flight attendant came around to gather requests for breakfast – on this flight, since it was a 7:50a departure, the choice was an omelette or oatmeal. Again, he noted my choice in his tablet.

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Interestingly, I noticed the speed of service on this flight was much faster than on the majority of other flights I have taken. While I can’t say for certain that the use of the tablet contributed to this, I can’t help but wonder whether it did, and whether this is the new standard.

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Have you seen the use of the tablets for meal service on an American Airlines flight?

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Comments

  1. K Wirth says

    I am a FA for AA. We have not been told specifically to do this but can as noted in the article. I see this as a less personal way to work with my passengers. Okay maybe it’s because I am not 20 and it probably would take me a half hour just to input your choice, but besides that, I can write on a piece of paper while still looking you in the eye and smiling. I am afraid you are going to see a lot of changes at AA and just so you know the majority of us are not happy about it. Please let the company know if you are not happy with the changes you see. They basically don’t care when we complain and we would like better for all of us. Here is a copy of an email that I recently sent to the director of food and beverage. I have yet to receive a response.

    Dear Mr. Adler,

    As we have not met please allow me to introduce myself. I am a 26 year IMA FA who mainly flies galley. I have never had occasion in the past to write any person in your position at our company. As a very outspoken person in general, I would not like to be considered a hypocrite by complaining without following up with someone who I believe has a say in making changes.

    In the past month on my trips to GRU, I have noticed a significant decrease in the quality of our food service items. The box breakfast service is appalling to say the least. The former tray service we provided, at the very least had a packaged juice. The importance of the juice being present, is that should for any reason (turbulence) we not be able to take the beverage cart in the aisle, we are still able to deliver a service to our passengers. With the box breakfast we are forced to take a cart into the aisles when it may not be the best choice to have inserts on top of the cart. We are generally serving follow on services when there is a border between the ocean and land and this causes unstable air. Having the juice on a tray ensures that we are able to at the very least run a tray out in an expedited fashion. This is my major issue with the box and I won’t get into how low class it appears to me.

    I will get into the class when it comes to serving our premium cabins off of a paper lined tray, not providing dessert rollups with proper linen napkins, no serving plate for ice cream, etc. Premium service requires tools for a premium presentation. I am beginning to think that the people who are making these decisions have never been to a fine dining establishment. I am appalled and embarrassed to present my passengers with such a low level service and lack of finery. Having just spent my Fall holiday at the Victoria Jungfrau in Switzerland, one of the leading hotels of the world, I am used to fine dining and high class service. I would have been disgusted had something been presented to me in the way I am being forced to serve my own passengers. I also took two cruise holidays this year and stayed in suite level cabins. Had I been treated on my holidays, the way we are now expected to serve our passengers, I would have been writing complaint letters till my fingers bled.

    We had a higher level of service at American Airlines, when we were in bankruptcy. Our service may have needed an overhaul but this was certainly the wrong direction. I ask that the service be returned to the standard that we and our customers expect and deserve. I want to be proud to do my job and am currently embarrassed to face my passengers.

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