First Class food: Should flight attendants eat it?

Update: I’d like to be clear on my position on this issue, for clarification. To be honest, I have no problem with the crew eating leftover meals, understanding they just go to waste anyways after a flight. These guys and gals work their butts off day in and day out and have little time for breaks sometimes. This post is NOT a complaint. The purpose of this post was merely to inquire into the practice and what policies may or may not be behind it, how the airline’s view it, and what the cost of it is — not the practicality behind it — which, as I think most of us can agree, is something that should be allowed considering how hard these folks work, and what little food breaks they might otherwise get (though, licking fingers and then serving back in the cabin is a bit of a questionable practice…). I’m not a terribly picky person when it comes to inflight meals, and wouldn’t mind it in many cases if the crew did a first pick, especially if they’ve had a long day and this is their last flight. This post is simply curious about the practice and how its viewed from the airline perspective, not of whether I find it right or wrong (I find it right for them to be given food…) — for those of you in the industry, I encourage you to chime in on whether your airline provides food, and whether you would get in trouble for eating leftover passenger meals.

I’ve seen this occur more than once, and to be honest, I’ve brushed it off until tonight as I make my way to Chicago, and the on to Denver for the weekend.

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After takeoff, meal and drink orders were taken from everyone in First Class, with the entire food service being completed within the hour. As we made our last half hour into Chicago, I noticed the flight attendants heating up what had to have been the leftover (unused) meals from First, and eating them on the pullout trays in the galley. While they were fairly talkative, it wasn’t necessarily a distraction, though I did notice it from my seat in 4E.

  • It looks as if some flight attendants were sharing one meal, with one eating the salad and the other the entree, so it appeared as if there was only one meal left?
  • One was licking his fingers profusely, though I can’t imagine why since none of the meals on offer required any handling with fingers.
  • There was one attendant, who was working the Main Cabin for the majority of the flight, who I swear ate at least 5 chocolate chip cookies… 😛
Ignore the feat on the wall. My focus was the flight attendant eating in the galley, I swear. :)

Ignore the feet on the wall. My focus was the flight attendant eating in the galley, I swear. 🙂

So, I’m wondering what the protocol is here for flight attendants, especially on domestic routes.

  • I don’t believe there’s any food budgeted for the crew on such a short hop from DCA to ORD.
  • I’ve been on several flights where I notice the cockpit eating, but not the cabin crew.
  • While I’ve noticed many flights with crew eating food onboard purchased in airport restaurants, I can equally name half of the flights as ones where they ate the onboard food, though it’s always been after First Class had already been served, thankfully. It’s most likely these crews did not have time to stop for food inside the terminal and was in a rush to their next departing flight.
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It raises a few questions on my part:

  • Is there any accountability for the food once the plane lands? Won’t someone notice extra meals eaten? I’m curious to see if flight attendants are getting in trouble over a “missing meal” and if this ever happens. It’d be unfortunate if it did!
  • What flights is food provided for crews, if any (domestically)?
  • If it truly isn’t a policy and isn’t budgeted, I’m curious the expense this incurs on the airline. I can’t imagine the meals being incredibly cheap (though, at times they sure do taste like it…), and I’d be interested in seeing the expenses on the meals eaten by flight crews. I’m not sure the logistics behind catering a flight, so in the case of over catering, how much the “over” costs the airline.

I’m curious to see if any of you know the policies behind these inflight meals and their application to crew consumption. 

NOTE: Due to a large amount of derogatory comments toward other commenters, I have disabled the comments feature of this post. I appreciate the constructive discussion, and those that were able to respond with information. Thanks for your understanding!

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Comments

  1. MSPDeltaDude says

    It’s the extra meals they are eating…which I have no problem with since they would go to waste anyway. It’s not like you should save them for catering to take back then reload on another flight.

    • kristi says

      So flight attendants may have up to a 16/18 work days. We are not provided food. We van teaveling criss country with no meals. We often buy our own food but sometimes delays and early or late departure leaves us stranded without food options. The food in first will be thrown out. We do not recycle meals. So if yhere is left over its fair game for thr crew. Ee can bring our own food but lugging fiod for 4 days isnt easy. There isnt always a way to keep it cold on the plane or in the hotel. And sometimes cstering will whisk the carts off with our food. To be honest. The first class meals are hardly first class. After maternity leave it only took a month for me to not even want to smell the meals…not to mention its far from healthy. So yes , crews are allowed to eat meala, often in a hurry or standibg up. We have to be scheduled more than 8 or 12 hours or flying to be given crew meals. When i was pregnant i flew portland oregan to phoenix. So early neither the hotel or thr airport had food for us to get. We had to circle Phoenix closing the 30 minute window for the crew to get off to get food. All first class passengers had their meal..ao nothing left over for crew. Pilots got meals portland to phoenix. Phoenix to boston same yhing. All passengers ate their meal. We were delayed on the ground in Phoenix too. Phx to bos pilots got meals flight attwndants did not. By the time i got to ny hotel room i was ready to pass out. 3 months pregnant and nothing to eatfor over 12 hours!!! Yeah…thank you for this article. Its a grim reminder how terribly we are treated sometimes. Those meals are gross anyway..cafeteria food at its best…but sometimes thats all we have available. Cant believe this evem bothered you….smh.

        • says

          I know Journos are desperate for copy on occassion….but this REALLY is a waste of space….I can’t see ANYTHING of value (especially to a ‘reader’) I’ll be catching a flight in a few hours from Bologna, so I’m having one last decent meal (in Modena) because most aircraft food is shite…..I wouldn’t want it everyday as flight crew. Anyway, leave the poor darlings alone (& get a life) Cheers, Simon Addinsell, London

          • says

            That’s very unfortunate. They should allow some sort of stipend for food, at the very least. That way you’re able to grab food in airports. Or perhaps they could issue meal vouchers like they do for delayed passengers?

        • Carol says

          I can’t believe you’re not more disgusted by the feet on the wall! Or are you one of those guys who does the same thing?

        • T.I says

          The airline I work for does have policies on these left over meals. Flight crew are never catered meals even though we may have 12-13hr duty days (domestically) with multiple flights. Sometimes we don’t have time to get food, or airport food is just too expensive for our budgets. Our policies say that if there are any pershiable foods left over after the service that we are allowed to eat them or take them with us on our layover.

          Also, regardless of whether there are 2/16 passengers in first class or 16/16 passengers, the plane will still be catered for a full cabin.

        • Connie says

          Jame…Let’s hope the cabin crew on your next flight doesn’t read this post and/or recognize your name on the FC manifest.

          If I were you, I’d decline all food and drink. IJS

        • Nanou says

          Who are you to have nothing else to do while on a flight… How about the feet on the bulkhead ? That did not seem to bother you ? Oh… Be careful in the future because taking picture of crew members and posting them or not could land you in court…

    • Melanie says

      Thank you! You’re right — these are extra meals that would otherwise go to waste. And during 14-16 hour workdays with no scheduled breaks, they are a godsend. When my $18,000/year job doesn’t allow for more than ramen noodles after bills are paid, they are a godsend. It is disheartening to see someone whose existence is apparently consumed by luxury hotels and elite status concerned by what a flight attendant — whole kelt struggles to make ends meet — is eating in their downtime. Did they drop the ball with their service? Did they wash their hands after? (You are aware that your trash touches our hands when you give it to us, right? Why, then, are you concerned with whether or not a flight attendant was licking their fingers? If there was only one leftover meal, there was only one available set of utensils.) If the answer is “no,” then your point is moot. They were trying to sustain themselves with food that would have otherwise been discarded, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Shame on you for this post.

      It seems as if the overwhelming majority of readers understand that we are human beings deserving of decency. Thank you to those of you who understand the constraints of our job, and appreciate that we occasionally need to eat.

        • Sky Diva says

          Well said!! Yes we are humans and we do eat!!! Most of our passengers will not last one day doing our jobs! If I am hungry Im going to eat either if u like it or not!!!

          • Mike says

            Most of these passengers don’t even think about us when it comes to food because the passengers eat before they get to the airport eat at the airport then eat the first class meals on the plane so they are very well fed and still always seems hungry … while we starve and still have to be strong enough to do our duties as safety professionals and be able to be quick witty when it’s time to do an emergency evacuation … so why does our policy bother you so much about us eating when pretty much we almost never have time to eat because our flights leave before breakfast and our shuttles can’t make stops from the hotel to the airport because we have to have an on time departure or our flight get in after dinner so we have to go to bed with growling stomachs … shame on this post and your unnecessary interest in a policy that don’t concern you.

      • Melanie says

        “whole kelt” = auto correct’s creative interpretation of “who likely”

        Thank you for your update, and for understanding. As you can see, we are fiercely loyal to each other in this industry — if we feel a fellow flight attendant is being bashed, irrespective of the airline, we are all quick to step in and say something. The sense of community is one of the things that keeps us in Stockholm Syndrome Love with the job, despite the long hours, minimal pay, and occasionally difficult passengers.

      • Erin says

        Amen to the replies! What is wrong with the author of this article??? SMDH! We use the lavs too. Is that ok with you?? Find something worthwhile to write about. And no we are not provided food on any flights except Asia flights at my major carrier. Yes we may have to split a meal that’s left over. No the company doesn’t care because it was originally catered to give more choices to passengers and it’s now leftover. Yes pilots are given first. Class meals on almost everyone of our flights. Talk about unfair… They have time to get off during flights, they make far more money, and the flight attendants have to coke and serve them. And so what if they lick their fingers. They handle your trash as well. But they do know how to wash their hands. And one ate 5 cookies. Maybe that is all she was able to have all day. You do realize we often put in days of 12-15hrs with no time between flights to grab a bite in the airport. This is just so insulting. Find a better subject, like the guy with no class with his feet up on the wall.

        • says

          Why is everyone so hostile towards the guy? From my point of view he isn’t bashing FAs, he’s merely inquiring about the policy behind it. And from a someone who’s not in the industry I think he’s being pretty fair in his statements.

          I actually think it’s a great thing that he’s looking into this because then questions like “why do the pilots get crew meals and we don’t?” can be addressed. We’re all human beings and we all need food, we work the same amount of time obviously being on the same flight, so I want to know why pilots get allotted meals while we have to eat leftovers – if there are any.

          • says

            Thanks, Aimee! This is exactly the point I was trying to make. I am in defense of the flight attendants. As a passenger, I want to make their jobs easier and more enjoyable. No one wants to go to work in order to slave through a shift.

          • Toma says

            That guy needs to get a life. He has nothing better to do then watch flight attendant eat. Sad! Why pilots get meal is becouse they have negotiated in their union contract to get meal if they have to fly more then certain amount of time. As flight attendant at my airline we had to choose to get nasty crew meal or something else. And when we have a long day and no time to get food we are going to eat that leftover meal, and hope for two minutes of privacy.

      • natashia says

        Amen to everything Melanie and Erin said! Are you that passenger that goes around telling service staff how YOU pay their salary? Perhaps we should use the rear entrance of the plane also, lest we sully the first class entrance. A secret for you: Pilots also eat your leftover food! Oh my! Scandal!
        You can act as if you just wanted to be clear on the airline policy, but this post screams your elitist attitude. Honestly, you remind me of Donald Sterling, patting himself on the back. “I don’t have to spend more money on them, they will take whatever conditions I give them.”

        • says

          I swear, this is the exact reason why passengers complain about flight attendants. So many of you are so damn hostile for no reason. HE NEVER SAID HE DOESN’T CONDONE US EATING FIRST CLASS MEALS. All y’all are so damn bitter that you just lash out at anyone who even remotely looks at you the wrong way.

          • Michelle says

            Aimee the reason this post ges such negative reaponses is somewhere else. While I do understand that he was merely inquiring, the way he pinpointed some things left me bitter as a flight attendant too. Talking about crew licking his fingers like we werent trained in hygiene. Or pointing out that a crew ate at least 5(ohmygosh5!!!) Cookies like.. seriously? this article could have been written in a much nicer manner and i can guarantee you that there would be no bashing.

          • says

            Michelle, nowhere was it said that all crews haven’t received hygiene training. Some are not as adept in this, and the same holds true about the restaurant industry, hotels, etc. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of FAs go above and beyond cleanliness by consistently washing hands, wiping counters, trays, etc.

      • Rae says

        Wow! You’re not bothered by the man with his feet on the wall but you’re bothered by what the flight attendant is eating? This whole post is insulting and trust me, I’ve tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. My sister is a Flight attendant and it’s a crappy job. Sure, she gets to travel but she’s usually too tired after being away from home for 2-3weeks at a time. That first two hours they’re required to be at the airport including boarding, they’re NOT paid for. They work 12-16 hours + a day and only get paid for flight hours; they might get food on the flight but most cases NOT. So what if they were eating the meal leftover from “not so” first class. It gets thrown away Sherlock. You should be thankful that they were able to eat something in order to preserve energy and alertness in the event they’d have to save your life!! Oh, and when the plane lands safely and the door opens, all that time you take getting off or waiting for wheelchairs, they’re not paid for either.

  2. Carl Stewart says

    James—

    I almost always find your posts to be interesting and informative but you should have left this one unpublished. How mean-spirited of you to care about this very minor point. Flight attendants generally have an awful job. Why not allow them to have a “decent” meal at the airline’s expense?

    And, by the way, those are “feet” on the cabin divider, not “feat”!!

    Regards

    Carl

    • Tony says

      Carl, trust me..it’s not an awful job by any measure. Even with all the crap thrown at us by customers and our companies, most of us cherish this job for the unmatched flexibility it offers. With all the time off I have as a flight attendant I am able to keep my airline job AND run a successful small business with no compromise to either.

  3. Danny says

    I am more bothered with the guy putting his feet on the wall. Was he born in a barn? No manners at all.

  4. Jerry says

    I have no idea what the rules may be, but if the passengers aren’t going to eat it, I’d rather the crew does rather than see it go to waste.

    I suppose they have so many of each dish on board so each passenger gets a choice, and there will be extras left over, so what’s the problem?

  5. pete says

    This post makes you sound like a busybody elitist. I know you prolly didnt mean it that way, but even your title is offputting

  6. Larry says

    Meals are part of their union contracts. They must be provided. I don’t remember the specifics of which flights get them, but it’s something like anytime a flight is long enough for a passenger to get a meal, then the crew must also get a meal. Typically they give passengers first choice of entrees and then they take what’s left (like on your flight). But there is nothing amiss here…..

    • scottsbiz2015 says

      Larry , you must be one of those anti-union folks, and at the very least uninformed. the Pilots get meals almost every leg of their day, first class meals, sundaes included. For cost savings some AAirlines cut cabin crew meals 14 years ago. Originally it was 100%. for a savings of $2-5 million /year depending on whose accountant you believe.(feed 9,000 people a day, all year). More recently management conceded that crews on flights over 12 hours ( and believe me they know how to schedule a flight to be 11:55!) get meals for the cabin in which they work. As for the costs of the meals.. imagine how cheap a meal can run when you prepare 10,000 a day?! I know that main cabin meals cost the company around $1.25 a piece. First class is higher , but does not exceed $5.00 , champagne and wine not included. And since you are so interested in costs.. among the top tier of flight attendant pay, on a full flight, YOU (individually) are paying those Flight attendants between $0.20-$0.26 an hour. that is not a typo. simply divide $50/ hour by the number of passengers on your flight…
      I’d call it chump change, but I wont insult the chumps.
      As for James.. the underlying thought you had, why do flight attendants get to eat unused food, says a lot about you.
      know that flights are now catered EXACTLY. you have 100 passengers and 100 meals. plus 2-3 for the cockpit. we bring our own food. IT’s the price the flight attendants pay for your low fare tickets.

  7. Danny says

    Most airlines do provide crew meals for pilots and flight attendants and sometimes they are the same thing that first class passengers are eating. Even if its not a crew meal you are referring to, If its left over food anyway, how cares. It will just be thrown away.

    • AARON says

      Larry, at the “new” AA, the flight deck gets fed sometimes 4 or 5 times a day. Even on short SHUTTLE segments. Almost always a hot meal too. Thanks to APFA, our do nothing “UNION”, the FA crew meal language was obliterated and now FA meals are on international segments of 12hrs BLOCK time or more. This from a company that reports BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROFITS.

  8. T.M. says

    I have 27 years with a major carrier….. Our schedules do not give us time to get off the plane and purchase food almost ALL of the time. When we are running late and turning the airplanes around in 10 minutes, we often go all day without the ability to have a meal. If there is food onboard that is obviously NOT being eaten by the passengers, yes we do indulge because it may be the only time we have to eat that day. Not once has any passenger gone without because we needed to grab a bite. We also drink the beverages onboard (non-alcoholic) if we find we are parched.

    The Pilot’s have meal allowances built into their contract……we do not. The Company does not value the cabin crew as they do the cockpit crew. We are left to our own resources most of the time.

    In closing, next time you fly….. maybe instead of being so judgmental you should ask the flight attendant’s how their day is going and if you can offer anything to them?? Keep in mind, that the extra food is NOT to be wasteful, it is to ensure the passengers all have a meal should they choose to eat.

    Thank you and safe travels everyone 🙂

  9. Cindy says

    No, Larry, Flight Attendants are not provided meals any longer at all. Pilots get meals, flight attendants do not. That is where I thought this writer was going with this at first. I thought he was wondering why the flight attendants have to eat the leftovers when the pilots are catered meals? But no, he went past that and said the company is wasting money by letting the flight attendants eat the food that would be thrown away anyways. These are NOT extra meals, they are truly leftovers. The only time flight attendants have a meal onboard is when a passenger chooses not to eat. What a bully!!

  10. Jennifer Delamar-Goss says

    Why are you even concerning yourself with this? Are you aware of the hours these hardworking people pull outside of your short flight? This is totally inappropriate, watching their every move and even counting the amount of something one of them eats???

    Shame on you. Your article leads me to believe they do their job far better than you do yours anyway. How about working on spelling instead of something that is absolutely none of your business.

    We all have our work, our lives, our struggles. One can never know another’s simply by peeking behind a wall or curtain.

    You are the reason people do not enjoy flying. I have found that any job can lead to moments of hunger or thirst. Have yours not?

    You should introduce yourself immediately on a flight to both attendants and passengers so they know they are being scrutinized.

    • Nanou says

      Thank you ! Apparently James was still hungry and is a very angry person… i suppose flight attendant should be robots ! James has nothing better to do…

  11. flygirl says

    I fully agree with the comments here. The food is allocated so every passenger gets a meal. They have to cater at 110% otherwise, passengers, obviously, like yourself would complain that they did not get a choice. So, yes, sometimes there will be food left. The left over food is tossed at the end of the flight. To bemoan a flight attendant for eating something that is going in the garbage is so petty and little.

    • scottsbiz2015 says

      Flygirl, I don’t know which airline you work for, but they are spending their money lavishly if they cater at 110% , the guys I work for cater 110% only in First class ( aka Business class). and the top executives only walk away with multi-million dollar bonuses every year. and NO profit sharing with the workers!

  12. Cate says

    As a fairly new flight attendant with a major airline, I can tell you first hand that we DO NOT get meals on the plane, unless our duty day is over 12 hours long. What that means is, I have to be working for over 12 hours for the airline to give me a wilted salad and cold pasta. You better believe that if there is EXTRA food in first class, I’m going to eat it. I don’t make enough money to buy airport food, I don’t have enough time to get off the plane and get my own airport food that I don’t want to eat anyway, and some of the planes we fly don’t even have chillers to keep the food I bring from home cold. It’s a vicious cycle.
    So, yes, if there is extra food, I’m going to eat it. I need to eat, just like you. Worry about yourself, and taking illegal pictures of the crew and posting them on the Internet ( which yes, it is illegal. It says so on the safety card in your seat back pocket, but you’ve probably never read it because you’re too busy worrying about everyone else!)
    Instead of acting like we are not human, maybe you could ask us how our day is, or better yet, bring us something to snack on so we aren’t eating the first class meals!

  13. KW says

    Dear Sir, the next time you go on a trip, I would like you to check into a hotel whose room service is closed due to the late hour of your check in. I would like you to be checked out of your room eight hours later and rush back to the airport. Get back on an aircraft that you will stay on for 10 hours. Every time the aircraft lands, I would like you to clean it and then be ready to board for the next flight. During this 10 hour day, you will not have time to either get off the aircraft or if you do it will only be to run to the next aircraft. Now, do that 3 days in a row. Just how long do you expect these people to go without food? The meals are catered per flight. They are there for the passengers for that flight. If you don’t eat them, then would you rather they be thrown away while the flight attendants starve? Just how capable do you think a starving flight attendant is going to be when it comes to evacuating you from a aircrash? Do you think they will have the strength to administer life saving chest compressions on your body after you have a heart attack from stressing out so much because a person nourished their body? You Sir need to 1. GET A LIFE and 2. I suggest you learn some compassion. The feet on the wall in this picture is the problem here not people eating. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you find the facebook page “Passenger Shaming” and see all of the horrible things that passengers do when onboard aircraft.

    • says

      I’m not suggesting eating the food is bad at all – I’m merely inquiring as to the policy behind it, and how the airlines view it, though the one guy profusely licking his fingers and then heading back into the cabin to serve, was a bit questionable. I don’t have an issue with them eating the food at all, to be honest. It’s really just a curiosity of the budgeting behind it and what’s allowed and not allowed as far as how the company looks at it. To be honest, I could care less in many cases what option I get on the plane, and it wouldn’t be so bad for them to get first dibs, considering how hard they work!

      • KW says

        Well the airline I work for does not provide food for the flight attendants and we are only allowed to eat if there is something left over. I have worked many a flight back from Europe where all I was able to eat was a few leftover nuts and bread. Eight and a half hours on a plane with a total duty day of ten and a half hours subsisting on nuts and bread is inhumane. Many security checkpoints in foreign countries will not even allow us to bring food through the checkpoints. London in particular is harsher on the flight crew than on regular passengers. The food is generally catered at 110% to provide choices for the passengers. Not sure if you ever seen a grown man cry because there was no chicken left for him but I have. The food is catered per flight and thrown out if not eaten on that flight. Believe me the airlines have reduced the budget in this area as much as possible. While management is lining their pockets, both the passengers and crew suffer from the lack of ammenities onboard the aircraft. When food was taken off of most aircraft after 9/11, passengers complained but the people who suffered the most were the flight attendants. Now you may only have the option of splitting one or two meals between a crew of 4. As far as someone licking their fingers in a public environment, I personally think that is on par with the passenger who goes into the restroom without shoes. Equally disgusting! You should also read the comment about taking photo’s of crew members. It is against the law and you can be prosecuted for doing so. Photography onboard an aircraft should be done only to record your personal event and photos should never be taken of the crew or aircraft itself.

      • Lauren says

        Wow….this article saddens me. As a new hire FA with college loan payments and living in a major city in the US I SURVIVED off the extra First class meals. My company chooses to not allocate crew meals despite the 15 hour work days we sometimes have to work. We also get paid very little for the work we do. My job is so much than serving elitist, judgemental passengers like yourself. I do my job because I love traveling and meeting new people. It’s the best job in the world despite the salary that makes us eligible for WELFARE. Oh and next time you’re so hungry and you have your first meal after 8 hours and I catch you licking your lips…I’ll be the first person to call you out. And leave the cookies alone….if we want 5 cookies we will have them. Oh and policy….were allowed to eat the leftover food and take perishable items from catering on our layovers. Mind your own business.

      • cw33159 says

        It’s none of your business what I eat or who pays for it. Would you like me to share my bathroom habits with you too? Your arrogance & ignorance is amazing.

      • scottsbiz2015 says

        I have to question YOU about your curiosity.. as you state you are interested in the CORPORATE position on ALLOWING the workers to sustain themselves with , literally , leftovers. that is Demeaning at best. how about looking at it from the crew’s point of view.. Here you have a company that is raking in BILLIONS of dollars in profits, yet it doesn’t feed a part of the workforce that DOES’NT even have the luxury of access to food otherwise. AND is so greedy as to be one of the very few airlines that does’nt share profits with those ( front line workers) who do the most to create those profits.
        Shouldn’t a journalist be fair and unbiased? You are NOT.

      • Tina says

        It is none of your business what the policy is or how much it costs. You don’t work for an airline and therefore speak out of pure ignorance.
        Just the questioning of it makes you look like a jerk. Offensive story…

      • Carol says

        It’s a federal offense to take a photograph of cabin crew, and you are obviously in violation of that!
        FYI

        • Jeff says

          Carol, you sound like an idiot who makes things up. In fact I know this to be true. So please show this in your FAR book. Guide us to where it states that it’s a “federal offense” to take a photograph of your old fat ass eating 5 cookies that are there for FIRST CLASS passengers, not the help.

          • KW says

            http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/15/184290151/take-your-seat-the-no-photography-sign-is-lit
            You probably saw this bit of Internet virality earlier this week — showing a woman getting kicked off an American Airlines flight for channeling Whitney Houston.

            What caught our attention was the sound of flight attendants repeatedly ordering passengers not to take pictures or (presumably) videos.

            Apparently, it’s an official rule at American Airlines:

            “The use of still and video cameras, film or digital, is permitted only for recording of personal events. Unauthorized photography or video recording of airline personnel, other customers, aircraft equipment or procedures is strictly prohibited.”
            And other airlines have similar policies. United Airlines recently kicked a travel blogger off an international flight for camera use. Here’s his version.

            Jeff Hermes, director of the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center, says the airlines are within their rights to do this. The plane is a private space, they set the rules, and if you defy them on those rules, you could be found guilty of a form of trespassing. Trespassing, because in most private spaces, you have the option of obeying the owner’s rules or leaving the premises.

            “There’s an interesting issue when you talk about airplanes,” Hermes says. “Because it’s very clearly a situation in which — so long as you’re in the air — you can’t leave. So your only option is to comply.”

            The fact that airlines seem to enforce the rule arbitrarily — in this case, to try to head off embarrassing videos — doesn’t undermine their legal position, Hermes says.

            Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel at the National Press Photographers Association, says he had no idea that American had such restrictions, but that professional photographers have long had to deal with seemingly arbitrary rules like this. What’s changing now, he says, is that those rules are starting to affect the general public.

            “News these days is just as likely to come from somebody with a cellphone camera as somebody with a press credential,” Osterreicher says.

            While private companies can restrict photography on their premises, police officers may not. They often try, ordering people to stop videotaping them and sometimes arresting camera-wielding civilians and charging them with disorderly conduct or interfering with the police. But the courts have clearly stated that the public has the right to photograph the police, a right recently reaffirmed by the Justice Department.

            The public’s right to videotape police is being tested in a potentially explosive case in California, this week. The details are still unclear, but witnesses accuse law enforcement of deleting a video of a police beating.

            Police may confiscate videos, if there’s evidence of a crime and a warrant. But private entities, such as airlines, may not. No matter what the rules on a airplane, once you’ve shot a video, airline employees have no right to demand that you delete it or hand it over.

            And once you have that video, you enjoy much greater freedom to “publish” it, such as uploading it to YouTube.

            “If it’s just a matter of something that’s embarrassing to an airline, it’s going to be hard for them to get it suppressed — to get it taken down,” says Ryan Calo, a University of Washington Law professor specializing in privacy.

            He says the First Amendment is “pretty generous” in this regard. “Even though the press are singled out by the very text of the Constitution, most of us enjoy many of the same rights that the press do.”

      • lLinda says

        Why do you care really? You seem like someone with a lot of time in your hands. Get a life, or at least try to spend your time writing something useful. This entire article is useless, mean, heartless and shameful. By the way, did u get to sit in first class because of an upgrade? Mind your own business!

  14. Craig says

    Why are you even concerned with this? Is it really any of your business if they eat an unused meal that is going to be thrown out? Are you upset you weren’t offered a second helping? Do you work a job where you’re lucky to even get 30 minutes to have 1 meal in 12 hours? You should worry more about yourself and the guy in front of you with his feet on the bulkhead instead of an FA eating a First Class meal that was going to be thrown out anyway. This is an absolute disgusting article!

    • Devon Gardner says

      This was my thought ..why does he care whst happens after he eats and drinks his free items. But my question to him is why he or anyone else feels they have the right to put their feet on bulkhead of a very expensive aircraft..

  15. Noelle says

    Sounds like Mr. Important didn’t get his first meal choice? Don’t you have anything better to do with your time on flights than to worry about people who are working? The meals are cooked in mass, because that’s how they’re boarded (many flight attendant/catering friends so I’m a little more knowledgeable). So anything that passengers don’t want gets thrown away regardless (even if the meals were separated and not cooked) which is still a loss of money (albeit, not much) on the company’s part. So that lost money is either going into the garbage or to benefit already underpaid flight staff who DO NOT (aside from pilots) typically get meals. Also, really?! Your focus does not include the Neanderthal that has his feet on the bulkhead wall?? I’d be more concerned about that classlessness over the hard working flight crew actually eating. You know they don’t really get provisions for outside meals, right? Also, if you are one of those people who puts their feet on the bulkhead walls, do you have any idea what is on there???

  16. Francesca says

    Is this April’s Fool? I am a flight attendant. I personally don’t eat first class meals just because they are unhealthy ..like everything else on the plane by the way (air just to mention one thing).
    On short flights there are no extra meals, this means that one or more passengers didn’t want to eat their meal. It happens all the time. There is no policy regarding flight attendant eating left overs. What they shouldn’t have done is let you see that they were eating. I would close the curtain and make sure nobody can see so nobody can write such a stupid article about it. Enjoy your flight!

  17. AARON says

    So Jamie. You took a pic of the working crew? If you read in the back of the inflight magazine, THAT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. The policy states…

    “The use of still and video cameras, film or digital, is permitted only for recording of personal events. Unauthorized photography or video recording of airline personnel, other customers, aircraft equipment or procedures is strictly prohibited.”

    And Jamie. You do realize flight attendants read your blog and read passenger manifests. I’m just sayin…..

  18. says

    Dude, do you not have anything more important to report about other than flight attendants eating a left over meal or even 5 chocolate chip cookies??? First of all I’m a flight attendant and have been for a very long time. I’m very professional and take excellent care of my passengers as most flight attendants do. Second, the meals are not accounted for after each flight. That would be insane. Landing in a different airport with different catering offered out of that location. Do you really want to eat a left over meal that has been cooked and frozen originally, then recooked on the airplane to serve to passengers. First of all the galley doesn’t have a lot of space/storage to separate the meals and keep them from dirty trays. We generally always cooked all the meals at the same time even if there is a meal left over. Oh, and what if we did save this so called unclaimed / unwanted meal to take back to the kitchen, it has been out of the refrigerator/thawed for how many hours now? You don’t thaw food and then refreeze it. Why don’t you educate people on airport/airplane etiquette…like not to put your bare feet on the passengers seat or arm rest in front of them, just to get started. Think about that flight attendant saving your ass in and emergency the next time you think they shouldn’t eat a left over meal that is going in the trash anyway.

    • says

      I don’t know one configuration of first class seating on any commercial airline plane that you can see the flight attendants eating in the galley from seat 4E. Not possible. You should know this Mr. Over 100,000 miles a year. Oh, and the finger licking…don’t you think your exaggerating just a little bit??? I’m sure he washed his hands afterwards. We are not pigs, at least the majority of us aren’t. For the company’s perspective…they allow us to take or eat any perishable that is left over. The food is already paid for. The caters do not give credit to the airlines for left over perishable food. Use some common since…and really, what business is it of yours what the company’s perspective is on flight attendants eating left over food anyway? If you really cared about the flight attendants like you say you do in your follow on post, then you would write these airlines a letter telling them how they should feed flight attendants (like the pilots) without it being a bargaining tool for the companys and the unions. Sir, no disrespect but I hope I never have you on one of my flights. I might loose my job for giving you a piece of my mind about your shared arrogance remarks and opinions.

  19. Robin Reeves says

    I personally would like to see the author of this article work a 15 hr day with NO LUNCH or DINNER break and absolutely NO FOOD provided. I have been flying almost 40 yrs domestically with American. I bring my own food and heat it up in the First Class ovens. He probably doesn’t even know we are not paid until the door closes and we push back. And yes, the ONLY time a Flight Attendant can eat is IF there are meals left over. For health reasons, they are tossed. He needs to get his feet off the wall and walk a mile in our shoes.

  20. Taylor says

    Perhaps the flight attendant that “ate five cookies” was actually getting a snack for a screaming baby or for someone who was having a diabetic sugar issue.

    Also it’s against federal regulations to photograph flight and cabin crew. It’s in the airlines’ magazines. I think it’s wonderful you posted your blatant breach of a federal reg for the world to see!

    • McLean man says

      BAZINGA TAYLOR!!!!! yeah!!! And I hear through the grapevine that the AA fa Union is not really a union at all. Just management dressed in union dressing. What a total crock.

  21. says

    First of all, get your filthy feet off the wall. What are you an animal? You should be more concerned about your lack of cuth or manners, than to be worried about some over processed-preservative laden left overs. Get a life buddy and a clue. Unbelieveable the audacity you have.

  22. Julie Beach says

    I too work as a Flight Attendant for a major airline for 30 years. I’m can’t believe you took the time to write this or for me to use my time to read it. First of all, pilots are catered meals and can walk onto the plane 20 minutes before departure. Flight attendants are not catered meals and must be onboard doing security checks, emergency equipment checks, briefings, and yes, counting catering and setting up galleys all before boarding the plane 30-40 minutes before departure. Many domestic trips could have 3-4 legs a day with short turn around time between flights where we are required to stay on board until all passengers have deplaned per FAA many times waiting on several wheel chairs to arrive, security checks, gathering our bags, changing gates/terminals all by the time we arrive at the next gate that we are already running behind and the agents are ready to board and we get to start the routine again (all while not being paid until the plane brake is off and we are on our way). Rarely is there time to stop in the airport and buy food. What ever food was not eaten by the passengers will be food that is thrown away. I can’t see why this would be an issue with anyone. I fly international and if I fly a trip to Europe, it’s not long enough for the company to contractually board a meal designated for me. However, if I fly to Asia, I am catered a meal as it’s a 14+hour leg. Our work days vary but can be anywhere from 8-20 hours on duty. We’re human and have to eat too.

    Whenever my friends are flying, I encourage them to bring a small treat to the flight crew. You’ll never now what a small gesture can mean to people.

    Thank you for your concern.

  23. says

    I’m sure seeing the help eating the same food as first class elites causes significant damage to your fragile sense of self importance. It’s bad enough they have the same bodily needs as you, but to satisfy their need for substance with the best stuff on the plane, well that’s horrifying! Once these savages, who are clearly unfamiliar with silverware, get a taste for the elite’s food, what will they want next? Priority check-in? Priority boarding? Airport lounges? Elite airplane seats? Elite cars? Elite houses? Elite pay?!? Clearly this is a beginning of a proletariat revolution that must be crushed before it gathers any more steam. After posting this comment, I will write the extraordinarily wealthy heads of the biggest American airlines. I’m sure we will find a sympathetic ear with them as they too have fought (successfully I might add) for what was once theirs.

    • oh, miss? says

      You should be the writer, Mr. Reisburg. I’m sure you’d find something more important to write about, and do a much better job of it. Too funny!

  24. kristi says

    The company would love for us not to eat or drink product. But we have to. Pregnant and no food all day…a disgrace!

  25. Peggi Thomas says

    FYI: we are legally ALLOWED to eat the left-over first class meals because they will only be tossed if not eaten. We are not, however, allowed to eat the food-for-purchase in main cabin UNLESS we purchase it. Like everyone else has already mentioned, we do not receive flight attendant crew meals (with few exceptions). Personally, my trips are usually four days long and I have to pack a lunch box that will feed me for my entire trip! Truly, on most trips we do not have time to get off of the plane and get food. Surely, you have seen it yourself…you’re waiting on your plane…it arrives…passengers deplane…presto,,,you board…did you see three or four flight attendants get off and go the closest restaurant for a sit-down or take-away??? Of course the airline builds our flying day with maximum time on the plane with very little ground time….it makes financial sense. Admittedly, sometimes I just don’t want to eat the tuna, peanut butter, boiled eggs and grapes that are the staples in my lunch box, so I will indulge in a LEFT OVER first class meal. I’m not going to complain because I love my job, and I’m able to make it work for me, but you should be ashamed of yourself for shaming the flight attendant who might have eaten six cookies…you have no idea what kind of day he/she had…it is not unusual or uncommon to have delay after delay and work a 14-15 hour day…those six cookies might have been their meal…which is a completely different discussion. I actually feel kind of sad for you…you really can’t find empathy in the situation…you really think the flight attendants enjoy STANDING up and SHARING one meal…and using their fingers because maybe there was only one set of cutlery?!? BTW: on a domestic flight, we do not have meals at 110%….if we have 12 seats in first class…we have 12 meals….and 12 sets of cutlery. Of all the things you could complain about…this is what you’ve got?

  26. Juan Carlos says

    Don’t try to backpedal and pretend like the point of your “report” was about the policy on leftover meals. You really should mind your own business.

    Not that it matters, but if the FAs were eating leftover FC meals they would already be hot and no need to heat them up. They were probably reheating leftovers they brought from home and using a spare salad tray, a usual practice, really. Again, not that it matters.

    By the way, Mr Blogger, it is FEET, not “feat” and I could NOT care less, not I could care less; though in reality you SHOULD care less. You really were scraping bottom with this ridiculous topic.

  27. JSullivan says

    I remember working a flight where there was one leftover first class meal. (The airline made sure there wasn’t too much waste after a flight, since they throw it away.) anyways I remember all three of my coworkers and myself were starving due to a long work day and no break to get food so we divided that one single meal and devoured it in starvation. It kept us from literally passing out. It reminded me of starving people looking in a trash can for food. Granted we didn’t eat out of a trash can but the thought was there.

    I hope you never have to live a day like that where you are thankful for one tiny meal to split between three people to stop from falling over.

  28. DeeTee says

    Who but an idiot would even spend half a second pondering this ? You simply want agency over airline procedures and policies so as to feel important, guess what you are not getting it so sit back , be a spectator and find something important upon which to focus – here’s one for you billions and billions of dollars are gone and Haiti has yet to be rebuilt from the earthquake 5 years ago. There’s a noble project for you.

  29. Tony says

    If your post wasn’t bad enough, your attempt to backtrack was absolutely pathetic. You made your attention quite clear in your report, so why bother attempting to save face?

    If there are 16 meals loaded for first class, and 6 passengers refuse meals, what do you think happens to the spoilage? It can’t be reused as it’s already cooked. The meals now become spillage, no longer usable and no longer accountable.

    If it were possible to use a crystal ball and predict exactly how many would eat, trust me the airline collectively would use that skill and board only EXACTLY that amount of meals. There would be no spillage.

    Personally, I do not touch the food on the airplane. If your flying occasionally it’s OK, but to consume it on a regular bases is actually quite unhealthy due to the preservatives and sodium.

    But, if I’m really hungry, on a 13 hour duty day and there is nothing else, I’ll eat one and with all due respect it’s really none of your damned business.

  30. Lisa Stone says

    Poor taste writing! There are so so so many people in the world fighting hunger and this is what you are worried about? You should be ashamed of your self for being so miserable! Who cares if they are eating left over food? Wouldn’t all be thrown away and waisted? This country has problems beyond the one you just described, you should get outside of your little cristal bubble and men up a little bit!

  31. Numberonebest says

    I’m a flight attendant for a major carrier down here in the “South” and we are provided crew meals on domestic and international flights. As some have mentioned earlier, they are typically the same meals that are provided in first class. It’s not usually something that is typically known to the public since it really isn’t that much of a concern. I can’t speak for other carriers, but the “South” company provides meals for both flight attendants and pilots!!

      • FA says

        Yes James, there are a few airlines that treat their employees with respect and dignity. Not the one you were on! That Southern airline also values it’s employees and shares the profits w/ them. Not the one you were on.
        Instead of being concerned about how much it’s COSTING the airline for a FA to eat out of their trash, maybe you should focus on that airline that just made 1.2B in the 1st Q that has stripped away all employee benefits, refuses to provide food to FA’s or even safe shelter on overnights. The airline who’s CEO claimed those same employees had no impact on an airline’s profits, so he stripped profit sharing from ALL work groups.
        That is your story James. Just how UNFRIENDLY this airline is to it’s employees that they are forced to eat food that’s bound for the trash.

        • says

          That’s a great point! It would be interesting to compare airline policies on this, and see who comes ahead — looks like it’s that “southern airline.”

          • Numberonebest says

            Yes I think that the “South” airline is by far the best treated in the industry!!!

    • Eric says

      At my airline we are catered crew meals on all flights blocked at 5:30+ OR with a duty day of 9:00+ hrs with less than 1:00 in an airport on a turn to deplane and buy something. Fresh BOB may be eaten by the crew (one per person) after the first service. The “crew comped” fresh item is supposed to be logged into our sales device as that drives the amount of items stocked. HOWEVER, my airline is a very different airline than most these days and we are treated very well. Our colleagues at other carriers (don’t even get me started on the poor kids at the so-called regional carriers!) aren’t nearly as fortunate. I hope this helps.

  32. Flygirl29 says

    #Mrhasntgotaclue…….Maybe next time use the DELETE button instead of ENTER. However, I did get a good laugh at your lack of knowledge.

    • says

      That was the intention of the post – to gather knowledge. I’m not familiar with the policies and procedures, and would be curious to know. I have no problem with FAs eating food onboard, but had always assumed that they would get in trouble on the backend if there was extensive accounting as to what meals had been taken. It’s good to know that appears not to be the case, and you’re free to eat them.

      • Craig says

        You’ve already inserted your soiled foot in your mouth…..give it up and take the lambasting that you are receiving as it’s well deserved! You are a sorry excuse for a First Class passenger!

      • FRANK says

        You’re “gathering information” for what!? What business is it if yours anyway? Why do you care so much? You ate, everyone else ate so let the “help” eat. You’re whole credibility and crappy page just tanked, dude.

      • Robin says

        Just apologize already! You are one pice of s#%*% and will regret for the rest of your life for this tasteless article.

  33. mrhoward2012 says

    I will never understand the need for the flying public to hold FAs to guidelines and expectations they would never expect from any other level of service provider and worse yet perform or hold themselves to. Food catered onboard any flight is discarded after the flight. So if it’s going to be wasted, why does it matter if it’s consumed or not? Do you care what your waiter is eating on his or her break? Or your banker? I mean seriously?

      • KW says

        I worked at a Pizza Inn once and on buffet night if there were pizza’s left we were allowed to take them. You may want to contact corporate at Pizza Inn and let them know that they could save money by recooking those pizza’s! I’m sure they would be okay. The health department is just a nosy bunch of people trying to make money off the backs of companies. I think they invented Salmonella and Listeria just to get more money for the government. Oh and making those grocery stores throw out all of that perfectly good rotting meat! What a waste! Hey maybe the airlines can get a discount on the rotting meat and make your meals out of it. There’s a thought. You cannot seriously tell me you think that anyone would believe that food which has been thawed and cooked would be taken to another flight to be served? Please do not ever invite me to dinner at your house. Gross!

          • Geoff says

            “but if you’ve ever tasted an airline meal, you certainly think twice about where it came from” exactly, and yet you are concerning yourself whether there is a company policy regarding the FA’s eating same said meal, when you don’t. I guess maybe you are being concerned about the well being of the FA’s, only having the leftover “where it came from” meals available to them after long hours of duty time. And as has been pointed out several times before, how hypocritical of you to worry about the “policy” of one group of people when you so blatantly disregard the “policy” set forth for you, no photos of the crew.

      • Craig says

        He knows the food is discarded and not brought to the next flight to be served. He is trying to backtrack and insult our intelligence. Sad, very very sad!

        • says

          No, I was not aware of that, to be honest. Airline catering procedures aren’t widely publicized (I guess on part because of the airlines), so it’s great that you’re able to provide insight into this – I can tell you that many passengers don’t know this, nor the conditions at which the food is kept onboard (refrigeration, etc.). I appreciate your insight!

          • KW says

            I’m sorry but I believe this would simply fall under the “Common Sense” category. You should try using some before you post an article that is clearly lacking in any. If a restaurant is not allowed to keep food that has been prepared then surely an airline would not. As far as the company saving any more money in this area, please do not give them any ideas. I would like to see the airlines return to the former days of actually providing onboard service and not taking anymore away. If management had it their way, you wouldn’t even get oxygen to breath onboard.

          • Carol says

            Airlines and catering procedures are not published for one reason SECURITY! For that reason it is not your or anyone else’s business for security reasons!

      • Tsquared says

        Honestly, I didn’t know the leftover meals were thrown out after each flight. I just assumed the ones that weren’t ordered didn’t get heated and were saved for the next flight. Granted I never spent much time thinking about it. So I learned something from the comments here.

        • KW says

          Let me put it to you this way, the food on the airplane is not kept any cooler than what you are able to keep your food when you take it to a picnic. We have dry ice and chilling systems that blow cool air on the food but by no means are refrigeration units. The food is catered on a per passenger count for each flight. If the food is leftover it is because the person it was catered for didn’t eat it. There is no carry over to the next flight. The trash goes back in the cart that the clean food came from. Have you never looked at the small space inside of an aircraft galley? Common sense tells you they don’t have big stores of food hoarded on the plane. Is this lack of common sense what drives passengers to scream at flight attendants when they don’t get their meal choice? Do you think we can just whip into the pantry and get more? You’d have to be absolutely witless or never have been on an aircraft to presume that the airline is going to waste fuel hauling food all over the place. I am going to copy a paste a portion of an article here for you to see what a joke your lack of use of brain cells is.

          The American Airline olive has become business lore.

          In the 1980s, Robert Crandall, then head of the airline, cleverly calculated that if you removed just one olive from every salad served to passengers, nobody would notice … and the airline would save $100,000 a year.

          The booming economy of the ’90s gave rise to bigger and better perks for both employees and customers. But, as the economy cools, companies are heeding Crandall’s penny-pinching advice — looking for their own ways to cut costs.

          United Airlines, for instance, recently got rid of those “refresher” towels on most short journeys, cut back on in-flight videos and removed grapefruit juice from its bar menus — it’s less popular than orange juice — as part of an overall $200 million cost cutting program.

          You’re “curiosity” as you call it just makes you look stupid. Certainly any person using the smallest amount of reasoning and common sense could figure out that the airlines aren’t going to waste one penny putting meals onboard when they aren’t absolutely forced to do so. Have you presumed all this time that we are just bitches who don’t want you to have that extra bag of pretzels? There are no extra bags. No extra meals. No extra anything! The bean counters at airlines know exactly how much fuel it costs to cart each olive around. Think about it, if you owned a car, you wouldn’t load it up with bricks and haul them all over creation and not expect it to affect your fuel costs. Geesh! I feel like I am explaining the theory of relativity here. Open your eyes and use your common sense it’s not that hard.

          As far as whether or not flight attendants are or are not allowed to bring food onboard that really is outside your scope of need to know. When you start questioning us on what we are allowed or not allowed to do you may be heading into security sensitive areas. Please know that we do what we can to sustain ourselves and that is all you should know or care about when it comes to this subject.

          • Connie says

            KW…I loved every word from your reply!!!

            With his article of “inquiry” and now his back tracking…James has proven “common sense is NOT that common”.

  34. McLean man says

    Wow James. Did you even count on the crapstorm this blog post created? I hardly think so. Personally, I think you posted this because you are an executive platinum MANAGEMENT MOLE. Why? Because only management, specifically AA management, would be as petty as this. The ultimate shame on you. And for your fellow passenger in the first row….. GET YOUR GOD DAMN FEET OF THE BULKHEAD!!! Jesus. What a putz. BOTH OF YOU!

  35. Tim says

    Thank-you for writing this article.

    I never knew how bad FA’s had it but their comments have opened my eyes to how bad things can be for them….I will also be more understanding for them the next time they go out on strike to demand some decency from the airlines.

    To the FA’s reading this, what types of foodstuff would be very appreciative for, if a passenger where to hand you during boarding…assuming you could accept? I want to make sure to show my appreciation for what u do on my next flight.

    • says

      Exactly! I feel the same way. I’m not familiar with the policies and how bad things really are, and that was my intention with this post – is to see what the conditions are like and how management views it. As a passenger, I have the utmost respect for these folks. Occasionally, I’ll pick up a few Starbucks or similar gift cards and hand them out, since they can use those in the airport. I’ve also handed out a few free GoGo coupons that they can use a long flight, since my understanding is that they don’t have access to fully browse the web, etc.

        • says

          There are many road warriors who travel that much who don’t know how to redeem miles, how to change flights, how to assign seats, etc. I was at the airport the other day when a Platinum was talking to a ticketing agent saying he didn’t know how to check in online.

      • Pete says

        So you give gift cards in person, but when you have a criticism, you don’t talk to the FA and instead post it to a national blog. Cowardly.

  36. says

    Hey Jamie,
    Next time you’re at the airport, use your FEET and go to the newsstand for something to read, so you won’t have to stick your busybody nose into other peoples’ business. Better yet, read the back of the inflight magazine, where it says that photographing or taking videos of crewmembers is strictly prohibited. What a pompous jerk!

    • FA says

      Thank you! I was just going to comment about how it is illegal to take photographs of crew members. He’s a passive aggressive idiot. He has no idea how our schedules work. Let’s go to his office and criticize him. Hey James. ..GFY!!!

  37. Kristin says

    I’m a Flight Attendant with a major carrier and I do agree that aspects of this post are in poor taste. Cabin Crew is not catered meals on flights and due to long days, this could be your only meal. It is the company that I work for’s policy that we eat out of view of customers. I think that is more what the problem is here. In my experience, I have eaten a leftover meal in the galley where I could not be seen. Even then, I have had first class customers come to use the lavatory and give me dirty looks for eating. That is incredibly hurtful. We all need to eat. I only think eating first class meals is inappropriate if you are more focused on eating than serving passengers or aren’t giving passengers first choice. Likely, there wasn’t any food left for the flight attendant eating the five cookies and that was their meal. Next time if you have questions like this, ask your cabin crew (in a nice way). I’m always happy to answer questions that customers have about our job. I think that would have been better than writing this post which unfortunately paints you as insensitive, out of touch, and rude.

    • says

      I appreciate your comments! By all means, I support cabin crew eating. My inquiry was into the policies behind this and how the airlines views it, and if there’s any negative impact on you guys, which would be unfortunate.

      • h says

        Again, as Kristin asked, why would you not just ask your Flight Attendant if you were curious, instead of writing a fairly obnoxious post online (if your interest was truly to gain information)? Oh right, asking an FA onboard doesn’t get you views. This post was in very poor taste, James.

  38. Andrea says

    I am a flight attendant for the biggest carrier in the U.S., we do not get meals regardless of the length of flight. Most of us bring meals but sometimes we can’t, and we end up eating leftovers.Food is not great or healthy, but food nonetheless. Your comment is unnecessary,offensive and ignorant. The amount of wasted food and drinks from flights makes me sad thinking of those less fortunate.

    • says

      It seems to me that the airlines should officially endorse and condone eating the leftover food, that way it doesn’t go to waste, but from what I gather, it’s not openly promoted. Is that the case, or is the major carrier encouraging you to eat the remaining meals? I’d hope they would, but it appears in many cases that there’s not enough food for all to go around, which I assume puts you guys in a predicament only having to eat bits and pieces.

      • Arls says

        Hi,
        Depending on the airline, but usually once first class has been served and there happens to be something left over, FAs can eat the leftover meal. Sometimes we do share it, especially if we just need to snack, don’t like something else, or there is only one. The company allows it because it would otherwise go to waste. But again, this is only after first class has been served- huge emphasis on that. We aren’t catered crew meals unless we have a specific duty day. Life is harder for us to plan always on the go, so, we broke FAs pick at what we can and do what we can 😉 All in a days work.

  39. Jason says

    Oh man! You really stepped into it big time. I hope your real name isn’t James Larounis because you’ve just put a huge target on your back. If I were you, I probably wouldn’t eat or drink anything on an airplane. Who knows what extra stuff might end up in your food and drink. Bless your heart!!

  40. pete says

    James, your update is not sufficient. The title is “should flight attendants eat first class meal?” As if you are questioning either that they eat a meal at all or that maybe you think they shouldnt be allowed to eat anything but coach meals. And who counts the cookies? Really? You sound, still, like a busybody elitist. Passengers who count cookies and post about them licking their fingers (as if they cant wash their hands afterward) are a good argument that flight attendants not only deserve fistclass meals, but also ought to be permitted a stiff drink midflight to better cope with passengers like you. You should change the title… or even better take the post down. I fly about 4 times a month and im embarrassed that a freq traveller would post something like this. You should listen to the criticism in this comments section and heavily revise or take down…

      • jafa says

        How could you know that maybe he used water from a water bottle in the galley …or wipes or whatever…or water from the coffee pot water spout to wash his hands. Why are your feat lol on the wall..sometimes as a flight attendant the lav’s are full and have not other choice.

        • Pete says

          Jamie, can’t you see that you are making yourself sound worse? When you say that you are sure that the FA didn’t wash his hands, it makes it sound like you were trying to catch this FA doing something unsavory. Is your goal of this blog to catch FAs doing something wrong and then post it on a national blog? Isn’t it possible some manager at American is reading this, finds what flight you were on, and then punishes this poor FA for “not washing his hands.” I mean, you are pretty adamant that the FA didn’t wash his hands. So adamant that you feel the need to argue with people who suggest that maybe you just didn’t see him use hand sanitizer.

          How bout this: Next time talk to the actual FA and just ask him, nicely, to wash his hands. Pretty shitty of you to just catch him doing this and then post it on a national blog.

          I get it: You think your job is to be a critic. So be critical. But try to keep the criticisms to things that are normative problems, not specific ones. Are you trying to suggest that most flight attendants have dirty, unsanitary hands? Of course not. So why call this one guy out on a national blog, which has the consequence of casting aspersions on all FAs? Again, if your problem is with a specific FA–then just talk to him. He IS a person, after all (even if you think you’re so much better than him as to question whether he “should be allowed to eat first class meals.”)

  41. Jay says

    I was almost upset that someone would even question flight attendants taking a meal break or eating the UNTOUCHED (as in never made it to the cabin) leftover meals… As we are also human. Your detailed descriptions of how they were eating and what they were eating made it seem like an attack on crews for doing so and quickly put people on the defensive. However… I completely understand your curiosity and concern for the unused meal costs…. It’s almost as simple as this… How many times have you been offered to purchase a first class upgrade or seen passengers doing so? Often times first class will fill up last minute or people may not make their flight, thus putting catering in a situation… “To stock or not to stock” the meal. Then the situation becomes 1.) if they don’t stock the meal and a person upgrades or purchases a last minute ticket, they don’t have a meal… 2.) they stock it and a passenger doesn’t show up, doesn’t book first, or just doesn’t care for the meal… It becomes a left over and airlines take the , better safe than sorry, approach “if it’s left over eat it as an incentive of your job!”

    As for the people getting upset that you wrote this, it’s probably due to the fact that you included a picture and asked general public about airlines and their policies.

    Hope this answers some of the questions you had!

  42. Tammy says

    Really?? I mean …this is what concerns you… flight attendants eating a leftover meal?Let me me tell you about those flight attendants that are sharing that left over meal…. Did it ever occur to you that maybe they had a 4am check-in .. Wow.. Tons of restaurants open at that time!!! What about the fact that most turns have maybe forty minutes until the next flight… Forty minutes to get you off .. Clean the plane.. Then board all the new passengers and have the cabin ready for take off.. That’s a lot to do in forty minutes… Food ???? Not a necessity for flight attendants….. I mean…doesn’t everyone work a thirteen hour day with no lunch break?? Do you? Well have no fear… That super step that is serving you … Can!!! Really????

    • Geoff says

      Don’t forget about the number of FA’s (more than just one) that must remain on the aircraft if a passenger (it only takes one) chooses to not get off the plane on a through flight. There went that possibility of getting an expensive airport meal. Also keep in mind, if everyone gets off the aircraft, all the a fore mentioned duties must be completed before the FA can get off the aircraft, then go stand in line with everyone else in the airport, and be back in time to board the aircraft, most likely having to put off eating until 45 min-1 hour into the flight, now a hot meal cold.

  43. J. Shlabot says

    Everything about this is tacky. Staring with your handle “forwardcabin”. Why are you so obsessed with what airlines budget for crews and whether or not crews can eat? Mind your own damn business and GET A LIFE! You saw someone eating? Someone licking their finger?, want to know what flight attendants see?….the disgusting things you and your fellow passengers do flight after flight ?! NO COMPARISON, SIR! And why AREN’T you concerned about that passengers mangy feet up on the bulkhead wall?! Be a real help and ask him to put his skanky feet down. You can buy a first class ticket, but you can’t buy class, OR EMPATHY in your case. I hope you don’t manage anyone. I would hate to work for a new money butthead such as yourself. You should be ashamed of yourself, you privileged piece of garbage. Shove your Starbucks cards up your ass!

  44. Taylor says

    I wish you much luck being served anything in the future that hasn’t hit the floor or been spat in prior to your inflight consumption.

  45. J Togher says

    For someone that claims to be an “avid” traveler, I’d think you’d know the policy would vary from carrier to carrier. That said, why do you even need to know the policy? What benefit comes from you’re having that information? Why do you even care? Here’s a suggestion: the next time you board an airplane, watch the cabin crew during the safety demo, then read a book, take a nap, or do some work, and stop obsessing about what the cabin crew eats.

  46. Thaddeus says

    Who gives a flying rats behind what we do!! You sit there and mind your own business sir. Or why don’t you let me come into your office, observe you and then write a letter or blog and be very condisending telling or asking everyone why you do this why you do that and see how you like it!!! And you wonder why most flight attendants are fed up with people like you cause of posts like this that are completely uncalled for and unnecessary! You should be ashamed if yourself!

  47. abby says

    First and foremost, it’s really none of your fucking business. Read your book or watch a video and leave the people that are there for your “safety” alone. They’re not there for your amusement. But if you must know… It all depends on the airline. Every airline has a contract which was negotiated with the flight attendants and pilots unions. I’ve never heard of an airline not letting the flight attendants eat any extra meals. They are humans after all and need to eat. Most bring their own food because the plane food is fucking disgusting. Would you like it if someone came to your work place and took photos of you and posted it online asking if you were allowed to eat at work? Get a grip dude! The fact that I even read this makes me upset with myself. The fact that I even took the time to respond is making me even more upset.

  48. DW says

    I can’t speak for all airlines, but the one I work for the crew meal is often the same as the meal served up front. Usually the girls are on a diet or “don’t eat meat”, or don’t particularly care for the entree, and share the side dishes, etc. Some of us prefer to bring our own meals and heat them in the oven. Either way, all of the uneaten meals are discarded and not reboarded onto another flight. Not sure why a valued frequent flier would have a problem with the crews (who work extremely long hours with no legally mandated breaks, unlike most normal occupations) having an opportunity to have some nourishment.

    • says

      I don’t have a problem with it, at all. How it’s eaten, etc. could be a valid argument as noted by some other commenters, but the practice of eating them shouldn’t be disallowed.

      • Pete says

        Good thing you’re policing the FA eating habits. What would all of us freq travelers do without your vigilance?!? Keep those dirty FAs on their toes! Since you were so specific and even took a picture, maybe you can get that disgusting FA fired! Yay!

  49. C says

    You do realize taking pictures of crew members is illegal and clearly says so in the in flight magazine, right?

  50. Patty Brus says

    What James needs to post is a sincere apology for his publishing of this article, with no backtracking or defense. And then quit writing articles and volunteer your time serving meals in shelters, vacations spent volunteering for the less fortunate in third world countries.

  51. Galley Gossip says

    Why the interest in airline policies & procedures in regards to crew meals or who is eating what meals? This blog is a bit suspicious…….never in my entire flying career, have I ever seen a flight attendant “lick their fingers”, hell these aircraft are flying petri dishes……..

    Hope the FAA comes across this bizzare blog!

    • Fly girl says

      You Mr Larounis, need to learn our contracts and work rules before you even open your mouth. Why do you even care? Why don’t you walk a mile in our shoes before you open your mouth. And keep your feet off our furniture. Do I come to your office and my feet up on your walls? Find something worthwhile about travel for gods sake.

        • Pete says

          Subject verb agreement. “Those aren’t my feet.” I think I might be offended more by your use of the English language than by your elitism. I am tempted to go to your other blog posts and make snarky copyedits in those also. You do realize that your posts are rife with high school level errors in grammar, spelling, usage, etc, right?

        • h says

          A good way to learn is to ask a flight attendant in flight, rather than writing an ignorant article. I’m pretty sure you’re more concerned with views to your article than actually getting the information. The correct order would have been 1) ask the FA your question 2) write the article. Instead you 1) wrote an article showcasing your obnoxious ignorance under the guise of searching for information. When I try to find information about someone’s job (say the hairstylist who is cutting my hair), I ask them, not the internet. I’m not going to ask YOU about hairstyling, because you’re a writer.

          IT’S JUST COMMON SENSE

  52. Cmg says

    So did you read all of the replies because you would have gotten an education. Don’t be a dumb ass and mind your own business, you got meal and a cookie, in an appropriate amount of time and a cordial manner, right ?! You shouldn’t care about what happens to left overs unless you wanted another meal.

  53. Detlef Bazemore says

    Here’s the “policy” Mr. James Larounis…”IT DEPENDS ON THE COMPANY!!” There, are you satisfied?
    If you think these crew members are such “hard working people” then let them eat IN P E A C E!!!! Without your prying eyes and passing judgement.
    If THIS is how you amuse yourself and pass the time seek help IMMEDIATELY!

  54. says

    To Answer your questions directly
    1)Is there any accountability for the food once the plane lands? Answer: NO there is no way to tell who accepted their meal

    2.) Won’t someone notice extra meals eaten? Answer, see qustion 1

    3.) I’m curious to see if flight attendants are getting in trouble over a “missing meal” and if this ever happens. It’d be unfortunate if it did! Answer: On regional and express carriers yes people have actually been fired for eating a leftover first class meal, it’s really quite sad as regionals often don’t pay enough for the FAs to make a living requiring them to be on food stamps

    4.) What flights is food provided for crews, if any (domestically)? Answer: Each airline is different but most airlines offer crew meals on international transoceanic flights, some others that care about their crews will give crew meals on longer flights of 4-7 hours, others have to have it in their contract otherwise it won’t be provided.

    5.) If it truly isn’t a policy and isn’t budgeted, I’m curious the expense this incurs on the airline. I can’t imagine the meals being incredibly cheap (though, at times they sure do taste like it…), and I’d be interested in seeing the expenses on the meals eaten by flight crews. I’m not sure the logistics behind catering a flight, so in the case of over catering, how much the “over” costs the airline. Answer, meals are not cheap but when buying in bulk it’s not that much of an overage, however if every flight was catered with crew meals even short hauls like DCA-ORD then costs would certainly rise. There is no additional cost to bring these meals to the aircraft when they are already delivering the passenger meals.

    Bottom line, some airlines are realizing that if they take good care of their employees, then they are happier, happier employees meals happier passengers, happier passengers means returning passengers and that means happier shareholders. If you have more questions please fee free to contact me, I worked in the airline industry for 15 years in almost every department.

    Cheers

    • says

      THANKS! This is by far the most informative comment, and I greatly appreciate your insight in helping to answer things. Thanks so much for your expertise!

    • Tsquared says

      Thanks for actually responding to the questions. I found your responses interesting and educational.

  55. Pam Fandrich says

    Are you saying rather than offend some passenger because we are starving most of the time….(we don’t get meals catered for us, can’t bring much through customs, no time to get anything in the airport, long work days)….we should be eating in the lavatory or having Dominos deliver to us in the air? Or get a new union who gives us a decent contract with meals catered like the pilots? What is your point here?

  56. says

    I seriously doubt it’s actual answers you needed on this. It comes off as an elitist rant, masked as passive questions. It’s so annoying when a first class pax comes on, brings nothing to do, but fills his time by staring at FA’s, and won’t even return a simple smile. Then he insults them by writing a blog complete with a picture to describe his idleness.

    • says

      I’m sorry if you’ve interpreted like that, however anyone with curiosity into the airline industry has right to wonder about how things are done – and, in this specific case, for defense of the FAs wishing they’d be able to eat a normal meal, and be provided that right in policy.

  57. john says

    Jamie, u position yourself as an “expert” in travel and don’t know this? Surprising. Just goes to shows that u are a new blogger trying to gain page views so u can earn free travel. Have seen some of the comments and pairs u make in various groups. U clearly are a newbie.

  58. Kate says

    Although I think this article was ridiculous and obviously hitting the nerves of many FAs like myself, I get the question you seem to be asking. The answer, no, there is no extra budget or policy at airlines for meals not eaten. So here’s the thing- most airlines cater one meal per person in first class, so everyone gets to eat something (some airlines over cater so everyone gets their choice, but let’s go with the first one for this). So say there are 10 of you in first class and 4 of you do not want to eat, that leaves 4 leftover, uneaten meals. However all meals are being cooked after takeoff. The airline does not recycle meals that were not eaten- they are all thrown out. Even if not cooked, most aircrafts do not have chillers so that sausage patty that’s been sitting in cart for the 4 hour flight is not safe to use. So the airlines count it as every first class passenger gets a meal and that’s it. There is no policy stopping crew members eating those meals after you all pass on them saying we can’t eat them. There is no way to even regulate that even if there was a policy. They aren’t going to wait at door when it opens to ask all of you if you ate and check to see what meals are left, and once if leaves airplane whos to say catering doesn’t eat all those left over cookies or over cooked pasta? There is no way to account for those types of things. So yes, as broke and tired as we all are, if I’ve served you all well, kept your wined and dined, and I have a few minutes to scarf down some food, I’ll take it. Now for the FA who didn’t wash his hands- maybe he walked to back of cabin and washed them there? And if he didn’t- well gross. But like a restaurant, you always have to take that chance and hope their hands were clean while serving.

    • says

      Thanks for your well thought out comment! This provides a ton of insight. To the FA who didn’t wash his hands, he handled beverages enroute to the back, so whether he washed his hands in the rear galley or not, he did handle beverages in between.

      • Maxim says

        I don’t know how I happened upon this thread, but your tone of voice in the article, comments, etc, good sir, comes off passive aggressive and ultra douche bag.

  59. Maxine says

    FYI – my airline does not provide food for the FA’s on international flights. So we are like rats dumpster diving for crumbs. We are limited to how much food we can carry & cannot bring certain foods out of a layover city. Prisoners get better treatment.

  60. Milehighworker says

    The policy on eating meals is probably on a per airline basis. My airline allows us to eat left-over meals in business/first (LEFTOVER, not to be eaten before the passengers, obviously). We’re not supposed to eat meals that are for sale – even tho the fresh meals for sale will be thrown out. The left-over meals in business/first are often times eaten by cabin crews as well as flight crews. In fact, as a cabin crewmember I used to partake in these leftover “goodies”. That is, until I learned our last 4 CEO’s did not eat a crumb of food on any flight. Hey, if 4 CEO’S won’t eat airline food, why would anybody else? For the past several years I have been carrying all my own food. Both crewmembers and passengers alike are often times in awe at how much food I carry with me. Yes, it is a bit of a hassle to do this, but I’ve saved so much money over the long run AND I feel so much healthier. For passengers (as well as crewmembers) on long trips – there are plenty of food options one can take from a supermarket and bring through security, or purchase in the airport if you don’t want to carry a lot of stuff with you that are much healthier than getting on an airplane.

  61. says

    I’m really glad someone finally brought up this problem. What will the Flight Attendants want next? An 8-hour work day? A livable wage? A 6th cookie?

    Let’s try to be first class human beings so we don’t have to worry about where the extra first class meals are going.

  62. Robbo says

    I would suggest a mini gym for most of them.

    It only happens on the US airlines where they stuff their fat faces with American junk food. So they could take their collective fat-asses to the gym and instead of eating the crappy, sugary, junk food that American passengers continue to suffer and put up with ( Dumb with a capital D ! ) the aged stewardesses and stewards should maybe do a few miles on the runner.

    It might give them some more energy to actually service the passengers, as opposed to treating us like we’re an obstacle in their self-indulgent, over-indulgent, fat, lazy worlds.

    American stewardesses and stewards are no more than glorified waitresses and waiters and I am sick of them.

    Can you imagine going to a restaurant and seeing the waiters and waitresses stuffing their faces while they had people in the restaurant dining? No way.

    Oh, woops! Sorry, the stewards and stewardesses aren’t there for serving us, they are there for our safety. What a load of garbage.

    • says

      Robb, If you think that, you should see them in action with a heart attack victim that they bring back to Life with the training that takes us WAY beyond a Glorified Waiter or Waitress Including Defibbing a passenger. While passengers sit back rubber necking but wouldn’t know what to do if it could even save their own life. do you think the weeks of training and yearly certifications are for serving you? More like SAVING YOU. As an Retired Flight Attendant from CONTINENTAL AIRLINES until a few years after we merged with UNITED Airlines of 22 Years, I can say what other Flight Attendants can’t in your attack on them. YOU ARE A COMPLETE IDIOT!

    • KW says

      Now we are reaching the level of “Super Ignorance”. You Mr. Robbo are the epitome of a moron! Please take two seconds out of your time to “Google” the following phrase: How a Flight Attendant saved my life. Once you have completed that task, please feel free to come back and argue with anyone here about the validity of our training. Having personally given mouth-to-mouth back in the days before we were given masks to protect us from diseases, I know the joy of bringing a passenger back to life. I’m fairly certain the praise he gave me for doing so came straight from his heart that I restarted.

  63. Pete says

    Are you really going to continue to defend your post and position? Really the only valid gripe you have is this one FA licking his fingers and then not washing his hands. First of all, I’m not sure you actually know this for a FACT. But even if you did watch the flight attendant eat his whole meal, count the number of cookies he ate, and never took your eyes off of him for one second (which, IMO, demonstrates a desire to “catch” an FA doing something wrong) then what of what use is it to post this on a national blog?

    Again, are you trying to say that normally FAs have dirty hands?

    Out of one side of your mouth you are trying to portray yourself as a guy who is simply curious about airline policy–a humble and curious frequent traveler who has a heart of FAs and just wants to make sure that they are well-fed on a flight. At the same time you seem particularly insistent on calling out one particular FA for not washing his hands.

    So which is it, Jamie? Are you just a guy concerned for FA welfare and comfort or are you more concerned with catching them doing something that is against airline policy and then posting it on a national blog?

    You are SO ABSOLUTELY SURE that the flight attendant did not wash his hands, but could not find the courage to tell him to wash them? You just let him pass out food/drinks with dirty hands and let all your fellow passengers eat/drink from containers that were unsanitary. If you had the “courage” to post this on a national blog, you ought to have the courage to mention your concern to the particular FA.

    Sure, Jamie, if I saw a server at a restaurant fail to wash his hands, I WOULD BE CONCERNED. What I wouldn’t do is let the server continue to serve all the patrons all day with dirty hands and then go home and post it to a national blog. I would tell the server to wash his hands! Duh!

  64. FA says

    Not only did you photograph a crewmember in flight (which is an absolute NO NO), you identified your route, airline and called out specifics about what the crew was doing in flight that could potentially get that FA in a lot of hot water with management. You are a travel blogger that just put that airline and crew in a negative spotlight, whether you meant to or not. As much as I have seen you state that you respect your Flight crews (being the road warrior that you are), you are not going be very popular with your flight crews going forward. As someone stated, you just painted a HUGE target on your back. Flight crews now know you are watching them and that their respective airline management is watching YOU and what you post about their activities onboard. Shame on you.

  65. Former Commercial FA says

    Do you not realize that flight attendants in commercial aviation don’t make anything? I used to feel like I was a contestant on “Survivor” when I flew commercial – Always rummaging, scraping by. There’s a saying I used plenty of times while I flew commercial : “If it’s free, it’s for me.” I left commercial aviation because after crunching the numbers of the new American Airlines contract that was rolled out last year, I concluded I would never be able to retire. So if they choose to eat an over processed, crappy “first class” meal that would otherwise be thrown out after the flight to save a couple of dollars, then who cares? Pilots are fed by us throughout the day while the flight attendants are left to fend for themselves.

    Let’s worry about the moron in the photo doing yoga in his seat with his feet reaching towards the baggage compartment in the seated downward dog position, OK?

  66. flygirl says

    Hey buddy, you obviously fly alot and have nothing better to do than snoop, how about you get a life. Your update doesn’t convince me at all that you meant this merely as a “question!” By the way its ILLEGAL to take pictures of working crew onboard the aircraft! Genius busybody!

  67. Itiswhatitis says

    Dear Mr. Blogger,

    I can only imagine the pain and suffering you felt as you were looking up at all of them eating like a pack of hyenas. For the love of GOD….PLEASE STOP them! Take a picture now! Management and your Twitter fans must be aware of this heinous act. It might even get you a voucher for all that you have endured. And after your flight, please promise everyone that you will stop at the closest Academy Sports store and purchase a new set of balls.

  68. says

    As a Retired Flight Attendant of over 22 Years for CONTINENTAL AIRLINES Until a few years after we merged with UNITED I can assure you that you are bringing focus to something that in all honesty has NOTHING to do with you. BUT, on International Flights Flight Attendants are Provisioned First Class meals on all International flights over either Pond. Domestic flights the Airlines treat Flight attendants as dogs sometimes two pieces of white bread wrapped in Saran Wrap, a small pod of Peanut butter and MAYBE a piece of Fruit. NOW LET ME PUT FOCUS ON WHAT YOU SHOULD REALLY BE CONCERNED ABOUT. Since CONTINENTAL MERGED with UNITED crew compliment has been reduced to minimums an almost ALL Flights. I would be more concerned about the ratio of crew to Passenger. Less Crew, Less Security, less Emergency Response, less people to evaluate any potential Security Concerns. Flight Attendants can be FIRED when they try to bring Security concerns to the Airlines OR the Pilots when they try to stand their ground. FORGET Social Media if you try to bring those safety concerns out in the OPEN, we are BANNED from talking about our jobs and safety and the current conditions of the Airline IMMEDIATE TERMINATION in some situations. Hey, How’s this? You have a flight with three Flight Attendants and all of a sudden THREE, yes THREE medical emergencies, Wit NO doctor’s or nurse’s on board with only or training and Med-Link. NOW out of no where a FOURTH medical emergency with another passenger. YOU STILL GONNA WORRY WERE UNUSED FOOD IS GOING TO GO? This has happened to me on MORE than one flight. Your focus of where unused food is going is so petty when you should FOCUS ON where the security and Flight Attendants are going. With Airline safety, LESS is NOT MORE! Oh, and as for being retired,Since I retired due to these concerns. I can say whatever I want with my name PROUDLY displayed as to the shortcomings that affects the Health, Safety and SECURITY on board every Airline that corporate does NOT care About. Think about it, When a plane goes down, They still get PAID, that’s what insurance is for.

  69. John says

    You pompous blogger. Hey, we know u are new to the world of blogging. But aren’t u biting the hand that feeds you? (No pun intended). Aren’t u suppose to hype up American Airlines and credit cards so you will continue to get side perks?

    to everyone that rads this blog like religion — you are being taken in. This guy has less experience in the “industry” than most of us. He is just looking for page views so he can get paid by the credit card companies.

  70. dd says

    Mr. James, l see that you are very detail oriented and inquisitive. Might I suggest you use your time and talents to sit on the board of a non-profit company that could really use your skills of budget management? This would give you something useful to do with your time while helping those less fortunate.

  71. Outraged says

    I hope you’ve sued for psychological damage pain and suffering and have demanded a kazillion free miles and unlimited upgrades. If we don’t stop this sort of behaviour the next thing you know the staff will be demanding to be able to use the onboard toilets. So wrong

    • says

      I think I would be more concerned about the dirty diapers, airsick bags or chewed up Apple cores passengers think I should touch with my bare hands than me sucking on my fingers profusely. Hope I get a chance to wash my hands before bringing you a cup of coffee.

  72. Candace says

    The other day I had a passenger share some unsolicited advice: “You’re smart and pretty, You should really do something with your life.” Comments and off color remarks from passengers are not uncommon. We take a lot of crap from people that no one should have to put up with and you know what, we don’t even start getting paid until the boarding door closes. A spare first class meal here and there is definitely something worth throwing us under the bus for. Maybe you should focus your energy on different and more important things.

  73. travel4living says

    Mr. Larounis: Are you so lacking in relevant material that you felt compelled to comment on this issue? Have you considered the privacy issues inherent with photographing crew members? You’ve stepped over the line commenting on the personal behavior of the flight attendants. It is none of your business if they have to score a meal that would go unused and trashed at the end of the flight. Your comments were petty and mean spirited. Fortunately, much of this has gone out to social media and the Facebook groups of the major airline’s flight attendants. Please enjoy your next airline meal served by the very crew members you disrespected. I’m sure it’ll be just fine.

      • says

        Aa’s policy on taking pictures of the crew is prohibited. Check the back of the American Way magazine under for your information. I would think you as an elite flyer you should know this. Plus it’s just rude to post pictures of people without their knowledge

      • Pete says

        JAMIE, the title of your post is “Should Flight Attendants Eat First Class Food Onbaord Their Flight?” You literally questioned their right to eat in the very title of the post! C’mon man. At this point, I’d just write an apology for raising these questions at all. You have over 500 people sharing this on Facebook. They’re all saying you’re a jerk. You can save what little face you have left by posting a unqualified apology at the beginning of this post. After all, you’ve worked hard to build you brand. Don’t torpedo it with this one stupid post.

          • Pete says

            Then why wasn’t your title “What are airline policies about FA meals?” You only demonstrated concern about FAs after folks started attacking the original post.

          • says

            Because my intention was not to be against FAs. When I realized folks were not interpreting the post as intended, I clarified myself to provide a better understanding.

          • Pete says

            Yes, your clarified your position. Still the title suggests a question about whether FAs should eat and the update is at the end. You will continue to offend anyone who sees the title and does not read down to the end of the post. Why not reword title and put the update at the beginning!

          • says

            I apologize to those who fail to read the post in its entirety. The question is thought provoking and those that wish to respond may, unfortunately, with or without reading the article.

          • Pete says

            Good thing you apologize here–at comment 145 buried in the comments. I’m sure a lot of people will read this and not be offended by your post. Good thinking.

  74. Erin says

    Amen! What is wrong with the author of this article??? SMDH! We use the lavs too. Is that ok with you?? Find something worthwhile to write about. And no we are not provided food on any flights except Asia flights at my major carrier. Yes we may have to split a meal that’s left over. No the company doesn’t care because it was originally catered to give more choices to passengers and it’s now leftover. Yes pilots are given first. Class meals on almost everyone of our flights. Talk about unfair… They have time to get off during flights, they make far more money, and the flight attendants have to coke and serve them. And so what if they lick their fingers. They handle your trash as well. But they do know how to wash their hands. And one ate 5 cookies. Maybe that is all she was able to have all day. You do realize we often put in days of 12-15hrs with no time between flights to grab a bite in the airport. This is just so insulting. Find a better subject, like the guy with no class with his feet up on the wall. Way to piss off an entire work group with your passive-aggressive article.

  75. Gina says

    Btw i am a crew member and we usually bring our own meals and warm them in the plane ovens or we will eat left over meals (not served). We don’t eat leftovers from passengers after they are done and also be mindful airlines like mine give us CREW meals depending on the length of the duty day, so worry more about feet on the wall and not what doesnt affect your life in this case being all up in crew members business. You are too nosy.

  76. Taylor says

    I’m LOL at the person who slammed American cabin crew as fat, lazy, and old.

    We have the safest regulations in the world, and you’re always free to charter your own jet if you want to make demands based on sexism and ageism and size.

    Hopefully the FAA will get wind of this post.

  77. Chris P says

    Many flight attendants bring their own food from home and use the ovens to re-heat, so what you observed may have been them heating up their own food. Some airlines do provide crew meals, which get heated up in the same ovens as first class meals, so it’s possible what you observed was them eating their crew meal. First class meals that do not get eaten by passengers just get thrown away, which is very wasteful. Keep in mind that flight attendants may spend all day on the airplane without opportunity to get off for food, so if there is leftover food, it is not surprising that they would eat it. Surely you can understand that a person needs to eat, especially when working a long day!

      • Pete says

        Phew, he acknowledged it is right for crews to eat meals! Thank goodness he did so. It’s almost as if he was questioning this. But obviously all of us commenters have misread this post! Surely our criticisms of this blog post are without merit.

        • says

          I am 110% for crews eating meals, whether personal or airline provided, however inquired as to what the airline policy is on such matters. From the other commenters, it appears common practice to eat the leftover food, but it is not “policy” that it can be done.

          • Pete says

            Then why is the title of this post “Should Flight Attendents Eat First Class Meals?” Wouldn’t a more appropriate title be “Flight Attendants SHOULD Be Allowed to a First Class Eat Meal.” See how a title like that suggests that you are, in fact, “110% for crews eating meals.” To question it in the title seems to suggest that perhaps there is a valid argument for them NOT eating meals. Do I really have to explain all this? Cmon man.

          • says

            The question was open to comments for everyone, and so far, many have commented. Questions are common titles for posts. I have stated my position in the post itself. It’s up to those answering the questions to provide their own responses in answer to it, and in answer to my position, which positively supports flight attendants getting provided meals.

          • J Shlabot says

            Why?! Why the fuck is it any of your business? Just answer the question. What is your point? Are you suggesting theft?

          • Pete says

            OMG! I’m not saying it shouldn’t be a question in the title. I’m saying that you shouldn’t formulate the question in such a way as to suggest that it is valid to even question whether or not flight attendants should get meals!!! Some suggestions: “Shouldn’t All FAs Be Allowed To Eat?” or “Is There a Smart Meal Policy For FAs In Flight?” Both of these titles don’t sound nearly so elitist and anti-FA as yours (and BTW, they’re questions, which you’re so fond of).

          • Craig says

            He won’t change the title of the post because the name he named it, is exactly what he was asking…not this damn foolishness about policy

    • Tim from miami says

      must be a slow news day. To answer your question, each airline is probably different regarding providing meals for crew. On our airline pilots have meals catered as part of their contract. Cabin crew does not.the meals that are catered for passengers are normally catered one meal per passenger, it’s an exact count and if a passenger chooses not to eat, then it is perfectly acceptable for the crew to eat that meal at the conclusion of the service. On Premium markets, sometimes they over provision in an effort to give more choices to passengers…..this is a fixed cost and again, it is perfectly acceptable for the crew to eat these leftover meals at the conclusion of the service. There are also times when first class is booked very light, in which case the airline will only cater a partia number of meals based on passenger count. This can result in no meals for passengers when there’s a sudden rush with upgrades. but in all honesty, none of these items can be reused therefore the cost is fixed, and the company policy at our air line is that any of these first class meals which are going to be thrown away are able to be consumed by the cabin crew.

      • says

        That’s a great answer. I appreciate you sticking to the subject at hand to help answer the questions, instead of assuming that flight attendants shouldn’t be given meals.

        • Pete says

          Yeah, the rest of us commenters didn’t stick to the subject at hand and are needlessly assailing Jamie. Us commenters are the ones who are questioning flight attendant meals, not the great philanthropist Jamie Larounis, whose writing clearly demonstrates a deep commitment to FA advocacy.

  78. heatherCase says

    You are basically tattling on your inflight crew for eating the leftover food. Yet, you say you totally support them. Your “blog” rant about inflight food was passive aggressive and boring.
    This is a policy that literally has no bearing on your safety or quality of flight. Long story short: the policy on leftover food is none of your business. Leave your flight attendants alone.

  79. court says

    I agree this was a waste of time!!!! What was your point? Flight attendants rarely have time for breaks because we get to an airport have to swap planes, check equipment, put our bags away and put on a kool-aid smile for passengers like you that want to post some bs like this…… Who cares????? Flight attendants don’t get lunch breaks like normal 9-5 workers. Next time sit back and relax and enjoy YOUR first class meal.

  80. says

    Please read American Airlines policy about taking pictures of the crew in the back of the American Way magazine. If you’re an elite status you should know this is not allowed.

  81. Erin says

    1. Photographing flight crew is against Federal regs.
    2. Find something useful to do on your flights when you’re bored such as;
    a) read a book, or
    b) work on your spelling.

    • brian says

      No federal regulation exists concerning taking photos of flight crew. If you think that give a reference….LOL

      • MTC says

        Brian, it is not a federal regulation, but it is prohibited without consent under many airline policies. For example, from united.com/travel information/inflight services/electronic device policies:

        “The use of small cameras or mobile devices for photography and video is permitted on board, provided you keep the purpose of your photography and video to capturing personal events. Photographing or recording other customers or airline personnel without their express consent is prohibited.”

  82. Stephen Melott says

    Yes, the last airline I flew for PROVIDED FIRST CLASS meals for the crew. and by the way, if you expect your crew members to have the strength to put up with YOUR B.S. and to drag your sorry butt out of a burning airplane, you better let us eat whatever we want after we’ve served you.

  83. Theresa Smyth says

    Perhaps this could be a catalyst for improving working conditions for cabin crew, Mr. Larounis! Meals, sleep time, on the job injuries, so many things to be addressed. You can be their hero instead of now being their zero!

  84. brian says

    If they don’t eat them the mechanics will I know because I am a mechanic… LOL I like how people put their shoes all over everything then later bitch because the plane looks raged out…lol Put your feet with shoes on your coffee table every night in after a few months it will look like crap…

  85. says

    This article should look into why flight attendants have to fight for a decent meal. Flight attendants, if you want to create your own group and vent without being judged, go to nap-sack.org. All flight crew should join.

  86. Betty says

    I’m shocked. Flight attendants should be the first ones to eat. They need to keep up their strength and they worked hard. No question. They should all be included in the food count or whatever the heck it’s called.

    • md says

      Mr. James Larounis:
      I do not & have not worked for the flight industry,, but retired educator. I do not see any point in your blog. Food is meant to be eaten, not wasted !! I fly “First” sometimes, the meals are not that grand at all, to think that they are doing anyone a favor. SHARE !!
      Flight attendants are NOT at all well paid for the hassle they go through. Get your feet off the wall, sit properly & be thankful you have more leg room. Remember, your life is in their hands when there is an emergency!!

  87. says

    Unlike the Gulf carriers, American Airlines doesn’t provide their cabin crews with anything to eat unless they’re flying Shanghai and Delhi — and those few meals had to be negotiated in exchange for a concession.

    American’s cabin crews negotiated meals as part of their 2001 contract, but those meals were forfeited by their union in 2003 to make room for more executive compensation.

    While flight attendants felt that safety and security were both dependant on proper rest and reasonable sustenance, American and APFA adamantly disagreed. Both felt that flight attendants could either pick the carts or carry three days worth of dry goods to see them through their work trip.

    With no food provided and little layover time to get an actual meal, often the only hot meal American’s flight attendants will see in a three day trip is the one that you chose not to eat.

      • says

        If you’re interested in knowing more about the flight attendant situation at American, this will give you some insight:

        Eric Holder, Esq., Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

        Dear Mr. Holder,

        I am writing you today as a flight attendant with American Airlines represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) with the intent of filing a complaint.

        http://wewantourmoneyback.net/doj/

      • Jeannine says

        Hi James,
        I bet you had no idea that you would get this kind of response. Flight Attendants are very protective of each other. I have almost 30 years with two airlines and while most of the time it is a great job there have been a lot of changes, most of which haven’t been in our favor.
        Standing and inhaling your food becomes a very quick habit that Flight Attendants pick up quickly. One, we usually don’t have much time, two your jumpseat is practically in the bathroom and we all know how unpleasant seating near the lav is and three, there are those days with no time to buy food so you are starving. the newer Flight Attendants are paid so little they really can’t afford to eat so anything they can scape up on their flight becomes their meal. I bring own food when I can but internationally you are not allowed to bring food in and out of most foreign destinations.

        If you would like to find out why things are the way they are on airplanes, here is a list of things we see all the time that are baffling.

        Passengers;
        Feet on walls with shoes or without
        Cutting nails and toe nails, yes even in first class
        Picking their noses with no tissue in site, usually its wiped on the seat you will be sitting in on the next flight.
        Talking with their mouths open and spitting their food
        Throwing tissues and paper towels on floor in lav when a garbage can is provided
        Not flushing
        Not aiming
        Not closing or locking the door
        Not washing their hands, there are times when the sinks are dry for a very long time
        Trashing the airplane floor

        And just the plain rudeness to other passengers.

        By the way some of our regulars know the kind of days we have and bring us treats. Chocolates, donuts, fruit, etc. always appreciated.

        Good luck with your next article or post.

        Jeannine

        • says

          Are you able to access GoGo on a domestic flight? Occasionally, I’ve given a few free passes since I was told FAs can’t access regular internet, social media etc (I guess the tablets have a restriction?). Is that true? If so, I’ll continue to hand them out.

  88. Sam says

    You claim you don’t have a problem with what they’re doing(as if it matters anyway), but you make comments about how many cookies one FA ate and how the other one was eating. WHY. DO. YOU. CARE??? Another example of passengers worrying about the wrong damn thing. You’re alllll of the way in row 4. Find something to do other than stare at the crew. Did you get your meal? Great. We stick up for each other 100% especially when articles like this are written. It’s funny how you attempted to “clarify” after you already made offensive statements. Why didn’t you just ask them since you were so curious? Articles like this annoy me because, you have the source RIGHT there! Ask them! Stop trying to get attention on the Internet and make issues were they don’t have to be. If you get on my flight, and you have a “question” about what’s policy and what is not, ask me……I’ll be sure to let you have it, I mean let you know. Get a life sir.

  89. DCLEON says

    Larry, I read in your article that you don’t have a problem with the f/a’s eating meals, but I’m still confused as to why you would write about it if it didn’t bother you. I think your article is a backhanded compliment, and you should make a letter of apology to all the f/a’s you’ve insulted. Focus your energy and writing on stuff that matters in the world, not how much money is this costing the airline. It’s ridiculous! You’re a guest of the airline when you sit on their airplane (the service it to transport your ass only) feet on the floor and keeping your fingers off cameras is always good etiquette rules. I agree with the comment someone posted above ^ from now on I hope you never order food or drinks inflight because trust me when I say word gets around fast

  90. lls says

    You’re counting the number cookies eaten by a flight attendant? Watching them eat? Counting the number of leftover meals? From your seat.

    Really?

    Next time, read a book, chat with your neighbor, listen to your iPod, watch a movie on your iPad, gaze out the window, sleep.

    Sheesh.

  91. Chris says

    Hey James. I have to say, the title and wording of your blog does not imply you’re in favour of FA eating any catering that may not be formally provided by the carrier. You imply the FA’s are, in eating the first class food, acting above their station and eating something they’re not entitled to. But it would appear you have already understood that. Anyway, here is the “insight” to how my carrier works. My carrier is long-haul operation only and duties start at minimum 9 hours, ranging to 15 hours. The carrier does provide food for the FA’s, consisting of a sandwich each, hot meal each, snacks; crisps, mini-chocolates, fruit, to share and sometimes another hot option (depending on duty length). That must sustain a crew member for entire duty. The standard of provided catering at present is very poor. Greasy, small, poor quality pieces of meat, a bit like a inferior microwave meal, except the portion sizes are tiny (the hot option is a third the size of the first class option portion size). It would appear the carrier spends as little as possible on this catering and the cost, approx $10 per crew member, and is debited from our wages (so i’m told but can’t confirm). The carrier also states we can eat any leftover food in the cabin but granted, this could be taken advantage of. As the manager onboard, I don’t allow ANY crew, flight crew or cabin, to eat any passenger food until that particular service has finished. As its been mentioned, some food MUST be cooked immediately due to food safety regulations, so the crew know exactly whats left after the delightful passengers, like yourself, have eaten. Then its fair game for the crew. Other catering can be eaten at end of flight when we know all services have finished but NO catering can be taken off the aircraft. I will stress, on a 9 hour duty, the only hot option that is provided for crew is not enough, nor a quality a dog is accustomed to, to feel sustained and many crew bring own food, myself included. So, yes, eating the leftover first class food is permitted and excepted by the company and they do not hold any exception to it. I think they see it as a kind gesture and small perk for their committed staff, that work so hard in keeping the customers happy, comfortable and safe for a flight that lasts
    almost 15 hours.

  92. FAs says

    I read this article via link from Facebook.. It’s going to get worst as more ppl get wind of this. Yes our lives are stressful, underpaid, under appreciated and honestly not galmous what it once was. However the moment you insult one of us, you insult everyone who is a FA. You can kiss your side career as a blogger goodbye. I am sure your goal was to get more readers but not the wrath of every single FA that is working or retired on your ass. You still have yet to even apologize once but continously making excuses over and over.

  93. pablo says

    Just reading you title alone made me feel furious and offended… Why shouldn’t we? and then to make fun of a FA for eating 5 cookie.. SERIOUSLY DUDE…!!! And taking pictures too.. Do you realize that posting pictures like that can get people terminated..
    Taking pictures and watching our every moves is what disturbs me dude.. can you say stalker… Im going to continue sharing you post on face book only because I want every FA in the USA to know who you are.. I guess your going to be very famous at American Airlines…

  94. says

    When I worked for Air Canada, They catered x first class meals + x crew meals on long flights. That is why we asked 1st passengers for their selection, early in the flight. Then, we offered the pilots dibs on what was left. They can not eat the same meals due to risk of food poisoning. What was left was split among flight attendants.

  95. Nancy says

    Mr. Larounis,

    You sir are an idiot. If ever a doubt, this article just proved it. I agree with one of the above comments. This article is a waste of space. As a flight attendant with a major airline for over 25 years, flight attendants have always had permission to consume whatever is leftover from the food service. Our day has to fit certain parameters in order to receive a crew meal. There are days that don’t go accordingly and we never have time to get off the plane to eat. The only source of food is what is catered and leftover from the service. What airline would EVER prohibit flight attendants from eating food that would be eventually thrown away once the plane lands? With you mentioning that the airline would care or that the flight attendants would get in trouble just made you sound like an oblivious flyer with no knowledge about the airline industry. And the flight attendant licking his fingers has every right to freaking lick his fingers. We all (flight attendants wash & sanitize our hands hundreds of times a day so that we don’t catch anything from morons like you. So, he would obviously wash his hands once he goes back to his duties. And for the flight attendant with all the cookies…could he have been taking them back to the other crew members? Or perhaps, handing them out to the minor children in coach? You do not freaking know anything! The best thing for you to do is to ask questions when you are onboard OUR aircraft…Or just keep your piehole shut.

    • says

      Is there a written policy, or is it just common practice? It would be interesting to see if the airlines themselves condone it, so the FAs would not get in trouble.

  96. Michael says

    Why are you so concerned about the companies point of view if you are so worried about us … you and this whole article is a big contradiction … I have a question for you is that phone in airplane mode? Here’s another one did you put your phone in airplane mode after the first or second announcement or did a flight attendant have to come by and tap you on the shoulder to tell you to put it in airplane mode twice? Why be concerned for us when you should be concerned about yourself and I thought you said you were in seat 4E why are you in seat 2F can you explain that? Delete this article and that picture that you so obviously illegally took … thanks

  97. Pete says

    Jamie, this is a train wreck. Just apologize man. We all know you’re an elitist–you have been posting for a long time now. Folks need only read your other posts to know this isn’t just the case of on poorly worded post.

  98. Lori Simms says

    First of all, get your feet off the wall. That shows what kind of consideration you have or maybe you feel your privilege to do that. Why do you care, its a meal that would have been thrown away. I can imagine you have NEVER done anything like that in your life. If you had a 10-14 hour flight, I wonder if that meal would have been appealing to you. STAY IN YOUR LANE.

  99. Wahhhhh says

    Wow. Such anger and vitriol. What occurs to me is that if you are all so full of anger and so incredibly defensive that a different line of work might be in order.

    • Chris says

      Yes, “Wahhhhh” it would appear people are defensive, with such anger and vitriol, as it’s a poorly articulated and posed question, which appears as an attack.

  100. Jose says

    I haven’t read all the comments (xcpt the first), so my comment may already have been done. The flight attendants don’t get meals on short haul flights in many airlines. Short haul is usually any flights shorter than 8hrs. Some airlines have contractual meal allowance (like 75cents/hr) for the flight attendants. Most of the pilots in most flights have crew meals, yet none for the flight attendants. Even with meal allowance paid to the flight attendant, because of the length of flight and departure times, the flight attendant is usually unable to get meals prepared or bought from somewhere.

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