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.
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… 😛
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.
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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