United Airlines flight attendants were reportedly taken aback by a new apparently less-than-sanitary inflight meal prep that requires cabin crew members to assemble sandwiches to order with their bare hands. UA officials say the airline is trying to get to the bottom of why catering instructions called for FAs to place cheese on the a la carte cheeseburgers before warming and serving.
A United Airlines flight attendant is blowing the whistle on a new seemingly unhygienic galley practice aboard flights with a la carte meal service. The anonymous crew member went straight to the press with evidence of the new icky catering instructions.
Inc’s Chris Matyszczyk writes that the unsavory practice was brought to his attention by a crew member with a beef about the way she was instructed to prepare cheeseburgers for passengers. The unnamed flight attendant wrote a message questioning the wisdom of having crew members touch every single sandwich prepared on the plane.
“So catering in PHX just told me that I have to open up all the new cheeseburgers and place the cheese on them, before I cook them. (1 slice of cheese per ziplock bag),” the crew member wrote. “Is that even sanitary?”
The concerned airline employee even provided photographic evidence of the shrink-wrapped hamburger components, packaged Lunchables-style with a note alerting flight attendants to place the cheese (packaged separately) on the burger before reheating and serving.
Although the process of turning a hamburger into a cheeseburger occurs in countless restaurant kitchens everyday, it’s easy to see why the simple food prep procedure is less than ideal food-safety-wise when performed in the rear galley of a Boeing 737 by a harried flight attendant with a much more limited access to a hand washing sink than the typical short order cook.
It seems that the grossed out flight attendant wasn’t the only one at United disturbed by the perplexing new catering instructions. According to Matyszczyk, once upper management became aware of the new hamburger-related procedures “an investigation has been launched.”