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JetBlue CEO Admits Space-Flex Galley Isn’t Good for Crew

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The Space-Flex design trades galley space for additional seats, but concerns have been voiced over how it will impact service and the overall cabin experience. The design has been adopted by EasyJet, Lufthansa, British Airways and JetBlue, which has been pragmatic in its assessment of Space-Flex.

While it is intended to maximize space within the already-tight confines of Airbus’ A320 single-aisle craft, PaddleYourOwnKanoo reports that not everyone is a fan of the manufacturer’s Space-Flex galley design. The layout – which has been adopted by EasyJet, LufthansaBritish Airways and JetBlue – has been criticized by cabin crew who say that they struggle to complete their duties within the tight confines of this space.

Explaining the change in layout between the original A320 galley area and that offered by Space-Flex, the outlet’s Mateusz Maszczynski reports, “On older A320 aircraft the rear galley takes up the whole back wall of the passenger cabin. Then, just forward of the rear passenger doors come the lavatories on either side of the aisle and eventually, the passenger seating starts. The Space-Flex system, however, aims to maximize as much space in the existing shell of the cabin to add extra passenger seats. So, the size of the galley is reduced by half and the lavatories are squeezed into the remaining space on the back wall of the cabin.”

With more passengers in the cabin and less space, the concern among crew is that the Space-Flex galley may have a negative impact on service standards. While those within the airline industry have acknowledged that these cramped quarters might have a detrimental impact on the passenger experience, the design itself – which enables carriers to add extra seats in the same amount of space – is still proving to be too tempting to pass up.

Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive, has been pragmatic in his assessment of Stay-Flex. Bloomberg reports that, during a taped call to staff, he said, “Do I love the fact that we had to go to Space-Flex? No, I’ll be honest — of course not. It creates a much bigger challenge for our crew members to provide that service.”

These comments come just as JetBlue cabin crew are about to make the change to a cart-based service – during which staff will reportedly use specially-sized carts – so that they may “mitigate some of the pain points” of Space-Flex.

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