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AS service reductions. Mediocrity by a thousand cuts.

AS service reductions. Mediocrity by a thousand cuts.

Old Jul 16, 19, 6:56 pm
  #1  
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AS service reductions. Mediocrity by a thousand cuts.

NotReallyPDB disease is spreading like cancer into the in-flight service.

Service was super slow in Premium and in First. And when service finally started, the food and drinks were substantially less than what has been usual during recent years and recent months.

The June 16 2019 version of the Welcome to Premium brochure describes services. Included are descriptions of food and drinks. "Feel Free to Indulge". However, it is describing limits on services. There is a description of a 1.5 hour flight min threshold for some foods.

In that brochure, there is no minimum flight time described for the beverage selection. So based upon past experience AND the new brochure, I would expect the normal drink selection.

On a familiar route, when in-flight service finally started in Premium, only beer, wine, juice, or water was offered. For snacks, only one item. Nothing else allowed.

2 other passengers were really unhappy and commented to other passengers about the slow service and very upset with the limited drink selection. The Flight Attendant said the reason for the limited offerings was because the short route. In my experience, that is unbelievable.

Evidently, food and drink is something that Alaska Airlines is rationing and customers need to consider this.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:06 pm
  #2  
 
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It is no secret that AS has been cutting costs and has either shrunk or very slowly grew in each month of 2019 thus far. At the same time, you have to ask--is this route a competitive one? If it is either not competitive or the competition is offering the same or less service, then management must feel they have little to lose. Better to cut costs while keeping service at or slightly above the competition than make cuts which would lead to defections which impact the bottom line. Mediocre is what most airlines aim for--giving just enough to avoid people jumping to a competitor or give up on flying all together. How many airlines in the US are offering anything extraordinary in coach on a one hour flight?
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:34 pm
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It would be helpful to share what route this is. Others may have insight into whether you experienced an anomaly or permanent change.

Catering errors due happen. I had a smoothie today in the little plastic cup that used to substitute for the nut ramekin. The other day, the snack basket had only bananas and pop chips and the FA threw in more snacks from the back.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:38 pm
  #4  
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Service cuts are the norm these days across carriers, both US and international.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 10:40 pm
  #5  
 
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Just flew SAN-SJC-SAN (Premium in one direction, F in the other) and service was just as good as itís always been. Multiple refills in F despite being in the air for less than an hour, and we had at least 5 options for snacks. About as good as it gets for an hour long flight. My one complaint is that since they transitioned to A319s on the route from E175s, there are less F seats!
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Old Jul 17, 19, 1:46 am
  #6  
 
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While I agree with you that some cutting has taken place, I'd also point out that, at least in my experience, the flights that DO get good catering (like mid-cons) have actually increased in quality, if not quantity, of food.
I've been very, very pleased with the food on DFW-SEA the past several times I've flown it. And, come to think of it, that includes DAL-SEA, which has been operated by either SkyWest or Horizon for my flights... food was up to mainline standards on those trips, too.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 2:19 am
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Originally Posted by Legend717 View Post
...
I've been very, very pleased with the food on DFW-SEA the past several times I've flown it. And, come to think of it, that includes DAL-SEA, which has been operated by either SkyWest or Horizon for my flights... food was up to mainline standards on those trips, too.
Having come from VX with LAS-DAL being my primary route, I've been flying AS monthly from PHX/TUS to "West Coast" then to/from DAL from the beginning.
The DAL flights started being the same as a mid-con, but around the start of 2019, all DAL flights were reduced from a full mid-con meal to a (hot) sandwich or protein plate service.
At first, assumed it had had something to do with the new SJC/SAN markets, but finally had a DAL/SEA dinner flight that was the same. Those sandwhichs were tasty, but got old fast, particularly when I had the same on my TUS/PHX to/from West Coast connection.
It's been a few years since I've done DFW to/from SEA, but it was a full service and digi-players.

I love AS, but it has been a slow series of cutbacks for me since the VX merger ... both on-board services and my convoluted options to try and support non-WN flights to DAL.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 6:46 am
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Originally Posted by steve64 View Post

I love AS, but it has been a slow series of cutbacks for me since the VX merger ... both on-board services and my convoluted options to try and support non-WN flights to DAL.
You have your answer right there. If you want F or premium class and you are going to DAL what are your other options? There are none. Obviously the only carrier AS has to compete with is WN so they could give 3 small bags of pretzels in first and still offer more than WN...LOL.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:32 am
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If itís a very short flight as you described I donít think a smaller food selection is beyond realistic expectations. What time of day was your flight?

slow service on the other hand is never excusable, especially in F.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
It would be helpful to share what route this is. Others may have insight into whether you experienced an anomaly or permanent change.

Catering errors due happen. I had a smoothie today in the little plastic cup that used to substitute for the nut ramekin. The other day, the snack basket had only bananas and pop chips and the FA threw in more snacks from the back.
I suppose that a catering error or anomaly is possible. However, I have flown this route more than 20 times per year for years. So I am somewhat familiar with the baseline or usual service. And I know the decrease in service and the increasing foot dragging. Additionally, the Flight Attendant told me this minimal drink and food selection was the new service standard in Premium. So, I was told this is a permanent change. I'll update if I experience that the Flight Attendant was wrong and this below past standard service experience proves to be an anomaly.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by ASA_1 View Post
If itís a very short flight as you described I donít think a smaller food selection is beyond realistic expectations. What time of day was your flight?

slow service on the other hand is never excusable, especially in F.
Mid-day
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:59 am
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by steve64 View Post
The DAL flights started being the same as a mid-con, but around the start of 2019, all DAL flights were reduced from a full mid-con meal to a (hot) sandwich or protein plate service.
At first, assumed it had had something to do with the new SJC/SAN markets, but finally had a DAL/SEA dinner flight that was the same. Those sandwhichs were tasty, but got old fast
Really annoying to get the beef and cheddar sandwich or protein plate on the afternoon SEA-DAL flight since it doesn't fill you up and when you land in DAL, all the food places are closing up.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 9:15 am
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Originally Posted by PaperGlider View Post
I suppose that a catering error or anomaly is possible. However, I have flown this route more than 20 times per year for years. So I am somewhat familiar with the baseline or usual service. And I know the decrease in service and the increasing foot dragging. Additionally, the Flight Attendant told me this minimal drink and food selection was the new service standard in Premium. So, I was told this is a permanent change. I'll update if I experience that the Flight Attendant was wrong and this below past standard service experience proves to be an anomaly.
Again, it would be helpful to share the specific route, at least so other members can understand the implication of new service standards.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 9:15 am
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If you look back the past 50 years, yes there has been a steady decline in level of service; from food served on china in first to full meals in coach to what we have today. What I have noticed recently is the variability in service. I have long given up the expectation of a PDB and am surprised/pleased when it occurs and I thank the FA for taking the time to do it (even if it should be an expectation). However the way first is managed is pretty much free range. You have FAs take drink orders prior to departure and those who wait till the 10K chime goes off. You have some that serve multiple rows their drinks while other do it two seats at a time. There was one time the FA served the first drink with the meal (was not happy with that). However, my overall experience with the FAs and their service have been great; some might be slow to start but are attentive during the entire flight once things got going and then those that are attentive at start and seem to disappear for part of the flight....but the overall experience, for me has been fine. I am sure the bean counters nit pick here and there but I think this is a constant "creep" for all airlines, not just AS. I have been blessed with upgrades this entire year and have flown in Premium only twice so I cannot really comment on that service this past year.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 10:03 am
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I mostly fly transcons and up and down the west coast. While I have seen some spotty service I have seen better food in first and no real changes in premium. It is common on shorter non-Horizon flights (such as SEA-GEG, SEA-PDX) to limit beverage service, although they do manage multiple rounds in first on those routes.
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