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Linens / presentation debate for meal service on AA, US / both

Linens / presentation debate for meal service on AA, US / both

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Old Aug 15, 15, 10:05 am
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Linens / presentation debate for meal service on AA, US / both

Originally Posted by SpaceCoastBill View Post
Sadly, this is kind of telling. Why are the pictures of the service tray (on the top) showing the tray without a linen on top of it? The fact that this represents the new service and still is showing the paper liners seem to portray that AA didn't plan to pre-set linens, unless I'm missing something. What do you think?
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Old Aug 15, 15, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
Sadly, this is kind of telling. Why are the pictures of the service tray (on the top) showing the tray without a linen on top of it? The fact that this represents the new service and still is showing the paper liners seem to portray that AA didn't plan to pre-set linens, unless I'm missing something. What do you think?
I thought the exact same thing (although at least it suggests that linens are supposed to go under the tray). Preset linens would really be such an affordable yet big step forward in terms of presentation. Weren't they preset pre-9/1?

All that said, I'm in the middle of several flights in F, and have been very pleased with the quality of the food. I'll post pics upon my return.
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Old Aug 15, 15, 12:15 pm
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Originally Posted by AAEmpireState View Post
I thought the exact same thing (although at least it suggests that linens are supposed to go under the tray). Preset linens would really be such an affordable yet big step forward in terms of presentation. Weren't they preset pre-9/1?
Yes, linens were pre-set on pmAA service pre-9/1, and beginning 8/1, they were supposed to be pre-set again, according to the press conference in the late spring showing off the new meals; at least, that's what some people here were reporting.

The shown printout and what we've seen since 8/1 tells a different story.
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Old Aug 15, 15, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
Sadly, this is kind of telling. Why are the pictures of the service tray (on the top) showing the tray without a linen on top of it? The fact that this represents the new service and still is showing the paper liners seem to portray that AA didn't plan to pre-set linens, unless I'm missing something. What do you think?
Linen on top? It is placed under the tray on the seat tray table.
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Old Aug 15, 15, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by SpaceCoastBill View Post
Linen on top? It is placed under the tray on the seat tray table.
Right, but like I said above, they were supposed to start pre-setting the linens under the servingware (plates/bowls/etc) like pmAA, pre-9/1 did. That way, the actual tray wouldn't be visible to customers. I know most people probably would prefer that, as it's less "gross" to look at (vs. the tray itself), and also comes across as more sanitary and appetizing in general.

We were told catering would start pre-setting the linens on top of the serving tray themselves, effective 8/1. This hasn't (never?) transpired, and the printout does seem to confirm that linens are still not being expected to be pre-set. Hence the conflicting information we have here.

Heck, even the implementation of setting the linen on the table has been inconsistent at best and non-existent to many.
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Old Aug 15, 15, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by SpaceCoastBill View Post
Linen on top? It is placed under the tray on the seat tray table.
Now it supposedly goes this way. Historically it was always places to cover the meal tray itself so that the customer never saw the gray plastic tray the meal is served on.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 3:28 am
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
Yes, linens were pre-set on pmAA service pre-9/1, and beginning 8/1, they were supposed to be pre-set again, according to the press conference in the late spring showing off the new meals; at least, that's what some people here were reporting.

The shown printout and what we've seen since 8/1 tells a different story.
UM remember... NO ONE here understands your obsession with linens... they mean nothing to the meal service. Let's focus on more important things.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 4:37 am
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
Sadly, this is kind of telling. Why are the pictures of the service tray (on the top) showing the tray without a linen on top of it? The fact that this represents the new service and still is showing the paper liners seem to portray that AA didn't plan to pre-set linens, unless I'm missing something. What do you think?
An astute observation. If in fact their intention was to ever have the linen pre-set by the caterer to cover the tray as it should be used, then why would they print the instructions showing the exposed wax paper thing? Something doesn't add up.

Originally Posted by GotCalcio4 View Post
UM remember... NO ONE here understands your obsession with linens... they mean nothing to the meal service. Let's focus on more important things.
I disagree. Presentation can affect the perceived taste of the food. If you serve something that clearly looks like it belongs in the cafeteria of a mental institution, people's immediate subconscious opinion is going to be one of distaste. That can actually have an affect on what someone tastes.

Some here will say that we should be happy since they improved (well, in reality un-downgraded) 3 or 4 lunch and dinner entrees and sweep everything else under the rug. There are still plenty of problems with the service though, the primary ones at this point being consistency, quantity, menu rotations and staggering (e.g. one should never take two miscons traveling into and out of DFW and be served the same menu on both), lack of options on standard transcons, quality of the other dishes that were not updated to roughly their former standard, the pre-appetizer sized salads with little other than lettuce and maybe a few slices of one vegetable, presentation of the whole tray, the gross cookies etc. Then of course there's the breakfast services also...

There is much to be done, some items of more importance than others, but they still need to be fixed.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by GotCalcio4 View Post
UM remember... NO ONE here understands your obsession with linens... they mean nothing to the meal service. Let's focus on more important things.
To say the least.

And, as long as some -are- so die-hard about the linen-thing (still hard to believe, as I see it in words on the screen ,) was -is- the source of the "preset linen" thing that the linen-lovers are referencing? I never saw anything official on that implementation, personally speaking-- at least as far as i can remember.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 1:11 pm
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Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
To say the least.

And, as long as some -are- so die-hard about the linen-thing (still hard to believe, as I see it in words on the screen ,) was -is- the source of the "preset linen" thing that the linen-lovers are referencing? I never saw anything official on that implementation, personally speaking-- at least as far as i can remember.
It would seem that linens were originally your information from this post:

Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
Linens are my information (returning 4/1)-- as was the parmesan cheese + basil for pastas. The ramekins I know nothing about, but don't doubt it per se, either.
Of course, none of that ever actually happened. Then, after the press conference wherein the 'fake' food was highly publicized and unveiled, this was posted:

Originally Posted by MAH4546 View Post
The linens will be used on the plane, too.

At the event an AA rep acknowledged that there have been problems with getting FA's to re-adapt to placing linens. I believe they mentioned linens will start being preset by the caterers.
Supposed information which came directly from the press conference, where linens were used. After all, the wax paper can't photograph quite as well for Hector's camera time now can it? This is likely what led many of us to believe (apparently falsely) that linens would actually start being pre-set on the plastic trays as they should be, and always had been. Placing the linen on the tray table doesn't really do much to cover up the AAwful gray/brown plastic tray which was never originally meant to be seen by the customer now does it?

The return of the lentil chili was a good, but small step forward. I would say about 10% of what was taken away post-merger has now been restored. Unfortunately, I get this feeling that we are now going to be seeing lentil chili, shrimp/grits, beef filet in puddle, and lasagna linger around for years and never actually be rotated on a monthly basis as meals used to be. Also, service on standard transcons is still a complete joke as nothing is different from a midcon other than the fact that the transcon gets an actual sundae rather than an ice cream cup. Number of choices and appetizers remain the same.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 1:14 pm
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I'm not sure. There were a few scattered topics on this board saying that the press conference showing off the new/improved meals did mention that linens would be pre-set beginning 8/1, but that doesn't correlate with what's happening today, so...

Edit: see CMD320's post right above mine.

Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
To say the least.

And, as long as some -are- so die-hard about the linen-thing (still hard to believe, as I see it in words on the screen ,) was -is- the source of the "preset linen" thing that the linen-lovers are referencing? I never saw anything official on that implementation, personally speaking-- at least as far as i can remember.
Exactly! That's what pmAA did so well - their food may have not been a gourmet, 5-star quality, but the presentation was done very well, and probably helped people's perceptions of the meal. Simply put, it's much more appetizing to eat when the presentation is more beautiful/elaborate vs. something you'd normally see in a school cafeteria or hospital/prison (not saying AA food is prison food; just pointing out the differences in appearance).

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
I disagree. Presentation can affect the perceived taste of the food. If you serve something that clearly looks like it belongs in the cafeteria of a mental institution, people's immediate subconscious opinion is going to be one of distaste. That can actually have an affect on what someone tastes.

Some here will say that we should be happy since they improved (well, in reality un-downgraded) 3 or 4 lunch and dinner entrees and sweep everything else under the rug. There are still plenty of problems with the service though, the primary ones at this point being consistency, quantity, menu rotations and staggering (e.g. one should never take two miscons traveling into and out of DFW and be served the same menu on both), lack of options on standard transcons, quality of the other dishes that were not updated to roughly their former standard, the pre-appetizer sized salads with little other than lettuce and maybe a few slices of one vegetable, presentation of the whole tray, the gross cookies etc. Then of course there's the breakfast services also...

There is much to be done, some items of more importance than others, but they still need to be fixed.

Last edited by MrAndy1369; Aug 16, 15 at 4:52 pm
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Old Aug 16, 15, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
An astute observation. If in fact their intention was to ever have the linen pre-set by the caterer to cover the tray as it should be used, then why would they print the instructions showing the exposed wax paper thing? Something doesn't add up.



I disagree. Presentation can affect the perceived taste of the food. If you serve something that clearly looks like it belongs in the cafeteria of a mental institution, people's immediate subconscious opinion is going to be one of distaste. That can actually have an affect on what someone tastes.
Sorry you all, that was my weak attempt at sarcasm. I guess I came off too seriously.

I actually agree with you, and wish they would return to pre-setting the linens. The white serving ware does look quite nice with the black linens underneath. Is this a huge deal? No. But it would be nice.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post

Exactly! That's what pmAA did so well - their food may have not been a gourmet, 5-star quality, but the presentation was done very well, and probably helped people's perceptions of the meal. Simply put, it's much more appetizing to eat when the presentation is more beautiful/elaborate vs. something you'd normally see in a school cafeteria or hospital/prison (not saying AA food is prison food; just pointing out the differences in appearance).
Generally speaking, yes. This is one point where I am fully behind the PMAA crowd. I've taken a look at many of the pre-9/1/14 meals. AA's food wasn't gourmet and certainly not 5 star. But the small little things that AA did to enhance the appearance, such as pre-set linens, the fancy napkin holder, real salt and pepper shakers, dressing in ramekins, etc etc went a long way towards enhancing the perceived quality of the meal. In this case the sum of the parts. This is something Hector and the current team don't really seem to understand.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by GotCalcio4 View Post
Generally speaking, yes. This is one point where I am fully behind the PMAA crowd. I've taken a look at many of the pre-9/1/14 meals. AA's food wasn't gourmet and certainly not 5 star. But the small little things that AA did to enhance the appearance, such as pre-set linens, the fancy napkin holder, real salt and pepper shakers, dressing in ramekins, etc etc went a long way towards enhancing the perceived quality of the meal. In this case the sum of the parts. This is something Hector and the current team don't really seem to understand.
Entirely agreed. I've actually been impressed with recent meal improvements so far; presentation and service improvements would really round those out, IMO.
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Old Aug 16, 15, 3:35 pm
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<redacted>

Originally Posted by GotCalcio4 View Post
Generally speaking, yes. This is one point where I am fully behind the PMAA crowd. I've taken a look at many of the pre-9/1/14 meals. AA's food wasn't gourmet and certainly not 5 star. But the small little things that AA did to enhance the appearance, such as pre-set linens, the fancy napkin holder, real salt and pepper shakers, dressing in ramekins, etc etc went a long way towards enhancing the perceived quality of the meal. In this case the sum of the parts. This is something Hector and the current team don't really seem to understand.
Yes, exactly. I don't expect to see catering I would see in F or J on EK, QR, CX, JL, etc. In fact, I don't even expect to see catering from W class on many of the airlines which offer it. What I do expect is to be offered a domestic F product which at least looks the part. AA's pre-merger meals at least gave the customer the illusion of domestic F, and most times were decently palatable and filling as well. That was a winning combo in the domestic market.

It's also very disappointing when the meals are dressed up for press day and then really don't appear much like that at all onboard in terms of presentation. Clearly they know that's the way it should look, but don't have any real intention of ensuring that product ever makes it to the customer.

Last edited by JDiver; Aug 19, 15 at 9:47 pm Reason: Redacted previously deleted post content and reply to same
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