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"I didn't stick my finger in it" (FA response to type of pasta)- Recent AA Experience

"I didn't stick my finger in it" (FA response to type of pasta)- Recent AA Experience

Old Sep 8, 17, 1:35 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by Gabrca View Post
CLT-LHR AA732 - Sept 5

It's been a while since I've flown AA long haul, but the level of service on this flight was so bad it was almost funny.

Cart rolls down with a flight attendant who looked liked he'd rather be anywhere else in the world.

FA: "Chicken or Pasta?"
Me: "What sort of pasta is it?"
FA: *Audible Sigh*
FA:"Uh, some sort of bowtie thing"
Me:"Sorry, do you know what type of sauce is on it"
FA:*Louder audible sigh*
FA:"No, I didn't stick my finger in it. Do you want chicken or pasta?"

Surely my question wasn't that unreasonable? Also I didn't realise the only way to determine sauce type with onboard catering is to stick one's finger in it. Life's too short to care that much, but this was a new low for me on long haul service.
Send a tweet to @AmericanAir. Include the date and flight number, and your cabin. AA will know who to write up, and they will respond.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 3:06 pm
  #17  
 
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Occasionally, one of the FAs will make an overhead announcement before mealtime describing the options on hand (i.e. "our meal options today are bowtie pasta in a cream sauce or barbecue chicken with vegetables"). This is the most effective way of doing things IMHO, and I don't get why it's not common practice.

Otherwise, asking basic questions about the meal isn't that unreasonable. Shame some people think it is when international tickets are routinely priced at $1k+.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 3:12 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I don't take it as anything close to that.

I don't expect the Michelin star restaurant back-and-forth about types of pasta and sauces on a long-haul flight in Y.
Cheap pasta is generally served with either red sauce or white sauce

White sauce is cream based, and thus contains a ton of lactose.

Many people are lactose-intolerant.

Asking if the pasta is drenched in lactose is not a Michelin star question.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 3:30 pm
  #19  
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I flew for many years. I wouldn't have dreamt of, or dared to address the people who were paying the fares which paid my wages in such an impertinent and disrespectful manner. If I didnt know ( actually I get the feeling that the FA In question could have cared less but not by much). Had anyone dares to ask me about what I had or hadn't learnt in Elementary School id have laughed and id have added that I was ther much more recently than her.

How dare they! What's wrong with saying something anodyne and non offensive. I just don't understand and assume that this is a result of having no one in overall charge of the service.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 5:05 pm
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by PUCCI GALORE View Post
I flew for many years. I wouldn't have dreamt of, or dared to address the people who were paying the fares which paid my wages in such an impertinent and disrespectful manner. If I didnt know ( actually I get the feeling that the FA In question could have cared less but not by much). Had anyone dares to ask me about what I had or hadn't learnt in Elementary School id have laughed and id have added that I was ther much more recently than her.

How dare they! What's wrong with saying something anodyne and non offensive. I just don't understand and assume that this is a result of having no one in overall charge of the service.
Sometimes I wonder if having a service manager on every flight would make a difference.

After flying economy on Cathay and BA, I'm amazed by the difference. AA has some truly excellent employees, but the burned-out ones are some of the angriest people I've ever encountered (I'll go ahead and single out the DFW-HKG flight for this, especially). After getting scolded for walking to the rear galley for a drink of water (from the bottle and cups that they set out for the passengers) on an AA international flight, I decided that it was maybe time to try other airlines for TATL/TPAC flights. The grass isn't always greener on the other side, but at least I'm not getting fussed at for stretching my legs, getting some water, or asking for a beer mid-flight.

Heard several people on my last Cathay flight ask about the contents of the main course. Their questions were answered without a hint of snarkiness. Go figure...
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Old Sep 8, 17, 5:13 pm
  #21  
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Originally Posted by PUCCI GALORE View Post
I flew for many years. I wouldn't have dreamt of, or dared to address the people who were paying the fares which paid my wages in such an impertinent and disrespectful manner. If I didnt know ( actually I get the feeling that the FA In question could have cared less but not by much). Had anyone dares to ask me about what I had or hadn't learnt in Elementary School id have laughed and id have added that I was ther much more recently than her.

How dare they! What's wrong with saying something anodyne and non offensive. I just don't understand and assume that this is a result of having no one in overall charge of the service.
We love you, PUCCI! And I, for one, heartily agree that having a "Purser" who is only another FA who earns a few extra dollars for filling out paperwork instead of paying more and boarding a proper Cabin Service Director is a good part of the problem. (Not to mention that under these conditions people often enough "buddy bid" flights so you have friends who share similar work values staffing certain flights - for bad, and for good.)

For a more humorous perspective on a similar incident, on a transatlantic J flight after being served an orange juice the FA came, asked me if my orange juice was okay, stuck her finger in it, tasted that and told me "yes, you're right; it's good." As I paled, she laughed, produced a full orange juice without digital additions and told me who she was - a FA who at one time posted here. We had a great laugh at that.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 7:22 pm
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by josmul123 View Post
I expect something as descriptive as "Pasta with Pesto Sauce" in coach.

I suspect the OP wasn't trying to determine the cut of pasta with the original question, but had to clarify the question to attempt to get the answer he/she was looking for.

In my experience, the people who care about which cut of pasta they're eating aren't the types of people who order pasta on airplanes in any class of service.
As a lifelong vegetarian I have to often ask if the dish has ANY meat products...sometimes requiring a second or third question " ......Just making sure there isn't any ham, bacon, fish etc". I often get a perplexed expression or a face like" wht the heck do you want !
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Old Sep 8, 17, 8:05 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by brewdog11 View Post
After flying economy on Cathay and BA, I'm amazed by the difference.
Same on JL in coach.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 8:20 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by Gabrca View Post
CLT-LHR AA732 - Sept 5

It's been a while since I've flown AA long haul, but the level of service on this flight was so bad it was almost funny.

Cart rolls down with a flight attendant who looked liked he'd rather be anywhere else in the world.

FA: "Chicken or Pasta?"
Me: "What sort of pasta is it?"
FA: *Audible Sigh*
FA:"Uh, some sort of bowtie thing"
Me:"Sorry, do you know what type of sauce is on it"
FA:*Louder audible sigh*
FA:"No, I didn't stick my finger in it. Do you want chicken or pasta?"

Surely my question wasn't that unreasonable? Also I didn't realise the only way to determine sauce type with onboard catering is to stick one's finger in it. Life's too short to care that much, but this was a new low for me on long haul service.
I don't want to offend anyone here because it's a lovely story and the responses are very interesting, but I did wonder whether the FA was possibly frustrated with these kinds of question when they have so many people to serve. I mean, imagine if everyone asked the same question over and over and no one had informed you of what pasta dish you were serving..?

I think it's a very challenging job with all the interruptions and all the freeloaders in Y. When I used to fly in Y there were many people that would push the boundaries of entitlement - from people who came unprepared for the flight and expected everything done for them, to the people who wanted 2x of everything. And then there are the people that press the buzzer every five minutes. So I have a lot of sympathy for staff. They are per person in Y very short staffed if memory serves me right, which is no fault of the crew.

I do suspect by the audible sighs that the FA was probably already feeling a little overwhelmed / tired and just wanted to get through the activity. Of course that doesn't lessen your displeasure, only to show that nothing personal was meant by this individuals misery and miserable response.

Thank you for sharing your story and I hope that the FA is much better next time.
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Old Sep 9, 17, 12:29 am
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Gabrca View Post
CLT-LHR AA732 - Sept 5

It's been a while since I've flown AA long haul, but the level of service on this flight was so bad it was almost funny.

Cart rolls down with a flight attendant who looked liked he'd rather be anywhere else in the world.

FA: "Chicken or Pasta?"
Me: "What sort of pasta is it?"
FA: *Audible Sigh*
FA:"Uh, some sort of bowtie thing"
Me:"Sorry, do you know what type of sauce is on it"
FA:*Louder audible sigh*
FA:"No, I didn't stick my finger in it. Do you want chicken or pasta?"

Surely my question wasn't that unreasonable? Also I didn't realise the only way to determine sauce type with onboard catering is to stick one's finger in it. Life's too short to care that much, but this was a new low for me on long haul service.
The sighs would have been infuriating enough for me to ask to speak to the senior purser. That's just a poor attitude and unneeded for an FA. It wasn't THAT much of an imposition asking about the pasta to make an informed choice.
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Old Sep 9, 17, 12:58 am
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by jamesinclair View Post
Cheap pasta is generally served with either red sauce or white sauce

White sauce is cream based, and thus contains a ton of lactose.

Many people are lactose-intolerant.

Asking if the pasta is drenched in lactose is not a Michelin star question.
Bingo. Actual issue for me and my kid. And normally I get the question "chicken or beef" in coach and ask like, what is the chicken and what is the beef? Like I don't have a chicken allergy, but if you're packing a cream sauce, I'm fecked.

But it's a total eyeroll question every.single.time. It's not unusual, and I'm just used to it. But I HATE it. It makes me feel bad for having dietary requirements.
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Old Sep 9, 17, 1:28 am
  #27  
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Originally Posted by SvenAge View Post
I don't want to offend anyone here because it's a lovely story and the responses are very interesting, but I did wonder whether the FA was possibly frustrated with these kinds of question when they have so many people to serve. I mean, imagine if everyone asked the same question over and over and no one had informed you of what pasta dish you were serving..?

I think it's a very challenging job with all the interruptions and all the freeloaders in Y. When I used to fly in Y there were many people that would push the boundaries of entitlement - from people who came unprepared for the flight and expected everything done for them, to the people who wanted 2x of everything. And then there are the people that press the buzzer every five minutes. So I have a lot of sympathy for staff. They are per person in Y very short staffed if memory serves me right, which is no fault of the crew.

I do suspect by the audible sighs that the FA was probably already feeling a little overwhelmed / tired and just wanted to get through the activity. Of course that doesn't lessen your displeasure, only to show that nothing personal was meant by this individuals misery and miserable response.

Thank you for sharing your story and I hope that the FA is much better next time.
I started my career in restaurants, customer service is an attitude that cannot be faked. You either care about customers or you don't. It's not a question whether customers act perfect or not, you're there to make their experience a positive one. If you hire people that care, you can train them to do all the other tasks, honestly it's not rocket science. The safety tasks of a FA surely take a higher level of ability but there is still a customer service element that follows closely behind in importance. If you don't feel it, at least try to fake it. If not, get into a new line of work where customer service doesn't matter so much.
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Old Sep 9, 17, 2:01 am
  #28  
 
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Poor, miserable attitude! I'd suggest contacting AA to look into this.

If this was an Air Koryo flight and Kim knew about it, the FA would've already been 10 feet underground.

Feels also sad to go through some posts where authors try to justify this despicable behaviour ��
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Old Sep 9, 17, 2:34 am
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by redadeco View Post
Poor, miserable attitude! I'd suggest contacting AA to look into this.

If this was an Air Koryo flight and Kim knew about it, the FA would've already been 10 feet underground.

Feels also sad to go through some posts where authors try to justify this despicable behaviour ��
OP-please complain to AA. I would. There is no way this FA's behavior, in any ANY business model or industry can be justified, rationalized, and/or excused.

In a meritocracy, with a short path to the exit/unemployment for poor performance, the crappy tend to get flushed early. Burnouts take a little longer to remove.

But unfortunately, unions will defend this FA to the death.

OTOH-MrsDallas49er and I had FABULOUS AA crews in J last week ORD-PEK and this week PEK-DFW.
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Old Sep 9, 17, 3:09 am
  #30  
 
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I think there is a cultural difference here, where in America, the service is really expected and different to Europe. Being from the UK, it would be fairly normal to receive this response on a BA flight and I suspect par for the course if the server is much older. Whether it's passive aggressive or not, there is always the feeling that you're asking for anything non-standard is a burden, even in J or F. I just find it so incredible that people don't want to consider the person had a bad day and couldn't control their emotions. I don't think it's right but it's a very normal reaction in my experience - a typical response when the FA doesn't hear what your answer is as well - whether 'chicken' or 'beef'.. I mean on a first class flight the other day we had FA slamming shut the screens without warning, and basically shouting at us for doing nothing wrong. My expectation for service is fairly low where I feel we have to respond according to their attitude of the staff.

If I go to a standard restaurant in the uk and ask to be sat in a booth rather than in the open, then we will regularly get 'back chat', a sigh and dissent in terms of body language. And then we would still be expected to tip these staff..

I should say the best service I ever received was on AA flight in first on the transcon, the FA was unbelievably good.
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