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Pre-Departure Drinks in F: What can they serve?

Pre-Departure Drinks in F: What can they serve?

Old May 27, 12, 6:09 am
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Pre-Departure Drinks in F: What can they serve?

For years I am used to getting a glass of red wine on the ground. Generally they will bring out the wine list to choose. On a recent LHR-JFK flight I was offered water, juice or champagne. I asked about a red wine as was told a blunt NO. I said red wine again, thinking maybe there was some communication problem and was told NO again in a snippy way. When I asked why, I was told "customs duty" that they can't open any spirits except champagne on the ground and if I had gotten anything else the crew were breaking the rules. Later in air the same cabin crew member went into a long explanation that if the plane had gone tech there would have been lots of trouble if they had opened the liquor cart, etc. It was in a lecturing way. I merely told him that being turned down was the first time it happened so his way seemed to be the exception. This was all very polite. He then told me "unfortunately I don't control what my colleagues do."

What is BA's policy?

Last edited by elitetraveler; May 28, 12 at 6:57 am
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Old May 27, 12, 6:14 am
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Indeed the policy is water, orange juice or champagne only.

Anecdotal evidence suggests people on this forum often get a full bar choice, and indeed yourself you have managed this in the past.

Personal experience is that I've asked for diet coke and been refused.

Unfortunately, from how you describe the story, the way in which this was dealt with by the cabin crew was far from ideal. I hope the flight was otherwise enjoyable.
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Old May 27, 12, 6:28 am
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A reminder to us only last week.

I would like to provide further clarity on the opening of liquor bars pre-take off. Bars ex UK can be opened in order to access the pre-take off Champagne as we have dispensation from customs to use the bar. However should the aircraft return to stand once pushed back, a C209 form will need to be completed as per usual customs requirements.

At some out-stations it may also be necessary to open the bars to deliver the pre-take off service as per our current service standards. To ensure consistency pre-take off drinks served should only be champagne, orange juice or water. No other drinks should be offered until after take off.
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Old May 27, 12, 6:36 am
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
A reminder to us only last week.

I would like to provide further clarity on the opening of liquor bars pre-take off. Bars ex UK can be opened in order to access the pre-take off Champagne as we have dispensation from customs to use the bar. However should the aircraft return to stand once pushed back, a C209 form will need to be completed as per usual customs requirements.

At some out-stations it may also be necessary to open the bars to deliver the pre-take off service as per our current service standards. To ensure consistency pre-take off drinks served should only be champagne, orange juice or water. No other drinks should be offered until after take off.
Thanks. I think it was his attitude that seemed like I was lying/making it up or alas he had rogue colleagues. I guess it was the latter, but IME getting the red wine was always done with grace and pleasure.
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Old May 27, 12, 6:48 am
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He may have just been defensive, as we have all over looked this rule in the past.
Denying it never happened isnít a good thing, being honest and saying that we have all been reminded of the policy and it wonít be happening in the future with an apology would be the best way of dealing with this in my opinion.
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Old May 27, 12, 7:08 am
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Its all about how you say what you want to say... Just stumping up the word "No" is never going to get you far.

As CIHY says, a response of "I am very sorry Sir, I know we used to do this, however we are not supposed to, and have all just been reminded that this can't be done any more. I will be more than happy to bring one to you as soon as we have taken off... Can I tempt you with some Champagne for the moment?" would have maybe had a better response?
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Old May 27, 12, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
He may have just been defensive, as we have all over looked this rule in the past.
Denying it never happened isnít a good thing, being honest and saying that we have all been reminded of the policy and it wonít be happening in the future with an apology would be the best way of dealing with this in my opinion.

Would have been a much better approach. I think acknowledgement and empathy would have been a better approach. Sort of felt like being called a liar in a passive aggressive way. Anyway, I survived.

A bit of a shame about the rule -- I don't drink champagne but always appreciated a nice glass of red wine after getting onboard.
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Old May 27, 12, 7:21 am
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And, to be fair, there's absolutely no excuse other than poor service standards not to meet an F pax request for any non-alcoholic beverage onboard. Even US domestic carriers can manage that in F !
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Old May 27, 12, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by BingBongBoy View Post
Its all about how you say what you want to say... Just stumping up the word "No" is never going to get you far.

As CIHY says, a response of "I am very sorry Sir, I know we used to do this, however we are not supposed to, and have all just been reminded that this can't be done any more. I will be more than happy to bring one to you as soon as we have taken off... Can I tempt you with some Champagne for the moment?" would have maybe had a better response?
Definitely. Anyway, slept most of the flight so was a small nuisance. I was more curious as I didn't want to ask again in the future if I was asking cabin crew to break the rules. It was always done so nicely and willingly I just assumed it was OK.
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Old May 27, 12, 7:34 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
And, to be fair, there's absolutely no excuse other than poor service standards not to meet an F pax request for any non-alcoholic beverage onboard. Even US domestic carriers can manage that in F !
Did you not read what CIHY and BBB have stated? They are following orders provided by BA management, so absolutely nothing to do with poor service standards by crew.

However, if you think those who made this order have 'poor service standards' perhaps you should write to them and say that. @:-)



Although not the same, sadly some ground colleagues disobey company policy to give the customer what they want even though it's against policy, ie. extra suitcase or weight without charge. It isn't good customer service because when somebody is refused the next time (as in the OP's case with this) then BA are poor because it's not been offered this time.

Good service is consistency. This sometimes means conforming to unpopular company rules whilst explaining to passengers the reasons for them.
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Old May 27, 12, 8:00 am
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Originally Posted by sunrisegirl View Post
Did you not read what CIHY and BBB have stated? They are following orders provided by BA management, so absolutely nothing to do with poor service standards by crew.

However, if you think those who made this order have 'poor service standards' perhaps you should write to them and say that. @:-)



Although not the same, sadly some ground colleagues disobey company policy to give the customer what they want even though it's against policy, ie. extra suitcase or weight without charge. It isn't good customer service because when somebody is refused the next time (as in the OP's case with this) then BA are poor because it's not been offered this time.

Good service is consistency. This sometimes means conforming to unpopular company rules whilst explaining to passengers the reasons for them.
Actually the reason BA gained its reputation for world class service was a program King and Marshall put into place called something like Putting People First. It empowered front line employees to solve problems and bend rules to create memorable/better customer experiences, of course using good judgement.

A company that punishes an employee for serving a 50 cent can of coke to a $10,000 customer needs to re-think how they are doing things. I hope that is not the case w BA today.

PS - The ability to say no cloaked by 'rules' and 'consistency' does not make award winning service.

Last edited by elitetraveler; May 27, 12 at 9:03 am
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Old May 27, 12, 8:08 am
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Originally Posted by sunrisegirl View Post
Did you not read what CIHY and BBB have stated? They are following orders provided by BA management, so absolutely nothing to do with poor service standards by crew.

However, if you think those who made this order have 'poor service standards' perhaps you should write to them and say that. @:-)



Although not the same, sadly some ground colleagues disobey company policy to give the customer what they want even though it's against policy, ie. extra suitcase or weight without charge. It isn't good customer service because when somebody is refused the next time (as in the OP's case with this) then BA are poor because it's not been offered this time.

Good service is consistency. This sometimes means conforming to unpopular company rules whilst explaining to passengers the reasons for them.
Good service is not simply conforming to unpopular airline rules consistently (unless you mean service to the employer, rather than the customer). Otherwise there are a number of US carriers that would have very good service.

I agree with Often1 that it seems there is no reason an F passenger shouldn't be able to request any nonalcoholic beverage. Do you need a dispensation from Customs to serve someone sparkling water or diet coke?
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Old May 27, 12, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by elitetraveler View Post
PS - The ability to say no cloaked by 'rules' and 'consistency' does not make award winning service. Just wanted to let you in on that one.
Thanks for that kind piece of info about customer service.


Originally Posted by Homer15 View Post
Do you need a dispensation from Customs to serve someone sparkling water or diet coke?
Don't know as I'm not crew - and indicated that above by saying "on the ground".
Always carry my own bottle of still water and/or diet coke for the times when the crew are unable to serve, ie. on the climb/descent.

Last edited by sunrisegirl; May 27, 12 at 8:36 am
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Old May 27, 12, 8:28 am
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Originally Posted by sunrisegirl View Post
Wow, thanks for that kind piece of info about customer service. Having been in the job for years I'd never have known that.




Don't know as I'm not crew - and indicated that above by saying "on the ground".
Always carry my own bottle of still water and/or diet coke for the times when the crew are unable to serve, ie. on the climb/descent.
Just curious how you manage that in Sin, AMS or similar airports that do the security check at the gate? Although not having been there I couldn't comment....
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Old May 27, 12, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by Poxball View Post
Just curious how you manage that in Sin, AMS or similar airports that do the security check at the gate? Although not having been there I couldn't comment....
Never been to SIN, and AMS is now a general security for UK flights - no longer done at the gate.

You could (still can?) buy a can of drink in the duty free shops in Schipol and they would put it in a sealed bag, a la duty free, with instructions that you were not to open it before boarding.
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