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Late evening meal service in CW - could it be simpler?

Late evening meal service in CW - could it be simpler?

Old Jul 15, 14, 5:15 am
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Late evening meal service in CW - could it be simpler?

On the BA15 to SYD last week, departed T5 at 2145, meal service in CW completed at 0100 and lights out at 0115. Sequence was post-take off drinks trolley, meal orders taken at 2300, starter (salad with a separate side salad - lots of green leaves!), entree,dessert etc etc.

Talking to the poor yawning chap next to me, who'd started his day (like many of the ex Europe connecting passengers) at 0500 UK time, I did wonder whether this drawn out process was actually appreciated by the customers. Of course, if is really is only a minority who wish to get heads down at a reasonably normal time, there are options - get to LHR early, dine in lounge and don ear plugs & eye mask to muffle the general clattering & whooshing up & down of dividers which accompany the performance. My question is whether it is actually a majority who still want the full drawn-out and much enjoyed daytime service ("we've paid for it so we'll get it"), or whether a quick taking of orders (which in our case didn't happen until an hour or so after takeoff) before drinks and a fewer-stage delivery process might be more appropriate for late evening departures?

This does seem to me to be a specific CW issue - in F, things obviously happen a lot quicker and in an already darkened cabin for late starters, and in Y, the whole lot is conveniently plonked on one tray, within seconds of the "chicken or beef?" query.



Ditto on the onward BA15 SIN/SYD where you're almost half way to the 0300 (SIN time) arrival in Oz before the cabin is darkened and then of course the process begins all over again for breakfast 90 mins before touchdown.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 5:30 am
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I agree. BA need to address this.

On CX for example, on late night flights to LHR they offer a 'light meal on a tray' service to those that want something quick before getting some sleep. The full meal service is available for those that want it. I think that this is a great idea.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 5:36 am
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Over 3 hours for a meal service at that time of the evening is too long but I assume they don't want to adopt the "quick meal" approach they use for late evening departures from the US. Surely the speed of service could be improved without impacting the overall service too much (e.g. not waiting over an hour after departure to take meal orders).
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Old Jul 15, 14, 5:43 am
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That seems very drawn out for a CW meal service, even on the 773.

I do wonder if the service could be hustled along by taking meal orders sooner in the process? Possibly even take post-departure drink orders while still on the ground?

How many crew work the J cabin on a 773 these days?

Last couple of 777 J flights I've taken have been so empty the service was entirely hand run and felt more like being in F, so I can't really judge.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 5:51 am
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Given the length of this flight, I was happy with the timings. There's a lot of time to kill, especially if you're off to Oz.

What they could do is what AA used to do (still do?) and offer an "express" all on one "tray" option, ie receive your starter, main and dessert all at the same time. This doesn't solve the problem of lights out and a quiet cabin however.

Of course, they could do even better and have a lunch time departure that gets into Sydney in the evening. Much better from a jet lag point of view from my experience.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 5:52 am
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I think it could be a lot simpler for most long haul evening flights. I flew back from ORD a few months ago on BA in J and it felt like it took an eternity for them to dim the lights post meal service. I had the full compliment of ear plugs, eye mask and headphones but couldn't nod off.

I'd be most in favour of maintaining the full service for those who want it but the crew establishing who does when they do the first pre-boarding drinks round and then dimming the cabin lights so that those who want to sleep can try and those who want to stay up and dine can put their reading light on. I would be interested to hear from other flyers who think they couldn't eat satisfactorily like that? This is just my preference... I spend most red-eyes praying for the lights to go off so I can salvage 4 hours sleep
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Old Jul 15, 14, 6:00 am
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Dinner orders could be taken on the ground. This has happened when I had a very pro-active crew on LHR-HKG a few years ago.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 6:15 am
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As others have said, I just don't understand why they can't take food and drink orders on the ground. Would make everyone's life easier.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 6:24 am
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we will be having pre ordering of our meals online soonish
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Old Jul 15, 14, 6:48 am
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Originally Posted by dc2447 View Post
we will be having pre ordering of our meals online soonish
Having used that facility on AA it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference to the speed of service as not everyone will have ordered online.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by dc2447 View Post
we will be having pre ordering of our meals online soonish
Really ?

I must admit that when I flew this route 18 months ago in F down to SIN I delayed the meal and opted to eat after a couple of hours due to the duration of the flight.

Ex SIN heading to SYD the meal service certainly needs some attention.


cs
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Old Jul 15, 14, 6:54 am
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Originally Posted by matthandy View Post
Dinner orders could be taken on the ground. This has happened when I had a very pro-active crew on LHR-HKG a few years ago.
Originally Posted by bafan View Post
As others have said, I just don't understand why they can't take food and drink orders on the ground. Would make everyone's life easier.
Informally this used to happen fairly frequently, at least for status passengers, but over the years it has been stamped out (except on LCY longhaul from time to time). The only recent occasions where this has happened has been when there is a noticeable delay in departure, typically waiting for some bags to be offloaded "as some of our customers have decided not to join us today". Having said that, it doesn't make much difference, the bottleneck on service delivery doesn't appear to be order taking. And I guess ordering Special Meals probably gets rapid delivery on the whole.

However my take on the lates to HKG and SIN is that for most passengers, even in CW, it's a big event which doesn't happen often. So normal rules get suspended and in the context of the big time zone changes most people don't try to rationalise it too much. Now regular passengers will perhaps be aware of the ramifications in terms of jet lag, happily there are lounges and noise cancelling headphones to get around this.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 7:01 am
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I'd like a single tray service (in F even, minus the tray) for LHR-SIN / SIN-SYD, and "no general cabin light" breakfast as I'd love the opportunity to maximise my sleep.

I am aware that others may want to have a leisurely dinner etc though, so I suspect it might not be such an easy thing to get.
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Old Jul 15, 14, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by JimEddie View Post
Having used that facility on AA it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference to the speed of service as not everyone will have ordered online.
I'm undecided if it works on QF.

In one way it's good, you are reminded you are getting a toasted sandwich on an 8 hour flight and to stock up on calories

also the breakfast
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Old Jul 15, 14, 7:08 am
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In some high end restaurants now they seem to make it so dark anyway that BA should just turn all the lights off and sell it as a more classy experience...
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