Possible new (reduced) catering scheme

 
Old Apr 4, 07, 6:26 am
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Question Possible new (reduced) catering scheme

I was on 1501, 720 departure EWR-FLL last night, when a VERY unusual and disheartening reduced service level reared its head.

Upon boarding, and being offered only water for predeparture drink, takeoff after 40 minute wait, I overheard the f/a's saying "We will just have to raid the Y provisions and give 'em pretzels!"

Not really thinking, I ordered my rum and coke...and settled in for a quick cold plate offering! Much to my surprise, after the second offer of drinks, NO cold plate!

After inquiring to the f/a what was going on...I was told "we were given the 'sheet' (whatever that is) at the gate that said 16 plates were to be onboard, and prepared to serve. Upon speaking with catering, they told us that service cutbacks were in effect, and we would NOT have any catering for the outbound or return ANYMORE!!!"

I spoke to plat line, and was given the "your flight falls outside of the standard service time" line. I said..but it falls INSIDE the coldplate time...and the agent claimed she had NEVER heard of a snack/coldplate.

Now, I have searched and read about 26 or so threads on the catering. It is confusing-seems as if CO doesnt really adhere to set rules....this is a 3:15 flight...WELL over the 2 hours required for the cold plate according to http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/dining/domestic/default.aspx?SID=9D146C4FA4F0451E95E55416A451E18A[/URL]

So what gives? Maybe it is bad karma for me posting the "gonzo" comments from the g/a? Maybe CO changed its catering?

It would be nice to have a DEFINITIVE...YES/NO....here are the rules! type guidline...instead of...whenever/wherever/however CO feels like it!
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Old Apr 4, 07, 7:54 am
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Well as a FT'er here's a big to diminished catering.

But as an accountant I'd guess CO's reacting to match the level of service (or better yet, service frills) with what customers are willing to pay for. Always seemed to me competition is fierce on the FL routes and if full Y is $299 I doubt there's much left over in the kitty for food.

Still though, you're in FC and it's not like the cold plate is accompanied with Krug & Beluga (rather cheese cubes, "meat", pickled artichoke hearts and a host of other assortments masquerading as edible). Moreover it's not like CO's having to buy the cold plate for the return flight to EWR (or IAH) as it can be catered at the same time the outbound flight to FL is so CO retains the operating economics of Chelsea. Ergo, one would think the cost of cold plate would be negligible, but perhaps due to the particular economics of the FL routes, a traditionally negligible costs is magnified to a becoming a significant one. <shrug>
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Old Apr 4, 07, 8:32 am
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How 2005 NW-like of CO.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 9:28 am
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I'd rather them cancel the food instead instead of attempting to serve it to me. The cardboard cheesebooger with potato chips and potato salad are dangerous to eat anyway. I'm starting to carry those BumbleBee tuna and cracker packages aboard that have 1/1000 of the carcinogens attached (yea, those things that are $1.50 in the store, that AmericanAir tries to sell for $5 onboard)

Last edited by chasbondy; Apr 4, 07 at 9:56 am
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Old Apr 4, 07, 9:36 am
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Not doubting the OP but it is so far one incident. We'll just need to see if this is a permanent thing.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 9:39 am
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I would contact Customer Care for the real deal on this. The flight falls within the meal periods as described on co.com, yet the Florida/EWR flights are always given 'cheap' catering options as opposed to the CLE/IAH-Florida flights which are catered according to standard.

Flights that connect at IAH/CLE and even flights to/from IAH/CLE don't necessarily fare out that much cheaper than EWR - so why the discrepancy with catering on these routes?

If they decide to cut the cold plate breakfast from these flights, it should be reflected on co.com.

You can also look at the meal description on the co.com booking engine - if it says 'snack' for a breakfast hour flight, then you should get the cold plate.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 10:41 am
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I was on the FLL-EWR two weeks ago -- it was a bag of honeyed nuts. Often, the MCO-EWR flights around the same time are just a bag of pretzels (last July) so this isn't really new.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 11:29 am
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Well, the electronic timetable application does indicate that CO#1501, the 7:20pm EWR-FLL has NO meal in First Class. I don't know if/when/how this has changed recently.
But the 4:35pm flight has full Dinner. Go figure.
And the 9:15am flight (arrives 12:39pm) has NO meal either. It's pretty pathetic. Interestingly, the 9:10am flight to MIA does offer a Snack (fruit plate and croissant I imagine).

Limited "real" FC competition to FLL (and PBI). AA has one flight daily to each. DL has a bunch of flights (from LGA/JFK), but it's DL...
There is "real" FC competition to MIA, from AA.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 11:40 am
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Another downgrade that I possible noticed was the use of the a purple napkin with NO BUTTON HOLE in fact it looked like the same material the tray liner was made out of[possible it was a tray liner being used in place of a real linen napkin] Happened both EWR-PBI and PBI-CLE.

Dan
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Old Apr 4, 07, 12:11 pm
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Originally Posted by kingalien View Post
Not doubting the OP but it is so far one incident. We'll just need to see if this is a permanent thing.
Not an incident. One month ago, EWR-FLL, it was 1 (one) bag of pretzels in FC. Neighbour seat passenger had hamstered honey roasted peanuts from the PC; I relented to a leftover of my birthday cake.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 12:20 pm
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Just ate the standard cold deli plate last night on IAH-OAK. Food service in all classes seemed same as always past few days of flying.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 12:40 pm
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I do not believe this catering reduction, as I have taken that flight several times (as well as similar departures from Florida at that time of the evening from RSW/TPA/PBI) and have not received any meal service. Come to think of it, I have not received a cold plate service to/from Florida in years, if ever.

I wonder if CO makes a distinction in the schedules, perhaps internally, between block time and in-air time. While 1501 might be blocked out at 3:15, under normal conditions FLL-EWR flights are in the air for 2 hours and change, with the remainder built into the schedule to account for ground holds due to ATC restrictions. I'm sure that your flight still operated very close to schedule despite the 40 minute hold at FLL due to this padding.

Usually, on evening flights outside of meal times, you've got to be on at least a midcon redeye (like PHX-EWR) to receive the cold plate. While the website does claim that you should receive a service, CO has specifically tailored service in the market to meet the demands of the competitive environment, and has a disclaimer at the bottom of the page to cover these inconsistencies.

The flight is very short, so if they don't want to do F meal services, then so be it. I'll settle for the sub-$200 airfares, the (relatively) easy upgrade, and meals at mealtimes if that's what CO says we want.

AA's F meal service is a little bit better than CO's on flights to Florida, if it's food you want, they are not a bad option.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 1:32 pm
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I just spoke to customer care. The supervisor I spoke with CONFIRMED that as of 3/31 NUMEROUS changes have and will be made. Cold plates WILL be off many flights! He said he has the ability and will proceed with changing the website!

Catering reductions will be seen system-wide in the near future! (According to this supervisor)

He stated that any flights landing after 10pm will be the first to lose catering. (Unless departure time falls within the meal times)

Also, he stated that meal times were shortened, and that they will be posted.

In closing, he did a wonderful job of backing co....while irritating me even more!!
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Old Apr 4, 07, 1:36 pm
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Cutting costs is tricky.

CO will have to walk a the thin line between saving $$$ while making a pizza people want to eat.
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Old Apr 4, 07, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by PhillyPhlyer40 View Post
I just spoke to customer care. The supervisor I spoke with CONFIRMED that as of 3/31 NUMEROUS changes have and will be made. Cold plates WILL be off many flights! He said he has the ability and will proceed with changing the website!

Catering reductions will be seen system-wide in the near future! (According to this supervisor)

He stated that any flights landing after 10pm will be the first to lose catering. (Unless departure time falls within the meal times)

Also, he stated that meal times were shortened, and that they will be posted.

In closing, he did a wonderful job of backing co....while irritating me even more!!
Sounds like I'll be losing the salt-lick plate on my evening IAH-SEA flights At least my doctor will be happy.

I thought CO was doing much better and actually making money - why the sudden draconian cutbacks? This feels like deja vu all over again
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