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What happens to catering / meal type for delayed flights?

What happens to catering / meal type for delayed flights?

Old May 5, 19, 10:55 am
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What happens to catering / meal type for delayed flights?

Friday night, UA 938 (ORD-LHR) was delayed eleven hours and forty five minutes to the following morning. What was catered as a dinner flight became a breakfast flight. Or did it? I was going to take the flight then cancelled out for trip in vain as I was coming home Sunday. Just curious what is the United protocol in that situation?
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Old May 5, 19, 1:20 pm
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They get re-catered.
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Old May 5, 19, 1:25 pm
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I think OP is also asking whether dinner will be served first, at breakfast time on the rescheduled flight, followed by breakfast at dinner time just before landing.
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Old May 5, 19, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I think OP is also asking whether dinner will be served first, at breakfast time on the rescheduled flight, followed by breakfast at dinner time just before landing.
that's what I meant. Thank you.
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Old May 5, 19, 2:28 pm
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I have gotten breakfast before on a re-scheduled flight leaving in the p.m. Not sure if that was SOP or whether it would have been different at a UA hub.
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Old May 6, 19, 9:35 am
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There was a thread recently (can't find it) that said on one flight delayed overnight like this the FAs served breakfast first and then dinner just before landing, but they included the sundae with the breakfast (presumably because it may have melted by the end of the flight). Also apparently on that flight the FAs left only a short amount of time for the pre-arrival meal, which would have been sufficient for the small breakfast but felt rushed for the whole dinner meal, and also many pax were hungry because they had a long daytime flight with only a small breakfast at the beginning, rather than eating a big dinner and falling asleep for most of the flight.
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Old May 6, 19, 9:52 am
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All depends on the aircraft, the catering carts, and the length of the delay.

If it is long enough, the food is all tossed and the aircraft is recatered. If the new schedule can make even remote sense for the food catered and the catering is not "past" it can be repurposed.

Carriers watch this carefully, particularly when it is warm and the aircraft will be without shore power or AC over night. Other aircraft are set up for return catering and that may mean that the food can be stored a bit longer (usually insulation).
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Old May 6, 19, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
There was a thread recently (can't find it) that said on one flight delayed overnight like this the FAs served breakfast first and then dinner just before landing, but they included the sundae with the breakfast (presumably because it may have melted by the end of the flight). Also apparently on that flight the FAs left only a short amount of time for the pre-arrival meal, which would have been sufficient for the small breakfast but felt rushed for the whole dinner meal, and also many pax were hungry because they had a long daytime flight with only a small breakfast at the beginning, rather than eating a big dinner and falling asleep for most of the flight.
This was my first thought. I was in Y and I thought about the UA fake croissant and sugar yogurt being served first would make it a LOOOOONG flight to LHR.
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Old May 6, 19, 8:40 pm
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The situation varies, namely based on type of flying, the amount of delay (and to an extent, creeping vs long post), and the kind of aircraft used (some aircraft have chillers, the 737 does not). Also may vary on the catering company (United Catering Ops vs. LSG Sky Chefs/Gate Gourmet/other 3rd party).

A short creeping delay for domestic flights will likely see the food placed on dry ice in the carts to keep it safe. A lengthy delay may see the galley equipment being deplaned. A very length delay (read: cancellation in all but name) may see new catering.

In the OP's case, I would imagine the galley was taken to catering and stored overnight, but returned to the plane in the morning. 11 hours overnight is not enough time to cater a new set of meals.
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Old May 6, 19, 8:57 pm
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Originally Posted by bubbashow View Post
Just curious what is the United protocol in that situation?
If there was bread loaded on the flight, it simply goes back into the bread-pool for further distribution on other planes.
Don't forget, it has a minimum age of 10 days, but there is no maximum age set by United, nor an expiration date. As long as it's rock hard & stale, it's good to go.
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Old May 7, 19, 1:31 am
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
If there was bread loaded on the flight, it simply goes back into the bread-pool for further distribution on other planes.
Don't forget, it has a minimum age of 10 days, but there is no maximum age set by United, nor an expiration date. As long as it's rock hard & stale, it's good to go.
Indeed, the harder the exterior crust of the bread, the more it could resist contamination and infiltration by ambient germs around it.
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Old May 7, 19, 3:03 am
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
Indeed, the harder the exterior crust of the bread, the more it could resist contamination and infiltration by ambient germs around it.

I ignored dinner last week on an overnight TranPac and the next morning eyeing off some bread, I was rebuked when I enquired if there was any garlic bread remaining from the dinner ten hours earlier to be told: " Oh no, that doesn't keep very well."

I was not too upset about missing out - the sleep was far more enjoyable.
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Old May 7, 19, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by bubbashow View Post
This was my first thought. I was in Y and I thought about the UA fake croissant and sugar yogurt being served first would make it a LOOOOONG flight to LHR.
Many years ago, on a NRT-ORD flight, something malfunctioned in the galley and the food was completely ruined. I think that some sort of heating/chilling system failed and was told that all of the food items were scorched beyond recovery. Supposedly, everything had been ruined or judged to be unsafe to eat. There was some bread available, but no butter. I remember paying some young Japanese girls, seated across from me, 1,000 Yen for a bag of chips-and that was all I had to eat until we got to ORD.
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Old May 8, 19, 4:24 am
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
There was a thread recently (can't find it) that said on one flight delayed overnight like this the FAs served breakfast first and then dinner just before landing, but they included the sundae with the breakfast (presumably because it may have melted by the end of the flight). Also apparently on that flight the FAs left only a short amount of time for the pre-arrival meal, which would have been sufficient for the small breakfast but felt rushed for the whole dinner meal, and also many pax were hungry because they had a long daytime flight with only a small breakfast at the beginning, rather than eating a big dinner and falling asleep for most of the flight.

Given that it was now a daytime flight, is there any reason (rule or other factor) that they couldn't have started the dinner service a little after the halfway point in the flight? Most people would have slept the night before, and this would have off-set the lighter first meal.
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Old May 8, 19, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
Given that it was now a daytime flight, is there any reason (rule or other factor) that they couldn't have started the dinner service a little after the halfway point in the flight? Most people would have slept the night before, and this would have off-set the lighter first meal.
The simple reason is that it would require common sense and a degree of initiative which has been trained out of most of the staff.
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