No soup for you!

I’ve written several times about the all around great service I usually receive on American, though a few nights ago I had a (comically?) bad crew. I’ve taken the San Francisco to Miami redeye a handful of times in September, and most of the crews have been spectacular. I even had the same purser twice, and she was among the best I’ve had (she even addressed me by name upon boarding the second time).

And then there was my most recent redeye from San Francisco to Miami. During boarding all four flight attendants stood in the forward galley though didn’t serve any pre-departure beverages. Shortly after takeoff the drink service began. I’ve posted about American’s redeye catering in the past, and as I’ve mentioned I really like the soup, though they only cater two of them for a 22-seat first class cabin, so they tend to be gone pretty quickly.

As the flight attendant offered me hot nuts and a drink I jokingly said “who do I have to bribe to get soup?”

She looked at me shocked and said “how do you know about the soup?” I responded that it was usually on the redeye menu, to which she responded “oh, we don’t usually hand menus out, it takes too long.” She went on to explain that the crew usually just eats the soup because there are only two of them. She nonetheless offered to try and make an exception and see if she could get me one.

Minutes later the purser returned with the soup and said “shhh, don’t tell anyone about this.”

The purser proceeded to spend the rest of the flight on her laptop with the galley curtain closed. The only other time I saw the flight attendants in the cabin was for the final safety checks before landing.

But I do love the logic. Have a menu item that’s in high demand? Pretend it doesn’t exist and eat it yourself.

Filed Under: American, Mileage Runs
  1. …that deserves a note to AA with the flight information. I believe the FAs agreed through concessions a few years ago to give up meals catered for their benefit (as is still done for Pilots) in lieu of salary and benefits cuts. Just because they gave up this benefit does not mean they can effectively keep ‘passenger meals’ for themselves. It sounds like this crew needs a ‘reminder’ of what is reasonable and customary.

  2. “I’ve taken the San Francisco to Miami redeye a handful of times in September”… that’s some pretty serious mileage running. I’m not sure you’d be willing to do this, but would be cool if you let us know how much you spend out of your pocket on such trips every year.

  3. Good to know they can pig out on first class passenger food, but making beds in first class might give them a back injury.

    I really, really hope she was kidding, about everything – the soup, not handing out menus, etc – because this person should not be working in this industry at all.

  4. Welcome to the reality of AA: a bunch of awful employees who aren’t being managed correctly and fired for their lack of service and professionalism in the midst of some awesome employees.

    As a result the brand is tarnished (what does AA stand for?) and undifferentiated, and AA loses billions. Oh, and the union gloats about the fact that doing the job well does not count, a system that’s sinking everyone and prevents the professional flight attendants to get the recognition they want.

    Write all you want, but it’s futile: at the end of the day, AA doesn’t do squat about the many unprofessional crew members like the one you encountered.

  5. Lucky, you may be the best thing that’s happened to American in years. I’m serious! They need to hear about this. And then they need to do something about it. Overall, a good American crew that’s doing things the way their employer wants them to do = a domestic airline that really is better than most.

  6. Never seen this myself but the FA on the LAX-BOS redeye said they don’t offer soup (which I know isn’t true). I requested the mid-night raid card, which she then said they did not load. I’m a bit skeptical but she provided fantastic service throughout the entire flight and the Asian Beef was fantastic.

  7. With a name like lucky, you always have good fortune. What types of soup have you been served on AA flights?

  8. I love this! On an AA flight from ORD to DFW we tried to order a turkey sandwich off the menu and were laughed at, “Oh we don’t have those, I don’t know why the put the menus on the plane…. makes us look like a restaurant” she said.

  9. Not that I agree with what they did, but in a way it makes “some” sense. If they served soup to 2 people, and others wanted it, they are going to take crap from those others-and rightly so even though it’s not their fault. So instead of having to put up with the aggravation, they don’t serve it at all. I put this blame squarely on AA, and not the FA’s. The FA’s sound like they’re just trying to avoid the same hassle on every flight. And as the weather gets colder, the problem will become worse.

  10. No, I still blame the FAs. They are supposed to do what any rational employee would do. “Sorry sir/ma’am, but we ran out of meal option X. Would you care to try meal option Y instead?” It’s not as strenuous as having to make up a seat-bed in first, so I think they should be able to handle that. The FAs in this case seem like they wanted to avoid working as much as possible.

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