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VA LAX Catering Debacle November 2017

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Gazza129, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Gazza129

    Gazza129 Junior Member

    Aug 21, 2015
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    Melbourne
    We left on Nov 7 and weren't told until the plane was locked that "There was limited catering as VA was concerned about the health and well being of its passengers"

    After arrival we discovered that Listeria had been found at one (of the 2) caterers at LAX and Amercan Airlines had chosen to pull the pin on them 6 days prior.
    Does that mean that VA put its pax at risk for 6 days?

    Assembling bits of the story from various crew members the decision was made at midday to fly WITHOUT FOOD on a 15 hour flight. Common sense kicked in and there was a mad scramble to organise some form of catering.

    We flew J and decided not to eat in the Emirates lounge as we would eat in about an hour's time.

    Boarding was an hour late with no reason given. Crew arrived late apparently after having to eat elsewhere prior to takeoff.

    For dinner we were offered chicken one of 4 ways:
    Green curry, Teryaki,sweet and sour or butter chicken.
    There was also a vegetarian option.
    It was served with a small tub of SPC 2 fruits in sugar syrup, reminding us of play lunch. The bread roll was full of sugar.
    The chicken looked worse than canned food served on a bed of rice..... Impossible to hide and impossible to eat.

    Will there be breakfast we asked?
    Oh yes! There will be cereal and fruit juice.
    There was also a sort of banana bread laden with more sugar than the cereal. Also all too sweet to eat. At least there was coffee.

    We survived our first world problems with crisps and nuts.

    Some of the American pax lost it big time. Justifiably.

    Think of those in Y who were offered a "Tuna Pot" served cold.
    There were over 300 people at the gate that should have been given the option to eat (by voucher or otherwise) prior to boarding. Some were at the gate for more than 2 hours.

    It was hard not to feel for the crew having to repeat the tale dozens of times because they have a lousy employer.

    Flight manger took our details with a promise VA would be in touch. At the landing gate we were handed a PR letter advising us to get in touch with them....... there's talk of compensation.
    We haven't talked yet.
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    It wasn't so much the lack of food that angered us but the way we were treated.
    Mushrooms.
    Even worse, lied to........We hoped those days were gone.

    So we are left wondering where we stand in terms of compensation from a legal standpoint.
    What (monetary percentage) value is there in J class dining experience? What compensation is there for being absolutely furious for most of the 15 hours?.... The trip that didn't match the brochures?
    What about the lack of options to disembark and transfer to a later flight or one the next day?
    Their behavior was mischievous and misleading.
    I just hope its worth more than the 3 x $8 vouchers handed to another pax the following day.

    I may yet be off to the lawyers.
     
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  2. Pushka

    Pushka Enthusiast

    Jan 26, 2011
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    Sounds rather grim and the folk who enjoy their food won’t be happy. How did they lie to you though? Just flown on QI J and breakfast was a muffin. Quality of food miserable. So not just Virgin. I don’t think there is any case to sue them - only make the lawyers wealthy.
     


  3. Sdtravel

    Sdtravel Active Member

    Dec 8, 2013
    954
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    Yeh i had a friend who also was on that flight.
    He said no one was told until after boarding when it was too late for anyone to get their own food. The catering contract was called an hour or hours before takeoff. Captain made the decision to depart anyway rather than wait several hours to figure the situation out and get food in. Flight attendants and Captain apparently both found out very late. My thinking is that if you delayed people by 2-3 hours wouldnt you have to feed them in the terminal now as well or provide something to them?

    Friend has been offered points or credit voucher but being a status chaser like me wants to ask for Status credits instead.

    Unrelated:
    Also noted the gate that was used was very remote. Had to get a bus out and then stairs up to the plane. He hasnt ever had to do that in LAX before. Ive been bused out but then had a small structure i had to walk through that was basically a ramp up to the qantas a380.
     
  4. Pleb Status

    Pleb Status Established Member

    Feb 19, 2011
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    To cut through all of the hyperbole, the only issue here is the J meal may not have been up to scratch...

    Despite the fact that VA could most likely claim force majeure, sue away if that makes you feel happy....
     
  5. Must...Fly!

    Must...Fly! Established Member

    Jan 12, 2010
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    Thought with the all-capital headline that this would've been clickbait. But you are justifiably disappointed in the experience.

    I doubt lawyers are going to do much. What is the point exactly? What was so manifestly lacking that lawyers may be the answer...

    VA have admitted fault and are clearly open to offering compensation so negotiate with them in good faith. I find the spin about safety of guests condescending, just say it outright that the catering isn't safe and we had to refuse it.

    It sounds like communication was lacking between parties on the ground. I can sympathise with ground crews, as getting food for 300 people at an hours notice is literally impossible. However if they knew it was going to be an issue, why vouchers were not approved by VA is beyond me. There is a point as ground crew that you just have to take whatever is going to come at you.

    For example. If you know that person x or y bags are not going to make the flight. Is it worth telling them? No. You can't get them so they can get stuff out, and they will just yell/carry on and spend the whole flight in misery. Better to not inform until landing. Same outcome, less disappointment. It's not like you can do anything to mitigate it personally til out of customs and able to buy a toothbrush and fresh underwear.

    But this situation is totally different, you're asking people to jump on a plane without adequate food (thinking more specifically for Y here, the curry options seemed fine to me, if not perhaps to J standard...) for 15-odd hours. Really, information should've been readily available at the outset. I am surprised the other caterer couldn't supply frozen emergency stock, but if they have been taking over other airlines orders maybe they ran out of supply too, and what was supplied was all that could be mustered.

    Not a nice day for anyone.
     


  6. tgh

    tgh Active Member

    Apr 23, 2006
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    Y'all seem to be saying that a diabetic cannot rely upon being fed the scheduled advertised meal .. it their fault and it they died it would just be bad luck.
     
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  7. junbugging

    junbugging Member

    Mar 25, 2016
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    If it were a matter of life and death, I wouldn't be relying solely on an airline to feed me.
     
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  8. MEL_Traveller

    MEL_Traveller Enthusiast

    Apr 27, 2005
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    I'd be expecting something in the $100-200 range by way of compensation for no meal in J. Obviously that's not the cost of the meal itself, but takes in to account the inconvenience pax suffered.

    Rest assured VA wouldn't have paid for the catering if they didn't load it. So it's only fair that those savings are passed on to the customer.

    While these things happen, it's the communication that was severely lacking, and the foresight to take account of passenger needs (whether *material* in terms of food, or *emotional* in terms of being involved in the process). Perhaps the crew found out late. Perhaps the pilot had to make a choice between the plane flying and getting everyone home or the crew running out of hours.

    But the issue remains that AA pulled the plug 6 days prior. And VA may have had at least some time to inform passengers about the lack of food and give them the opportunity to go and buy something. I appreciate the latter is not without significant problems... some pax would not have USD or credit cards to purchase food. There might be long lines at food outlets meaning the flight may have been delayed out of hours. Some pax may 'go missing' and require their bags to be off-loaded.

    But communication is the key. And had passengers been briefed and involved in the decision, there would likely have been a little less angst.
     
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  9. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    Sounds like a very disappointing way to treat people.

    I was in a QF flight once SYD-LAX in economy where Qantas did not load the OnQ snack bags they had at the time. So it was lunch then muesli breakfast (take it or leave it as the hot option was sold out after serving the first row) and madly rushing around to get lollies in between on a 14 hour flight. Very disappointing.

    Understand mistakes happen but people locked away for 14.5 hours need to be adequately fed. Offering something to someone without choice is not good either.
     
  10. Pushka

    Pushka Enthusiast

    Jan 26, 2011
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    A diabetic would never rely on food on a flight.
     
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  11. MEL_Traveller

    MEL_Traveller Enthusiast

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    Agree - but a family member who is diabetic only takes emergency food - half a dozen dry crackers and maybe a piece of fruit. It really is for emergencies only. There's no way we'd plan for 15 hours without food unless we were told in advance.
     
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  12. Must...Fly!

    Must...Fly! Established Member

    Jan 12, 2010
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    You say that....but I could offer some examples of idiotic things people do when it comes to diabetes and other life threatening conditions (if not properly managed)
     
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  13. Pushka

    Pushka Enthusiast

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    That isn’t the airline’s responsibility which is why I thought you were implying.
     
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  14. Pushka

    Pushka Enthusiast

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    But they were given food. Juice. It just didn’t appeal. Big difference.
     
  15. tgh

    tgh Active Member

    Apr 23, 2006
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    really ??
    you know this ??..
    You have spoken to xxx# diabetics to confirm your view ?
    Diabetes is an a out of control epidemic in au and a silent killer , so much ignorance, very sad to see these comments.
    So every diabetic is expected/assumed to rock up to his or her seat with all the sustenance necessary for 14 hours .. just in case the pre ordered food does not happen?.. really…...
    Where will they store it ?
     
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  16. MEL_Traveller

    MEL_Traveller Enthusiast

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    Juice is actually something many diabetics will avoid, especially airline juice with potentially high sugar levels. I was also thinking about coach, a tuna pot served cold. Don't know what else they had for the journey, but our travelling contingency for a diabetic probably wouldn't have been sufficient. (And I don't know, given the circumstances, whether the crew could even have rustled up something?)
     
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  17. Pushka

    Pushka Enthusiast

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    They were provided food so my comment is somewhat throwaway here. I am well aware of diabetes type 2. It is an epidemic and rather diet and lack of exercise inflicted which is ironic for this discussion. Type 1 is rather different.

    You know little about me so some of the questions I’ll not bother with.

    But at the end of the day my first point in this post stands. They were given food.
     
  18. Must...Fly!

    Must...Fly! Established Member

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    How much food could you possibly need for 14 hours that couldn't fit in a standard lunch box in a carry on bag to avoid you expiring prematurely on the journey.

    Get real.
     
  19. MEL_Traveller

    MEL_Traveller Enthusiast

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    But in the real world as a diabetic you don't always pack a lunch box of food before a long haul full-service flight. As I said, when we travel we take an emergency supply of a few cracker biscuits (they don't spoil) and maybe a piece of fruit. Packing a lunch box might be fine if departing from home, but not so much if you're in transit. And in 99.9% of cases you're not going to need it and either let it spoil or have to throw the contents away (entering Australia).

    Once on the plane to be told there's no food would be a serious concern.
     
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  20. tgh

    tgh Active Member

    Apr 23, 2006
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    they take the fruit off you before you board… ( or you can cheat .. just don't pull that banana out when someone is peeking...) ... :)

    It's really disappointing to see the lack of understanding here… diabetics are not criminals.. they have a medical condition.
    Yes .. many are so because of their indulgent lifestyle.. many others are so because.. we jus doan no…. :)
     
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