This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
On November 1, American Airlines suspended its catering relationship with Gate Gourmet in Los Angeles (LAX) after routine testing found listeria in the catering facility. Gate Gourmet confirmed that “traces of listeria in non-food contact areas, primarily floor drains” and that “all floor drains and surrounding areas were immediately and aggressively treated.” No sicknesses have been reported from Gate Gourmet catering since this discovery.
In the immediate wake of this discovery, American Airlines stood alone in suspending catering services. Forbes reported that “a half dozen other carriers continued to take food deliveries” after the test results were made public. Now, however, two more airlines — Delta and Virgin Australia — have altered, and in some cases suspended, their catering relationships with Gate Gourmet at LAX.
We learned Friday that Virgin Australia was suspending its catering relationship with Gate Gourmet, which means it was one of the carriers that were still using the provider after the listeria findings were made public. According to a TPG reader, the airline provided the following apology letter to passengers with three $8 vouchers for passengers to purchase food before boarding.
As the LA Times reported that Delta was still using Gate Gourmet, we reached out to the airline to get its take on the situation. As it turns out, Delta too is making adjustments to its catering from the provider. In a statement to TPG, a Delta spokesperson explained:
While the LAX kitchen where Delta’s food is prepared remains in compliance with local and federal regulations, Delta has temporarily adjusted catering operations so Gate Gourmet can take more aggressive actions to further improve food safety. This move is out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our customers. Delta has made alternate catering arrangements so there is no interruption to its on-board food offerings.
As of the time of this writing, there have been no reports of passengers becoming ill due to this issue. TPG also asked the provider for a comment on how it’s handling the situation, to which it replied:
Food safety is our highest priority. We reaffirm that our LAX facility is operating without restriction and continues to comply with all local and federal regulations. When we identified the issue on non-food contact areas at our LAX catering kitchen, we immediately enacted our remediation cleaning protocols with an aggressive treatment and comprehensive testing plan. Independent food safety agencies have confirmed that our LAX airline catering facility fully complies with food safety regulations and we are not aware of any instance where passengers have been put at risk. We can’t comment on behalf of our customers, but we remain committed to delivering a safe and efficient service.
Forbes reports that five airlines are still taking catering from the Gate Gourmet LAX facility: Air Lingus, Fiji, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic and Level.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards