The Latest on AA's Catering Situation at LAX in the Wake of the Listeria Discovery
On November 1, American Airlines abruptly 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, though other airlines have followed suit by altering their relationships with the caterer.
In a letter to AA flight attendants the morning of the suspension, Bob Ross, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants noted that AA was suspending Gate Gourmet catering "starting immediately and lasting approximately a week.” However, it's almost two weeks later and American Airlines hasn't resumed operations with Gate Gourmet.
We've seen that this suspension has caused some poor experiences in the air. So, let's check back on how things are progressing.
Current Solutions on Affected Routes
Almost two weeks into the situation, American Airlines is still "working tirelessly to find alternate solutions" for affected routes.
Currently, AA is leaning on its catering companies in other airports to fill the gaps. An AA spokesperson confirmed "many flights are now being double provisioned from caterers before they arrive in LAX."
For some flights, that means that flights are stocked with two sets of meals when flying to LAX, serving one on the way there and the other on the flight back. On other flights the meals continue on to a third destination. For example, AA leaker JonNYC's sources note that catering from LAX to Tokyo (NRT and HND) are catered via flights from DFW:
But the airline is also expanding its relationships with other caterers at LAX. AA is now using LSG Sky Chefs to cater flights to Sydney (SYD), Auckland (AKL) and Hong Kong (HKG) — although catering still isn't up to the airline's expectations on these routes. Effective last Thursday, LSG Sky Chefs is now fully catering LAX flights to Miami (MIA) and Hawaii, with New York (JFK) coming later this week.
What's next? In a statement to TPG on Friday, an AA spokesperson said:
In the short term, we are focusing on getting all of our international flights back to normal service first and that should be complete in the next week. For the long term, we are focused on returning all catering back to its normal levels where customers can expect to have all in-flight amenities returned to each flight.
We apologize for the delay in this very complex situation, and we will continue to provide vouchers for future travel to any customer who does not receive their standard level of service.
American Airlines Routes Not Affected
AirFayre has been operating — and continues to operate — catering on flights to London Heathrow (LHR), São Paulo (GRU), Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai (PVG). There has been no disruption to the catering on these routes.
Do you think American Airlines is doing the right thing for passengers?