Passengers Famished On Flight

May 19, 2010

in Food & Drink Stories

My wife and I were flying American Airlines from Oahu, Hawaii to Chicago, Illinois after our honeymoon. Prior to our flight we took the time to buy some food at an airport kiosk so as to have something to eat on the way back. We were told that the flight would provide the opportunity to purchase food. Generally airplane food does not offer the best food to chose from, so purchasing food prior to the flight seemed like a good idea.

The flight was approximately nine hours long. Like always my wife and I were seated at the back of the plane. Approximately 3-4 hours into the trip we could see the chuck wagon approaching us down the aisle. It seemed like forever to reach our end of the plane. As luck would have it, they stopped 4 aisles short of ours. Apparently there was no more food to purchase. I looked at my wife and I couldn’t believe it. There were at least 20 passengers at the back of the plane that would go hungry for the remaining 5 hours. The stewardess’s excuse was that generally the plane does not stock food for every passenger. There also is no limit to how much food a passenger can buy at one time.

My wife and I were lucky to have purchased food prior to our departure, but one man was quite upset. After the stewardess explained the situation to us, he asked to see the next steward in charge. She came out and quietly explained to him the situation. He was not satisfied with her answer and asked for the next stewardess. She finally offered him a free cocktail on his empty stomach. That kept him quiet for the remainder of the flight.

I was quite surprised none of us were offered vouchers for our inconvenience. For such a long flight, it seems apparent that keeping passengers as comfortable as possible would be a priority. It would also seem apparent that they would limit the quantity they would sell to one individual until everyone had a chance to purchase some food.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura May 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm

What a terrible way of cutting corners to reduce costs. When it comes to things like food and potable water, a plane should be stocked with enough for everyone AND THEN SOME.


david May 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm

its a US based airline what do you expect? they all suck when it comes to customer satisfaction


JLC May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm

That happened to us on a flight from PIT to Las Vegas. Morning flight and they ran out of food 7 rows into serving. I had packed a snack for me and my husband but thhere were many people that were upset. I don't understand why they can't have one box lunch for each seat.


The Logger May 20, 2010 at 3:50 am

Thinning down the fatties.


madachode May 20, 2010 at 5:36 am

Probably the airline did you a favor by not letting you stuff your face for 8 of the 9 hr flight.


Jim May 20, 2010 at 6:08 am

I'm not a fan of most airlines, or the policies or practices, thereof

But, this one I kinda understand….Why pack a bunch of food on the plane, adding to the weight of the plane, etc…when it usually is not bought….worse yet, if of the perishable variety…what a waste to have too much food on a flight that is not bought, then spoils and is thrown out. Needless waste of food, and waste of money for the airline.

Good grief, it is only an 8-9 hour flight. Unless you have diabetes or other medical conditions, you can surely go for that long without a bunch of food….

I know we Americans have certain expectations about food, and like to overeat…but, get real….I equate this to the person that cannot go without a cigarette for the duration of the flight….. if you can't go without food for that short of a period of time….you obviously have some problems….

I do agree with you, that maybe they should limit purchases to one to a customer until all are served, and then allow people to buy what is left.

Bottom line when travelling though….the airlines treat you like crap…I really don't have high expectations….so, I plan ahead as much as possible…I arrive at the airport incredibly early to get through the hassles of check in on time…I make sure I have a lot of time between connecting flights, to compensate for delays…I make sure I schedule meetings the next day, or many, many hours after the e.t.a. of the flight…..I limit my carry on to a very small bag, with one change of clothes and absolute essentials, in order not to inconvenience other passengers, and take up more than my alloted amount of space…and, I check all other items….being sure not to check anything of value, or that is a necessity……..AND, I make sure to carry on water and food, to avoid the very situation you describe.

Don't expect anything from the airlines other than to get you from point a to point b…..and don't even expect that to happen in a timely fashion…..sad, but that is the state of the airlines….


Julie May 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm

8-9 hour flight might not be too long but when you add your drive time to the airport and the 2 hour wait at the airport to check in, and when you arrive it might be after everything is closed and then your drive home or to where ever, it can add up to a VERY long day without food. The stores etc in my airport where I work close before 3p on Saturdays! Thank God I brought my dinner.


David May 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Jim a 9hr flight isn't exactly short, it's longer then the period of time between meals

do I eat plane food no not at all unless it's on Singapore airlines


Laura May 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I am well aware people can survive without eating for 9 hours, but food is something that will agitate passengers and get them in an outraged panic ("I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY WOULD DENY US FOOD" and so forth) and it would be in the best interests of everyone to have enough meals for each passenger.


Karl May 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Have all those fat slobs sit in the back of the plane, maybe they will lose some of that blubber.


Dina May 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I'll bet if you look at the terms of carriage, it says something about "First come, first served." Sucks, but so it is.


Smiling Charmer May 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I fly AA twice a year from Rio(Brazil)-NY-Rio. It's a 9 to 10 hour flight. Since it's an overnight flight they serve dinner and breakfast (we don't have to pay for neither). I've never seen them run out of meals. Still, I always bring cereal bars, chocolate, crackers and a bottle of water in my fairly small carry-on. Better safe than sorry.


MM May 20, 2010 at 11:35 pm

It's surprising that domestic airlines don't offer food on long flights, especially to Hawaii. Every transatlantic flight I've ever taken has had meal service, as well as coffee and snacks. That is, food provided as part of the ticket cost to every flyer. The flight from Chicago to Hawaii is a good bit longer than Dublin to Orlando too…


Aaron May 21, 2010 at 10:24 am

You expect passenger comfort to be a "priority" for airlines? Not since I was a kid!


Glenn R May 22, 2010 at 7:04 am

This post doesn't make sense. Stewardesses haven't been on airplanes since the late seventies.

A limited number of snacks are boarded on each flight and trust me your flight attendants have been fighting with the companies for years. They would rather see several rows starve and complain than stock extra quantities and have to discard the food and lose revenue.


Salamandra May 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Always happen with AA if you fly LAX to MIA or DFW never have enough food to all pax. Thats why I fly 1st in longer flights. Not biggy 


Amber May 18, 2016 at 4:10 pm

I can't comprehend getting any a flight of any duration without snacks in my carry-on. The food offered by airlines isn't very appealing and is a waste of money.


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