Star Alliance member Asiana is suffering widespread delays for catering and many flights are leaving without meals at all, even on trips as long as twelve hours.
Reportedly on Sunday “51 flights departed behind schedule and 38 left the airport without meals to feed passengers.” Then on Monday “18 out of 75 international flights operated by the carrier were delayed more than an hour and 16 short-haul flights to Japan and China even departed from the Incheon International Airport without in-flight meals.”
The airline dropped its long-standing contract with LSG SkyChefs and was supposed to replace it with Gate Gourmet. However the Gate Gourmet facility caught fire and they weren’t ready to take over serving Asiana in time.
So Asiana signed on with Sharp Do & Co for a three month stop gap. They historically operated at very low volume in South Korea. They had never done more than 3000 meals in a day while Asiana serves 20,000 – 30,000 passengers a day. The head of Sharp Do & Co has even committed suicide.
Asiana has been giving out meal vouchers so that passengers can buy their own food in the terminal.
There’s much more to the story apparently, though I cannot verify the allegations of corruption that led to Asiana cancelling its agreement with LSG SkyChefs. Asiana’s Chairman by the way has been accused of sexual harassment for forced handshakes.
When American dropped its caterer at LAX over health concerns in the fall they had delays and an inability to scale up replacements as well, and there were already alternative caterers on site. So challenges like this are often disruptive.
If you’re flying Asiana over the next couple of days consider loading up in the terminal.