American Airlines Has A New Goal: Have Enough Water For Coach Passengers

Last month American Airlines blamed the CARES Act for lack of catering, especially on flights departing Dallas. Caterers, they said, couldn’t attract drivers with commercial licenses to bring food to planes because pandemic unemployment was too attractive.

Now American says they’ve got the situation at DFW airport under control. Jodi Spicer, the Managing Director who runs Onboard Dining for American, shared with flight attendants at a town hall last week (a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing, though:

On the supply chain side, our goal…is to have at least the bare minimum on board for you where you at least have a meal service to provide, if not then a snack basket, may not look exactly the same on every flight but you have it.

And in the back that you at least have something to hand out and either at the very minimum enough water to go to everyone. Now I know that sounds like a pretty short goal. Well, who couldn’t hit that goal? At the moment that’s been the challenge. But that’s our goal.

It’s not just drivers that are the issue, since Spicer blames supply chain issues as well – that the products served on board are varying by day and flight. It’s why they were giving out smaller Biscoff cookies.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. In other news NASA plans to insure that every astronaut has an adequate supply of oxygen available.

  2. Nothing new. AA has run out of bottled water for years on longer flights and served tap water near the end of flights.

  3. AA’s final solution is Frontier’s: start charging for water. Adds to the bottom line, ensures sufficient supply and makes them a true LCC…secures the bottom rung.

  4. @Seat21d – not possible. Water from lavatory faucet is not potable. If the FAs were doing that, they are violating health codes.

    @Paul Dougie already tried that at US, and that backfired big time.

  5. As part of American Airline’s green and reduced carbon footprint initiatives to build a more sustainable airline, sustainability means delivering the benefits of air travel while protecting the planet. Climate change is a pressing global challenge, and I’m happy to learn that American Airlines is committed to doing its part to address it. They appear to be working hard to increase fuel efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and plan a low-carbon future.
    AA says, “We’re the first U.S. airline with a clear path to net zero emissions by 2050. To reach this goal, we’ve invested in newer, fuel-efficient aircraft and sustainable fuel.”

    Thinking about this article about the lack of drinking water on American Airlines flights, in a article by Sarah Gray, she writes, “the average person urinates seven times per day, and it is hard not to think of the bodily fluid as waste. But to scientists at NASA and the University of Puerto Rico, one person’s pee could be that same person’s refreshing glass of water — and power supply. A newly developed filtration system has the capability of turning urine into water and create electricity with the waste material. The new system not only filters water, but also takes the leftover waste and uses it to generate energy.

    According to Science News, “To pull pure water out of urine, the system uses forward osmosis, which, as the name implies, works in the opposite direction of the reverse osmosis systems found at many kitchen sinks. Forward osmosis uses a concentrated salt or sugar solution to draw the water out of urine. Next, enzymes in a bioreactor convert the leftover urea into ammonia, which feeds into an electrochemical cell that uses the ammonia to generate electricity.” American Airlines is an early adopter of new technology, like the MAX8 and the Oasis configuration. Hence, I look forward to my future American Airlines flights never running out of a cool refreshing drink of recycled water for the parched coach passengers.

  6. Ms. Spicer is one of many incompetent Directors/Managers who are hired based on “who they know” and nepotism. She has failed miserably and has no clue as to what needs to be done to get the mission accomplished. She does not care about the passengers or the flight attendants who have to deal with a daily barrage of insults from the passengers. Overpaid and unable to delegate responsibilities. Since when is it OK to serve entree’s like Corned Beef and Enchiladas on a Premium Business Class route to London? Yes…..printed on the menu. $11K roundtrip for that? Hawaii Flagship Coach passengers get a mini sandwich and that is it? DFW HQ needs to terminate most of their management and replace them with competent, innovative problem solvers. Not this……..

  7. “Climate change is a pressing global challenge” No it’s not. Not even in the top ten of things we should be worrying about.

  8. @ptahcha – that may be true on some airlines, but not AA (at least mainline, some regionals have signs in the lav to not drink the water). Tap is the source of water for tea and coffee on every AA mainline flight.

  9. According to this article published in Time magazine by Mahita Gajanan, on October 19, 2017, you might not want to drink coffee, tea or the lavatory tap water on your next American Airlines flight.

    “The next time the drink cart passes during your flight, you might want to think twice before asking for a cup of tap water, hot tea, or coffee. According to one flight attendant, the tanks that store water on planes are rarely cleaned.
    “I won’t drink the tap water,” says Jenny, who has worked for a major airline for 20 years and spoke on the condition that her full name not be used. “I just don’t always trust the cleanliness of the aircraft and the testing of it.”
    Jenny isn’t alone in her concerns. While airlines say the water meets regulations and is safe to drink, studies show that the airplane tanks that hold the water — which is served and used to make warm beverages — can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
    A 2015 study on aircraft water quality published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that the water tanks are “conducive for microbial growth.”

  10. Let’s face the truth about AA. It’s a LCC with legacy pricing! I remember my first flight on AA years old and many more during the airline’s golden years! Outstanding customer service at all levels and especially on-board! In recent years, we continue to witness ongoing moves to cheapen customer service. The water issue is only the most recent example of extreme absence of managerial competence in providing excellent passenger service!

  11. @David

    You’re right. Weather has existed since creation. Hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Texas, and flooding in Venice (built on clay)/Battery Park City (built on reclaimed land)/Netherlands (40% of land is reclaimed) have been known for hundreds of years.

    We have free speech under attack, thugs terrorizing our neighborhoods/schools/businesses with low culture, a lack of personal freedom, and so called leaders who tell us to stand back and do nothing except write strongly worded letters. Yeah, we have more problems to worry about than New Orleans flooding (which was built below sea level).

    The water situation is an example of why unemployment and welfare benefits are detrimental. They disincentivize people from working and hard working Americans get nothing; we get shafted and select groups get free phones/food stamps/housing vouchers/welfare/free tuition. We’d be wise to support UBI to replace all those things so all groups can benefit/no one is disincentivized from working/actual Harding working Americans get something.

  12. Pls stop saying workers aren’t there due to making more on pandemic. That’s ridiculous and wrong. Texas minimum wage is $7.25. How is that livable? Then they pay for insurance, airport parking. Then add childcare and all the other expenses. Then also working conditions.
    Pls when you make that amount you can talk about workers shortage.

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