American Airlines Wants Flight Attendants To Rearrange Beverage Carts Two Per Flight

Flight attendants rearrange the beverage carts they’re given in order to serve customers efficiently as they move down the aisle. That’s almost a requirement to provide beverage service. American Airlines is now telling flight attendants that when they do this, they must also restore beverage carts to their original organization prior to the end of the flight.

The airline says that if they do not do this, caterers won’t “salvage and recycle products for future flights.” They want flight attendants, pressed for time and who are supposed to be providing service to customers, organizing things for the benefit of caterers who are on the ground.

It may be tough to find good catering employees (whether managing a commissary-style airport operation or contract catering employees) but this gets the logical process exactly backwards.

It’s a plan reminiscent of recycling in the most extreme communities, where you have more than just four streams because requiring residents to separate out plastics, paper, bottles or cans and organics just isn’t enough.

There aren’t any flight attendants who are actually going to do this, though. There even appears to be a small but organized group working to arrange beverage carts in the most challenging way possible as a bit of civil disobedience, looking for American Airlines to reverse its instructions.

As it is the carts that cabin crew receive may be incomplete, or arranged backwards. They’re lucky if they receive the promised club soda and ginger ale (replaced by extra Sprite). And carts sometimes come with extraneous items that shouldn’t be there to begin with.

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. Gary,
    “pressed for time”…..”supposed to be providing service to customers”…. Were you by any chance in a coma aboard your last AA flight? Actually, being in a coma while flying on AA would likely improve the experience.

  2. Items that aren’t supposed to be there? Hey, I’ve scored cognac a couple of times from carts that absolutely weren’t supposed to have it. Sometimes, you just have to know enough to ask.

  3. For short haul flights <2 hrs, I can see it's going to be difficult to rearrange carts before landing, esp on a 199 pax plane. You have 3 FAs in main and one upfront. Hovering on top of each other in a cramped galley is a challenge for short hauls.

  4. Keep in mind FAs do not HAVE to re-arrange carts. They are packed to a standard that was designed with a cross section of employees (FAs, caterers, etc.) to please the largest majority of FAs.

    This request is not that big of a deal – if a FA simply doesn’t want to use the cart the way it is loaded then they need to put it back when they are done. Simple. Especially since there simply is not a requirement for them to re-arrange the cart in the first place

  5. Personally I would tell the executhieves an mgmt peons to go f..k themselves.
    Always wanting more out of their employees but not willing to pay for it.

  6. Their is a perpetually pathetic comparison between the attitudes and edicts of AA and Amtrak management.

    When it comes to Food & Beverage, would you believe Amtrak meal service in the dining car devolved into a brief “Express Meal” concept (practically within an hour after breakfast) in order to give the crew time to re-count and re-package goods to off-load upon arrival that day at the terminal. The negative impact on the customer experience was irrelevant, perhaps because nobody in corporate management had experience in F&B, nor, customer experience.

    At least AA still has competition, so, while DL offers salary increases to FAs to motivate and compensate competently board and serve FC pre-flight, AA in just this week requires FAs to serve FC pre-flight; now, to make the beverage carts perfect for catering. Where does hanging up jackets and coats come in?

    Word to the wise–be thankful competition still exists in aviation, compared to the State Operating Enterprise (SOE) with no accountability Amtrak prides itself on being.

  7. “you can’t please everyone – trust me we’ve tried”

    is truly the embodiment of how tone-deaf AA has become, I’m sure the FAs loved reading that

  8. LoL…..really…….nobody remembers what the cart looked like at the beginning of the flight!!!!

  9. I had a class in college that talked about this, it was called HBO = Human Behavior in the Organization. Employees will do what they have to do to get the job done in the time that needs to be done. If not provided the tools they work around with what they have to make it work. This is called work the system.

    A FA arranges the cart so they are most productive, so they get the drinks out and get to sit down. Catering needs to realize that a cart does not need 40 tea bags on a NYC to MIA flight . The Number one item NOT SOLD at McDonalds is ?? TEA. Does a Domestic flight need this many choices? I do not get this many at a Restuarant

    Does anyone offer this many choices in their own home?

    Diet Coke
    Coke Zero
    Dr. Pepper
    Diet Dr. Pepper
    Diet Sprite
    Aha Lime + Watermelon
    Canada Dry Club Soda
    Canada Dry Tonic Water
    Canada Dry Ginger Ale
    FreshBrew™ Coffeehouse Roast
    FreshBrew™ Decaffeinated Coffeehouse Roast
    Bigelow Tea
    Mott’s Tomato Juice
    Mr. & Mrs. T Bloody Mary Mix
    Minute Maid Apple Juice
    Minute Maid Cranberry Apple
    Minute Maid Orange Juice
    Bottled Water

    I was on a prop job flight and was offered Coke, sprite or Water…..

    As Ford said you can have any color car you want as long as it is Black.

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