Speaking to employees this week at a Crew News forum, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker shared that he wasn’t in the loop on the decision to cut meals from inflight service. Cuts are being made across the company faster than ever before.
Out of necessity we’re making decisions must faster than this company ever did in the past, because we have to. Things like deciding not to provide food service, that would have been months worth of work at the old American Airlines – probably more than that – then we decided not to because it’s too risky.
I don’t even think I was involved in that decision. [Senior Vice President of Flight Service] Jill [Surdek] said this is what we’re doing and it was done, as it should have been. We’re making decisions so much more quickly in the airline, and it feels good.
When US Airways management took over American Airlines, one of the first decisions they made to align the two airlines was to drastically cut food investments at American. Parker was surprised by the backlash from employees and customers, not expecting people would care so much about food.
As they say, though, never let a crisis go to waste. There’s really no COVID-related reason American can’t serve meals on flights under four and a half hours in premium cabins. And with huge losses, racking up debt, we should expect airlines to hold back on restoring service cuts – American for its part probably doesn’t restore meals until competitors do.