Wednesday, March 28, 2018

JetBlue Swaps Trays for Carts to Speed Snack, Drink Service

JetBlue flight attendants are turning in their trays and will begin using onboard carts as passengers call for faster snack and beverage service and more options.

The shift on all JetBlue aircraft should cut service time by more than half, said Doug McGraw, a spokesman for the airline. Moving to carts will also enable the New York-based carrier to offer all snack and drink options on 95 percent of its flights, he said Tuesday.

Crew members preferred working with the carts in testing last year, McGraw said. The transition is occurring amid a switch to smaller “Space Flex” galleys made by Safran Zodiac Aerospace, as JetBlue outfits its Airbus A320 planes with more seats. Flight attendants currently take orders in the aisle and prepare drinks in the galley.

Switching to carts in late April will “mitigate some of the pain points with the Flex,” JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes said in a videotaped talk with employees last week.

“Do I love the fact that we had to go to Space Flex?” Hayes said. “No, I’ll be honest -- of course not. It creates a much bigger challenge for our crew members to provide that service.”

The airline’s change to carts will leave Southwest Airlines Co. as the last major U.S. carrier where drinks are carried to customers on trays. Southwest serves snacks from baskets. Flight attendants at the Dallas-based airline tested carts in 2012 but found that using trays let them provide better service and gave customers more freedom to move in the aisle, said Brad Hawkins, a spokesman.

JetBlue has always had carts in the galleys because they are used to load and unload beverages and supplies. The carrier will now use smaller half-carts that were designed by JetBlue employees, McGraw said.

(Mary Schlangenstein and Justin Bachman- Bloomberg News)

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