Row 34, the 'no choice' row

Back to Forum


Viewing 2 posts - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)

  • Andrew

    I was in row 34 on BA 010, a 777-200 from Bangkok to London, recently.
    It was the row where the food cart from the front and the one from the back met – and where both of them had run out of some supplies. We weren’t offered pretzels with the boarding drink (bizarre that they should have run out of these), and there was no choice of evening meal – they’d run out of the alternative.
    There was much chat among the cabin crew about needing more trays.
    Clearly it was under-stocked for a full flight.


    I’d say on 90% of flights a row or two of customers in economy will not get their choice of meal. It’s not unique to BA. I’m not aware of every airlines policy but I know the majority cater the same way as BA in economy – to passenger load with no buffer to accommodate choice. If there are 189 economy passengers, there are 189 meal trays and 189 hot meals (currently a 70/30 split of chicken/pasta ex LHR at BA). Meal loadings in Business and First class are different and include a buffer so the chance of not getting your choice is lessened although it still happens sometimes.

    On the 777 and 747 at BA the meal service is done as you say from front and back to meet in the middle. On the 787 and A380 it is done front to back.

    Some items (like pretzels) are return catered from LHR. These are catered to the configuration of the aircraft so say there are 200 economy seats, 400 will be loaded for the return journey. If both flights are full and on the outbound flight the crew responds to a request for extra pretzels from a passenger this obviously eats in to what’s available for the return so crew shouldn’t (but do) do that. There are alternative snacks that can be offered.

    It’s not fun for the crew having to decline a preferred option to a customer believe me. I have experienced people actually burst into tears (no exaggeration) because their first option was unavailable. What we generally will do however is on flights where there is a second meal that also has a choice (like BKK) is alter the service flow so the same row(s) that didn’t get a choice first time around aren’t lumbered with the same issue for the second meal service.

    5 users thanked author for this post.
Viewing 2 posts - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Cover of November 2020 - January 2021 edition of Business Traveller
Cover of November 2020 - January 2021 edition of Business Traveller
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below