JetBlue Airways is doing away with the trays that flight attendants carry to bring drinks and snacks, replacing them with small carts that they can push up and down the aisles.
The ostensible reason?
The airline said it wants to speed up food and drink service to passengers. Instead of mixing drinks in the galley in the back of the plane, flight attendants will make the drinks on carts in the aisles.
But the change in procedures aboard JetBlue’s single-aisle Airbus A320s and A321s also reflects the airline industry’s continuing quest to jam more seats into planes.
JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes told employees in a videotaped talk that the change was also in response to “some of the pain points” created by a new bathroom and galley configuration installed in the back end of some of the Airbus A320 planes, according to a report in Bloomberg.
JetBlue declined to make the video discussion available or explain what the “pain points” are. But JetBlue officials have noted during a previous earnings call with analysts that they have had problems with the new Space Flex galleys and bathrooms made by Zodiac Aerospace.
The new bathroom and galley configuration, they said, allows the planes to hold as many as a dozen extra seats, but it also puts the bathrooms between the galley and the passengers, creating the possibility that fliers who are using the lavatories will block flight attendants from getting in and out of the galley.
“Do I love the fact that we had to go to Space Flex?” Hayes said in the video reviewed by Bloomberg. “No, I’ll be honest — of course not. It creates a much bigger challenge for our crew members to provide that service.”
The airline will not be just pushing any old cart down the aisle when it makes the change starting in April. It will unveil a new food and drink cart that will be fitted with an iPad holder so that flight attendants can take digital payments more easily.
“The service transition is expected to cut in-flight service time down by more than half, allowing our full selection of beverages and snacks to be offered on more than 95% of JetBlue flights,” Julianna Bryan, a JetBlue spokeswoman, said in an email.
To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.