Not to belabor the point I made yesterday, but Turkish Airlines announced it will have “hygiene experts” on each flight to promote, well, hygiene. While that’s fine and good, I’d still prefer to see chefs instead.
Turkish Airlines Hygiene Experts Coming To Each Flight
Turkish Airlines announced it will designate one flight attendant for hygiene duty on each flight. Their job duties will include:
- Disenfect lavatories
- Monitor passengers to ensure masks are kept on, except for doing meal services
- and even during meal services, masks should not all be removed at once
- Promote social distancing during boarding and disembarkation
- Ensure passengers limit movement during the flight
Upon boarding, each passenger will receive a hygiene kit which includes a:
- Disinfectant and antiseptic tissue
How About A Similar Care For Onboard Catering?
Again, not to belabor the point I made yesterday, but I still believe Turkish Airlines is being penny-wise, pound-foolish with its meal service cuts. Yes, you’ll receive a nice hygiene kit when you board instead of a hot meal. And if you are flying in business class, you won’t see a friendly chef wearing a white coat and hat. That’s not a trade I am happy about.
With most airport concessions closed and lounges either closed or lacking food options, you either need to bring food from home or you’ll go hungry. With scant evidence that virus is spread through hot meals, we can all agree this is simply a cost-savings move. And while some insist that it is just temporary or will not deter travelers from choosing Turkish Airlines due to its cheaper fares, I believe it sets a dangerous precedent.
Airline meals can be served in a safe way. Airlines meals are also an important part of brand identity. Thus, I hope that Turkish will not see its new onboard hygienist as a long-term substitute for its onboard chef.
> Read More: Turkish Airlines Engages in Self-Cannibalism With Catering Cuts
I harp over airline meals because I cannot stand the duplicity of hygiene theatre. Yes, we should take every reasonable precaution to keep ourselves safe and keep those around us safe. And yes, airlines must survive in a world of depressed revenue. But to the latter point, I think I would shut up if airlines just called it a revenue-saving measure and not promote slashing meal service as a way to protect your health.
Another great post on this topic. Thank you for calling it like it is
Airline health and safety efforts have degenerated into marking schemes and theater. I’m not interested in flying as if I was in a hospital ICU unit. This stuff is just plain silly.
I mean, some of the stuff makes sense, but I don’t really care if the flight attendant is wearing gloves. Honestly, if they’ve been medically screened before work each day, I don’t even really care if they’re wearing a mask. The extra cleaning is nice — and I like the idea of giving each passenger some wipes and hand gel.
Sorry to say this, but I think you “cry a bit much” over the chef thing. I suggest to you that most passengers will be far more concerned with viral assault than gastronomic satisfaction, at least initially. Believe me, Turkish Airlines knows how to make the money…the chef’s will be back in short order.
I agree that “theater” is a great word for so much of this song and dance. Little of this is based on science or actual facts and instead the “perception” of sanitation and safety. A longhaul flight with a complimentary “sanitation kit” but limited food or beverage and a flying warden who yells at people who stand up to stretch their legs or walk or pulls down there mask when feeling warm? No thanks. This isn’t ebola we’re dealing with… and moreover, when does it end?
Hopefully enough business class public will vote with their feet and closed pocketbooks and TK will eventually see the light. However I knew from the beginning that the new “chairman” İlcker Ayci is dismissed by the Sultan and the chefs come back will TK resume what it should be.
Matthew, perception is everything. You might not think that an onboard ‘hygiene expert’ does much, but I’d imagine the average (economy class) customer (who isn’t going to be served 5 course meals anyway) is actually quite reassured. Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, this is clearly only a temporary measure, and the former business class meals WILL come back eventually. So surely you can see the rationale for why TK is doing this, right?
Excellent food service (the best in the sky) is the only reason I fly Turkish airlines business class.
I’m looking into switching to Emirates or Qatar airways.
Great post, Matthew.
It’s obvious that cutting meal service — and beverage service on flights across the industry — is about cutting costs rather than hygiene, especially now that we have the CDC guidance that surfaces are not really responsible for virus transmission and, also, given that we know the virus can’t be transmitted via food.
I also noticed that Turkish will be banning all carry-on luggage except for personal items. So now passengers will be forced to wait at a luggage belt in a “mass gathering”? That is better for passengers?
I’d love to believe these changes will be quickly reversed, but I think we’re going to see something like in the late 2000s where the airlines cut all beverage service — even water — and then took a long time to reverse the cuts.
What a mess.
Nothing more than a gimmick.
Matthew, you are totally right. How come AA still serves a hot meal on flights over 2200 miles? Is serving a hot meal a health hazard only for Turkish FAs or what? Btw on this basis we should ban all restaurants since waiters serve hot meals to guests there – according to Turkish’s logic it’s not sanitary. Probably restaurants should also serve a cold meal box for the same price as a USDA prime rib; I wonder what people would say about that kind of “service”
If you know when JFK’s flight from Dhaka may start, please let us know.
Turkish Airlines has left their old meal service page up which proudly advertises the “unrivaled” dining service in Business Class and includes a discrete link to the current pandemic meal service. Perhaps I’m being too optimistic, but this makes me think that the downgrade won’t be permanent. If you’ve spent any time in Turkey, you know that the food here is generally excellent and rightly a point of pride for Turks. Here’s hoping the old dining service resumes soon!
Agree. I have been planning for a long-haul trip with Turkish airlines business class early next year, and in fact, after my experience with TK last year, I was bent on making this my regular airline beginning this year enrolee to Europe from Asia, which I visit 3x a year. Yes, the price of 40% less for business class is enticing compared to other airlines, but the meal service of which I am looking forward to is gone. So is it worth it? No. I would rather go with Qatar airways….higher price, but experience will be worth it.