Passengers Horrified At Needles Found In Their Airline Food

airplane And you thought your worst airline meal nightmare was getting runny eggs or stale bread? Passengers onboard four different flights from Amsterdam to the United States on Delta Air Lines were horrified to find sewing needles in their turkey sandwiches.

In total, six sandwiches were found to have needles, including two separate flights to Atlanta, one to Seattle and one to Minneapolis, where the passenger was injured but declined medical attention.

According to News.com.au, the meals were made by Gate Gourmet to be given to business class passengers on Delta flights. Christina Ulosevich, Gate Gourmet’s spokeswoman, has stated no other airlines operating out of Amsterdam have filed similar complaints. The company is launching their own personal investigation into the matter. Moreover, Delta is adding extra security to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

The airline stated, “Delta is taking this matter extremely seriously and is cooperating with local and federal authorities who are investigating the incident. Delta has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide on board our aircraft.”

[image via Andrei Dimofte]

Airline Madness: Change fees vs. Lack of free food/prices for food

Airline Madness is Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances. You can catch up on all of the previous tournament action here.

This second round of Airline Madness match-up hits us where it hurts: our wallets. #6 seed Change fees/no free standby received an amazing 74.9% of the votes in its first round contest, proving that it has a real chance to go all the way in this tournament. Similarly, #3 seed Lack of free food/prices for food showed why people spend so much time bemoaning how airline food service has worsened over the years. It breezed into the second round while receiving more than twice the number of votes as its opponent. In this battle of monetary vexations, only one can win. Which one offends you – and your bank account – more? Vote below.#6 Change fees/no free standby
The airline has an earlier flight with available seats. You have a ticket for a later flight and are already there at the gate ready to go. Seems like a match made in heaven. A couple of keystrokes, some small talk with the gate agent and you should be switched over to the earlier flight with time to spare at the bar. This all makes sense up until they ask you for your credit card. If you’re at the airport, ready to travel and they have the empty seats, why shouldn’t you just be able to switch to another flight for free? It was no problem ten years ago!

#3 Lack of free food/prices for food
Look, it’s not that we expect a fine dining experience to be including in the price of our tickets. We’d be happy with a decent meal, a fresh sandwich or even a bag of peanuts that’s larger than a walnut. Sadly, these days, there really is no such thing as a free lunch (or a reasonably priced snack, for that matter). It’s bad enough getting gauged at the airport for a $9 bottle of water; could we at least be offered a deal in-flight when we’re flying through mealtime?

No one wants to part with their money, especially when they feel that the costs are unfair. This battle is about more than nickels and dimes. It’s about what bothers you more. Let us know!
%Poll-74022%
Second round voting ends at 11:59PM EDT on Friday, March 23.

More Airline Madness:
Second round match-ups:
#1 Annoying Passengers vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats
#12 Inattentive parents of crying babies vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats
#7 Rude airline staff vs. #2 Legroom
First round match-ups
#1 Annoying passengers vs. #16 Disgusting bathrooms
#2 Legroom vs. #15 Inefficient boarding procedures
#3 Lack of free food/prices for food vs. #14 Cold cabin/no blankets
#4 Baggage Fees vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats
#5 Lack of overhead space vs. Inattentive parents of crying babies
#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #11 Lack of personal entertainment/charging for entertainment
#7 Rude airline staff vs. #10 Having to turn off electronic devices during takeoff & landing
#8 People who recline their seats vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats
Hotel Madness: Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances

Catch up on all the Airline Madness here.

Airline Madness: Lack of free food vs. Cold cabins

Airline Madness is Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances. You can catch up on all of the previous tournament action here.

gadling airline madness lack of free food prices cold cabins blankets

Continuing the first round of Airline Madness, #3 seed Lack of free food/prices for food battles #14 Cold cabin/no blankets. Remember when we were fed on every flight, even if it was a quick domestic jaunt? Sure, the food was chewy and covered in mystery sauce, but it was ours and it was free. Now? A mini-tube of Pringles costs as much as a first class upgrade and the only entree options are pre-made sandwiches that more closely resemble door jams. Meanwhile, the cabin feels like a meat locker and blankets cost $8 (when they have any blankets at all).

Which one of these airline annoyances makes you cuss more? Learn more about both and then vote for the worst below.#3 Lack of free food/prices for food
Look, it’s not that we expect a fine dining experience to be including in the price of our tickets. We’d be happy with a decent meal, a fresh sandwich or even a bag of peanuts that’s larger than a walnut. Sadly, these days, there really is no such thing as a free lunch (or a reasonably priced snack, for that matter). It’s bad enough getting gauged at the airport for a $9 bottle of water; could we at least be offered a deal in-flight when we’re flying through mealtime?

#14 Cold cabin/no blankets
Just because the cabin smells like death doesn’t mean that it has to be as cold as a morgue. Even if you’re flying to a tropical paradise, it’s recommended that you bring a parka on the plane since it’s bound to be frigid. Want a blanket to keep you warm? Be prepared to shell out a few bucks, presuming that they haven’t run out of blankets in economy before the flight has even taken off. How many blankets do they start off with these days? Our guess: one (and someone in business class already has it because they asked for an extra).

Which airline pet peeve has you pulling out the most hair: the lack of free food or the blanket-less freezer cabins? Vote for the bigger annoyance now and debate this match-up in the comments!
%Poll-73812%
First round voting ends at 11:59PM EDT on Friday, March 16.

More Airline Madness:
#1 Annoying passengers vs. #16 Disgusting bathrooms
#2 Legroom vs. #15 Inefficient boarding procedures
#4 Baggage Fees vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats
#5 Lack of overhead space vs. Inattentive parents of crying babies
#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #11 Lack of personal entertainment/charging for entertainment
#7 Rude airline staff vs. #10 Having to turn off electronic devices during takeoff & landing
#8 People who recline their seats vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats
Hotel Madness: Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances

Catch up on all the Airline Madness here.

American Airlines food killed passenger, claims lawsuit

American AirlinesAs if filing for bankruptcy protection was not enough to fill American Airlines plate, now a passenger is claiming the troubled airline killed her husband.

According to the lawsuit, Raquel and Othon Cortes were on a flight to their home in Miami and had just completed the first leg of their journey, a flight from Barcelona to New York, when dinner was served. Othon chose the chicken, Raquel chose something else, reports NewTimes.

  On the ground at JFK it was apparent that something was wrong with Othon. He became pale, had stomach cramps and was suddenly very thirsty, symptoms consistent with food poisoning, in a typical time-frame.

Raquel told NewTimes that as they boarded the flight from JFK to Miami, her husband’s illness was “expressed and obvious” to AA staff. Boarding anyway, things took a turn for the worse quickly with Othon presenting nausea and shortness of breath which preceded a heart attack. He was pronounced dead in Norfolk, Virginia where the plane made an emergency landing, albeit too late.

Raquel and Sandra Cortes, Othon’s daughter have filed suit against American Airlines and Sky Chefs, the airplane catering company that apparently prepared the meal.

The lawsuit, reported to be in excess of $1 million by Tourism and Aviation has four points:

  • The chicken was poisoned.
  • AA was negligent for even allowing Othon to board the flight in the first place.
  • AA failed to provide medical attention.
  • AA waited too long for an emergency landing.

Flickr photo by Andrew Morrell Photography

Airlines offer in-flight menu items at food trucks, pop-ups

airline food trucksIn a marketing move best described as “ironic,” a handful of airlines are now offering land-bound folk a taste of the finest of what they serve in the air. The New York Times reports that Air France, Austrian Airlines, Southwest, and Delta are trying to lure potential passengers by tempting them with samples of in-flight meals “from” celebrity-chefs.

The modus operandi are primarily roving food trucks and pop-up restaurants in cities from New York to Denver (there are also some permanent vendor spots at various sports stadiums). In Washington, passerby were offered European coffee and guglhupf, a type of cake. In Manhattan, crowds lined up for a taste of buckwheat crepes with ham, mushrooms, and Mornay sauce, or duck confit.

I get it. Airline food sucks. Time for an image makeover. But isn’t the airline industry so financially strapped that we’re lucky to get a bag of stale pretzels during a cross-country flight? And just because reknown chefs like Joël Robuchon, Tom Colicchio and Michelle Bernstein act as consultants for airlines and design their menus, that doesn’t mean it’s their food you’re eating on the JFK-to-Paris red-eye.

Most ludicrous, however, is the notion that there’s any basis for comparison against fresh ingredients and made-to-order food versus even the best institutionally-prepared airline crap. I’ve had a couple of decent meals designed by well-regarded chefs when I’ve been lucky enough to fly business class, but in the grand scheme of things, they were still made from flash-frozen, sub-par ingredients whose origins I’d rather not ponder. And if food truck crews are merely nuking actual airline food, then how are they any different from the corner deli with a microwave?

I’m not trying to be a food snob. I just find it interesting that airlines are hopping on two of the hottest culinary trends of the new century–ones largely based upon local, sustainable, seasonal ingredients. Yet by all accounts (to hear airline reps tell it), the plane campaign has been wildly successful. Of course. Who doesn’t love free food?airline food trucksRaymond Kollau, founder of Airlinetrends.com, cites social media as the gateway to this type of “experiential marketing.” “As people are bombarded with marketing messages,” he explains, “real-life interaction with products and brands has become increasingly valuable for airlines to get their message across.”

Valid point, and there’s no doubt this is a clever scheme. But truth in advertising is what wins consumers. What a catering company can pull off on-site is a hell of a lot different from what you’ll be ingesting in the friendly skies. If airlines want to use food to entice new passengers, they need to start by sourcing ingredients in a more responsible, sustainable manner, rather than supporting ecologically detrimental produce, meat, and poultry (talk about carbon offsets). I realize that’s not financially feasible at this time, but supposedly, neither are in-flight meals. As for making it taste good? You got me.

[Photo credit: Flickr user OpalMirror]