Update: American Airlines Has Resolved Issue At LAX Based Caterer GateGourmet’s Kitchen Contaminated With Listeria

American Airlines and a couple other carriers who were customers of the caterer GateGourmet suspended their relationship after a Listeria outbreak two months ago.

We received an email from American Airlines yesterday to inform us that the issues at the LAX GateGourmet kitchen have been resolved and regular operations resumed.

Not being able to take on fresh catering from their contracted caterer is going to be quite a challenge for the airline. LAX is a major hub for American Airlines and some of the other carriers like Delta Airlines that receive catering from Gate Gourmet.

Industrial kitchens frequently undergo checks to ensure safe operation of their operation and as soon as traces of Listeria were detected at some floor drains, GateGourmet treated the facility. Yet, most carriers suspended their contracts pending that Gate Gourmet resolves the matter which now appears to have happened.

In my previous article (access here) I had contacted American Airlines for a statement which they provided but they were also nice enough to update us on the current situation:

Download (PDF, 22KB)

The most important passage of this statement:

We are pleased to share that through a phased approach, we will return to having Gate Gourmet cater the majority of our domestic operation from their LAX kitchen. The American team appreciates the extensive work by Gate Gourmet to remediate this issue.

American will continue to use the catering services of Air Fayre, Flying Food Group and LSG Sky Chefs for our Hawaii, international, regional and transcontinental flights.

So GateGourmet is back on the domestic routes but internationally American relies on other catering partners.

Indeed there were some substantial catering problems on some international flights and American has even rebooked passengers upon request to other airlines and handed out compensation vouchers. The cause of the issue isn’t their fault but ultimately they are the ones operating the flight and people paid for a full experience especially in premium class.

Conclusion

Having the kitchen contaminated is a disaster for a company whose primary business is food preparation. It usually takes a long time (as in this case) to clean out, sterilize everything and then get the local health authorities to certify the place again. In GateGourmet LAX case two full months. I can just imagine the loss in revenue and running expenses. Glad to see they got it under control.

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