Easyjet in-flight food and drink shortage triggered by new caterer Dnata’s lack of staff
Passengers on Scotland’s biggest airline have been left with major shortages of food and drink on board its flights because of staffing problems with a new catering supplier.
The lack of supplies has plagued Easyjet’s services since Dnata took over its in-flight catering in late March, The Scotsman has learned.
The Dubai-based company said it was short of staff because of the time taken for applicants to complete UK Government security checks.
It follows Tui, which is also supplied by Dnata, warning its passengers on Friday of limited food and drink being available on all but its long-haul flights "over the coming days” because of the caterer’s staff shortage.
Easyjet said it was giving passengers advance warning of the problem so they could buy food and drink in the airport terminal before boarding.
Cabin crew apologised to passengers on one Gatwick to Glasgow flight on Thursday after telling them there was “no food available, very little in the bar and no duty free”.
Some fliers were surprised to be informed the problem had been going on “for quite a while”.
A passenger on an Edinburgh-Paris flight last month said: “They had very limited stock and just apologised to customers.
"They said a variety of snacks and drinks were not available.”
Announcing the contract on March 10, the catering firm said it “marks a significant milestone for Dnata’s growing catering and retail business, cementing its position as a leading end-to-end in-flight and airport service provider globally.
The company said the deal would help Easyjet “further enhance its retail range onboard and customer satisfaction”.
Easyjet director of in-flight retail Simon Cox said the contract with Dnata was “an opportunity to transform our in-flight retail service” and stressed the airline was “confident they are the right partners to support us in realising our ambitions to deliver an industry-leading, innovative onboard retail experience for our customers across Europe”.
However, Conservative peer Baroness Foster, a former party transport spokesperson, tweeted on Friday about a Liverpool-Malaga flight: “@easyJet text to say delayed and no food or drink available on board. Not good enough!”
@Jackkaar tweeted: “Utterly appalling – no food on outward or inward flight from Faro.”
London chef Jo G tweeted: “EasyJet to Mykonos – no sandwiches on outbound due to new supplier issue(?), inbound only had hot drinks, chocolate and a few wines/beer, no spirits/savoury food whatsoever.”
A Dnata spokesperson said: “In line with the industry, we are currently finding it a challenging environment to secure new team members, given the long lead times required as part of government-mandated security and background checks.
"As result, we are facing delays on some operations.
"We apologise for any inconvenience and are working closely with our suppliers and partners to overcome these challenges to ensure the best possible service, including a full range of products, as soon as possible.”
An Easyjet spokesperson said: “We have recently moved to a new in-flight retail provider, Dnata, and rolled out our new in-flight retail offering across our European network.
"Unfortunately, in the UK we are experiencing some issues delivering catering to aircraft at some of our UK airports.
"Where we are aware of issues, we are proactively advising customers ahead of their flight so they have the opportunity to purchase food and drink before boarding.
"We are working closely with our supplier to resolve these issues.”