Kudos: Emirates Flight Attendant Makes Sure No Champagne Goes To Waste

View from the Wing shares a video posted by an Instagram user of an Emirates flight attendant pouring champagne from a glass back into a bottle. Apparently the passenger wasn’t even trying to videotape her, but rather happened to notice it as he was taking a video of the A380 upper deck business class cabin.

Here’s the video:

Now I think I know what’s going on here. It’s very bad optics, but unlike what Gary says, I don’t think she was pouring “used” champagne back in the bottle (well, I guess it depends how you define “used”).

The tray she has in front of her is the standard pre-departure drink tray, which has rose and champagne. It looks to me like she did the pre-departure service and there were some leftovers. So rather than pouring the champagne down the drain, she instead decided not to let it go to waste.

Of course this looks terrible to someone who sees this, because the assumption is that she’s pouring leftover champagne that has been consumed by someone else. What she’s doing certainly doesn’t follow the company policy, so it seems to me like the flight attendant just took it upon herself to be less wasteful, which I can appreciate. That being said, it would have been smart to do this in the galley rather than in the bar, where passengers could see it.

Now, since this is champagne, the reused champagne will be less bubbly after takeoff, partly because it was in a glass, and partly because it was just in a bottle that was open for so long. However, whatever amount in the bottle hadn’t been consumed before takeoff would have been used after takeoff anyway.

Still, any company should want an employee like this, who is making extra effort to not let things go to waste. It would have been much easier for her to just pour the champagne down the drain.

What do you guys think — is it wrong to pour champagne from a glass that hasn’t been consumed back into a bottle in order to be less wasteful? 

(Tip of the hat to BostonS)

Comments

  1. Still gross… not like re-stocking an un-opened bag of peanuts. If the bag is un-opened, then it’s okay but not when it comes to drinks.

  2. “Disgusting”? It was poured into a clean glass and then poured back into the bottle. Don’t be such a pussy James.

  3. I’m not being a pussy. How would you like it if you knew a restaurant you ordered a bottle of champagne from did this? Maybe even replaced what you ordered with a cheaper variety.

    Once its out of the bottle it should stay out.

  4. I’m all for being economical, but it just seems a bit tacky.

    If I’m dropping a few grand on a flight, I want my champagne to be the absolute freshest.

    I like how SQ does it. From what I understand, after the bottle of Dom has been open for multiple hours, the crew pours it out and opens a new one.

  5. One of the downsides of social media is that it can quickly ruin the career of a well-meaning person with an otherwise excellent reputation.

  6. here in korea you get caught by the cops for this disgusting “environmentally friendly” nonsense. And here i was thinking you were a germaphobe as you said

  7. If a glass of anything is poured, or a plate of anything is arranged, and subsequently not consumed, it is to be discarded. In many cases it might be perfectly fine, but as a matter of food hygiene principles it needs to be discarded. The employee is not in a position judge.
    The FA in question should be seriously reprimanded, and in repeat case be let go.

  8. In this exact situation, I support the FA in being less wasteful. Where it crosses the line is when FAs switch out the content for something else. I once ordered champagne a long haul flight in QR J (they were serving Taittinger Comtes de Champagne), I was no joke served chardonnay. Even though it was poured from the bottle at my seat, there’s zero bubble, and certainly doesn’t taste like Taittinger.

  9. I have a feeling that one of Emirates’ senior PR people is about to have a challenging day on the job…

  10. Jonathan – Taittinger Comtes is 100% Chardonnay, so you’re right – you were served Chardonnay……

  11. I made an effort and read all the comments to the Instagram post, 90% of which are pure gross and tough to tolerate. However there is interesting piece. Another EK flight attendant appeared and provided some comments on the video (in Russian) which I found worth to note:
    – the FA pictured has already been fired
    – the FA pictured wasn’t doing anything against the company policy/standards (the reason for lay off is creating bad publicity for EK)
    – it’s tough time for EK and in the cost cutting spree cabin crews are instructed to do much worse/disgusting things which she didn’t disclose

  12. Is the “refreshed” bottle actually going to be served on a future flight, or is the FA taking the bottle home with her? If you’re paying the amount Emirates is charging for business and first class, the passenger should be getting freshly opened bottle, not some recycled champagne.

  13. Absolute no-go.
    This is simply unacceptable in any sort of fine-dining environment as well as premium cabins. As you mentioned, the carbonation will most likely suffer (if it was not poured 10 seconds earlier) and that simply horrible to do to a premium beverage like that.

  14. The reason food or drinks out of the original packages cannot be repurposed it’s impossible to vouch no one with a communicable disease touched or sneezed/coughed nearby while the FA was distracted. An individual with a weak immune system may be harmed significantly by a few count of rotovirus picked from a glass touched by an infected person.

  15. I agree with Ben (and thank you for not coming to a conclusion like Gary did). On one hand, yes it’s not very nice, but on the other, what’s wrong with pouring perfectly clean champagne back? I have seen this on some other airlines too.
    However I think that both Gary and you should have not published this here especially with the face of the FA clearly shown as this might cause her the job (even if this was part of the given instruction by Emirates).
    Cheers!

  16. Yes. Any server in any restaurant (at least in the US) would tell you that you cannot take back a drink and serve it to someone else again. Based on this picture and if what @Denis said is true – what she did was NOT against company policy, this is a major reason not to fly Emirates.

  17. Ben I have to commend you for taking a much more even handed approach than Gary did. Frankly his post (as I commented on it there) represents much of what is wrong with media coverage these days.

    It was a bad idea on her part but I’m sad to hear she was fired. That’s excessive in my view but an inevitable consequence when something like this goes viral and then gets pushed along by major travel bloggers who make no effort to look beyond their own first impressions.

    It would be nice if people thought about the consequences of their actions before they do something that has the potential to destroy the life of another human being but in our 24/7 viral media culture I guess I’m dreaming.

  18. 1960’s, I am a under-20 FA (we were called “stewards”). on Air France, one of my first flights. The purser warns us that the captain is a fanatical anti-drinker known to have fired several FAs suspected of drinking as much as a beer. Another steward who also does not seem to like the captain disappears in a toilet with a glass and returns it half full, then proceeds to add some Perrier water.

    The captain boards the B707 by the forward door closest to the galley, spots the glass and starts ranting and asking for the culprit. The steward moves forward and swears it is apple juice with Perrier. The captain smirks, tastes the drink and says with a disgusted look on his face “OK, it’s not wine but it is really not good”… We were young.

  19. Avoiding waste is good.

    But if I spend 2500 euros on a flight, I assume I have the right of having the best experience they can provide.
    She may have as well kept a bottle for the crew after the flight was over.

  20. Congratulations Lucky. This is your 826th use of the word ‘kudos’ on OMAAT.

    Some other noteworthy accomplishments:

    Stunning: 726
    Gorgeous: 2350 (!!!)
    As such: 910
    A few minutes after / within moments of settling in: 152

    (These counts do not include multiple uses within a single post, so they are likely understated.)

  21. That bottle appears to be Veuve Cliquot, doesn’t Emirates still serve Dom in the air? If so, what’s the likelihood that she’s saving it to take home vs. saving it to re-serve in the air? I sure as heck wouldn’t order Veuve when Dom was available.

  22. I’m amazed at all the “horrified” snowflakes in the comments section. I appreciate a premium cabin experience as much as the next guy, but I was also conditioned that pouring your perfectly good drink down the drain, was as close to a mortal sin as you could get (much less an untouched drink). Most of you probably commit much larger food sanitation issues in your own kitchens.

  23. @Aaron K

    I don’t spend thousands of dollars to cook in my own kitchen and I make sure to drink the stuff I pour out. What now.

  24. Why not just make a quick pass through the cabin to see if anyone would like another glass of champagne?

  25. I see the word “snowflake” in a comment, I stop reading. ( I guess I would have to stop reading my own comment. Oh well).

  26. I respect trying to curtail waste. However…

    With the greatest respect, no. Just … no. I’m not paying thousands of dollars/points for a premium experience only to (essentially) minesweep someone else’s (even unused/untouched/unserved) champagne. I wouldnt stand for that in a bar or restaurant, why should I put up with it on an airplane? It would be far easier for the flight attendant to only fill a small number of glasses based on load factor, then walk around with a bottle to check if someone needed a refill.

  27. There’s nothing worse than drinking a flat champagne. I’m sorry, once the champagne is poured into a glass, it will be flat regardless. Yucks!

  28. I get the idea and a very common practice in restaurants.
    Just do not get caught doing it, then most people would not know the difference.

  29. I was really hoping this was going to be a story about a flight attendant drinking all of the leftover champagne…. ; )

  30. Unhygienic. Even if no one had sipped from it the glass was left open in the bar with people walking and drinking around it.

  31. Can you be more of an apologist? Sure, if you’re scamming Emirates using frequent flier point schemes that’s got to be bad, but given many r/t fares in biz on emirates are +$5k … I expect fresh champagne.

    I know working hard for that money must be confusing since your time is spent with “playing the game”. For those of us who work and pay revenue – expecting sanitary, respectful and service commensurate with additional revenue contributions provided isn’t ridiculous.

  32. Champagne is supposed to be bubbly. Once you pour a glass it loses bubbles. When you pour it back into the bottle it loses even more. You re-pour it and it will be flat.

  33. The FA can avoid to not waste the champagne by per request/order of the passenger after boarded. Since passengers like fresh champagne, I’m sure the passengers can wait for the FA to get it after ordering. Whatever the reason for the FA to pour the champagne without passenger ordering it, already wasted the champagne when she poured it. This is an unfortunate event which she made a poor decision right at the beginning and paid a heavy price for it.

  34. Definitely not acceptable in any cabin class. What if AA did that with the peanuts? Once it’s poured out there’s a chance of contamination since it’s been exposed to many different people (even though they didn’t touch it), it’s still not in it’s safest form.

  35. As a former cabin crew, I can understand why she did it, however wrong it is. Pre-departure of champagne and juices are prepared prior to offering and there end up being a ton of wastage in an effort to save time. Left over beverages are usually thrown in the toilet – she was perhaps being a tad thrifty despite champagne losing it flavour after being exposed to air.

  36. When I first read the headline, I thought they were offering it up in Y cabin instead of pouring it down the drain – that would have been high marks for their airline in my opinion.

    When a bottle of wine or champagne is opened the oxygen hits the contents and it begins to “turn.” And pouring it into a glass and letting it sit for a while, exposing it to lots of oxygen, it further begins to flatten. And finally the process of pouring it back into the bottle further aggravates the contents and is a sure recipe for a spoiled drink. Apparently serving up spoiled, previously poured champagne is standard procedure for them. Wonder if there will be an official response to this from the carrier.

    I have seen FAs on American carriers routinely pour wine down the drain just prior to landing after long haul international flights. I’ve been told that the wine is never corked and saved for the following flight back.

  37. Unless she can make a serious case that it is nowhere in EK’s training, it’s grounds for termination. Any type of “marrying” is illegal in many countries. The reason airlines rightfully dump bottles on ascent is the bottle will go flat and be ruined. It’s a direct impact of the altitude. It’s why some carriers serve crap on the ground and switch to the better stuff in the air.

  38. It would be more economical to ask passengers what they would like first before pouring, or to pour fewer glasses in the first place. Champagne is sensitive and easily loses its fizz so if I was on the receiving end of that repoured and slightly flat stuff I’d be disappointed. And that’s if she was pouring untouched glasses cause if not, that is repulsive!

    One time when I flew Air France economy they had put a half full bottle of champagne in the self-serve snack area! Nice touch (although I would never fly them now, not even for free economy fizz!).

  39. I have seen this done on a couple of other flights. They are not trying to reuse the drink. A couple of flights have poured soda from those small plastic cups served in economy back into empty cans so it can be stowed away in the rolling cart trays. Pouring liquids into the trash bags leak out and cause alot of trouble and cleanup. It is easier to put it back into the containers, in many cases, it is the cans or bottles. The trays hold them upright and in place.

  40. sorry, cant agree with u lucky.

    no kudos for me. its a hygiene issue. u wun want to pour things in and out, as it increases contamination risk.

    this is not acceptable in restaurants, n neither shld it be acceptable in F cabins.

  41. @Ravi Capeles

    What repoured Champagne have you been drinking? Your post makes no sense!

    So you are saying it’s better to pour the drink back in the bottle/can because throwing it out in the trash bag – it may leak?

    Well DUH! That’s why you empty it in the sink or toilet!

  42. The sad thing is this is probably happening all the time, both in the air and at restaurants. I’ve seen flight attendants eat unate food from a passenger’s tray or give it to another passenger who wanted more food. Maybe it was truly unate, but you never really know. And we all know disgusting things happen in kitchens and in bars away from the view of customers or the cameras of customers. Has anyone ever seen the TV show “Bar Rescue”?

  43. 40+ years in the wine trade and this is SO WRONG! Even if the wine was — as you think — poured for service, never touched, and returned to the bottle. Indeed, this is ILLEGAL in many states¹. Now, I have no idea if it’s illegal in the UAE or in Russia, but in this, Lucky, you are 100% WRONG!

    _______________
    ¹ It is illegal in every state that I know of, have worked in or with. I *think* it’s illegal in all 50 states and D.C., but I cannot state that for a fact.

  44. Lucky,
    this is just plain wrong.
    It violates basic food safety standards as outlined by others before. If a health inspector in the US witnessed this, it would be considered a major violation. All food that is put out must be consumed, held at the correct temperature (covered) and after a certain time thrown out. I own a restaurant and while I greatly appreciate any cost savings efforts by my staff, safety must always come first, then quality, then everything else.
    Poured drinks can never go back into a bottle. Never ever.
    An estimated 130,000 hospital visits in the US alone per year are due to food borne illness, 3,000 people die. It is a problem underestimated by many people. In an e-coli outbreak from organic sprouts in Germany in 2011 53 people died and over one hundred had their kidneys permanently damaged, all people in perfectly good health before, mostly in their 20s, 30s and 40s. If food safety standards had been followed (in that case: thoroughly washing the sprouts would have done the job), all of this could have been avoided.
    Aside from safety, don’t you think anyone in a premium cabin deserves high quality drinks? How can you then find it acceptable to serve champagne that must have suffered badly from being poured, repoured and repoured again.
    That flight attended has to be corrected, this should not be an accepted practice anywhere.

  45. This is awful. Not only will the champagne be “less bubbly” but will also be oxidized by the air. It actually makes the rest of whatever is left in the bottle much worse. Also, it is increasing the chance of contamination of the rest of the bottle by a lot. No glass is ‘really’ clean and the more the number of glasses, the greater is the chance that one of them could have either bacteria or soap remnants. Again, this is unacceptable…I’d rather the employee make better guesses how many glasses to pour in the first place and pour the rest down the drain.

  46. Firstly, this is absolutely not EK policy. I don’t understand the incentive for her personally to save pre-departure drinks.

    Secondly, she is well intentioned. To do this openly in the lounge shows a lack of understanding. Sharing this story on your blog has helped get her fired – forced to abruptly leave the country and the life she built there. Does she really deserve that?

  47. this is nothing but normal white trash (which is 98% of white population),
    Imagine the comments by Colorphobe commentator on this blog if this was done by coloured person, Since it is being done by a white trash entire blogger community will support this as wate reduction exercise, this is just sick

  48. Waste does irk me so I appreciate her efforts. However, maybe they should focus on perhaps less prepared drinks. When I flew Emirates first class for the first time last year, I asked the flight attendant which of the white wines were open. I didn’t feel comfortable having them open a bottle just for me, and the cabin wasn’t full and included a family with kids, so I’m not sure how much wine was being drunk. The FA, who was extremely efficient, said in a very matter of fact way you’re flying first class, you drink what you want.

  49. Guys this is the part of utilization of alcohol. Crew can gush it in the toilet because of smell. So crew pours leftover in the bottle and store it in the special container to throw it away on ground.

  50. It’s not disgusting but I would not want it as a biz class passenger because it has less bubbles and warmer temperature. I want a new one with more bubbles that is fresh. Rather they mitigate the waste by asking who wants champagne first.

  51. May be a better solution would be to not pre-pour the champagne but come around and pour at the seat. That way you minimize wastage.

    Also, someone pointed out elsewhere that galley sinks are not operational until the aircraft is on its own power– if so, may be there was no where else to our the champagne?

  52. Want to avoid waste? How about reduce their oversized empty F lounge/terminal by 90%. I was dismayed at the waste when I read Lucky’s review of that oversized facility years ago.

  53. What about taking it ‘behind the curtain’ and delighting a couple of Y passengers? Good PR that would be talked about for a long while by surprised pax?

  54. I will fly with them, and then i will take with me 100ml Laxative oil, so that i can pour it out in the glass. If what they are saying is true, than no one will suffer diarrhea. If they lie to us, then the have to make an emergency landing because of food poisoning 😉

    That will teach them a lesson!!!

  55. @Ola Dunk~ on behalf of everyone reading this thread let me say; YOU ARE A MORON! Kindly creep back under your rock.

  56. If served flat champagne, just say so and ask for a glass from a newly opened bottle. Never drink flat or warm champagne!!

    I agree with not pouring back in bottle because it would not be served at its best taste to the next person. I feel badly that FA lost her job.

    Emirates offers a taste of the champagne first, same with Singapore.

    Can anyone tell me what airlines, if any, serve champagne, (not Proseco) in 1st on domestic flights anymore? Thanks!

  57. This is so unacceptable and anyone suggesting pouring unused champagne back is fine knows nothing about champagne. Perhaps it’s because so many people can’t tell a difference between fresh/flat champagne they can get away with this. By the time it’s poured again it will be disgustingly flat. If I wanted still wine I ordered still wine. After paying thousands of dollars/pounds for my flights I would appreciate some fresh champagne. Their Veuve Clicquot retails for $30-40 a bottle. Doesn’t seem such an expense given what I pay for the flights.

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