On my weather-delayed flight from Boston to San Francisco tonight, I watched a frustrated flight attendant deal with a situation out of her control: there wasn’t enough food to feed everyone on the plane.
The flight was scheduled for 5:40pm but didn’t take off until almost 7, and it was after 8 by the time the service carts made it to the back quarter of the plane. My row got the last few items on the food cart, so the flight attendant had to explain to the 6 rows of hungry passengers behind me that there wasn’t anything left. To one passenger, she said:
Let me give you some advice: never trust the airlines to give you anything. Nothing is free anymore. Buy your food at the airport and bring it with you because you can’t count on there being anything on the plane.
Ouch. And this was just one of a series of comments exchanged between flight attendants about how under-equipped they were to do their job. It can’t be good when your most customer-facing employees are so fed up with the resources they’re being given  that they’ll open disparage their company in front of the customers they’re trying so hard to serve.
More broadly: this is a great reminder that one of the most simple and powerful things you can do as a manager is give your employees the resources they need to do their jobs, then get out of their way and let them do it. And when you don’t… things get ugly.
</rant>. You can follow me on twitter here.
 Practically speaking… how hard can it really be to make sure there’s enough food on the plane? This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen the food cart run out of food, but even if it really were uncommon, I have to believe that it’s better to over-stock and deal with a bit of spoilage than under-stock and deal with hungry passengers.