Putting American Airlines’ New First Class Meals To The Test

Filed Under: American, Travel

This week American Airlines has rolled out new menus on their flights within North America.

There are eight lunch choices and eight dinner choices, and you should expect to see them cycled throughout the coming year, with different routes getting different meals.

The menu is designed by Dallas chef Julian Barsotti. When I say “designed by,” my guess is that they simply paid him some amount of money to put his name on (not even) glorified cafeteria food.

American Airlines’ new first class menu options

As noted by View from the Wing, you can expect for there to be eight new lunch choices and eight new dinner choices.

The lunch choices will be as follows (with the first four being salads, and the last four being hot options):

  • American Chopped Salad
  • TexMex Salad
  • Mezze Trio Plate
  • Chinese Chicken Salad
  • Spinach Ricotta Raviolini
  • Chow Mein Noodle Bowl
  • Cheese Enchiladas
  • Classic Cheeseburger

Then for dinner you can expect the following eight options:

  • Grilled Chicken Breast with Lemon Artichoke Risotto, Asparagus and Herb Butter
  • Short Rib with Hatch Chili Mac and Cheese and Haricot Vert
  • Grilled Chicken with Shiitake Mushroom Sauce and Twice Baked Potato
  • Beef Filet with Cauliflower Mash and Broccolini
  • Lasagnette Pasta with Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Kale Ragu
  • Falafel Plate with Orzo and Quinoa
  • Three Bean Chili with Polenta Cake
  • Southwest Lasagna

My first experience with American’s new first class menus

I took an American Airlines lunch flight on the first day that these new menus were in place. For whatever reason I wasn’t able to pre-order my beloved Asian Vegetarian meal (there were no special meal choices), so Ford and I got to sample the two options.

I ordered us one of each of the options. I have to give American credit, they’ve really improved their catering. Here’s what we were served:

Just kidding, of course. Instead I was served this equally delicious meal:

Okay, in all honesty, as usual service began with warm mixed nuts.

One option was the mezze trio with a side of chicken. This was actually not bad at all, and one of the better non-special meals I’ve had on a domestic American flight in a long time.

The same can’t be said for the hot meal. I just really can’t wrap my head around how the one hot option they choose to serve is a cheese enchilada.

Look, I’m far from the healthiest eater in the world, but I had two bites of this (to try it), and I had a stomach ache for the rest of the flight. Just ugh.

Then for dessert there was the choice of two types of cookies — chocolate chip or snickerdoodle.

Bottom line

Perhaps the most exciting thing about American’s new meals is that they’re different than the old ones, so they provide a bit of variety. Personally the four lunch salads sound pretty decent to me, so I wouldn’t hesitate to order those.

However, the four hot lunch options seem mostly unappealing to me.

I’ll keep ordering Asian Vegetarian meals when they’re available.

If you’ve tried American’s new menu, what was your experience like?

  1. I had the Chow Mein Noodles. They were ultra bland and I think I have enjoyed Maruchen Ramen Noodles more. Maybe they’ll add more MSG next time?

  2. Unfortunately, AA is located in Dallas and most of the menu is designed there. Texas is not a culinary mekkah – as one can imagine. That results in heavy, unhealthy, poorly thought-after meals.

  3. American shouldn’t worry about cutting luggage from fares – they should do food free fares in all classes.

    Could save my employer a fortune…

  4. I just stopped flying (exclusively AA) for work and was livid when I thought AA changed the catering to your first pictures…

    I just don’t understand how nobody in AA has either said, “offer a healthy option on every flight” (no, a salad is not healthy) AND “this greasy, disgusting looking offering is unacceptable.”

    AA needs to put me in charge of their catering. First step I’d do is fire absolutely everyone in the department. Second step would be to get Chipotle to cater burrito bowls while I get a real menu.

  5. I find the Kosher meal to be the best special order meal. Got some beef short rib last time around that was far more palatable than the enchiladastheybwere serving. There is an inordinate amount of packaging to keep the meal kosher, so best ordered when flying with a companion to share tray table space. Taco Bell wouldn’t even serve those cheese enchiladas.

  6. Does this menu also apply to the trans cons? They always had a fish choice Mia—lax and I have scallops pre chosen for jfk- lax after Thanksgiving.

    Going for cheap! Those are crummy options, and clearly less costly then what was before.

  7. @ Lucky,
    Actually, the cheese enchilada looks like it may have been quite nice the first time it was eaten , possibly by a passenger on the incoming flight.

  8. And I thought the Cheerio’s served on a delta first class flight was pathetic. American flag carriers racing to the bottom. Time for congress to allow fifth freedom flights

  9. Hmmmph. Way to promote eliteism, American. I’d rather enjoy a bagel schmear with the rest of the working class joes and janes in coach.

  10. Food used to be an inedible mass on Lufthansa. so I needed to go to Spain and used united points for business class. The new menu is no more potato bits and sausage but instead an elegant spread of broccoli and edible dressing and an elegant meat choice. it’s like Broomjilda received a scholarship to le Cordon bleu.
    what ruined the flight was actually two things. crew pulled drapes with do not enter iconlogy over the forward bathrooms essentially creating crew only space. the second was that while the flight attendant pretty much demanded to hang my coat (an Escada red wool and cashmere Chesterfield style of immense sentimentality) she failed to return it at the end of the flight and completely disappeared. Sermoneta gloves and Escada scarf in the pocket…all gone
    it was very cold and rainy in Frankfort and I could not get back into the plane (realized my coat was behind at the top of the stairs, and like a cartoon character tried to get back on.) I immediately contacted Lufthansa club personnel and begged them to intercede on behalf as I was enroute now to really rainy and cold Madrid without a coat. the club person first called lost and found which was really scary as I doubt anything of value gets returned with this guy’s attitude. he wouldn’t help, didn’t care. pure functionary. the club person realized we weren’t going to get anywhere with lost and found and she contacted the personnel at the gate. they said that they would retrieve the coat as they still controlled the aircraft and send it to someone with access to bring it to my fra/mad flight. so that never happened. I filed a report with Lufthansa and they initiated an “immediate investigation ” and were unable to find my bright red coat. scarf and gloves. they claim under European rules that they owe me nothing?
    I did actually purchase insurance for health reasons so we’ll see. the issue is that you actually don’t have proof of handing over property to attendants. no check. (do they make a record?) nada.
    thing is despite the fact they don’t think they are responsible under “European law” I gave the coat to the attendant in Dallas while the craft was boarding and the door open. do DFW airport police received a report filed by insurance company. I just wanted my stuff back. why are these people being so horrible? I generally book mileage seats in legs. when I notified Lufthansa I was coming back through Frankfort. gave them my reservation info and suggested they could turn over my coat…i immediately received a response that their investigation. started less than 24 hours earlier. was complete and nothing found.

    they have closed their short lived “investigation ” so rather than confronting this chucklehead securitas functionary. I cancelled Lufthansa and will be taking American. broccoli stuffed chicken lunch already seems like vomit.

  11. Why oh why has American turned their first class product into such shit that I’d rather book exit row aisle and bring food or buy a sandwich.

    36 inches of pitch is not first class. But, they do have a bar on some of their first class cabins: It’s in your seat back and you feel it when you lean back.

    I’m giving up and just renting a high performance single engine plane and flying it on all trips under 1000 miles.

  12. I had the mezza trio with a side of chicken, but the flight attendant called it a chicken greek salad. ??? You are right, it wasn’t bad…but the chicken was as dry as it always is.

    The snickerdoodle was yummy.

  13. @Lucky
    My eyes popped when i saw the first pics in the article but seeing the champaigne glass and the plate with the golden rim my brain went (in a Karen Walker) voice : ” Wait a minute!”.
    Yea, good one there Ben. Then the Lobster roll….

    Indeed it is Etihad Residence. Somehow no one/few (if the comments so far are anything to go by) got the hint with the lobster roll there either.

  14. Why are u still flying that airline? That food looks utterly disgusting.
    I have avoide AA for at least 5 yrs now and from your pics I conclude it was a good decision.
    What a shit airline.

  15. I saw those first two images and then immediately scrolled up the page to reread the first part of the article. I thought I misread the airline or something lol

  16. I just had the cheese enchiladas a couple of days ago, and it reminded me of your basic microwave enchiladas that you keep in the freezer for those moments when you don’t feel like cooking – but, somehow, AA has managed to create a version with even less flavor.

    On the return, it was the Tex-Mex salad, complete with a tough, ice-cold chicken breast and a stale roll. What’s even more surprising is that this flight was departing from Dallas, and I’m pretty sure they know what REAL Tex-Mex is there, don’t they?

    AA seems to have forgotten that some of us do pay to sit up front every now and again, and they should most definitely be embarrassed if this is the best they can come up with for their (soon to be former) high-rev customers.

  17. That cheese enchilada lunch is not new. Maybe it was just a Texas thing before and has now spread systemwide. I hope someday to stumble upon the cheeseburger. Surely they can’t screw that up. Unless they decide to serve it atop a bed of quinoa.

  18. I must say @virginia curry did a marvelous job sidestepping to get a rant in on a lost coat on Lufthansa to meals served on American.

  19. I ordered the vegan meal a few weeks ago trying to get a healthier option. It was literally just steamed broccoli and white rice! And it was still served with the regular goat cheese salad. (Good thing I am not actually vegan.)

    FWIW, British actually has amazing vegan meals in economy. I always special order that meal when flying in the back of the plane.

  20. Flew American premium first class LAX EWR 20 years ago,appalled at the cheese quesadilla and chocolate chip cookie meal,(value .50 cents),cant believe they are still doing that.Hello to jet blue and delta in Economy!

  21. I flew first class in AA from El Paso to LA last week and the food offering was a snack basket. These American airlines are a travesty.

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