American Airlines’ Odd First Class Meal Changes

Filed Under: American

We’ve seen airlines around the world understandably adjust service in light of the current pandemic. Service was almost entirely cut on some airlines around the time the pandemic shut down air travel, though we’ve seen airlines start to slowly add back more service, in a calculated way.

Well, American Airlines is countering the trend in first class, and is actually eliminating meals on many of its longest domestic flights.

How American Airlines’ first class service has evolved

Back in March 2020, American Airlines adjusted its first class meal service, as follows:

  • On flights of under 900 miles, there were drinks upon request but no snacks
  • On flights of 900 to 2,199 miles, there were drinks upon request, plus a paper bag with a small snack, hand sanitizer, and a bottle of water
  • On flights of 2,200+ miles, there were meals served on a single tray, plus a drink service

The American Airlines “paper bag”

A few weeks back the airline made an improvement to service, and started serving a fruit and cheese plate on flights of 900 to 2,199 miles.

Now American Airlines is making another change — American Airlines will now only serve a fruit and cheese plate on domestic flights of 2,200+ miles, with the exception of premium transcontinental flights (from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco) and longer flights to Hawaii (like Dallas to Honolulu).

A meal American served on 2,200+ mile flights

That means American Airlines is cutting hot meals on a majority of its longest domestic flights, and will replace them with fruit and cheese plates.

I don’t particularly mind this

Throughout this pandemic we’ve seen airlines take different approaches towards onboard service:

View from the Wing argues that “a strong inflight experience is more important than ever.” I’m not sure I agree, or at least I’m not sure that should extend to meal service.

Some aspects of the inflight experience would impact my airline choice, and are more important than ever. I’m talking about things like airlines that choose to block seats, airlines that go above and beyond to clean planes and enforce mask policies, etc. But personally I’m not sure that the availability of a meal on a domestic flight will dictate my airline choice anytime in the foreseeable future.

Bottom line

I’m writing about this because I find it interesting that American is countering the industry trend, and not because I necessarily find it significant. While most airlines around the world are adding onboard service at this point, American Airlines is scaling back first class service on its longest domestic flights.

Even though I suspect American’s motivation here is cost cutting, I’m not convinced this change is necessarily a bad thing, since limiting interaction on planes, and maximizing the amount of time people spend with their masks on, is ultimately for the better. Furthermore, you’re probably also better off for not getting to “enjoy” one of American’s domestic first class meals. 😉

It’s still a bit surprising to see, though…

What do you make of this move by American?

  1. *SoCiAl DiStAnCiNg* — all the Karens in uniform rejoice, now they finally can stop interacting with us pesky passengers (you know, the hard-working FA are primarily there for our SaFeTy).

  2. “View from the Wing argues that “a strong inflight experience is more important than ever.” I’m not sure I agree, or at least I’m not sure that should extend to meal service.”

    To be clear, my argument isn’t that meals alone drive choice of airline. However,

    * Product may have mattered less, even though there was more product investment, when planes were full – chase one passenger away and you fill the seat with someone else albeit maybe at a marginally lower fare. That’s basically the strategy American was pursuing before the pandemic (their own data shows frequent flyers were moving away from the airline

    * Now with empty seats to fill airlines will actually have to compete with customers. It made sense to drop service in April when only those who absolutely needed to travel were doing so, and as flights were being pulled from the schedule.

    * When we’re talking about meals the difference here doesn’t fall into the ‘nice to have’ bucket, it’s flights over 2200 miles that have lost meals. Someone flying PHL-LAX-HNL in first class gets no meal. That’s a problem with few options open in terminals, and removes incentive for customers to buy first class. Sure, airline seat blocking is nice but you might as well just buy two seats instead of buying first class

    To be sure there’s less premium demand with business travelers not in the air – that’s the argument for a cheese plate instead of a meal on 900 mile flights. But those aren’t the flights we’re talking about here.

    What is someone buying first class connecting through Los Angeles to Hawaii going to think when they board and are surprised to find there’s no meal? What will that do to repeat purchases, the airline’s reputation among other potential customers, and the ability to sell premium seats?

  3. This whole approach to eliminating meals is not good- we are replacing a potential problem with a real problem. The airlines are forgetting how this impacts passengers with connections. Last month flew from the East Coast to Seattle to help my daughter move, it’s an 8-10 hour trip. Had to stop each way, once in Dallas, once in Charlotte. With no food on planes, Lounges closed, and only a few restaurants open in the airport (which all had long lines due to the limited choices- like that’s a great way to maintain social distancing!) there were literally no options we could do on a one hour layover. For many of us no big deal, we can eat junk food, but some people need to eat healthy and regularly or they will get sick (e.g. diabetics).

  4. @ G W – You will probably get better service on Spirt too vs with the AAwful flight attendants. If I was so worried about a flight attendant taking five seconds to drop off a covered tray of food causing Covid exposure, then I would simply not be comfortable flying in the current environment, this is a pure cost cutting move.

  5. @Gary Leff “hit the nail on the head” – textbook explanation of competitive behavior over the last few months! AA is behaving (yet again) against everything that should matter in this situation!

  6. @ Gary Leff — All fair points, but the Hawaii example is an extreme one, as Hawaii has a 14-day quarantine, so it’s unlikely that anyone traveling to Hawaii is doing so for fun, and it’s also unlikely that they’d be wanting to go through the same experience again. So it’s not like a meal service on a flight to Hawaii right now is going to impact consumer behavior much.

    Obviously big picture onboard product matters, but at this point I also see very few situations where a meal is going to move the needle at all, especially compared to Delta (where every other first class seat is being blocked). I recently flew Miami to Las Vegas (which is a few miles short of the 2,200 mile limit) and wasn’t served anything in first class, and that was fine by me. I wasn’t about to connect somewhere in order to get a meal on another airline.

    So yes, product matters, but I can think of very few real life situations where American’s meal service would impact my airline choice right now.

  7. Ben, it’s not that extreme – lots of people bought Hawaii trips for August thinking quarantine requirements would be lifted (or not knowing the requirements), or just talk about September 1 onward for those flights.

    I agree with you that seat blocking *is even nicer* as Delta is doing, but remember that American isn’t even doing that.

    Perhaps no one chooses a connection for a meal versus a non-stop on American but for several affected routes American isn’t the only non-stop, and more importantly many people on those flights are themselves connecting at one end or the other as part of a longer journey.

    For American to survive the crisis, given more debt than competitors and higher costs than several other airlines, they are going to have to earn a revenue premium. Meals are just one piece of the overall experience but they appear to be moving in the wrong direction overall.

  8. Gary, we both know American never has earned a revenue premium compared to Delta, and likely never will (at least not anytime soon). None of that is to say that American has taken the right approach (Oasis wasn’t a good idea, etc.), but I wouldn’t suddenly expect American to reverse course.

    And let’s keep in mind that for the foreseeable future American actually doesn’t have to earn a revenue premium. Delta is selling only ~60% of seats on planes, and intends to continue doing so for the next several months. Undercutting competitors on service and product (and price) while providing additional capacity is American’s strategy right now, and it might not actually prove to be a bad one.

  9. Let’s look at the ways AA has chosen to differentiate itself: densify aircraft, shrink lavatories, pull out IFE, refuse to install the most basic feature — power/USB at every seat (especially if one is going to argue passengers would prefer to use their own devices) and now claw back meal service on flights that span meal hours when many clubs and in-airport dining options aren’t open, either. Honestly, does that sound like a strategy designed to win market share (unless your closest competitor is Spirit)?

  10. Oh, I’m sure it’s not a ‘cheap pasta dish’, @carolynne but a fair point nevertheless. It probably reflects a view at AA that a hot meal is better than any cold meal. To me, the chicken wrap Ben had on his Air Canada J-class flight is more appealing than this. I liked premium cabins for what they offered overall, but in these times, the main value for me is the space rather than the meal service (although I like a good meal/bar service). I have yet to fly in the Covid era, but I have read that QF domestic J hasn’t downgraded their service much. I guess I’ll find out when I fly.

  11. “Even though I suspect American’s motivation here is cost cutting, I’m not convinced this change is necessarily a bad thing, since limiting interaction on planes, and maximizing the amount of time people spend with their masks on, is ultimately for the better.”

    Ben – I’m sorry but I find your comment here to be very situational. You seemed to have no problems walking into restaurants on your recent road trip yet somehow on an airplane it’s different? Given the enhanced focus of cleanliness on airplanes right now, the food and eating environment on a plane is probably safer than the roadside cafes you ate at on your road trip.

  12. This is a nickel and dime move by American that costs them more than it saves.

    I am less likely to book a trip if there is no meal in first class, period. Flying across the country without a proper meal in this environment of limited airport service is not palatable.

    This is the time American should be wooing fliers who will pay a premium for a better experience. With this change why not just book coach or an extra seat in coach?? No incentive to spend.

  13. I’m solidly in Gary’s camp here. If I am going to pay for a domestic first class ticket, I am absolutely going to book towards (and pay a revenue premium for) an airline that offers drinks, and food on a long haul segment. If no airline offers that, I’m taking my premium economy seat in the back (with a preference/revenue premium for an airline blocking middle seats)

  14. I thought you were a product guy. This is a massive cut in the product. As someone mentioned further up, Spirit’s Big Seat is basically the same.

    Let’s take an example: a business traveller (you know, someone who actually generates revenue) eats lunch at 12. Meeting finishes at 5. Don’t forget that when you take into account time getting to the airport, security, limited options at the airport, possible late arrival with subsequent few options to eat then a four hour flight can turn into 10 hours without proper food. There’s nothing premium about that, and it’s most certainly not Worthy of being called First Class.

  15. First class needs to get back to getting first class service. Otherwise why spend hard earned dollars! With the Infection fatality rate (IFR) less than 0.5% for the 64 and under group, I move we protect those with underlying conditions and let the rest have their lives back.

  16. With the Infection fatality rate (IFR) less than 0.5% for the 64 and under group, I move we protect those with underlying conditions and let the rest have their lives back.

  17. I flew on American in paid first over the July 4 holiday, and honestly I’m okay with this change – as long as it is directly linked to the pandemic/no vaccine, with a promise to restore service when that environmental condition isn’t here any longer. A meal service means that everyone would have their masks off at the same time, and with the load factor on some American flights (at least that weekend) I do feel this helps mitigate risk.

    I do agree that it isn’t a *premium* move, but I feel like market is prioritizing safety rather than comforts like a meal.

  18. haaa, nothing like a good hearty homemade meal (made with known ingredients) before going to the airport, taking some good quality snacks for the trip….. and to see the poor non experienced passengers crying for a sad salad and some prepared meals that who know what are the ingredients, they passed for many hands before getting into your mouth and prepared a couple of days earlier. get used to the new world order…..enjoy the flight. word from a well seasoned traveler.

  19. I want a meal on a flight over 5 hours if I’m paying for domestic first class. As Gary said the airport barely has anything open to eat now too. I guess I could book long layovers, leave the airport to go eat, then re clear to make my next flight:

  20. I agree with Will. I flew AA first class SFO to CLT last weekend. Meals were served but I declined. Indoor dining is one of the most heavily discouraged activities by public health scientists and this seems similar or worse. It seems to me that it’s a bad idea in the cabin environment to have everyone simultaneously unmasking, starting to produce extra saliva, and moving their mouths around. I did get quite hungry towards the end of the flight and had a tight connection. I ran to a fast food restaurant and just barely had time to scarf down a sandwich before boarding my next flight. But I felt like I had much better ability to distance myself from others. I would rather stop all meal service during air travel and maybe extend the minimum connection time to ensure travelers can eat in the airport. I did not have any issue finding open restaurants in the terminal.

  21. I’m quite the fan of Spirit’s big front seat and took advantage quite a bit when living near MCO, unfortunately their connectivity doesn’t work out of my current home airport.

    Much like legacy carriers introducing Basic Economy, there’s gotta be a market for Basic First. Premium Economy is still set up as 3-3 on 737s and 320s, but I’d be perfectly happy with 2-2 seating that didn’t come with meals or booze at a price point between PE and First.

  22. So what you’re saying is that I can basically fly a $7,000 ticket from Istanbul to JFK through to LAX and only have a single cold boxed meal the entire way?

    Um, no. I’ll pass. Meals still matter when traveling certain distances. End of story.

  23. Well, Lucky, if you are pro-masks, then you’d better avoid Iceland (once it was on the top of your bucket list) – no masks anywhere, even at the airports. Plus many tourists from maskless EU countries.

    And EU airlines do not enforce the mask requirement any longer – I flew yesterday with Belavia (MSQ-ARN) – even the crew did not wear masks and on ARN-GOT sector (SAS domestic flight) only 30% of pax had worn masks. Even our state epidemic agency does not recommend wearing masks by the general public. There is not a single peer-reviewed study that suggests making them mandatory for asymptomatic ppl. Good to see that people are slowly going back to their normal lives, lockdown is not a way to go. Imposing lockdown on the whole population (when the infection fatality rate of coronaviruset is 0,2%) is madness. Do like Turkey did – impose stay-at-home order on vulnerable ones and let others live their lives. This system is there still partially in place – HES (Hayat Eve Sigar) code is required on flights, trains and intercity buses.

    For those who do not believe me, below I enclosed an interesting article (in Swedish, but Google Translate should do the trick)

  24. I’ve personally never understood “first class” in the US. It’s not really first class. It’s really just business class. First class is leaps and bounds above in service and utility to what you get on any first class flight in the US.
    Now if this were the sort of meal I was given as a first class passenger on an actual intercontinental flight, I think I’d feel the need to fly to the head quarters of the airline and throw it in the face of the CEO for offending me.

    This is slop. It has little to no presentation. It’s frankly, disgusting. The only thing that would make this business class level is that it’s not served in a tin container.

    Covid isn’t an excuse for airlines to start penny pinching their customers and cut back on quality and quantity of service paid for. I understand Lucky wouldn’t agree with me on this, but lets face it, you rarely ever actually pay full price for many of your flights. You’d feel different about the levels of service given, if you actually had to pay for the full flight out of your own pocket.

  25. I flew AA for the first time in well over a decade bc I had to change a flight and Delta was booked solid out of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach few weeks back. I connected in Dallas, but will say it was a very pleasant flight in first. At least the first segment. Plane full, but the FA sat next to me. We chatted a bit. But he did serve me tomato juice in a can and 5 mini bottles of vodka. 2 of which he said I may want on my next flight.

  26. @manny – what an absolutely stupid comment. What “homemade” meal are you making for a 5am flight? Oatmeal. You obviously rarely fly for such stupid comments. Id like to see you make a flight in the morning with nothing open flying to lax in first. Maybe you’d stop at McDonald’s but please, stop with the idiotic comments.

  27. I think it may make a lot of customers hangry. Btw LOVE that Gary comes to Lucky’s blog to comment and all the interactions! Our superstars in action!

  28. I am now retired but flew over 8 million miles (majority in first) and no one should fly an airline for the meals! BTW former Dallas area resident and over 3 miles of those miles are on American (lifetime platinum).

    Meals have come and gone over the last 35 years I’ve been flying and I’m sure at some point they will come back again on AA. However that NEVER influenced my travel decision. It is all about schedule and convenience with price a factor if there is a huge cost difference w a connection. Sure I enjoyed the nicer food (none domestic have been worth eating for 20 years IMHO) but that didn’t influence my travel decisions and this won’t either.

    I bunch of travel blogs with something they need to write about that is remotely travel related. Move along people!

  29. Bear with me as I didn’t go through the comments, but how hard is it to make an upscale cold tray?

    If UA can only some routes serve a hot meal on one tray, everything covered, why can’t they continue this?

  30. I can understand some fliers are captive, but mostly everybody can choose an airline of choice. If you aren’t satisfied with current offering on your preferred carrier, you can chose another. Since the big 3 do have different policies. I do agree most these policies are ever changing and ridiculous. But if you are flying PHL to LAX. You can wake up 30 minutes earlier and make breakfast at home. It be better than the subpar catering airlines offer to begin with. Or order Uber eats before a flight to be delivered to your place of choice. I do think it is petty that people worry about a meal ( on a plane ) when we have all this trouble in the world. Buy a sandwich at a Hudson’s that open in an airport. I’d also be willing to gamble most people complaining, either get upgrades or have a company expense. Bc most people paying for domestic first out of their own pocket, really aren’t buying first class tickets for a meal.

  31. I worked for one of the big three from 1988-2013. AA was a great carrier at the time, until Crandell began micromanaging and cost cuts. UAL, a great carrier with fantastic service in first and business, made many employees very proud to work there. But the bankruptcy and stock losses by employees, devastated morale and service for years. Delta is still a good carrier our last flight from CDG to SEA actually had excellent food in business. Thai peanut soup was superb. I hope they will continue to compete on service and quality.

  32. Yes but how often are these cuts permanent. While meal is below safety for now what happens later? As we have seen after 9/11 when a flight in first class in the top airlines from sfo to jfk had 2 meal services cut down to 1, that stuck.

  33. I flew America West PHX-STL once and they handed out a snack box (in coach!) consisting of a small turkey and cheese sandwich (dijonaisse on the side), some chips and a little candy bar. Perfect little tide-me-over ’til I got home. Something like that would do just fine in first on flights of less than 4 hours. Well, as long as this virus crap is going on.

  34. As someone who must eat carefully, especially when traveling, this is a deal breaker for me. The domestic meal options in AA first class were among the best – you almost always had a lower carb meal option – even if it wasn’t anything fancy. Delta and United often had high carb sandwiches and processed foods. Grabbing quick and unhealthy fast food at the airport while running between flights is not an option for many of us who have health concerns. This cut guarantees that this AA platinum customer for much of the past decade won’t get on an AA flight beyond 2-3 hours. Counting the pennies while they turn away an entire segment of their customer base.

  35. @JP
    US Airways always did premium service very well until Parker took over coming from America Pest, West I mean lol

  36. Just one more example of how poorly run AA is and how poor management is at understanding what their customers need and want. The last thing I want at this point is to be on a plane let alone have a dining experience. That said, I still need to fly when I need to fly and eat when I require food. As someone who also understands infectious disease in some depth, the less contact I have with the plane, the staff and with other passengers the better.

    I am a long term EXP and despite the high likelihood of being upgraded, I don’t take the chance of ending up in coach and book FC. I fully understand the need to curtail services both for cost savings and to minimize contact, but if I am paying a significant premium to be in FC, especially on a flight in excess of 1000 miles, at the least, I expect a sealed bag of snacks or food that can be quickly scoffed down with minimal mask removal as well as a bottled drink.

    For some, long flights actually become dangerous without water and at least some form of nutrition. As others have mentioned getting food at the airport may not be possible. None of this bodes well for AA recovery.

  37. In reality, only about 15% of FC passengers actually “pay” for FC on domestic flights. they either use miles, or status to get upgraded. So griping about meals and expectations of FC service in this terrible time when airlines are hemorrhaging cash Is silly.

  38. BUT they are still charging for First Class or Business Class. They could serve a tray with everything in plastic and utensils in plastic. This is NOT about keeping anyone safe. It is to save money and help them make money. They are charging for FC/BC and making us use miles if we want a FF ticket but are making the service more like Spirit’s Big Front Seat. Sort of pathetic.

  39. All I am going to say is I flew out of taiwan once on a 50 minute fight and got served a full hot meal and coffee in ECONOMY

  40. I feel for 5 or more hour flights people do need a meal. You get famished if you don’t eat anything.

  41. I will not fly American Airlines unless it is the only option left. Delta is always a much better option.

  42. So it’s nothing to do with health/safety in the context of COVID, as flights designated “premium” get exemptions from the crapola. IE, all about money and AA using any excuse they can find to screw consumers (…something all of us knew was inevitable from day one).

  43. It’s very simple: No REAL first-class meal – no buying first=class ticket. I expect value for my money, Covid or not!

  44. It’s very simple: No REAL first-class meal – no buying first-class ticket. I expect value for my money/miles, Covid or not!

  45. Ben, I think that in normal (non-Covid 19 times) I fly almost as much as you do @ 250,000 miles per year as a revenue paying passenger. I am Executive Platinum on AA mostly from miles earned on BA and Qatar (One World Partners) and platinum for life on Air France. I was actually switching on my London to JFK connecting leg from the Middle East from BA to AA last year. I thought the service on AA had improved and the food was actually quite good (compared to BA business class). I have not been on a plane since early March but am going to begin my USA to Middle East commute beginning at the first week of September (most likely twice per month). I guess that AA is no longer an option for me and I will have to take a Sky Team Flight either Air France / Delta or Saudia. Crazy how companies make strategic decisions that drive their Prime customers away.

    Let’s hope that sanity returns at some point to the American Management suite. For now I am not going to fly them in First / Business until they sort this out.

  46. @Wright
    “the food [on AA] was actually quite good (compared to BA business class)”

    BA’s business class food (on most LHR routes) is now Do&Co, and is very decent — certainly better than AA’s sometimes bizarre offerings.

  47. I am a leisure traveller and thus the holiday begins at the boarding ramp. Thus the seat and the food/wine service is a huge factor in any long-haul.

    In the 70’s we had a flight from Barbados (GTA) to Vancouver (YVR) on American that took 16 hours and had NO FOOD in economy for the entire flight and no stopover long enough to buy food. Our young children and ourselves were not impressed and this immediately became a criterion of choice.

    No decent grub in J means no me in a seat.

  48. I flew Swiss Air Business class from Hong Kong to Zurich on 21st June 2020. They had a preorder menu for dinner and breakfast . For dinner we ticked the box for the starter and main course and desert that we wanted . Three choices of each ,which were served in the normal way on a nice tray with proper cutlery and napkins and with the usual Swiss efficiency . Excellent Swiss and French wines and chocolates to finish.
    We also ticked a box for various breakfast items , fruit/cereal/tea/coffee/omlete/cold cuts/cheese/bread rolls/croissants /jams etc. All served together on one tray at the time we asked on the preorder menu. It seems airlines can adapt with efficiency and quality food .
    That first class meal on AA is disgusting .

  49. Most of you don’t buy first class anyway but are just commenting for the sake of it. I buy First and this doesn’t matter to me.

  50. For those of you who are saying Delta has better service, currently Delta only serves a snack box
    in first/Delta One on the same flights where AA is service cheese and fruit or hot meal. Delta only serves beer and wine in first/Delta One, while both UA and AA have full cocktail service in first, albeit you need to mix the drinks yourself (which I have no issue with). As an alternative, Delta is limiting booking on each flight over the summer to enforce empty seats between customers.
    In effect, Delta is enjoying the similar halo effect as Southwest, where their past excellence is carrying over with lesser service, and people are actively choose them over “more food” on AA and UA. We’ll see how DL’s strategy of selling less at a higher fare plays out – AA learned the same lesson with More Room Throughout Coach.

  51. Come on. Of course it is cost cutting.
    The airlines, at this time, should be pulling out the stops and encouraging business travels back with what they have paid for.

  52. Glad your article is a report of the facts and provides you balanced opinion. Some blog sites have decided to attack AA no matter if it’s fact or fiction.

    I agree that I Love the cheese plate (always my purchase in coach). I would like to see some more service resume and replace the miles with hours (much more understandable for passengers) . . this would be my suggestion for AA:

    2 hours – 4 hours
    1. FC – beverage(2) and cheese tray and snack/chips/nuts
    2. MC/MCE – beverage (1)(can or bottled) and chips

    > 4 hours
    1. FC – beverages (2-3), nuts and single tray hot meal
    2. MC/MCE – Veverage (2) (can or bottled), chips and meal for purchase

    International/Trans Con (note quality of single tray quantity / types differ between cabin service)
    1. FC – beverages(2-3) nuts, single tray hot meal, snack/breakfast
    2. MCE – beverages (2-3). single tray hot meal, snack
    3. MC – beverages (2-3), single tray hot meal, snack

    Wine, beer and liquour available for purchase in MC ; one per beverage free in MCE and free in FC.

    Just my suggest to keep it simple and provide more service.

  53. Some are saying the infection fatality rate is low for those under 65. Bad use of statistics. Those statistics are not necessarily accurate. Even if they were, it would represent over 1 million young people dead. That is worse than 9/11 twice a day.

    This who matter should lead people to now think, “you have to protect yourself”. I was advocating mask wearing when others were saying there wasn’t a need. Have enough toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Good social distancing is not 6 feet but 18 feet, up to 40 feet if others are coughing without a mask.

  54. @Lucky maintains re Turkish: ” he best business class catering in the world.

    This remains unsubstantiated. If you dig beyond their media fluff, it is/was simply not true.

    At the moment, it’s moot.

  55. Wow – still through the midst of this and we are worried about this.

    Come back in fall of 2021 then compare.

  56. Agree with Lucky’s rationale here.

    Flying AA sounds risky with no blocked seat + goal of 100% load-factors. Adding meal service with everyone taking their masks off to eat a full meal only adds to the risk. A typcial airline meal is not healthy food either; we should be working to boost our immune systems with healthy food while flying.

    I also think Gary should disclose his financial relationship with AA, its quite something for him to come to a competing blog to defend AA.

  57. I have to laugh. The people who criticize AA are so much more on point than the rest. I’m sure I never flew as much as most of you but I stayed with AA since TWA, PSA, etc. I haven’t flown United (the other major crap heap) much but AA is a total joke. While I don’t agree that all the FA’s are terrible, the money gouging misfits at the top, should be fired, at best, and for my satisfaction, jailed.

    How can anyone writing about the airlines, make any excuses for the decisions from AA?

  58. A 5-hour cross country flight is realistically 6-7 hours if you include airport time and travel time to the airport. Not to mention the last time you ate before you even started your trip to the airport. So maybe 8-9 hours, or more? For me, that’s a long time without food. Even some buy on-board pre packaged vending machine food would be better than nothing. It would last through multiple flights without going bad and AA could mark up the price to increase their bottom line.

  59. I recently flew AA in first from FLL to ANC. First leg to PHL I received the fruit/cheese box; same thing from ORD to ANC (6.5 hours) with a mid flight offering of a package of their pretzels. F/A said this was the new meal service no matter the time of day so guessing it will be the same on my return flights this week. I find this to be cheap and penny pinching by Parker and his minions. Am Platinum Pro and will probably achieve EP by mid September, but am reconsidering AA loyalty if they keep this up along with many of their other changes. As many of their employees haved noted, AA is becoming HP 2.0.

    On the upside, I’ve seen a consistent positive shift with onboard customer service by F/As (especially MIA based) over the last few months.

  60. The biggest issue that I see is that a 2200+ mile flight is probably sitting up in the five-hour range, which is a little on the long side to not have a meal provided. If they were switching to something “simple” like a selection of cold sandwiches, that would be one thing, but five hours is just a bit long (especially if you really don’t have time to grab a meal before boarding…at that point you’re probably looking at 6+ hours without a “proper” meal).

    My guess is that this has to do with American being in quite a financial spot.

  61. I don’t agree with your comments about blocking the middle seat. You see, some airlines are making it look like they are taking precautions which are costing them a lot of money. Many of these precautions do not really keep people safer. There is a difference between requiring people to wear masks and blocking the middle seat. It’s not even like the middle seat creates two meters between you and the next person. I would agree with you if you mentioned actual precautions that airlines are taking. On one hand you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Nobody is choosing Delta over a competitor because of the middle seat, for example.

  62. I went ahead and wrote to American regarding their drastic cuts and outlined some points. They responded with a rather generic form without really clarifying why only the LAX/SFO-JFK routes maintained meal service and NOT LAX-MIA on the 777 flight which is supposedly in the same ‘premium transcon’ category. Honestly, any flight over 4 hours should have some sort of F&B option in all cabins, arguably even more in premium cabins. My inquiry went as follows…

    As a loyal frequent AA and OneWorld traveler, the recent decision to cut meals off of almost every domestic flight is concerning. When I read that ‘Premium Transcon’ flights will maintain meal service, I assumed my September LAX-MIA 777-300ER flight in ‘business’ would be unaffected as it is supposedly considered a ‘premium service’ flight on the AA website (often priced accordingly at 3-5x the standard domestic F fares). I now see a ‘refreshment’ service on this route in all cabins including transcon F & J.

    This is quite frankly unacceptable for several reasons. Firstly at almost 2500 miles, this is 5+ hour flight approaching the duration of a transatlantic flight where there are typically 2 meal services. When factoring in connections and layovers, many pax won’t have the opportunity to eat anything for several hours. Secondly, as a transit passenger in times of the coronavirus, airports have drastically reduced F&B options both land and air-side. Finally, while I support the need to reduce passenger-crew contact, eliminating catering doesn’t eliminate risk, most carriers including AA maintain meal service on longer flights.

    This decision actually exacerbates risk for many. I have diabetic friends and colleagues who need to eat something over the course of the day. With no catering on shorter AND longer flights in combination with little to no food service in airports are passengers (especially those of us willing to pay significantly more cash/miles to sit in premium cabins) expected to bring a potluck onboard? Should we pack lunch like we did in elementary school?

    These cost cuts have gone too far and arguably diminish the integrity of AA’s premium product to the point where I’m sure many will jump ship to UA & DL. Removing incentives to fly with AA in J or F, especially on the so-called premium transcon flights can’t be good for AA! I have always chosen AA, especially in flagship J & F but with no catering or service, what reason is left for us to remain loyal?

  63. As a CK on AA I can only say they’ve reached rock bottom – the will to provide customers with a service that they might appreciate has vanished from this airline – Covid19 gives the leadership the perfect cover story despite hot meals being the safest bet in the air. I regularly booked first on AA but no more – there is no benefit whatsover to selecting a higher domestic fare when there is no associated service – what fools at AA think that any customer with half a brain cell thinks this is acceptable shows the disdain they have for their “best customers” – they don’t care, never have and never will.

  64. You’re not sure you mind this?!? Meals in First are my #1 priority. Extra space is a given. Bad service is a given in Coach or First. But the convenience of having warm nuts, fresh salad, hot entree and dessert is critical. It allows me to head to the airport without need for packing snacks or allowing extra time to wait in lines at the airport for food. I want to settle into my seat and be confident that i will be served a variety of food and drink to make my flight comfortable and enjoyable. American’s vegetarian pasta dishes were awesome – better than many restaurants. I would certainly choose an airline based solely on First Class meals.

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